A 22-member committee with membership drawn from Western Carolina University faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni and community members is taking on the daunting task of searching for WCU’s next chancellor. David O. Belcher, chancellor since July 1, 2011, is on medical leave effective Dec. 31, 2017. He has been battling brain cancer since April 2016.

As the committee conducts its work, Alison Morrison-Shetlar, WCU’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, is serving as acting chancellor and Carol Burton ’87 MAEd ’89, WCU’s associate provost for undergraduate studies, has stepped into Morrison-Shetlar’s shoes by taking on the role of acting provost.

The committee is co-chaired by Patricia B. Kaemmerling ’71, chair of WCU’s Board of Trustees, and Bryant Kinney ’82, vice chair of WCU’s trustees. It has been charged by University of North Carolina President Margaret Spellings with recommending finalists for the next chancellor to the WCU Board of Trustees, which must then recommend three finalists to Spellings, who will recommend one candidate to the UNC Board of Governors for approval.

“While some may view the role of this committee – the selection of a leader to follow in the footsteps of David Belcher – as challenging, I view it as an opportunity,” said Kaemmerling. “The best way to honor Chancellor Belcher’s leadership is to keep the momentum of Western Carolina moving forward. This committee will have the opportunity to identify a leader who will continue the incredible upward trajectory that Western Carolina University has enjoyed and who will ensure that this institution remains true to its commitment to ensure access to the benefits of higher education.”

The committee includes one non-voting member from the UNC Board of Governors – David Powers, who serves as the board’s liaison to WCU. In addition, the committee consists of:

Gorham Bradley ’04, former director of the Catamount Club and current commercial risk adviser for Stanberry Insurance of Western North Carolina.

• Casey Cooper, CEO, Cherokee Indian Hospital.

Keith Corzine ’82, WCU assistant vice chancellor for campus services in the Division of Student Affairs.

Ken Hughes ’74, member, WCU Foundation Board.

• George Little, former WCU trustee and current member of the UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees.

• Ricardo Nazario-Colon, WCU’s chief diversity officer.

Kenny Messer ’86, secretary of the WCU Board of Trustees.

• Kellie Angelo Monteith, WCU assistant vice chancellor for health and wellness in the Division of Student Affairs.

• Chris Parrish, WCU associate director of undergraduate admissions and former Staff Senate chair.

Robin Parton Pate ’97, president of the WCU Alumni Association.

• Bob Roberts, member, WCU Board of Trustees.

Brandon Robinson ’05 MA ’10, chair of the WCU Board of Visitors.

• David Shapiro, WCU’s Robert Lee Madison Distinguished Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

• Katherine Spalding, president, WCU Student Government Association.

• Wes Stone, WCU associate professor of engineering and technology.

• Vicki Szabo, WCU associate professor of history.

• Kevin Trudell, president, WCU Graduate Student Association.

• Teresa Williams, former chair of the WCU Board of Trustees.

• Bill Yang, WCU associate professor of electrical engineering and former Faculty Senate chair.