The Western Carolina University board of trustees welcomed Josh Cotton, president of the WCU Student Government Association, as its newest member and said goodbye to three departing trustees as part of the board’s quarterly meeting on Friday, June 5.
Cotton, a senior majoring in accounting, was elected during the spring semester as SGA president, a position that also includes ex officio membership on the university’s board of trustees. A 2005 graduate of Hickory High School, he took the oath of office to open the board’s spring meeting.
“You are the most important person on this board,” Joan MacNeill, chair of WCU’s trustees, told Cotton. “You represent the constituency that is the reason we all are here.”
MacNeill also thanked three outgoing members of the board for their years of service to the university. Retired Madison County entrepreneur Genevieve Burda, Knoxville corporate executive William “Teddy” Phillips Jr. and former N.C. Secretary of Commerce Rick Carlisle are rotating off the board, with three new members to be appointed before the trustees’ next meeting in September.
In other action, the board unanimously approved a recommendation from WCU Chancellor John Bardo to grant a three-year extension to Chip Smith, director of athletics since 2004.
“This extension is very well deserved,” said Charles Worley, secretary of the board of trustees. “Chip has done an outstanding job for this university.”
Also at the meeting, Bardo announced he will not be among the pool of candidates being considered for president of the University of Cincinnati. The Western Carolinian first announced his nomination for the position in May.
The fact that his name was among those under consideration had come as a surprise to Bardo, an alumni of the school. Bardo’s name appeared on a list of candidates compiled by the presidential search committee at Cincinnati.
“I did not ask to be nominated and did not apply,” Bardo said.
Bardo said he was honored to be considered by the search committee, and added that the decision to apply for a top position as president of another university was a serious one.
“This is not like moving from Burger King to Hardees working the cash register,” Bardo told the board of trustees. “If you’re in a role like this, you have to think seriously about applying for a position.”
At this point in time, however, leaving WCU is not something Bardo would consider, he said.
“I’m not going to think about that right now. What I am going to think about is WCU, the budget, and serving the people of this great state,” said Bardo.