CULLOWHEE – Joseph D. Crocker of Winston-Salem, senior vice president with Wachovia Bank, was elected chairman of Western Carolina University’s board of trustees Thursday, Sept. 6, at the board’s first meeting of the new academic year.
A native of Kings Mountain, Crocker is the first African-American to hold the title of chairman of the board of trustees at WCU. A Western Carolina alumnus, he holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from WCU and completed the North Carolina School of Banking at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Western Carolina University has given me the tools and the abilities to survive in the workforce,” said Crocker, Wachovia’s community reinvestment administrator for North and South Carolina. “I consider it a true honor and privilege to be able to serve the university and to be able to give something back because of what the university has done for me.”
Crocker was one of three officers elected by the board. Phillip D. Walker of Hickory, senior vice president of BB&T and a former president of the WCU Alumni Association, was elected vice chairman. Thomas Apodaca, a Hendersonville businessman and Western alumnus, was elected secretary of the board.
Crocker succeeds Adelaide Daniels Key of Asheville, co-owner of The Mountaineer Publishing Co. in Waynesville. Key, who served two terms as chairwoman, departed the board June 30 after serving the maximum allowable two consecutive four-year terms.
In other action at the quarterly meeting, the trustees appointed:
Niall Guy Michelsen, associate professor at Roosevelt University (Ill.), as professor and head of the department of political science and public affairs. A member of the Roosevelt University faculty since 1989, Michelsen is a member of the American Political Science Association, National Strategy Forum and International Studies Association. He earned his doctoral and master’s degrees from UNC-CH and was selected for the fifth edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 1998.
David C. Whelan, assistant professor in the department of sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice at the University of North Florida, as professor and acting head of the department of criminal justice. A former police officer and detective in Newark, N.J., Whelan holds doctoral and master’s degrees from the City University of New York. He was chairman of the department of behavioral sciences at Fitchburg State College (Mass.), and has taught at Rowan University (N.J.), Western Connecticut State University and Louisiana State University.
Beverly L. Little, associate professor of management at WCU, as head of the department of management and international business. Little joined the Western faculty in 1993, and has taught at Roanoke College, Virginia Tech, Lander College (S.C.), Northwestern State University (La.) and Louisiana Tech. A former public school teacher, she earned her doctorate at Virginia Tech and holds master’s degrees from Louisiana Tech and Clemson University.
Daryl L. Hale, associate professor of philosophy and religion at WCU, as head of the department. A member of the Western faculty since 1992, Hale earned his doctoral and master’s degrees from Vanderbilt University, where he also taught. He is a member of the American Philosophical Association and was a finalist for the WCU College of Arts and Sciences teaching award in 1998.
Jennifer Marie Brown, an assistant in N.C. State University’s department of educational research and leadership and counselor education, as director of academic support services for WCU’s department of athletics. Brown has worked with academic support programs for athletes at N.C. State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Secretary of the N.C. Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, she received the African-American Association for Student Educators and Psychologists Leadership Award in 1999.
Margaret S. Ashe, career counselor at WCU, as director of the department of career services and cooperative education. Ashe earned her certificate of advanced study and master’s degree from Western and her bachelor’s degree from Alma College. The department of career services and cooperative education provides career and job search advice to current students and alumni of Western.