‘I Love WCU’ month to add momentum as ‘Lead the Way’ campaign nears $60M

February is right around the corner and that means love is in the air, especially for Western Carolina University during the third annual “I Love WCU” month.

From Feb. 1-28, WCU students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends will have ample opportunity across campus to “Lead with Love” through special events, social media messages, hand-written notes on paper hearts and financial contributions to help WCU students.

Funds raised could get a boost this year, thanks to a special giving challenge issued by four WCU alumni — Brad Bradshaw (class of 1976), Wes Elingburg (1978), Ken Hughes (1974) and Dale Sims (1978). Elingburg is the current chair of the WCU Foundation Board, and Bradshaw, Hughes and Sims are all past chairs. They will make a combined donation of $100,000 when 1,000 people make a gift to WCU during the monthlong effort. The decision to make the pledge was easy, Elingburg said, because of the impact WCU has had on his life.

Students get into the theme of “I Love WCU” month in February 2018.

As chair of the Foundation Board and steering committee member for WCU’s fundraising campaign, “Lead the Way: A Campaign Inspired by the Belcher Years,” Elingburg felt it was important to set an example with his own giving. “WCU has a special place in my heart, and I owe a great deal of appreciation to this institution, which was so important in shaping the foundation of my life,” he said. “It is important to give back and provide the necessary support to our students, who will become our future leaders.”

Each gift that is made to WCU during “I Love WCU” month will go toward completion of the “Lead the Way” campaign, which now stands at $58.7 million.

“The timing of this year’s ‘I Love WCU’ month presents a unique opportunity to our generous donors,” said Lori Lewis, vice chancellor of advancement. “Their gifts will not only help unlock the $100,000 challenge gift, but also push us across the finish line and reach the $60 million goal of our ‘Lead the Way’ campaign.”

This year’s “I Love WCU” month also features four areas of focus for donors looking for specific places at WCU to give. Each week during the month will highlight one of four “Points of Pride,” which exemplify exceptional leadership at WCU: Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, athletics, academic support and research, and scholarships.

Additionally, each WCU college and division will have a “Giving Champion,” a volunteer who has committed to encouraging his or her colleagues to give back to WCU. The goal for this year’s faculty and staff participation is 50 percent. The college or division that has the highest participation rate wins a trophy and bragging rights for the year.  The trophy will be awarded March 1 in a celebration at the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center.

Giving Champions are Tory Depew, Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts; Jessica Woods, Chancellor’s Division; Betty Farmer, College of Arts and Sciences; Hollye Moss and Susan Swanger, College of Business; Windy Gordon, College of Education and Allied Professions; Peter Tay, College of Engineering and Technology; Debbie Logan, College of Health and Human Sciences; Jen Cross, Tishia Taylor and Chris Moore, Division of Administration and Finance; Jonathan Brooks, Division of Advancement; Brittany Holder, Division of Athletics; William Frady, Division of Information Technology; Jane Adams-Dunford and Karen Walker, Division of Student Affairs; and Bobbi Smith, Graduate School and Research.

To make a donation during “I Love WCU” month, call 828-227-7124 or visit love.wcu.edu.