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WCU to host live broadcast of UNC-TV town hall meeting

Amid unprecedented changes in North Carolina’s economic landscape, UNC-TV is examining the challenges and opportunities facing rural regions in the state and how their successes affect all North Carolinians through a project called “North Carolina Rising.”

Logo for North Carolina Rising

As the culmination of “North Carolina Rising,” Western Carolina University will host a topical town hall meeting to be broadcast live by UNC-TV beginning at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, from WCU’s Hoey Auditorium.

Moderated by Shannon Vickery, UNC-TV’s director of production, the event will feature an interactive dialogue among expert panelists representing local leadership in education, policy and industry, as well as residents of the state.

Scheduled to participate on the panel are WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo and Ronald Johnson, dean of the university’s College of Business. Also on the panel are Laura Leatherwood, executive director of continuing and adult education at Haywood Community College; Scott Hamilton, president of the AdvantageWest economic development group; and Ray Rose, vice president of hotel, food and beverage engineering at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel, and a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Topics for discussion will include tourism, casino expansion, advanced manufacturing and craft industries.

“UNC-TV is excited about conducting these regional town hall meetings. For more than a year, UNC-TV has focused on the challenges and opportunities rural communities are experiencing as the state’s economy continues to change,” Vickery said. “In this final part of the ‘North Carolina Rising’ project, we are looking forward to hearing from state and community leaders and North Carolina residents about the economic trends they are seeing firsthand in communities across the state. I invite all North Carolinians to get involved in this very important conversation.”

To join in the live town hall audience or to submit a question to the panelists, visit the Web site (link no longer active). Audience members are asked to arrive at Hoey Auditorium no later than 7:30 p.m. The event will be broadcast live beginning at 8 p.m. on UNC-TV.

In addition to a UNC-Pembroke taping Oct. 13 (for broadcast Oct. 14), “North Carolina Rising” town hall meetings are scheduled for the following:

  • Catawba County, broadcast live at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4
  • East Carolina University, broadcast live at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18

UNC-TV also is encouraging North Carolinians to join the statewide conversation online by visiting the “North Carolina Rising” Web site ( – link no longer active) to share comments, questions and details about economic development projects. The network also is inviting residents to join its communities on Facebook ( and Twitter ( to post thoughts, inquiries and opinions on the state of “North Carolina Rising.”

The “North Carolina Rising” project is funded by the Golden Leaf Foundation, a nonprofit corporation created in 1999 to receive one-half of the funds coming to North Carolina from a master settlement agreement with cigarette manufacturers.

For more information about these shows, visit

By Bill Studenc

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

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