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Chief of Staff

A headshot of Chief of Staff Melissa Wargo


Western Carolina University's Chief of Staff is Melissa Canady Wargo.

Reporting directly to the Chancellor, Dr. Wargo serves as the principal aide and advisor to the Chancellor on important university operational matters as well as providing coordination of strategic directions, goals, and initiatives, and its success.

She is the executive leader for the Chancellor's Division, which is comprised of the university communications and marketing, external relations, special events, and economic development and regional partnerships.

The Chief of Staff's office is located in Room 501D of the H.F. Robinson Building on Western Carolina University's Cullowhee campus.

See Dr. Wargo's Bio



Chief of Staff Units

University Communications and Marketing

Examples of WCU's Marketing Services that shows a college fair brochure.


University Communications and Marketing is responsible for all external and internal communications, brand development and management, media relations, photography and videography, institutional website content and design, advertising, and social media for Western Carolina University.

UCM works in an integrated approach to share the stories of the university, its people, its programs, and its impact on the Western North Carolina region – and beyond.

We use the full range of print, electronic and emerging media and collaborate with other units of the university to deliver creative, compelling, personalized communications and marketing projects in order to share university messages and priorities to stakeholders including students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, taxpayers, and political and community leaders.

External Relations

A photo of the central plaza on WCU's campus


The Office of External Relations is the university's official advocate with elected and appointed officials from the municipal to the federal levels.

The office pursues federal funding for WCU through congressional appropriations mechanisms and state funding through the University of North Carolina system's established budget priorities process.

In addition, they serve as the university liaison to important economic development entities within the local community and the greater Western North Carolina region, including chambers of commerce and regional economic development organizations.

Special Events

People enjoying historical demonstrations at mountain heritage day


The Office of Special Events is responsible for the strategic direction, planning and implementation of top-level, university-wide events on behalf of the Chancellor and the Chief of Staff, both on campus and off.

Each year the Office of Special Events designs and executes over 70 annual events ranging from small receptions and meetings to large-scale campus tours and festivals such as Mountain Heritage Day.

The special events team serves as advisors to the Chancellor's Ambassador organization providing leadership development and oversight to a top-level student group of 18 representing WCU and supporting the Chancellor at events. They also serve as advisors and support for other departments for their special event needs.


Office of Web Services