Belcher has already made dramatic change on the campus of Western Carolina after joining the campus on July 1st last year. Student and faculty members comment on what they think of Belcher and the energy he has brought to Western Carolina University and if he is the right future for this campus.
Genuine, passionate, excited, energetic, and visionary are all terms used to describe David O. Belcher, Western Carolina University’s 11thchancellor, during Thursday’s installation ceremony.
Almost a year ago the “super hero” team of David and Susan Belcher began making their impact on the WCU campus and have more in store for the future.
The themes of Thursday’s installation included the topics of the future for Catamounts, WCU’s faculty, staff and students being a family and taking WCU to the next level.
To be able to lead a university into the future you must be able to “take pride in the past but acknowledge the potential for the future,” said UNC System President Thomas Ross.
“From the first second I met him there was no doubt he was the right person to lead now and into the future,” said Ross.
Other dignitaries referred to the Belchers as “The super hero team we needed,” and expressed how his characteristics on the paper application were not only fitting, but revealed in person by his personality and passion for education.
Erin McNelis spoke on behalf of the WCU faculty and family closing her greeting with excitement saying “We now have a Chancellor whose blood is truly purple.”
In his installation address Belcher spoke about the future of Western and where he plans to lead it in the coming years. He had five main goals, concerns and strategies that he plans to address in the coming years. One of those being the financial state of our university. Speaking about budget cuts, job losses and loss of financial aid, he plans to do all he can to not let our University be affected by these troubles.
His fourth goal is to “value, expect, and embody excellence” on the campus of WCU. During that he mentioned “WE WILL have a winning football team,” to which the crowd responded in applause and laughter as this was a comic relief to the more serious topics he had been covering.
His fifth goal is to take care of the staff at WCU, and not just financially. When speaking of finding money for faculty jobs and preventing job loss due to budge cuts Belcher stated “I pledge to you to be a squeaky wheel searching for grease.”
He charged the faculty and staff to find colleagues better than themselves to push the university forward as well as encouraging alumni to create endowed scholarships in their name and field. Allowing students to have a seamless education and allow students to further their education in hard economic times is something Belcher plans to focus on.
“Talent and brain power and terrible things to waste… it is time to give back so they [future students] can pursue their education,” said Belcher.
Belcher described Cullowhee as “A beautiful slice of heaven,” and believes we have just begun to tap into the knowledge here.
The atmosphere of the entire event was excitement, anticipation, and hope for the future. A new breath of life is alive in Cullowhee and the campus of Western Carolina University.
As Belcher put it “Our imagination is the limit.”
Anthony Bouthillette contributed to the story
Installation week has brought many activites to Western Carolina University’s campus including a disc golf open player’s tournament on Monday, March 26.
20 plus students and staff competed in the tournament and the winners were announced on the baseball game on March 27.
WCU Professor Justin Menickelli designed the disc golf course on WCU’s campus in 2005. The course is made up of 13 holes. Menickelli explained that the game is played just like golf, except with discs. Under one condition; “Golf is expensive, disc golf is free,” laughed Menickelli.
Menickelli shared that discs can be rented out, with the showing of your Catcard, from the campus recreation center.
“Around 200 students, faculty, and staff play every week,” said Menickelli.
WCU disc golf club member, sophomore Ruth Hudson said, “I love the sport! More people should play.” WCU’s club team is currently leading the intercollegiate league of disc golf.
Senior Daniel Parris added, “I would like to see more people playing, it’s a growing sport for anyone at any level.”
The participants of the tournament were not only ranting and raving about disc golf but also about Chancellor David O. Belcher.
“When Belcher was at the basketball game pumping up the crowd, that was really awesome!” said freshman Andrew Wirick.
“Belcher’s the man!” added freshman Dillon Lail.
Even though the players were out for the game and some exercise, they were also out for a win. First and second place winners received a disc with Chancellor David O. Belcher’s photo on the front of it. First place received a gold disc and second place a beige disk.
Check out Anthony Bouthellitte’s video:
(Story was updated March 29, with video from Salomon Sierra)
The UC Lawn was transformed into a carnival like scene Tuesday, as part of the Chancellor Installation events. The “lawngating” event was prior to the baseball game against Kennesaw State.
The students enjoyed the beautiful March day, with ice cream and a blowup maze.
“The lawngating event was definitly fun because it was something different, but if I had to choose between tailgating and lawngating I would for sure choose tailgating,” said Caroline Winchester, sophomore.
With baseball tailgating not allowed this year, students took advantage of the lawngate in lieu of tailgate.
“I understand the lawngating because it fits in well with the chancellor’s installation week, however if you took away tailgaiting from the football games people would laugh at you if you told them to do it [tailgate] on the UC Lawn” said Winchester. “Because if we want to make WCU a powerhouse like App we need to create the spirited, fun atmosophere of a big school and tailgating is a great start”.
“[Baseball games] are a lot of fun and it’s a great way to get people involved and show school support. I think that as long as we are continuing to get the support for the baseball team and keeping the students happy and involved it doesn’t matter where the tailgate is at, even if it is behind the stadium or lawngating,” said Jessie Conner, senior.
Installation week continued Tuesday, when the Student Government Association hosted a lawn gating event from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on the UC lawn. Not a cloud in the sky as the weather was perfect for an outside event. The event consisted of games, free food, and Belcher’s, “Burple Purple” Ice Cream.
The crowd featured a good mixture of students, consisting of freshmen through seniors.
“This event is awesome, I’d like to see stuff like this happen more often. It’s great being outside, hanging out with friends, and having some fun,” sophomore John Arney said.
The game that seemed to receive the most attention was the “Boot Camp Obstacle Course,” a race that Chancellor David Belcher not only participated in, but won rather convincingly.
“He’s in great shape, if I have to lose, I might as well lose to the Chancellor”, said sophomore Caleb Moore following his obstacle course loss to Chancellor Belcher.
After having some fun in the sun, students and staff turned their attention to the revealing of Chancellor Belcher’s “Burple Purple” Ice Cream. The ice cream came from Riverview Farms out of Hendersonville, NC, that just so happens to be owned by a Western Carolina University Alumni. Belcher’s “Burple Purple” Ice cream was made special for this event and cannot be found anywhere else. Senior Stetson Duncan described the ice cream as, “Cold, Creamy, and Delicious”.
As usual, Student Body President T.J. Eaves could be found throughout the event. “It’s still very early and we already have a great crowd out here today. I’m very pleased by the outcome and I hope students will participate in the Stadium Strut later on today,” said Eaves. The Stadium Strut was a walk from the UC Lawn to Hennon Stadium leading up to the baseball matchup between Kennessaw State and Western Carolina at 5 p.m.
To find other events for this week visit WCU’s Chancellor installation page.
Doug Powell contributed to the story.
Western Carolina University hosted a blood drive as part of the Chancellor’s Installation Week events on Tuesday, March 27 and the turnout was greater than expected.
The drive was open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the A.K. Hinds University Center with the goal of collecting 51 units of blood but ended up with a total of 60. Seven of those were first-time donors.
“This drive was mainly aimed at staff and faculty,” said Eva Hyatt, team supervisor for the American Red Cross, “but we’ve had a lot of student walk-ins.”
Jessica Chester, a junior, has lost track of how many times she has given blood. “I’ve probably donated nine or ten times,” she said.
“I think it’s the easiest and most selfless way to save a life,“ said Chester.
Brandy Henning, a graduate student who works on WCU’s IT governance staff, gave blood for the third time on Tuesday. She recalled being nervous the first time she donated but has since come to enjoy the experience.
“I’m not one of those people that gets lightheaded,” said Henning. “I feel really awesome for days.”
Tuesday’s blood drive was the second of two unique drives this semester that ran for only one day in the University Center multipurpose room. The previous single-day drive on January 23, the same day as WCU’s stage and radio production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, had a goal of 35 units and surpassed it with 44.
The Red Cross typically holds two multi-day blood drives per semester at WCU in the UC grand room with the goal of collecting 100 units of blood each day. Donors must wait 56 days before they can safely give again and the Red Cross spaces out the drives accordingly.
The first multi-day blood drive this semester took place February 14-16 and the turnout was disappointing, with 77 units collected on the first day, 90 on the second day and 97 on the third. People who donated during that time will be eligible to give again when the Red Cross holds the next drive at WCU April 24-25 from noon to 5:30 p.m.
Those who gave blood at the January drive were ineligible to donate again in February, which may have contributed to the disappointing turnout. The January donors qualified to give blood again for Tuesday’s drive.
One major obstacle the Red Cross faces with blood drives is deferrals, when people sign in to give blood but prove to be ineligible for one or more reasons. For instance, the Red Cross collected 97 units at WCU on February 16 but had to turn 18 ineligible donors away, thereby falling short of the 100-unit goal for that day.
Tuesday’s blood drive had nine deferrals.
According to Hyatt, the most common reason for deferring potential donors is insufficient iron levels in their blood. Having low iron causes anemia, a deficiency in the number of red blood cells produced by the body, which makes donating blood unsafe.
Hyatt says that eating more iron-rich foods and drinking plenty of water in the days prior to donating blood can prevent anemia. Some foods rich in iron include beef, spinach, shellfish, and certain breakfast cereals, according to WebMD.
The American Red Cross assigns staff to individual blood drives based on the number of donation appointments scheduled beforehand. “If we have a lot of appointments, we can get a lot of staff here to help,” said Hyatt.
The need for more donated blood is constant, according to the official Red Cross website. The organization strives to deliver a monthly quota of blood to hospitals but has fallen short of that goal for the past four months, according to Hyatt.
The Red Cross issues a critical notice when the amount of blood available for urgent transfusion drops below a three-day supply. That last occurred in December 2011.
Carolyn Deal, Red Cross donor recruitment representative for the Asheville district, offered WCU students instructions on how to set an appointment for the next blood drive. “Go to RedCrossBlood.org, enter the sponsor code 5611 and that will show you everything that’s coming up in western North Carolina,” she said.
Deal encourages anyone in the WCU community who can give blood to set an appointment with the Red Cross for the April 24-25 blood drive.