CULLOWHEE – Western Chancellor John W. Bardo continued his outreach in Western North Carolina with meetings in Jackson County this week as part of the Chancellor’s Regional Roundtables.
After touring Jackson Paper Company and talking with company officials at Metrostat Technologies, he spent some time in Tinnie Salzano’s honors class in American literature at Smoky Mountain High School.
Bardo urged students there to visit three or four universities before deciding on the one that feels most comfortable. And he invited them to attend Open House events at Western not only to explore the possibilities at the university, but also to get an idea about what to look out for on other campuses.
Students and their families who are concerned about paying for college should consider need-based state and federal financial aid as well as merit scholarships, he said. With some assistance, Bardo said, there are almost no students who couldn’t come to college in North Carolina ‘s public university system because of the cost.
Phil Cauley, Western’s director of admissions, told the class that incoming freshmen are automatically considered for available scholarships, and he described some of the exchange programs that permit students to pay tuition at Western while attending colleges in other states and abroad.
Bardo described Western’s Honors College, explaining that it offers special programs, advising and support for motivated students who are taking academically challenging classes. In addition, he said, the university is making an extra effort to prepare students for prestigious post graduate awards such as the Fulbright and Goldwater scholarships.
After the classroom visit, Bardo joined community and business leaders who had gathered for lunch at the Jordan-Phillips Field House on campus. He emphasized the university’s role in preparing students for life after graduation. Studies show, he said, that young people go to college for “instrumental reasons” as a step toward their careers, good jobs and a means to support their families. In traveling throughout Western North Carolina, Bardo said, he’s finding that a primary concern is how to make it possible for young people to stay in their communities with good jobs.
“We have a moral obligation to make that happen,” he said, and he noted that Western is positioned to be the dominating engine for economic development throughout the region.
The next Chancellor’s Regional Roundtable is scheduled on the Qualla Boundary on May 21, followed by the last of this series in Catawba County on May 25.