Alumni Association welcomes new president

On Feb. 22, Western Carolina University’s Alumni Association will officially have gained a new president, Dr. Francis Owl-Smith. The entire staff at Alumni Affairs is excited to welcome her as Alumni president for the two years she will be serving.

Marty Ramsey, the Director of Alumni Affairs, explains the mission of Alumni Affairs and the association in a few words, “We try to get our Alumni connected if they’re not connected to the University. We do that in a variety of different ways. We do that through some of our alumni clubs that we have. We have about 28 of those and those are all over the place.

“We also assist students on campus in what we call our Alumni Job Shadowing Program. Our office works with Career Services and we identify alums that have been very successful in their career and through Career Services they identify current students who are majoring in Career Fields that are of those that alums have made careers of. So, we take the student, match them up with an alum and they shadow that alum for the day.”

Owl-Smith will be taking the position that was left open by Jack Hudson in December of 2013 when his term as president ended. The president of the Alumni Association serves for two years and afterward the president-elect takes over, which is similar to our nation’s presidential terms. The president-elect is similar to the vice president except that they will definitely be the president after their predecessors term is over.

When asked what Owl-Smith will be doing as president of the Alumni Association, Ramsey said, “She’ll be attending any of our major alumni events. As her schedule allows, any major homecoming events, she’s a part of our graduation ceremonies. She’ll be attending Board of Trustee meetings and she’ll be presiding over our alumni board. She conducts and leads our meetings. She chairs the University Affairs committee which is responsible for our alumni awards. She also is in charge of Alumni Board Nominations.”

Owl-Smith will be the first female Cherokee president of the Alumni Association, but Ramsey had much more to say about why she is ideal for this job.

“The first quality is just her real, genuine love for the university. She just speaks often about how much the university has done for her, she was a non-traditional student, and she raised her family first and then obtained her degree, so she was not traditional. She just really appreciates what Western Carolina has done for her, has enabled her to do what she does. She has always appreciated that and she feels that this is a way to help pay that back I guess. She feels a real indebtedness to the university,” said Ramsey.

Owl-Smith will officially begin as the president of the Alumni Association at their meeting on Feb. 22 when she is “passed the gavel.” She will serve for two calendar years, or until Dec. of 2015. Ramsey and his staff are excited to have her and to see what she can do.

For more information on the Alumni Association go to securelb.imod-