Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University (WCU) is a coeducational public university located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, United States. The university is a constituent campus of the University of North Carolina system.The fifth oldest institution of the sixteen four-year universities in the UNC system, WCU was founded to educate the people of the western North Carolina mountains. WCU now serves more than 10,000 full-time undergraduate and post graduate students, providing an education to students from 48 states and 35 countries.Enrollment for the Fall 2014 semester was 10,382 students.

The main campus in Cullowhee offers most of the amenities of a small town, including thirteen residence halls,one full-service cafeteria, two food courts with fast-food outlets, health services, counseling, a bookstore, library, two indoor swimming pools, tennis courts, movie theater, jogging trail and quarter-mile track, and intramural fields.
The campus center is the A.K. Hinds University Center.
The UC contains the university post office, a movie theater, video and commuter lounges, student organization HQs including the Student Government Association and Last Minute Productions, meeting rooms and office spaces. Outside of the UC is the "Alumni Tower", built in 1989, on the 100th birthday of the university.
The campus residence buildings include one for graduate students and one for married students. Special residence accommodations include honors residence halls and The Village, home to residential Greek organizations. Three new residence facilities were recently completed from a $50.2 million residence hall project. The two newest residence halls on campus are Balsam Residence Hall and Blue Ridge Residence Hall. The $18 million 53,000-square-foot (4,900 m2) campus dining facility was opened in stages beginning in July 2009. Other newly constructed facilities include the Center for Applied Technology (which houses new engineering laboratories); an expanded student life center; new athletic facilities; and a new student support center. A $13.5 million 73,000-square-foot (6,800 m2) Student Recreation Center, was completed over the summer of 2008. Harrill Residence Hall was renovated to add 6,000 square feet (557 m2) and bring the 1971 building to LEED standards of environmental friendliness and energy efficiency, and re-opened in fall 2012.
The new $46.2 million Health and Human Sciences Building opened for use at the start of the 2012–13 academic year, also built to LEED standards. This facility is the first project on the Millennial Initiative property and houses WCU’s educational and outreach programs in the College of Health and Human Sciences. The four-story facility is home to the undergraduate and graduate programs in social work and communication sciences and disorders; graduate programs in physical therapy and health sciences; and undergraduate programs in athletic training, emergency medical care, environmental health, nutrition and dietetics, nursing and recreational therapy.
           With its main campus located on the site of an ancient Cherokee Indian village and adjacent to the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains, Western Carolina has a commitment to the rich traditions of both the Appalachian and Cherokee cultures. The university's Mountain Heritage Center Cherokee Center; Craft Revival Project;Cherokee Studies Program and WCU's partnership to preserve the Cherokee language all reflect that influence – and provide educational resources for the region.
Western is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a comprehensive master's degree granting institution (Masters/L) in the elective "community engagement" category. WCU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the bachelor, masters, intermediate, and doctoral levels. The university holds 21 program accreditations and is a member of more than 30 state and national associations and organizations to which its professional programs are related. In 2009, the Corporation for National and Community Service recognized WCU by awarding the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for "exemplary commitment to service and civic engagement" on WCU’s campus and beyond.
As the sixth-largest producer of teachers in North Carolina, the College of Education and Allied Professions was the national winner of the Association of Teacher Educators' Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award in 2006. The college is also the 2007 co-winner of the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award presented by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The Christa McAuliffe Award nationally recognizes outstanding programs in teacher education at AASCU member institutions.
Western Carolina's Forensic Research Facility (commonly referred to as the "Body Farm") is just the second facility of its kind nationally. The decomposition research station is an extremely valuable resource for researchers and forensic anthropology students to study natural decomposition.
The residential Honors College was first of its kind in North Carolina. Newly accepted students are invited to live in one of two exclusive residence halls on campus. The Honors College is one of a few in the state to offer a residential option and among a few nationwide to award graduates with a special honors diploma. The college began in 1998 with 77 students and has grown to approximately 1,400. For entering freshman, the Honor's College average weighted GPA is over 4.00 and the average SAT score is 1380. The College is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council.In August 2009, Balsam Hall, the first part of a $50.2 million Honors College residential community located at the center of campus opened, housing 426 students. Set to open for the Fall 2010 semester, Blue Ridge Hall will complete the community and add an additional 400 beds for Honors College students and Teaching Fellows.
In the spring of 2000, WCU was officially designated a National Merit sponsoring university, just the fourth institution of higher education in North Carolina, public or private, to receive that distinction the university grants scholarships to students who qualify as National Merit Finalists. The Western Meritorious Award for Finalists provides a four-year scholarship, which covers the equivalent amount of in-state tuition, fees, room, and board, to National Merit Finalists, who also receive a computer.
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