Keener_GaitherThe University of North Carolina Board of Governors in October appointed Gaither M. Keener ’72 (left), former chief legal counsel for Lowe’s Companies Inc., to fill an unexpired term on the Board of Trustees at Western Carolina University. Keener is filling a vacancy created by the departure of former board member George W. Little, who was appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year to the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

A 1977 graduate of the Wake Forest University School of Law, Keener joined Lowe’s in 1985, fostering the growth of the company’s legal department from 18 employees to more than 130 while significantly reducing the corporation’s legal costs. He has earned a superior rating from legal information services company Martindale-Hubbell and in 2011 was recognized by his peers, as published in Business North Carolina, as the state’s best business lawyer and deserving of “elite lawyer status.”

Keener, a veteran of the U.S. Marines and active on a national level in veterans’ affairs, is a native of Newton. He lives in the Lake Norman community in Iredell County. His appointment on the WCU board is effective through June 30, 2017.