ASHEVILLE NC – Western Carolina University did not have to go far to find the new executive director for its programs at Biltmore Park – just as far as the northern side of Asheville.
Kevan Frazier, who served four different divisions during a 17-year career at the University of North Carolina at Asheville before embarking upon a private business venture, joined WCU on Monday, Aug. 18, to lead the university’s instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square.
Frazier is succeeding Patsy Miller, who is retiring this month after more than 30 years of service to WCU, all of them in administrative roles with the university’s programs in the Asheville area. Miller joined WCU in 1984 as program coordinator for the Asheville office, where she worked with the late Harry Ramsey, assistant to the chancellor for WCU programs in Asheville. She became director upon Ramsey’s retirement in 1997.
“Kevan brings extensive experience and very strong connections throughout the Asheville-Hendersonville area, especially in the banking, finance, legal, medical, government and entrepreneurial sectors,” said Alison Morrison-Shetlar, WCU provost. “He also brings tremendous energy and excitement as he begins to build upon the solid foundation that Patsy Miller is leaving behind, as well as those with whom she has worked over the years.”
Frazier served as associate vice chancellor for university advancement at UNC Asheville from 2012 until the fall of 2013, stepping down to start a small business in the tourism sector, Asheville by Foot, which provides historic and architectural walking tours of the city’s downtown. At UNC Asheville, he also had served as associate vice chancellor for alumni relations from 2004 until 2012, director of student life and the Highsmith University Union from 2001 until 2004, and coordinator of the Honors Program and associate director of undergraduate research from 1999 to 2001.
In addition, Frazier taught history at UNC Asheville, having earned his doctorate in U.S. and African history at West Virginia University. He received his master’s degree in history from Kent State University and his bachelor’s degree in history from UNC Asheville.
“While I was not on the job market, when I learned of WCU’s opening at Biltmore Park, I could not pass up the extraordinary opportunity to lead and grow one of the cornerstones of economic and community development in Western North Carolina,” Frazier said.
“As the leading provider of graduate education in Western North Carolina, WCU is positioned better than any other institution in the area to offer the curricular breadth and depth needed to support economic and community development in the region,” he said. “As a native Ashevillian, my roots are deep in this community and my commitment to its success is very strong.”
Frazier is taking over the reins of WCU Programs at Biltmore Park as the university is on the verge of implementing a long-range strategic plan for the instructional site in order to strengthen the university’s contribution to economic and community development in the greater Asheville-Hendersonville area. Carol Burton, associate provost for undergraduate studies, and Doug Keskula, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, have led a long-range planning process to determine the future mix of academic programs that will be offered and enhanced at Biltmore Park.
The newest addition at the site is engineering, as on Aug. 18, WCU began offering undergraduate engineering in nearly 11,000 square feet of space at 28 Schenck Parkway in Biltmore Park Town Square. Expansion of WCU’s engineering degree was made possible through an appropriation of more than $1.4 million in the state budget for the 2013-15 biennium. The N.C. General Assembly approved $698,962 for start-up costs and laboratory equipment for the 2013-14 fiscal year, with $719,844 in recurring funds to cover faculty positions and ongoing operations.
WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher, who credited N.C. Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) with ensuring that the state budget included funds for the expansion, said additional engineering education opportunities in the fast-growing corridor between Asheville and Hendersonville will help meet increasing industry and business demand for a highly qualified workforce.
Biltmore Park also will be one of two venues for WCU’s new lifelong learning institute aimed at people age 50 and older. The institute, titled [email protected], will feature weekly interactive seminars in Cullowhee and Asheville. Sessions will focus on a wide variety of topics spanning business, history, science, literature, politics and personal development.
Western Carolina has offered a variety of programs in Asheville since 1937, and previously provided more than 20 academic programs at various sites in Buncombe County, including at UNC Asheville and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College’s Enka campus. WCU consolidated graduate and undergraduate academic programs that were offered at locations across Buncombe County to Biltmore Park in August 2012, a move designed to expand access to university-level programming to better serve the educational needs of Western North Carolinians in the Buncombe-Henderson corridor, while also improving operational efficiencies.
For more information about WCU Programs at Biltmore Park, visit the website biltmorepark.wcu.edu or call 828-654-6498.