Board of Visitors welcomes five new members, five re-appointees

The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees has finalized a slate of five new members of the university’s Board of Visitors, along with five reappointed members.

A unanimous vote during the trustee’s quarterly meeting Friday, Sept. 15, solidified membership for 2017-18 on the Board of Visitors, which was established by the trustees in 2014 as an advisory body to the university’s chancellor.

Members of the Board of Visitors serve as advocates and ambassadors for WCU; promote and advance the mission, vision and strategic plan of the university; make WCU a philanthropic priority; and provide the chancellor and Board of Trustees with advice and counsel on issues that are critical to the institution’s strategic interests.

The Board of Visitors consists of up to 30 members elected by the trustees, along with five ex officio members – the chair of the Board of Trustees, the immediate past chair of the trustees, the chancellor, the president of the WCU Alumni Association and the chair of the Board of Directors of the Western Carolina University Foundation.

Each class of visitors serves initial terms of three years. New members of the Board of Visitors:

* Mark A. Benge, advisory software engineer for the IBM Corp. A resident of Clayton, Benge earned his degree in computer science at WCU in 1986. He established the Lonnie and Nellie Benge Memorial Honors College Endowed Scholarship in memory of his parents.

* Samantha Cabe, judge, District 15B in Chatham and Orange counties. A Western North Carolina native who grew up in Cherokee, Cabe earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and law at WCU in 1997 before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

* Thomas Randall Duckett, who retired from Eli Lilly and Co. and currently serves as a pharmacist for B&B Pharmacy in Asheville. A resident of Candler, Duckett is the son of two WCU alumni who are lifelong educators. He and his sister recently established the Randall and Sybil Duckett Endowed Education Scholarship.

* The Rev. James Mangess, who recently retired as bishop suffragan for Federal Ministries and served as canon of Washington National Cathedral. A 1974 WCU graduate with degrees in psychology and sociology, he lives in Hendersonville with his wife, Carolyn, a 1973 graduate of WCU with a degree in education.

* Jace Stowe, general manager and operating partner at McKenney Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac. A resident of Belmont, Stowe graduated from WCU in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and is active with the Kappa Alpha fraternity group.

Reappointed members of the Board of Visitors are:

* Jo Blaylock, vice president of human resources and community relations for Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. A resident of Cherokee, Blaylock received her master’s degree in human resource development from WCU in 2001.

* Floyd “Ski” Chilton, professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine and author of the book “Inflammation Nation.” A resident of Clemmons, Chilton graduated from WCU in 1980 with a degree in biology.

* Bruce Moore, president of IJT Packaging in Huntersville. A resident of Waxhaw, Moore graduated from WCU in 1983 with a degree in marketing. He is an active member of the Catamount Club and his Kappa Alpha fraternity alumni group.

* Brandon A. Robinson, an attorney currently practicing law in Durham, where he is a resident. Recently elected chair of the board, Robinson earned his bachelor’s degree in European history in 2005 and his master’s degree in American history in 2010, both at WCU, where he also minored in philosophy.

* David Wiggins, a partner and accountant with Dixon Hughes Goodman’s Financial Institution Services Group and partner-in-charge of the Asheville office. A resident of Simpsonville, South Carolina, Wiggins graduated from WCU in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.