From Special Collections: Founding a Miracle in Asheville

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Founders Day photos and documents
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In October 1997, UNC Asheville celebrated its 70th anniversary with the first Founders Day, described by Founders Day committee chair Arnold Wengrow as, “a tribute to the pioneering students, staff and faculty of UNCA, and its predecessor institutions." One pioneer that received special recognition on that first Founders Day was Glenn L. Bushey, president of Asheville-Biltmore College from 1947 to 1962.

Dr. Bushey was honored by a bench and terrace area near Founders Hall being dedicated to him and, in January 1998, Bushey wrote to Chancellor Patsy Reed, thanking her for the honor bestowed upon him. His letter also included memories of his time in Asheville, and a description of Asheville-Biltmore College when he arrived in September 1947, to “face the greatest challenge of my professional career."

The challenge included: “securing a permanent campus for the college; improving the library and other academic facilities, especially laboratories; upgrading a dedicated faculty with emphasis on raising the percentage holding graduate degrees; revising the curriculum to more successfully meet the needs of undergraduates as well as the business and professional needs of the community; instituting more effective admissions and counseling programs; expanding the public relations activities; developing adequate financial resources including increased local support and securing state aid; and attaining regional accreditation."

Bushey described the task as “formidable," which seems like an understatement, especially when you realize that the college was perennially in dire financial straits, and in 1947 was “receiving only about $5,000 from outside sources."

To read the full story, visit the Special Collections and Univeristy Archives blog