Members of the Western Carolina University community will gather Thursday, June 20, to celebrate the life of Angela Laird Brenton, WCU’s late provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, who passed away May 8 after a three-month battle with cancer.
The event will begin at 2 p.m. in the Grandroom of the A.K. Hinds University Center on the WCU campus.
Chancellor David O. Belcher, who previously worked with Brenton at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Missouri State University, will open and close the memorial service, which will include an opportunity for others to speak about her life and her contributions.
Brenton guided WCU through a process of program prioritization, a comprehensive examination of the university’s academic programs in order to assess their quality and productivity and to help determine allocation of resources. She spearheaded the creation of the university’s new Leadership Academy to nurture faculty and staff leaders; the academy will begin in the fall with its first class of participants.
Brenton also helped establish this spring’s inaugural WCU Discovery Forum, part of an initiative launched by the N.C. State University-based Institute for Emerging Issues, in which students share innovative ideas for making their communities better places to live. Among her top priorities was the hiring of deans to lead WCU’s Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Health and Human Sciences.
A resident of Dillsboro, Brenton came to WCU from UALR, where she had served as dean of the College of Professional Studies since 2001.
She is survived by her husband, W. Keith Brenton, who works in WCU’s Office of Communications and Public Relations; her mother, Harriette Laird; son Matt S. Brenton; and daughter Laura Leigh Brenton.