Archive for August, 2014

Collins’ article cited in court case

An article co-authored in 2005 by Todd Collins, associate professor of political science and public affairs and director of the WCU Public Policy Institute, for the Maryland Law Review was recently cited in a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals case.

A published opinion for the case, United States versus Jose Ramon Solis Valdovinos, referenced the article “War on Drugs or a War on Immigrants?: Expanding the Definition of ‘Drug Trafficking’ in Determining Aggravated Felon Status for Noncitizens.”

Bruce wins best paper award

Richard Bruce, professor emeritus of biology, was bestowed the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists’ 2013 Copeia Best Paper award in herpetology for his article “Size-mediated Tradeoffs in Life-history Traits in Dusky Salamanders.” The article appeared in the society’s scientific journal, Copeia.

Among those Bruce acknowledged in the paper for supporting his research were WCU, Highlands Biological Station and Krista Schmidt, associate professor, research and instruction librarian, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics liaison at Hunter Library.

WestCare to open primary care clinic at WCU on Sept. 2

Patti Sparling

Patti Sparling

Patti Sparling, a family nurse practitioner, will begin seeing patients in WestCare’s new primary care clinic located in the Health and Human Sciences Building at WCU starting Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Sparling has practiced for nine years at the Center for Family Medicine, WestCare’s outpatient primary care practice in Franklin, and earned her family nurse practitioner degree at WCU.

She will work in clinic space on the first floor of the Health and Human Sciences Building as a result of a partnership between WestCare and WCU. The new clinic will enable WestCare to offer primary care convenient to Cullowhee residents and allow WCU nurse practitioner students and students in related fields to receive education and training in an on-site clinical environment.

The Health and Human Sciences Building was designed to facilitate classes in multiple areas of specialty to take place in the midst of functioning clinical environments. WestCare also operates a full-service sports medicine and rehabilitation clinic, which includes access to aquatic therapy, in the building.

Regular hours for the Center for Family Medicine at Western Carolina University will be 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, call 828-631-8800.

Mad Batter to operate food truck on campus

The Mad Batter, a bakery and cafe that was located in a commercial strip along Centennial Drive in the center of the WCU campus before fire damaged the building, will open a food truck on Thursday, Aug. 28, at the site where the restaurant used to be next to Bob’s Mini Mart, according to information shared by the business.

The truck is expected to be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu will include coffee, bagels, biscuits, tomato soup, kale salad, grilled cheese, BLT, Mediterranean wrap, pizza and Spanakopita.

‘Take Back the Night’ set for Sept. 17 on WCU campus

Jessica Greer Morris, executive director and co-founder of Girl Be Heard, a New York City-based theater group dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence and other issues, will be the keynote speaker for “Take Back the Night” on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at Western Carolina University. The presentation at 7 p.m. in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center is free and open to the public.

Morris was formerly director of community relations at the New York City Department of Health and community organizer for the New York City police department and Manhattan district attorney’s office. She founded Girl Be Heard to engage girls and young women to write and perform their personal stories on topics ranging from body image and sexual orientation to sex trafficking and sexual violence. The group has performed at the White House and the United Nations, and was recently on tour in Denmark, Switzerland and England.

“Take Back the Night” at WCU is part of a campuswide campaign, known as Red Zone, that encourages students, faculty and staff to be alert to improper dating behaviors and the dangers of sexual violence. The Red Zone refers to the period of time when students are most at risk of unwanted sexual experiences, usually during the first and second years of college. Departments and organizations across campus are sponsoring activities designed to help them protect themselves and others from sexual assault.

“Everyone has a right to relationships that are healthy and consensual,” said Sarah Carter, associate director of resource services in the Department of Intercultural Affairs. “Through ‘Take Back the Night’ and the ongoing Red Zone campaign, we hope to encourage and empower WCU students, faculty and staff members to develop an open dialogue and to speak up when they see violent behavior happening. We want everyone to know that they can be an ally for their friends in relationships and that they are part of a community where there are resources.”

“Take Back the Night” events began in the 1970s as public protests against sexual violence. One of earliest marches was in 1975 in Philadelphia following the stabbing death of a young woman microbiologist who was walking alone. Since that time, the movement has spread to 30 countries and broadened its mission to include educational programming about safe communities and respectful relationships.

The WCU sponsors of “Take Back the Night” include the Department of Intercultural Affairs, Department of Residential Living, Department of Student Community Ethics, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Counseling and Psychological Services and the First Year Experience program.

Morris’ talk will be preceded by a “Take Back the Night” march through campus, starting at 6 p.m. at the Village and ending at the Alumni Tower, with an information fair about campus and community resources scheduled from 6 until 7 p.m. in the Grandroom.

For more information and a full schedule of all Red Zone events, contact Carter at or 828-227-2617 or visit (link no longer active).

Presentation on Canton set for Sept. 4 at Mountain Heritage Center

Author Michael Beadle will present an illustrated talk focusing on the history of the town of Canton and, specifically, the town’s annual Labor Day Celebration on Thursday, Sept. 4, at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center.

Beadle will address aspects of Canton’s development in conjunction with the growth of the Champion paper mill. The other focus of his talk, the Labor Day event, has been taking place in the town since 1906 and is one of the largest events of its type in the state.

Beadle writes poetry, history, fiction and journalistic pieces. He has published more than 1,500 articles in newspapers and magazines in North Carolina and is the recipient of several honors from the N.C. Press Association. As an author of local history, he has written or co-written four books about Haywood County, including a comprehensive history of the county. His most recent work is a collection of historic Canton photographs.

The free presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the WCU museum. The event is being held in conjunction with WCU’s interdisciplinary learning theme for the 2014-15 school year, “North Carolina: Our State, Our Time.”

For more information, contact the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129.

Free tickets available for Arts Alive @ 125 celebration Sept. 2

Western Carolina University’s first couple will host a show celebrating 125 years of the arts at WCU called “Arts Alive @ 125” in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Chancellor David O. Belcher, a classically trained concert pianist, and wife Susan Brummell Belcher, a professional opera singer and vocal teacher, will host the event and make special appearances. Performers will include students from the School of Music and School of Stage and Screen, the Catamount Singers and Electric Soul, and the WCU dancers. In addition, there will be a special surprise performance. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a reception sponsored by Fusions Spa and Wellness.

Tickets are required for admission to the show and are available free of charge from the Bardo Arts Center box office.

The benefit concert is launching the 2014-15 membership drive for the WCU Friends of the Arts, an organization that helps support the activities of the Bardo Arts Center and all of the university’s academic programs in the arts. Individuals who joined or renewed membership in the Friends of the Arts for the 2014-15 season at the $50 level or higher by Friday, Aug. 22, are receiving two premium reserved seats.

Others assisting with the production include interstitial writer Terry Curtis Fox, associate professor of stage and screen; choreographer Karyn Tomczak, director of WCU’s dance program; and lighting director David Bortle, technical director at Bardo Arts Center. Musical directors are Bruce Frazier, the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Commercial and Electronic Music; Jon Henson, assistant director of the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band; and Katya Stanislavskaya, assistant professor of musical theatre.

For more information about WCU’s yearlong 125th anniversary celebration, visit To become a member of Friends of the Arts, visit the website

WCU celebrates 125 years with ‘Big Birthday Bash,’ renewal of commitment to WNC

Western Carolina University has changed dramatically since its beginning in August 1889 in a one-room schoolhouse, but one thing that has remained constant is the institution’s commitment to Western North Carolina, WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher said Tuesday, Aug. 26, as campus and community came together to celebrate the university’s 125th anniversary.

New dean of students eager to connect with campus community

Western Carolina University’s new associate vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students, Kevin Koett, says WCU students have an energy and community-mindedness that makes him excited to serve as their advocate.

Kevan Frazier to lead Programs at Biltmore Park

Western Carolina University did not have to go far to find the new executive director for its programs at Biltmore Park – just as far as the northern side of Asheville.

Summer Institute for Administrative Support Professionals builds knowledge, community

“It really mattered to me that we find a way to give SPA employees educational opportunities,” said Anne Aldrich, who proposed the institute.

Artists to create on-site murals at WCU Fine Art Museum

The Fine Art Museum invited four artists to visit WCU to create live-action, on-site murals on four of the museum’s movable, free-standing walls for an exhibit titled “Teetering on the Edge of the Uncanny” that opens Thursday, Sept. 4.

Comer selected as Leadership for Academic Nursing Program fellow

Linda Comer

Linda Comer

Linda Comer, executive associate director in the School of Nursing, was selected to be a fellow in the Leadership for Academic Nursing Program by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

The program is designed to develop and enhance leadership skills in new and emerging administrators in baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs. The yearlong venture provides participants with a focused assessment experience, a range of content and case studies related to successful leadership and the opportunity to establish networks with mentors and peers.

Comer participated in a weeklong intensive start to the program in late July in Annapolis, Maryland.

WCU community expresses love for Jan O’Brien after online error

Jan O'Brien

Jan O’Brien (Photo from the April 27, 2009, issue of The Reporter)

A post on a WCU Facebook page, “Jan O’Brien, beloved ‘sharing is caring’ dining hall treasure, is alive and well, despite a rumor this morning to the contrary,” inspired more than 500 likes and more than 60 comments.

O’Brien, who is celebrating her 25th anniversary working with dining services at WCU, also received a surprise visit from an alumnus, James D. Hogan, who was so moved after learning the rumor on the Internet was incorrect that he brought his family to campus to see O’Brien. Read about his visit in a post titled “Looking for Jan O’Brien” on Hogan’s blog.

WCU football announces 125th anniversary promotions

WCU football will host two giveaway events and a ticket sale in celebration of WCU’s 125th anniversary.

The first 5,000 fans to enter E.J. Whitmire Stadium to see the 3:30 p.m. home opener against Brevard on Saturday, Sept. 6, will receive a free “Prove Your Purple” T-shirt with a 125th anniversary logo on the back.

Then on Saturday, Nov. 1, the first 1,000 fans through the gate will receive a Paws bobblehead courtesy of Pepsi. Paws will have the number “125” on his back in celebration of WCU’s quasquicentennial anniversary.

Also, in honor of the 125th anniversary, adult season tickets for seats located in the stadium’s purple reserved seating area are for sale for $125 each.

For more information, visit

Thousands of students return to campus

WCU students learn about campus organizations and opportunities at 2014 Valley Ballyhoo.

WCU students learn about campus organizations and opportunities including international programs at 2014 Valley Ballyhoo.

The WCU community welcomed thousands of students to campus during the weekend preceding the first day of classes on Aug. 18. See photos from the 2014 Valley Ballyhoo and Freshman Move-In Day on WCU’s Flickr site.

Personalist seminar at WCU draws international participation

The 10th Biennial Personalist Seminar held at WCU Aug. 11-15 attracted about two dozen participants who came not only from universities across the United States but also from Denmark and South Africa.

Personalism is a philosophical, political, and theological position found in most of the world’s religious traditions. A basic tenet of personalism is that the person is sacred and must be the starting point of reflection and value.

The seminar’s program centered on the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King Jr., with separate days devoted to different aspects of their work. Jennifer McBride, Board of Regents Endowed Chair in Ethics at Wartburg College, led the discussion on Bonhoeffer, and Greg Moses of Texas State University led the section on King. Also, Jonas Mortensen of the Danish Christian Democratic Party discussed the continued influence of King and personalism on Danish political ideals.

This was the 10th seminar to be held at WCU. The event, often dubbed “Personalist Summer Camp” and “Personalist Boot Camp” by participants, has been organized in alternate years by James McLachlan of WCU’s Department of Philosophy and Religion, Thomas O. Buford of Furman University and Randall K. Auxier of Southern Illinois University.

Past seminars have focused on such thinkers as Borden Parker Bowne, William Ernst Hocking, Gabriel Marcel, Emmanuel Levinas and Henri Bergson. Seminar participants have included, among others, Erazhim Kohak from Boston University and the Charles University of Prague; Robert Neville, dean emeritus of the Boston University School of Theology; Gary Dorrien, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and professor of religion at Columbia University; and John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

Planning is currently underway for the seminar’s 11th meeting at WCU in 2016. The subject will be Hindu Personalism. Kenneth Valpey, a fellow of the Oxford University Centre for Hindu Studies, has expressed interest in leading the discussion.

Fall edition of WCU magazine available online

The cover of the fall 2014 issue of WCU magazine features the logo created to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the university.The special 72-page fall edition of The Magazine of Western Carolina University is now available online with a host of stories and vintage photographs that pay homage to the university’s 125th anniversary.

Stories in the issue offer an in-depth look at WCU’s physical evolution, legacy of leadership and tradition of meeting the needs of Western North Carolina. Also, four members of the university community – Ron Rash, Levern H. Allen, Tom Belt and Sara Sutton Madison – share their unique insights into WCU history and culture.

Meanwhile, official WCU athletics historian Steve White shares his selection of the top 20 WCU sports moments, and the first five graduates of WCU’s forerunner institution, the Cullowhee High School Class of 1893, are featured in the Alumni Spotlight.

Visit the issue online at

Area film lovers find much to love in first annual Best of Controlled Chaos Film Festival

A full house of 150 film lovers laughed, cried and cheered student-created films in the Best of Controlled Chaos Film Festival held Sunday, Aug. 17, at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley on the Cashiers-Highlands Plateau.

The event showcased the best of Western Carolina University student films from its Film and Television Production Program’s annual, campus-based Controlled Chaos Film Festival. The movie lineup included almost 90 minutes of film, including two 20-minute senior project films – “Jerry,” a comedy about a homeless man who returns to haunt the politician who killed him, which won the 2013 Asheville Cinema Festival Best Student Film Award, and “Strigoii,” a horror film that was screened in the 2009 Sitges Film Festival, one of the world’s top-tier festivals for horror and fantasy. Student filmmakers were on hand to share with the audience the types of films they make and the challenges pertaining to each one. A number of the documentaries – “Face Jugs,” “Sheep to Shawl” and “The Moving Wall” – were filmed locally with interviews from area residents.

Proceeds and funds raised during the evening will support “wish list” essential equipment needs or senior project films, which are 20-minute, fully-produced features that simulate a professional experience for the students and serves as the capstone experience of their WCU training. Films take a year to write, produce, film and edit, include all FTP students with project crews sometimes numbering 50 to 60 people and cost an average of $5,000 to produce. As part of their education in the film business, students have to raise the funds to finance these films.

“That’s a chunk of change, and as a college student, the stereotypes are true – we’re all broke!” said Andrew Dyson, recent graduate of the FTP program and producer of the film “Jerry.” “But we believe in these films so much that we just make it happen.”

Wesley Wofford, local resident, sculptor and Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated special effects makeup artist who most recently applied prosthetic makeup for Robert DeNiro in “Grudge Match,” called the WCU films “impressive” and “exciting.” “What these kids can do with $5,000 is amazing – $5,000 wouldn’t get you a call in Hollywood,” said Wofford.

Kasey Summers, a WCU film student slated to produce a senior project film this academic year, spoke on behalf of her fellow film students. “You have no idea how much this means to us,” said Summers. “We are so happy you love our films, and to have your support in helping to make them? That is beyond words. Thank you.”

WNC fall color may be spotty, but last longer, says WCU’s foliage prognosticator

The combination of a wet spring and forecasts for above-average temperatures this fall could produce a long-lasting leaf display in the mountains of Western North Carolina, but with spotty color development.

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


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