Western Carolina University
was founded in August 1889 as a semi-public school.
Charted as Cullowhee High School in 1891, it served the Cullowhee community and boarding students from
neighboring counties and other states.The school had several names over the years: 1905 - Cullowhee Normal and Industrial
School; 1925 - Cullowhee State Normal School; 1929 -
Western Carolina Teachers College; 1953 - Western Carolina College. In 1967, the institution was designated a regional university by the North Carolina General Assembly and the name
of the institution was changed to Western Carolina University.In 1971, the state legislature reorganized higher education in North Carolina, and on
July 1, 1972, Western Carolina University became
a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina System.The university mascot is a catamount, a fictional feline animal normally resembling a mountain lion or cougar.