A family of Catamounts, and a family of fundraisers. Tim Locklair, is a 1995 graduate of Western Carolina University, and his daughter, Hailee Locklair, is a junior at WCU majoring in communication, with a broadcasting concentration and a minor in philosophy.
They share a strong bond through their similar job experiences while on WCU’s campus. Tim was a phone-a-thon operator for WCU’s Loyalty Fund during his time as a student, and now Hailee is following in his footsteps, working as a Chatty Cat engagement officer for the Division of Advancement.
“My dad talks about his experience a lot, and how great it was getting to hear so many stories from WCU alumni, and I knew I wanted to have that same experience,” Hailee said. She also said she was glad to find an on-campus job that would allow her to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was especially drawn in by the fact that you don’t have to really interact face-to-face with a lot of people.” Hailee said. “You can do the job by yourself and not have to worry about getting sick, or making others sick. That’s really important right now.”
Tim is thrilled his daughter is following in his footsteps, but despite the two having held the same type of position, the differences in their experiences do not escape him.
“My roommate saw the position, on what was back then an actual job board with an actual paper job posting, in Reed Gymnasium,” Tim said. “We applied and we started doing it. We reported to the administration building a few evenings a week. There was a room set up where we made the calls.”
Not only does the location of the job vary, but the actual technology behind making the phones calls differs, as well. “We had calling cards that we would use that had the person’s name, the year they graduated, and if they had given before. We used those to write our notes on, and if someone made a pledge we recorded it right on the card, and then a giving form would get sent in the mail to the alumni. I know her experience is going to be very different, just from a technological standpoint. I dialed on an actual phone; Hailee gets to click a button on a laptop. We are in the middle of a pandemic and it’s incredible that she can still do something positive for her university during these times.”
Despite not getting to work in a traditional work environment Hailee believes that her experience as a Chatty Cat still holds immense value that will benefit her. “You gain an understanding of how to relate to people much better, especially people across different age ranges. Someone could have graduated just a few years before I got here, or many years before I got here, and talking to such a wide variety of people will help me learn to conversate much better with anyone I talk to throughout my lifetime,” Hailee said.
Tim echoed Hailee’s sentiments, describing how deeply his experience as a Loyalty Fund phone-a-thon operator and a WCU student impacted his life after graduation. Tim is the chief officer for academics and student support services at Moore County Schools, but began his career as a high school social studies teacher.
“I knew I was looking for a university that had a great reputation for preparing educators and teachers,” he said. “That’s what I knew I wanted to do, and when I visited, I knew it was the right place for me. I am still impacted by the things I learned at Western, and the university set me on a course for my career that’s been a wonderful experience.”
The Locklair family leads by example when it comes to fundraising efforts. In addition to his fundraising efforts as a student, Tim is now a recurring donor to the university. Hailee hopes that her work as a Chatty Cat will inspire others to donate to WCU.
“I feel like giving back to the community you’re involved in is really important, because it’s all a cycle,” Hailee said. “You give and then you get back, and the more you give, the more you see the things around you changing in a positive way.”
Hailee hopes to be greeted with the same types of nostalgic surprises her father does when she returns to WCU’s campus as an alumna. “Through donations to Western, I get to watch Western grow, and years after I graduate, I’ll get to come back and have the same feelings my Dad does now, when we visit and he says things like, ‘Oh, that’s different now.’”
“Simply put, giving back to WCU enables the university to impact lives in a way that lives on past their time at Western Carolina.” Tim said. “I love WCU for what I learned there, the lifelong friendships I made there, and the incredible, soul-cleansing, beautiful landscape of Western North Carolina. Hailee said it best, continue the cycle for students, and watch Western Carolina grow for years to come.”
To support “I Love WCU,” visit give.wcu.edu/love.
Current students can strengthen their resume and gain valuable real-world experience in communication, fundraising, public relations and more by becoming a Chatty Cat Engagement Officer. Learn more at chattycats.wcu.edu.