Archive for October, 2015

Open house set for 3DU ‘makerspace’ facility in Technology Commons

The Technology Commons at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library is planning an open house to allow members of the campus community to check out the 3-D printing capability and other current technology located in the recently opened digital “makerspace” facility known as 3DU: Discover, Design, Develop.

Calvert, Moshier selected for new Women’s Leadership in Action Program

Two Western Carolina University women – Kristin Calvert, head of content organization and management at Hunter Library, and Andrea Moshier, director of sponsored research in the Office of Research Administration – are the first individuals selected to participate in WCU’s new Women’s Leadership in Action Program.

Niggli Series to kick off with readings of Stanislavskaya’s ‘Resident Alien’

Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen will launch its new Josefina Niggli New Works Reading Series with staged readings of “Resident Alien” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1.

WCU community encouraged to participate in Leadership Week activities Nov. 2-6

Registration is ongoing for WCU Leadership Week, a new campuswide initiative scheduled for Monday, Nov. 2, through Friday, Nov. 6.

Campus conversations series resumes in November

A series of campus conversations centered on four topics identified by Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher as areas of emphasis for the 2015-16 academic year will continue in November, including a session next week at the Biltmore Park instructional site.

Chancellor David O. Belcher

Chancellor David O. Belcher

Belcher, in his Opening Assembly address to kick off the school year, described the quartet of issues – increasing diversity on campus, preparing for a comprehensive fundraising campaign to boost scholarship dollars, enhancing the total student experience, and supporting faculty and staff – as central to WCU’s future success.

The series of discussions is designed to provide campus leaders with input, ideas and possible solutions from members of the university community on issues of diversity, scholarships, overall student experience and employee satisfaction.

While the university has made substantial progress on many elements of its “2020 Vision” strategic plan over the past three years, a handful of issues have proven more challenging and have risen to the forefront as WCU attempts to manage changing enrollment and demographic trends, increasing costs in higher education, and growing competition for top students, said Melissa Wargo, chief of staff.

Conversations are being held in three four-day sessions scattered throughout the academic year, with each of the four topics to be the subject of an afternoon discussion during each session. Each on-campus discussion is scheduled to run from 4-5:30 p.m. The first sessions were held Sept. 21-24.

Up next is a session from 3 until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, at Biltmore Park. That discussion that will cover all four topics.

The second round of on-campus discussions will be held in the middle of November: Monday, Nov. 16, “Improve the Total Experience,” Blue Ridge Conference Room D; Tuesday, Nov. 17, “Invest in Our People,” Blue Ridge Conference Room A; Wednesday, Nov. 18, “Enhance Campus Diversity,” Blue Ridge Conference Room A; and Thursday, Nov. 19, “Support Scholarships,” Blue Ridge Conference Room A.

The third session is set for late February and early March: Monday, Feb. 29, “Invest in Our People,” Blue Ridge Conference Room A; Tuesday, March 1, “Improve the Total Experience,” Blue Ridge Conference Rooms B and C; Wednesday, March 2, “Support Scholarships,” Blue Ridge Conference Room A; and Thursday, March 3, “Enhance Campus Diversity,” Blue Ridge Conference Room A.

The campus conversations are open to all WCU faculty and staff. The total number of participants is limited to 40 at each session. Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Organizers will add another block of sessions in the spring semester if needed.

To register or for more information, visit the website

By Bill Studenc

Mountain Faith band to appear at WCU on Nov. 5

Jackson County-based bluegrass-gospel band Mountain Faith will perform at Western Carolina University’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Nov. 5.

Current members of the bluegrass-gospel band Mountain Faith are (from left) Sam McMahan, Brayden McMahan, Summer McMahan, Cory Piatt and Luke Dotson.

Current members of the bluegrass-gospel band Mountain Faith are (from left) Sam McMahan, Brayden McMahan, Summer McMahan, Cory Piatt and Luke Dotson.

The concert, presented by WCU’s Last Minute Productions, will begin at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $2 for students and $5 for the general public, or free with non-perishable food donations (two food items per ticket for students, five food items per ticket for the general public.)

Tickets can be purchased beginning at noon Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the A.K. Hinds University Center’s guest services desk located on the second floor. The show is limited to 900 people, and any remaining tickets will be available at the door beginning at 5 p.m. on Nov. 5.

Donated food will be delivered to the Community Table or Jackson County United Christian Ministries to benefit local residents in need.

Mountain Faith, whose current album “That Which Matters” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard Magazine’s bluegrass chart, recently reached the semifinals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” in which they performed live at Radio City Music Hall. The band features family patriarch Sam McMahan on bass, his daughter Summer McMahan on fiddle and singing lead and harmony vocals, and his son Brayden McMahan on banjo and providing harmony vocals, along with Luke Dotson on guitar and lead and harmony vocals, and Cory Piatt on mandolin.

The band’s debut album, 2011’s “Save Me,” won the Southern Gospel Music Association’s New Artists of the Year Award. Last month, Mountain Faith was named the 2015 group recipient of WCU’s Mountain Heritage Award.

For more information, call A.K. Hinds University Center at 828-227-7206.

By Marlon W. Morgan

WCU hosts Asheville Lyric Opera performance of opera ‘The Barber of Seville’

Western Carolina University will present “The Barber of Seville,” produced by the Asheville Lyric Opera, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Regina Davis van der Eijk

Regina Davis van der Eijk

Sponsored by the WCU College of Fine and Performing Arts, the two-act comic opera will have a local connection on stage, by way of the Netherlands. The lead soprano is Regina Davis van der Eijk of Waddinxveen, South Holland. A Jackson County native and daughter of WCU alumni, she will be returning “home” for the performance, singing as young Rosina in the operatic masterpiece.

In addition to previous performances with the Asheville Lyric Opera, she has performed in “The Magic Flute” with Opera Theatre of the Rockies, a solo appearance with the Wiericker Opera in Holland, and performances with the OpernWerkstatt in Switzerland.

From trickery and disguises to serenading in the moonlight, “The Barber of Seville” is known for its liveliness and comedy, as the affections of Rosina are sought by her guardian, Dr. Bartolo, and a Spanish nobleman, Count Almaviva. First performed in 1816, the operatic favorite was composed by Gioachino Rossini and written by Cesare Sterbini.

Jon Truitt, artistic adviser of the Asheville Lyric Opera, will serve as the guest director, and Dan Allcott, maestro of the Bryan Symphony Orchestra, will be conductor.

Tickets are on sale at $21 for adults, $7 student or child, and $16 WCU faculty and staff. More information is available at or call the box office at 828-227-2479.

By Geoff Cantrell

Cycling documentary ‘Rising from Ashes’ to be screened

The documentary film “Rising from Ashes,” the true story of the Rwandan National Cycling Team’s journey to compete in the London Olympic Games after national genocide, will be presented Wednesday, Nov. 4, at Western Carolina University.


The screening will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of A.K. Hinds University Center. Admission is free, but donations of $5 per person are recommended. Proceeds will go to World Bicycle Relief, which provides bicycles throughout Africa.

The event is sponsored by WCU’s Cycling Club and Criminal Justice Club in conjunction with the university’s interdisciplinary learning theme for 2015-17, “Africa! More Than a Continent.”

For more information, contact Ophir Sefiha, assistant professor in WCU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, and faculty adviser for the cycling club, at 828-227-2176.

By Randall Holcombe

Global Spotlight Series features ‘A Changing Cuba’ Wednesday, Oct. 28

Western Carolina University’s International Studies Program will continue its Global Spotlight Series on Wednesday, Oct. 28, when it presents “A Changing Cuba.”

The event will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the A.K. Hinds University Center. The Global Spotlight Series is a group of interdisciplinary panel discussions that cover a wide variety of major international events.

Alexander Macaulay, associate professor of history, will speak on “Rebels in Cuba: American Reactions to Cuban Revolutions.” Panelists include Lori Oxford, associate professor of Spanish; WCU Cuban culture course student Laura Powell; and special guest Juan Nicolas Padron, a renowned poet and essayist and professor of literature and history. Padron is known for his work at Casa de las Americas, widely considered to be one of the most important cultural institutions in Latin America.

For more information, call Garrett Fisher at 929-227-3906.

By Marlon W. Morgan

Student-teacher collaborations published in new math journal

Two research articles co-authored by Western Carolina University graduates and their instructors have been published in the inaugural issue of the North Carolina Journal of Mathematics and Statistics.

“Constructing r-Uniform Hypergraphs with Restricted Clique Numbers” is co-authored by Mark Budden, associate professor and associate department head in the Mathematics and Computer Science Department and Aaron Rapp, who graduated last spring with a master’s degree in applied math.

“Statistical Analysis of Yeast Nutrient in Hard Cider Brewing” is co-authored by Jamie Leigh Rowell, who graduated last spring with a master’s degree in applied math, and John Wagaman, associate professor in the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.

The journal is published by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Riggs receives award from Cherokee National Historical Society

Brett H. Riggs, WCU’s Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies, traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, recently to receive an award from the Cherokee National Historical Society.

Riggs was honored with the society’s Stalwart Award as a member of a three-person research team whose work resulted in the creation of Diligwa, a living history exhibit at the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, that depicts Cherokee life in the early 1700s.

Riggs began his duties as WCU’s Sequoyah Professor in August after working as a research archaeologist based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 14 years. He has collaborated with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on various projects since the early 1990s and was formerly deputy tribal historical preservation officer for the Eastern Band.

New director of advising Bulluck finds friendly faces on campus

Having been on Western Carolina University’s campus less than two months, new director of advising Travis Bulluck is still getting accustomed to being at a new school with new policies and new faces.

History department’s Szabo to deliver ‘Last Lecture’ on Thursday

Vicki Szabo, Western Carolina University associate professor of history, will speak on the topic “Scholars, Warriors, Cowards and Fools: Fear and Learning from Rome to Raleigh” as she presents the university’s annual “Last Lecture” on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Mountain Heritage Center, WCU faculty honored by North Carolina Folklore Society

Western Carolina University faculty members and the Mountain Heritage Center received prestigious awards from the North Carolina Folklore Society, while local residents with ties to WCU also garnered recognition.

Hunter Library joins forces with county library to help celebrate National Novel Writing Month

Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library and the Jackson County Public Library are partnering to celebrate November’s National Novel Writing Month.

WCU Foundation receives North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation grant to support math teachers across region, state

The Western Carolina University Foundation is the recipient of a $200,000 grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation that will be used to support the Smoky Mountain Math Teachers’ Circle, a professional development organization for math teachers in Western North Carolina, and to create a network of the organizations statewide.

WCU, Harris and Swain hospitals announce Ascent Partnership

Leaders of Western Carolina University and Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital on Tuesday, Oct. 20, announced the expansion and formalization of a partnership focused on ensuring access to quality health care in North Carolina’s westernmost counties.

Homecoming activities continue through Sunday

“Purple on the Prowl!” is the theme as the Western Carolina University community celebrates Homecoming 2015 with a full slate of activities through Sunday, Oct. 25.

Comedy show to feature SNL ‘anchor’ tonight

Comedian Jose Barrientos will host a comedy show as part of the Homecoming activities at Western Carolina University at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Colin Jost

Colin Jost

Headlining the event will be Colin Jost, the new “anchor” for the “Weekend Update” segment of television’s weekly “Saturday Night Live.” Jost succeeds a host of famous comedic journalists narrating the headline-skewering routine, including former head writers Tina Fey and Seth Meyers.

Chloe Hilliard, a journalist-turned-comedian, and songwriter-satirist Kevin Yee fill out the bill of performers for the event.

Staten Island-born Jost was hired as an SNL writer at age 22 in 2005 and became co-anchor of “Weekend Update” in 2013, replacing Meyers in March of this year. As a stand-up comedian, he has appeared on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and on programs aired by TBS and HBO. Jost claims inspiration from former sequence anchor Norm McDonald, whom he watched in the role while in high school.

Brooklyn’s Hilliard grew up in a large Hasidic Jewish neighborhood and spent much of her early career writing about culture and entertainment for periodicals such as “The Village Voice,” “Essence” and “Vibe” – the last for which she also served as managing editor and social media manager. She made her national TV debut on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and has appeared on AXSTV’s “Gotham Comedy Live.”

Yee describes himself as a “recovering Broadway chorus boy” with performing credits in “Mary Poppins,” a Toronto production of “Mama Mia,” Quincy Jones’ boy band Youth Asylum, and short films like “Foreign Exchange” and “The Legend of the Black Dragon.” A native of Vancouver, the choreographer/songwriter has brought his satirical verses to the stage at a number of comedy festivals and productions, including Second City.

Some comedic moments may not be appropriate for children.

WCU students with ID will be admitted free, and general admission tickets for others are $10 and are available through the box office link at

By Keith Brenton

‘Shield and Spear’ documentary about South African art to screen Oct. 26

Western Carolina University’s Arts and Cultural Events Series will host a screening of the documentary “Shield and Spear” at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center.

Poster for 'Shield and Spear'

Poster for ‘Shield and Spear’

Following the screening, a reception with filmmaker Petter Ringbom will give audience members as opportunity to discuss the topic and ask questions about the movie.

Admission is free, though some language and situations may not be appropriate for children.

“Shield and Spear” explores stories about identity, art, race and freedom of expression in South Africa, 20 years into democracy. One of the conflicts depicted is the aftermath of an artist painting a caricature of South African president Jacob Zuma, which provoked a lawsuit, death threats and a massive street protest.

The film showing is part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. An initiative created by South Arts, the tour showcases independent films across the South and engages audiences in post-screening discussions. Learn more about the film at

For more information about the screening, visit or contact Francis Ann Ortiz-Pineda at 828-227-2612.

By Keith Brenton

Categories | The Reporter

Photos | WCU News Services

Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


Africa! More Than A Continent