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Wednesday, 08 March 2017 18:53

Portrait of WCU’s Belcher unveiled

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A future addition to Western Carolina University’s gallery of presidential portraits was recently unveiled for the first time as the WCU Board of Trustees got a sneak peek at the recently completed likeness of Chancellor David O. Belcher.

Belcher’s portrait eventually will be displayed in WCU’s Hunter Library along with the portraits of previous presidents and chancellors of the university.

A resolution approved by the Board of Trustees in 1981 established as university policy that a portrait of each WCU chief executive officer be commissioned and added to the gallery. It is up to each chancellor to decide when his or her portrait will be added to the gallery; it is Belcher’s preference that his portrait not be included in the gallery while he is in office.

The Belcher portrait is the work of Steve Craighead, an award-winning artist whose works have won numerous honors at Portrait Society of America competitions. Based in Manassas, Virginia, Craighead has completed portraits for leaders in the corporate, political, business and educational sectors. Among his subjects are former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore and Tom Ross, former president of the University of North Carolina system.

The portrait commission process was guided by three members of the WCU staff – Mark Haskett, director of photography and videography services; Denise Drury Homewood, executive director of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center; and Terry Welch, former assistant to the chancellor, who retired last August.

The portraits are paid for through private donations. No state funds are used for artist commissions or expenses.

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