Ryan Hermance, president of the Student Government Association at Western Carolina University, took the oath of office Friday, June 7, as the newest member of the university’s Board of Trustees, which also said goodbye to two departing members.
A senior from Newton, Hermance was elected 2013-14 WCU student body president during the spring semester. The position also entails serving as an ex-officio member of the trustees.
“We welcome you to this board,” Joan MacNeill, chair of the trustees, said after Hermance was sworn in by Terry Welch, assistant to the chancellor and secretary to the board. “We know that you will represent the students well. We feel that, as the representative of the students, you are the most important member of this board, so welcome.”
Hermance is pursuing degrees in political science and international studies. The son of Wayne and Debbie Hermance, he is a 2010 graduate of Bandys High School.
Administration of the oath of office came during the board’s quarterly meeting. As the board welcomed its newest member, it also bid farewell to two out-going trustees – MacNeill and Steve Metcalf, both of whom complete the second of their consecutive four-year terms on June 30.
In an emotional series of remarks, fellow board members thanked MacNeill and Metcalf for their contributions to the university, and Chancellor David O. Belcher recognized MacNeill in particular for her 16 years of volunteer service to WCU – six as a member of the Foundation Board of Directors, and 10 as a member of the Board of Trustees, including two tours of duty as chair.
“I could not have hoped for a better ally and friend as I began my chancellor’s journey,” Belcher said, recalling the first time he met MacNeill when she was serving on the search committee that brought him to WCU in 2011.
MacNeill’s service to public higher education is not ending, however. A co-founder and former president of the Great Smoky Mountains Railway, she was recently named by the N.C. Senate to the 32-member University of North Carolina Board of Governors. She will begin serving on that board effective July 1.