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Recognizes and honors service of outgoing chancellor

Western Carolina University held a pair of commencement ceremonies at Ramsey Regional Activity Center on Saturday, May 7, to honor the academic accomplishments of 925 undergraduate students, while also taking time out to recognize the service of outgoing Chancellor John W. Bardo.

Commencement for the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Allied Professions, and Fine and Performing Arts was held at 10 a.m., and that event was followed by a 3:30 p.m. ceremony for the College of Business, College of Health and Human Sciences, and Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology.

Thomas W. Ross, president of the University of North Carolina system, who brought greetings from the UNC Board of Governors, delivered the afternoon address.

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“Did you know when you graduate those letters after your name will increase your income?” Allan Grant asked the Southwestern Community College academic award recipients.

As speaker for the awards ceremony Tuesday evening on SCC’s Jackson Campus, Grant told the recipients, “In your working lifetime an AA after your name will mean a quarter million more than just a high school diploma; a BA will mean half a million more.”

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For Kassidy Mathis, graduating from high school and community college at the same time reinforces that she is a self-motivated student.

Mathis will receive her associate in arts college transfer degree from Southwestern Community College May 10, just days before she receives her high school diploma from Smoky Mountain High School. As a dual-enrolled student, Mathis has taken tuition-free college-credit courses in cooperation with SCC.

“I’ve saved time and money,” said Mathis of Sylva. “Plus, it’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn to manage my time better.”

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Budget includes $1.5 million from savings to cover loss of federal stim money

Budget time is here again, and this year’s negotiations promise to be even more interesting than usual. At last week’s meeting of the Macon County Board of Education, a draft budget for the 2011-2012 school year was passed which anticipates cuts of up to 10 percent from state allocations this year.

Earlier in the year, school districts were instructed to produce budgets based on various reduction scenarios of 5, 10 and 15 percent as the state scrambles to cover a $3 billion budget hole brought on in part by the loss of revenue from temporary taxes that expire this year.

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