|Cullowhee Academy (1889–1905)|
Cullowhee Normal & Industrial School (1905–1925)
Cullowhee State Normal School (1925–1929)
Western Carolina Teachers College (1929–1953)
Western Carolina College (1953–1967)
|Endowment||$88.9 million (2020)|
|Chancellor||Kelli R. Brown|
589 acres (2.38 km2)
|Colors||Purple and Gold |
|Athletics||NCAA Division I FCS – SoCon|
|Sports||16 varsity teams|
Western Carolina University (WCU) is a public university in Cullowhee, North Carolina. It is part of the University of North Carolina system.
The fifth oldest institution of the sixteen four-year universities in the UNC system, WCU was founded to educate the people of the western North Carolina mountains.WCU provides an education to students from 48 states and 35 countries. Enrollment for the Fall 2020 semester was 12,243 students.
In 1888, the residents of Cullowhee desired a better school for the community than was offered in public schools of that day,organized a board of trustees and established a community school that came to be known as Cullowhee Academy. Founded in August 1889 as a semi-public secondary school and chartered as Cullowhee High School in 1891 (also called Cullowhee Academy), it served the Cullowhee community and boarding students from neighboring counties and other states. The founder, Robert Lee Madison, wanted to provide an education for the young people in the region and train teachers to spread education throughout the western part of the state. In 1893, through the efforts of Walter E. Moore, representative from Jackson County, the North Carolina Legislature authorized an appropriation for the establishment of a normal department at the school "for the purpose of training teachers". This designation became the first publicly funded normal school in North Carolina.
In 1905, the state assumed title to the school's buildings and property and made it a state institution. That same year, the school's name was changed to Cullowhee Normal & Industrial School. In 1925, the school's name was changed to Cullowhee State Normal School. During its years as Cullowhee Normal, the stated purpose of the school was to train teachers for the North Carolina public schools. A coeducational institution, Cullowhee Normal trained over two thousand teachers by the mid-1920s.
Over the next forty years, the school expanded its curriculum and evolved into a junior college, and in 1929 it was chartered by the Legislature as a four-year institution under the name Western Carolina Teachers College. Called "the Cullowhee experiment", Madison's idea became a model for the other regional colleges in the state.
The demand for both liberal arts and other programs led to an expansion of the school's offerings.Postgraduate studies and the Master of Arts in Education degree were added to the curriculum in 1951. In 1953, the name "Western Carolina College" was adopted.
In 1967, the institution was designated a regional university by the North Carolina General Assembly and given its current title, "Western Carolina University."On July 1, 1972, WCU became a member of the University of North Carolina system.
|Year||Name and Levels|
|1891||Cullowhee High School|
|1893||First state appropriation; Normal Department established; First graduating class|
|1905||Cullowhee Normal and Industrial School|
|1912||Junior College rank established; Secondary school discontinued|
|1913||First college-level (one-year) degree awarded|
|1925||Cullowhee State Normal School|
|1929||Western Carolina Teachers College; Senior College rank established|
|1931||First Baccalaureate degree awarded|
|1951||Graduate degree established|
|1952||First master's degree awarded|
|1953||Western Carolina College|
|1967||Western Carolina University|
|1972||A constituent institution of the University of North Carolina|
Western Carolina University is located in Jackson County, in the unincorporated village of Cullowhee, North Carolina. The university operates learning centers in both Asheville and Cherokee with programs offered online and at various community colleges. 52 miles (84 km) west of Asheville, North Carolina and 5 miles south of Sylva, NC. The university lies close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Reservation (officially known as the Qualla Boundary), and some of the nation's most beautiful national forest lands. At an elevation of 2,100 feet (640 m), but located in a thermal valley, the campus enjoys the best of all four seasons but is shielded from most extreme temperatures by surrounding peaks. Cullowhee typically enjoys a rather mild winter season. In fact, Cullowhee can go some winters with little to no snowfall.The main campus is located in a valley of the Tuckasegee River, between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains,
While winters in the valley are generally mild, snow is not unusual in the higher elevations of Jackson County around Cashiers or Balsam. In nearby Sapphire Valley, snowmaking machines maintain prime snow skiing conditions from mid-December through February. Locations in Jackson County are also within reasonable driving distance to ski slopes at Maggie Valley. The Blue Ridge Parkway is usually closed during winter weather, and has become popular with cross-country skiers during those times.
The many rivers, streams and forests surrounding Cullowhee, combined with the mild climate of Southern Appalachia, offer many opportunities for outdoor activities. Climbing, hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, and camping are a few of the outdoor activities nearby.Cities within a three-hour drive of campus include Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Greenville, South Carolina.
The main campus in Cullowhee offers most of the amenities of a small town, including twelve residence halls,two full-service cafeterias, a food court with fast-food outlets, health services, counseling, a bookstore, library, a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, movie theater, jogging trail and quarter-mile track, hiking and biking trails and intramural fields.
The campus center is the A.K. Hinds University Center.The UC contains the university post office, a movie theater, video and commuter lounges, student organization HQs including the Student Government Association and Last Minute Productions, meeting rooms and office spaces. Outside of the UC is the "Alumni Tower", built in 1989, on the 100th birthday of the university. Other newly constructed facilities include the Center for Applied Technology (which houses new engineering laboratories); an expanded student life center; new athletic facilities; and a new student support center.
A $13.5 million 73,000-square-foot (6,800 m2) Student Recreation Center, was completed over the summer of 2008. Harrill Residence Hall was renovated to add 6,000 square feet (557 m2) and bring the 1971 building to LEED standards of environmental friendliness and energy efficiency, and re-opened in fall 2012.
The new $46.2 million Health and Human Sciences Building opened for use at the start of the 2012–13 academic year, also built to LEED standards. This facility is the first project on the Millennial Initiative property and houses WCU's educational and outreach programs in the College of Health and Human Sciences. The four-story facility is home to the undergraduate and graduate programs in social work and communication sciences and disorders; graduate programs in physical therapy and health sciences; and undergraduate programs in athletic training, emergency medical care, environmental health, nutrition and dietetics, nursing and recreational therapy.
WCU's educational facilities in Asheville focus on professional and graduate degrees for working students.
The Western Carolina University Cherokee Center in Cherokee, North Carolina, was established in 1975 in cooperation with the tribal government of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.The center serves Cherokee and the surrounding communities and is available to all of the people of the region. Their services include the application process, transcript request, scholarships, internships placement, high school recruitment.
The university is led by Chancellor Kelli R. Brown, the chief administrative officer, along with Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Richard Starnes and several advisory groups.The institution operates under the guidance and policies of the Board of Trustees of Western Carolina University. WCU also falls under the administration of University of North Carolina system president Thomas W. Ross. The university moved to a provost and senior vice chancellor model in 2004.
Vice-Chancellors for Academic Affairs
The university produces the following publications and broadcasts:
WCU students, faculty and staff also contribute to:
Western Carolina University's academic programs are housed in six colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Allied Professions, David Orr Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts, Health and Human Sciences, and Engineering and Technology. WCU also has an Honors College and Graduate School, and offers several interdisciplinary programs.
With its main campus located on the site of an ancient Cherokee Indian villageand adjacent to the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains, Western Carolina has a commitment to the rich traditions of both the Appalachian and Cherokee cultures. The university's Mountain Heritage Center; Cherokee Center; Craft Revival Project; Cherokee Studies Program and WCU's partnership to preserve the Cherokee language all reflect that influence – and provide educational resources for the region.
Western is classified among "M1: Master's Colleges and Universities – Larger programs"and in the elective "community engagement" category. WCU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the bachelor, masters, intermediate, and doctoral levels. The university holds 21 program accreditations and is a member of more than 30 state and national associations and organizations to which its professional programs are related. In 2009, the Corporation for National and Community Service recognized WCU by awarding the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for "exemplary commitment to service and civic engagement" on WCU's campus and beyond.
As the sixth-largest producer of teachers in North Carolina, the College of Education and Allied Professions was the national winner of the Association of Teacher Educators' Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Awardin 2006. The college is also the 2007 co-winner of the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award presented by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The Christa McAuliffe Award nationally recognizes outstanding programs in teacher education at AASCU member institutions.
Western Carolina's Forensic Research Facility (commonly referred to as the "FoREST") is just the second facility of its kind nationally.The decomposition research station is an extremely valuable resource for researchers and forensic anthropology students to study natural decomposition.
The residential Honors College was first of its kind in North Carolina.Newly accepted students are invited to live in one of two exclusive residence halls on campus. The Honors College is one of a few in the state to offer a residential option and among a few nationwide to award graduates with a special honors diploma. The college began in 1998 with 77 students and has grown to approximately 1,400. For entering freshman, the Honor's College average weighted GPA is over 4.00 and the average SAT score is 1380. The college is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council. In August 2009, Balsam Hall, the first part of a $50.2 million Honors College residential community located at the center of campus opened, housing 426 students. In Fall 2010, Blue Ridge Hall completed the community and add an additional 400 beds for Honors College students and Teaching Fellows.
In the spring of 2000, WCU was officially designated a National Merit sponsoring university, just the fourth institution of higher education in North Carolina, public or private, to receive that distinctionThe university grants scholarships to students who qualify as National Merit Finalists. The Western Meritorious Award for Finalists provides a four-year scholarship, which covers the equivalent amount of in-state tuition, fees, room, and board, to National Merit Finalists, who also receive a computer.
The 2012 edition of the U.S. News & World Report guide to "America's Best Colleges" ranks Western Carolina University 14thamong public universities in the South that offer master's degrees.
In 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly approved the NC Promise Tuition Plan, a tuition reduction plan to make three universities - WCU, Elizabeth City State University, and University of North Carolina at Pembroke - more affordable and accessible. The NC Promise began in the fall semester of 2018 and drastically reduces the tuition cost for students. In-state students pay $500 a semester and out-of-state students pay $2,500 a semester.Attendance has increased for three consecutive years with the total attendance as of Fall 2020 at 12,243 students, being the ninth time in the past ten years record enrollment has been recorded.
Community focus, economic development, scholarly research, business development, preservation of the Cherokee & Appalachian Mountain cultures, and the advancement of technology & public policy are the guiding foci of Western Carolina's Centers, Institutes & Affiliates.
The main campus at Cullowhee has residential facilities for students. These include twelve residence halls,two full-service cafeterias, and one food court with fast-food outlets. The halls house more than 4,500 WCU students each academic year.
The campus residence buildings include one for graduate students, named Madison Hall, and one for married students. Special residence accommodations include honors residence halls and The Village, home to residential Greek and student organizations. Three new residence facilities were recently completed from a $50.2 million residence hall project. The newest residence hall is called Allen residence hall which opened in 2019 and houses over 700 freshman students taking the place of former Scott and walker residence halls.
As a member of the Southern Conference, Western Carolina University participates in NCAA Division I athletics. Intercollegiate athletics include football, men and women's basketball, baseball, softball, women's soccer, men and women's golf, men and women's track and field (Indoor and Outdoor), cross country running, women's volleyball and tennis. Catamount football is a member of Division I FCS and plays at Whitmire Stadium. The Ramsey Center is home to men's and women's basketball, and women's volleyball. Baseball is played at Hennon Stadium, softball is played at the Catamount Softball Complex, and the Catamount Athletic Complex is home to women's soccer, tennis, and track and field.
On November 29, 1980, Western Carolina's Ronnie Carr made the first intercollegiate three-point field goal, in a game against Middle Tennessee State University, a game WCU won 77–70.The ball he used is on display at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Western Carolina and Appalachian State have a football rivalry in which they once competed in the Battle for the Old Mountain Jug on an annual basis.The Catamounts football team was runner-up in the Division I-AA National Football Championship Game in 1983.
Current NCAA sports at WCU include:
In 2016 the WCU dance team won third place at the NDA Nationals dance competition, performing in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Schools of Music and Fine and Performing Arts offer a variety of events featuring students, faculty, and outside performers. These cultural opportunities are typically relatively cheap, and students can often attend them free of charge.
The Pride of the Mountains is the largest college marching band in the Carolinas and Tennessee. As of Fall 2014, the marching band includes just over 500 members, making it one of the largest marching bands in the United States. The band is open to all Western Carolina students regardless of class or major, with approximately 60% of its members non-music majors.
In 2014, the band performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with 510 band members participating. Announcers described their performance as "This is the largest band this parade has seen in decades", "This is the best of the best", and "They don't mess around at Western Carolina".
The Pride of the Mountains also performed at a Carolina Panthers halftime show in 2011.The band was also the special guest at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis in 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2012, an honor given to only one college band in the United States each year. In addition, the band was also a special guest at the Bands of America Regional's held in Atlanta in 1995, 2006, 2010, and 2011. In 2009, the Pride of the Mountains was selected as one of the five best collegiate marching bands in the nation by the College Band Directors National Association and featured in the book "Marching Bands and Drumlines: Secrets of Success from the Best of the Best" by Paul Buyer.
The band is the 2009 recipient of the Sudler Trophy awarded by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.They participated in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and won the most votes in a "best band" in the parade poll hosted by KTLA-TV.
WCU is home to a wide range of Greek fraternities and sororities, as well as several councils and societies.The Greek community offers many social opportunities to enrich college life. Greeks get personal guidance in planning their curriculum and choosing classes and instructors, and assistance with registration and financial aid. Chapter study sessions, educational programs, tutoring, and study partners and teams offer support for developing and maintaining study skills. Greeks are recognized for their academic successes through Greek scholarship and awards programs and honor societies such as the Order of Omega. According to 2011–12 figures from U.S. News & World Report , 3.4% of WCU's male undergraduate students are in fraternities, while 3.6% of female undergraduate students are in sororities.
Greek Councils & Societies
Historically Black Fraternities
Historically Black Sororities
No Council Affiliation
Housed in the Student Media Center (Old Student Union) on the hill area of campus are WCU's Student Media Organizations, which are open to all students and are produced by students.The following organizations are a part of WCU Student Media:
This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. (January 2021)
North Carolina State University is a public land-grant research university in Raleigh, North Carolina. Founded in 1887 and part of the University of North Carolina system, it is the largest university in the Carolinas. The university forms one of the corners of the Research Triangle together with Duke University in Durham and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity".
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The flagship of the University of North Carolina system, it is considered to be a Public Ivy, or a public institution which offers an academic experience equivalent to an Ivy League university. After being chartered in 1789, the university first began enrolling students in 1795, making it one of the oldest public universities in the United States. Among the claimants, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only one to have held classes and graduated students as a public university in the eighteenth century.
Jackson County is a county located in the far southwest of the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 40,271. Since 1913 its county seat has been Sylva, which replaced Webster.
Cullowhee is a census-designated place (CDP) in Jackson County, North Carolina, United States. It is located on the Tuckasegee River, and the permanent population was 6,228 as of the 2010 census.
Appalachian State University is a public university in Boone, North Carolina. It was founded as a teachers college in 1899 by brothers B.B. and D.D. Dougherty and D.D.’s wife, Lillie Shull Dougherty. The university expanded to include other programs in 1967 and joined the University of North Carolina System in 1971.
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is a public university in Pembroke, North Carolina. UNC Pembroke is a master's level degree-granting university and part of the University of North Carolina system. Its history is intertwined with that of the Lumbee nation.
Coastal Carolina University is a public university in Conway, South Carolina. Conway is one of ten cities located in the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area. Founded in 1954, it became an independent university in 1993.
Bob Waters Field at E. J. Whitmire Stadium is a 13,742-seat football stadium in Cullowhee, North Carolina. It opened in 1974 and is home to the Western Carolina University Catamounts football team. The field itself is named Bob Waters Field. The football facility is located on the south end of the WCU campus and is bordered by Cullowhee Creek on the west side; Jordan-Phillips Field House and WCU Weight Room on its north end, and the Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center on the south end.
The Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center is a 7,826-seat multi-purpose arena in Cullowhee, in the U.S. state of North Carolina, and is home to the Western Carolina University Catamounts basketball and volleyball teams. It is also named "THE LAIR". It is a state owned facility and offers the largest seating capacity inside the Charlotte–Atlanta–Knoxville triangle.
Smoky Mountain High School is a public high school located in Sylva, North Carolina. The school formed as a result of the consolidation of the former Sylva-Webster High School and Cullowhee High School in 1988 at the Sylva-Webster campus, which dates to 1960.
Joyce Dugan is an American educator, school administrator, and politician; she served as Principal Chief of the federally recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (1995-1999), based in Western North Carolina. She was the first woman to be elected to this office and to date is the only one.
Western North Carolina is the region of North Carolina which includes the Appalachian Mountains; it is often known geographically as the state's Mountain Region. It contains the highest mountains in the Eastern United States, with 125 peaks rising to over 5,000 feet in elevation. Western North Carolina is sometimes included with upstate South Carolina as the "Western Carolinas", which is counted as a single media market. The population of the region, as measured by the 2010 U.S. Census, is 1,473,241, which is approximately 15% of North Carolina's total population.
North Carolina Highway 107 (NC 107) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The highway runs north–south from the South Carolina state line, near Cashiers, to US 23 Business in Sylva.
Hunter Library is the university library at Western Carolina University and is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Hunter Library supports Western Carolina University's mission of teaching and learning. The Library provides intellectual content, and services related to its discovery and use, for the learning, teaching, and research activities of the University's students, faculty, and staff. By supporting the acquisition of learning and the production of knowledge and scholarship, Hunter Library intends to inspire the individual and the intellect, fostering professional, personal and social growth.
Robert J. Conley was a Cherokee author. In 2007, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas.
The Western Carolina Catamounts are the intercollegiate athletics teams that represent Western Carolina University. The Catamounts compete in the NCAA Division I as members of the Southern Conference. Western Carolina fields 16 varsity sports teams. The men's and women's teams are called the Catamounts.
The Pride of the Mountains is the marching band of Western Carolina University. The band performs pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows at all Catamount Football home games and provides exhibition performances throughout the Carolinas. Unlike most college marching bands, the Pride of the Mountains designs, creates, and performs one perfected halftime show other than doing different performances every week.
Tuckasegee, named after the historic Cherokee town of that name located near here, is an unincorporated community in Jackson County, North Carolina, United States. It followed the earlier Cherokee town as developing on the upper Tuckaseegee River, at the confluence of its East and West forks.
Jackson County Public Schools is a public school district serving Jackson County, North Carolina, US. It is headquartered in the county seat of Sylva. The Jackson County School system is unique in the way that is still has a K–8 system with combined elementary and middle schools, with one central high school and one combined K–12 elementary/middle/high school. The county school system has eight schools, all with different histories and stories behind why they are the way they are today. The school system includes four kindergarten-through-8th-grade schools, two kindergarten-through-12th-grade schools, one traditional 9th-through-12th-grade high school, and one alternative 9th-through-12th-grade high school early college.
West Chester University of Pennsylvania is a public university in Chester County, Pennsylvania. WCU is the largest of the 14 state universities of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the sixth largest university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.