Since graduating from Western Carolina University in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Lynda Sossamon has become a business owner and has won two local political positions.
In the past, Sossamon worked for WCU for 11 years in the Computer Center as an Operations Manager and a Programmer/Analyst. Currently, Sossamon owns two retail stores that sell electronics from Radio Shack and phones from Verizon Wireless. The stores are located in Sylva and Cashiers.
“I also serve on several Volunteer Boards and as of Dec. 1, I will be a Commissioner on the Sylva Town Board,” Sossamon said, adding that she enjoys her current job because she gets to interact with costumers and constantly learn about new electronics.
Western Carolina University helped prepare Sossamon for her experience with the “real world” by teaching her to become independent.
“My family had vacationed here since I was young, but now I was in North Carolina all alone,” Sossamon said. “I had teachers that nurtured me and I learned to be my own person.”
As for academic preparation, Sossamon said she has used her knowledge in chemistry, math and computer science to solve problems in her business.
Looking back on her time spent at WCU, Sossamon misses the time she had to herself.
“It is a time when you are preparing yourself educationally for your future, but you are also building relationships and doing things just for yourself,” Sossamon said.
After graduating from WCU, Sossamon has frequently returned for meetings.
“I love the many physical changes to the campus,” Sossamon said. “I like the new personnel changes and I especially think Chancellor David Belcher and his wife Susan are a great asset to the University.”
Recently, Sossamon was elected to run as a Commissioner on the Sylva Town Board.
“I had previously served on the Town Board during the time when Sylva was designated as a North Carolina Main Street Town and the current Streetscape was designed,” Sossamon said.
She believes she has helpful traits to bring to the board and the people of Sylva. This time around, Sossamon hopes to hire a new Town Manager and make necessary changes with the Downtown Association.
Another goal this term is to get to know the students of WCU better.
“I would like to talk with the students and see what would make Sylva more attractive to them and make them want to spend time in Sylva’s restaurants and shops,” Sossamon said.
For students hoping to do something similar to Sossamon, she says, “Just try to be successful and make something of yourself, but don’t forget to look at ways to help other.”
For college students in general, Sossamon said her advice is to just have fun.
“Enjoy your special time at Western, you will never experience a time like that again,” she said.