Trustees name chancellor search committee

The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees has appointed a 16-member committee drawn from WCU faculty, students, staff, alumni and administration and from the surrounding community to help select the university’s next chancellor.

The action came during the board’s annual retreat Friday, Oct. 29.

The trustees also unanimously approved the hiring of Baker and Associates, a national executive search firm with offices in Winston-Salem and Atlanta, to guide the process of recruiting a successor for John W. Bardo, who announced Oct. 11 his plans to retire July 1 after more than 15 years as WCU chancellor.

“We face an extraordinary opportunity in continuing the momentum this university has achieved and in extending the multitude of successes this university has enjoyed over the past 15 years,” said Steve Warren, chair of the WCU trustees, who also will serve as chair of the chancellor search committee.

In addition to Warren, members of the search committee are:

Gerald Kiser, member of the Board of Trustees and a 1969 graduate of WCU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Kiser, of Columbia, S.C., is former chief executive officer of La-Z-Boy Inc.

Joan MacNeill, current member and past chair of the Board of Trustees. A resident of Webster, MacNeill is former president and chief operating officer of Great Smoky Mountains Railway.

Virginia “Tommye” Saunooke of Cherokee, a WCU trustee and member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council. Saunooke earned two degrees at WCU – a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1996 and a master’s degree in public affairs in 2006.

Teresa Williams of Huntersville. A member of the trustees, Williams currently serves as board secretary.

Charles Worley, vice chair of WCU’s trustees. An Asheville attorney, Worley served as mayor of Asheville from 2001 until 2005.

A.J. Grube, head of WCU’s Department of Business Administration and Law, and Sport Management. Grube formerly served as assistant to the chancellor for equal opportunity programs, and she is a former associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Erin McNelis, current chair of the WCU Faculty Senate. McNelis, associate professor of mathematics and computer science, has been on the WCU faculty since 2002.

Billy Ogletree, head of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Ogletree has been a faculty member at Western Carolina since 1992.

Daniel Dorsey, president of the Student Government Association. Dorsey is a senior from Decatur, Ga., majoring in communication.

William Frady, chair of the WCU Staff Senate. Manager of instructional and student computing in the Division of Information Technology, Frady holds two degrees from WCU – a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1999 and master’s degree in education in 2005.

Carol Burton, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate studies. Burton, who guided WCU’s recent successful bid for reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and School, earned a bachelor’s degree in 1987 in nutrition and dietetics and master’s degree in education in 1989, both from WCU.

Betty Jo Allen, president of the WCU Alumni Association. A resident of Lincolnton, Allen is a 1968 graduate of Western Carolina and is a retired public school teacher.

Kenny Messer, a former president of the WCU Alumni Association and past-president of the Catamount Club Board of Directors. A 1986 graduate of WCU, Messer is an executive with Milliken Corp. and lives in Greenville, S.C.

Phil Walker, former chair of the WCU Board of Trustees. A senior vice president with BB&T, Walker is a 1971 graduate of Western Carolina and chair of the recently completed Campaign for Western Carolina, which raised more than $52 million in private support.

Scott Hamilton, president and chief executive officer of AdvantageWest, the regional economic development commission of Western North Carolina. Hamilton lives in Henderson County.

The committee will work closely with Baker and Associates to identify a pool of candidates for the chancellor’s post. Baker and Associates has conducted more than 40 searches in North Carolina for academic and nonprofit institutions, including those for new chancellors at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and N.C. State University.

The committee will be charged with recommending its top candidates to the WCU Board of Trustees. The trustees then will forward the names of at least two nominees to new University of North Carolina system President Tom Ross. The UNC president will present his recommendation to the full UNC Board of Governors for final consideration and approval.