Western Carolina University (WCU) is a public-funded institution for higher education and research at Cullowhee in North Carolina. Founded in 1889, it is the 5th oldest university among the sixteen institutions in the University of North Carolina system. Originally established as a community school, the institution went through several names and structural changes since its inception. The school has expanded its curriculum over the years to become a regional university in the year 1967 under its current name. It has accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC). The university also has a membership of over 30 state and national organizations and associations.
The university has its main campus in Cullowhee and operates two satellite campuses in Asheville and Cherokee. The main campus is spread over an area of 589 acres and consists of well-maintained buildings, athletic facilities, pathways, green lawns, and parking spaces. It features 13 residence halls that accommodate over 4,500 students. A full-service cafeteria and two food courts with various fast-food outlets serve a variety of cuisines and beverages to suit different tastes. Other on-campus facilities include a bookstore, health, and counseling center, movie theatre, post office, student support center, jogging trail, recreation center, tennis courts, and two indoor swimming pools.
WCU has six colleges that have various departments, with each focusing on respective areas of study. The university offers over 115 undergraduate and about 40 postgraduate programs in arts, science, engineering, education, humanities, healthcare, and business. The university houses an extremely diverse community of 12,167 students from 50 states of the U.S. and 35 countries of the world. It has about 10,469 undergraduates and 1,698 postgraduates on the roll, with 57 % of them being females and 43% males. With approximately 64% of the classes having less than 30 students, the student-faculty ratio at the university is 17:1.
The university has over 170 clubs and organizations that focus on academic, social and personal interests like public speaking, sports, dance, and music. Several sororities and fraternities encourage participation in various events and activities to promote cultural unity and friendships. WCU has 16 men’s and women’s varsity teams, who represent the university in intercollegiate events and competitions under the name Catamounts.
Many alumni who are extremely successful in their respective careers have passed out of the university. Some distinguished names in the list are Bobbi Baker (Actress), Dean Biasucci (Former Athlete), Sean Bridgers (Actor, Director, Producer and Writer), Rich Hall (Writer and Comedian), Jeanne Jolly (Song Writer and Singer), David Joy (Author), Tony Jones (Former Football Player), Kevin Martin (Retired Basketball Player), Mary Cordell Nesbitt (American Politician), Geno Segers (Actor and Former Rugby Player), Matt Stillwell (Country Musician), J. T. Poston (American Golfer) and Henry Logan (Award-Winning Athlete).