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Excitement and purple attire filled the second floor of A.K. Hinds University Center at Western Carolina University March 1 as students, administrators, faculty, staff and trustees alike gathered around a pop-up TV studio set to broadcast the good news — the launch of a massive scholarship fundraising effort, occurring simultaneously with announcement that WCU had received a $5 million scholarship gift, the largest ever in its 129-year history. 

Through careers as students, teachers and administrators, David and Susan Belcher have marked the milestones of their lives in college campuses, but their 2011 arrival to Western Carolina University was the day they discovered their home. 

“It was kind of instant. It was kind of love at first sight,” Susan said. “It’s not the (natural) beauty. It’s the people. And it’s the community also. This region takes care of each other, through and through.” 

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