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.”
Bright and early Tuesday morning, March 27, the Belchers started the day by having breakfast with students in the WCU cafeteria. Around 50 students were surprised to see the Chancellor and his wife joining them for breakfast.
The event was part of the week of festivities for the installation of David O. Belcher as the 11th Chancellor in the history of WCU.
Michael Rimmer contributed to the story.
The launch of the WCU Catafount was a huge success with approximately 300 students, faculty, and local residents on hand to view the big splash.
Chancellor David Belcher was on hand and in the dancing spirit as he busted a few moves for the crowd when a flash mob appeared. The flash mob began its routine to the famous Michael Jackson song “Beat It”. They danced a few more routines until the fountain exploded signaling the finale.
WCU basketball player Brandon Boggs joked, “He was out here dancing. I don’t know what move he was doing but he was out there full of energy.”
In all, the event was a huge success. Many people loved the chancellor’s energy and praised his interaction with the students. Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Kellie Angelo Monteith, believes that this should become a WCU tradition, one to be embraced by alumni and future students alike.
Nick Randone contributed to the story.
Students, faculty and many in the Sylva and Dillsboro community gathered at the Jarrett House for the unveiling the new Dillsboro mobile app March 27.
“Everybody wins,” said Chancellor David O. Belcher with both fists pumping in the air. Belcher and his wife, Susan, were the first to visit Dillsboro’s new mobile website on their iphones.
“Taking them (students) out of the classroom and getting them with real world projects; that’s what our education is all about,” said Belcher in his final words. “Particularly when it makes a difference in the lives of people that we serve.”
Belcher thanked Dillsboro for letting the Catamount community, faculty and students be a part of its development.
Nicholas Randone, campaign coordinator and senior at Western Carolina University, welcomed everyone to the event and introduced the app. He acknowledged everyone who was involved with creating the app, upcoming give-a-ways, and introduced the “Dillsboro Mobile Man”.
“We’re very pleased with the turnout,” said Randone having received 65 R.S.V.P.’s. “It was a lot better than we expected!”
This mobile app was created by the computer information systems students in the College of Business. The effort of WCU’s communication, theatre and business department made this product what is today and what it will be in the future.
Aside from pictures being displayed on the mobile app, informative videos will soon be a feature. Also, when the Dillsboro Giveaway opens April 1, users can go under the Promotions category of the app and send in an e-mail registration.
“Our hopes are that the staff continues to promote Dillsboro, providing the opportunity for students to get that engaged learning,” said Randone on the future connection between WCU and Dillsboro.
See more pictures from the event:
See the video story on the event. Jon Bucec contributed to the story.
Former, current, and future Catamounts filled the U.S. Cellular Center to watch a phenomenon which hadn’t occurred since 1996.
Catamount Pride was far from lacking at the 2012 Southern Conference Championship game Monday night, March 5, as a sea of purple and the roar of chants filled the U.S. CellularCenter, previously known as the Asheville Civic Center. SoCon reports the attendance total for the game was 6,049. Judging by the amount of purple vs. red, WCU was for sure dominating the fan zone.
WCU sports have struggled for a number of years in various areas, but Monday night the crowd was convinced we were a Division I school, cheering as if their teams never loose. The school support was unbelievable. If you are a WCU football fan you understand the stands clearing after half-time, but not at this game. Chancellor Belcher and Purple Thunder joined the crowd, leading the students in chants and cheers for their team, creating a sense of Pride in WCU many students have never seen.
Many changes are happening on WCU’s campus, beginning with WCU naming Dr. David Belcher as their Chancellor last April. After 16 years Belcher was named the 11th Chancellor of WCU. As the 2011-2012 school year was underway, more changes occurred in the Athletic Department. In November Randy Easton was named the new Athletic Director of WCU. Just weeks after the announcement of a new athletic director, WCU announced Mark Speir would be the new head Catamount football coach. Not only was it exciting Speir was coming from archrival Appalachian, but he has deep Catamount roots himself, having previously attended and worked at WCU.
An active Chancellor, student government, and student body can change a school’s atmosphere. Showing interest and caring for a school can change a school’s atmosphere. Being a senior, I have never seen SGA or a Chancellor so involved in student’s lives before this year. Having these people in high places willing to talk and listen makes a world of difference in student’s eyes. High-fives, handshakes, and warm greetings make students feel important and welcomed to their university.
Do I believe good athletics make a school good? No, but I do believe when your Chancellor strives to improve areas which are lacking, that makes a good school better! Not only is his willingness to meet students, participate in student activities and attend events impressionable on students, but his wife’s personality shines as well. Always greeting others with smiles, encouraging students and Catamount Pride and standing by her husband’s side.
WCU is transforming. Campus is expanding, personnel is changing, and the attitude of student support is improving. In the next ten years I hope to see this college campus explode with Catamount Pride. We offer a great education, an improving athletic department, and a student body willing to support each other.