Dear Catamount Nation,

Today I’m sharing with you the launch of the public phase of Western Carolina University’s Lead the Way Campaign: A Campaign Inspired by The Belcher Years.

This is WCU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign in nearly a decade, and only the second in the philanthropic history of WCU, and it could not have come at a better time. Our university is enjoying unparalleled momentum in enrollment, recognition and reputation. Our academic programming is stronger than ever, and our student success metrics continue to climb.

This success has been fueled in part by the generosity of our supporters, who have risen to a challenge set forth by Chancellor David O. Belcher at his installation, to increase scholarship support for WCU students. The goal of this challenge has been to ensure access to WCU for all deserving students and to remove financial barriers to their lifelong success. Since Chancellor Belcher’s arrival, donors have established more than 200 new endowed scholarships.

Chancellor Belcher also set in motion the Lead the Way campaign, kicking off the leadership phase of the campaign in 2014 with the intention to broaden its reach in 2018. Despite Chancellor Belcher’s cancer diagnosis, he has continued meeting with donors over the last 18 months to ask for their participation in the campaign.

People have responded to the call with generosity. They have recognized the urgency of the need faced by our students, more than 80 percent of whom rely on some type of financial aid to be able to afford college. They have stepped forward and helped us reach 90 percent of the original $50 million campaign goal ahead of schedule.

In partnership with the Lead the Way Campaign Steering Committee, I am now asking you to partner with me to ensure we carry Chancellor Belcher’s vision forward.

With hope and confidence in our WCU family, we are increasing the original campaign goal from $50 million to $60 million and asking you to join us in leveraging the full strength of the entire Catamount Nation to reach this goal by spring 2019, two years earlier than planned.
It is an ambitious goal, but Chancellor Belcher has taught us to be no less than ambitious.

Your gift to the Lead the Way campaign, no matter how big or small, will support student success at Western Carolina University for years to come. Please join me and reply with your gift or pledge today HERE. Now is the time. Lead the Way.



Alison Morrison-Shetlar

Acting Chancellor, Western Carolina University


As our enrollment has grown, so has the need on our campus. The percentageof students eligible for financial aid has continued to rise. In 2016-17, our students took on $71.4 million in college debt. They deserve better. Our students are high-achieving, hard-working young stars with great potential. In order to reach their potential, they need support.

That’s why building support for student scholarships is the top priority of
the Lead the Way Campaign.