Choosing Your Campaign Theme is a Big Decision

Campaigns come up with their names in all kinds of ways. Western Carolina University (WCU) found their theme in the words of their fight song.

The “Fill the Western Sky” theme is now prominent on the campaign’s web page:, including an inspirational and on-theme campaign video.

The $75 million comprehensive campaign, the largest in Catamount history, (and its theme) was announced at the start of the semester in August 2023, as Chancellor Kelli Brown shared the university’s priorities for the upcoming year.

“The campaign name comes from a line familiar to those of you who know our beloved fight song, Fill the Western Sky: A Campaign for Western Carolina University,” Brown enthusiastically told the crowd from the Performance Hall stage of Bardo Arts Center. “The campaign is the vehicle through which we will endeavor to share the wonderful stories that together shape the narrative of this wonderful place.”

WCU initiated its campaign planning work in 2019 with a feasibility study conducted by CapDev and entered its leadership phase in 2021, seeking transformational, leadership gifts towards the top priorities including funds to update athletics facilities and allow more students to experience academic activities beyond the classroom. Now over halfway toward reaching its campaign goal, the public phase of the campaign is slated to launch in Fall 2024.

The WCU Board of Trustees and the WCU Foundation Board of Directors have become more deeply engaged in their commitment to the university as they have been involved in recruiting the campaign’s Steering Committee on which several of them serve with great dedication.

One such member of the Steering Committee, Mike Crawford, joined CapDev’s most recent workshop as the luncheon guest speaker and shared his very genuine commitment for his beloved Catamounts and how his involvement led to very meaningful giving in memory of his father, another WCU alumnus.

“Alumni and friends of this university are stepping up in ways WCU has never before experienced,” remarked Vice Chancellor of University Advancement, Jamie Raynor. “Building this campaign has not only helped us share a bolder vision for WCU, but it has also built a stronger advancement team, engaging a broader base, growing donor relationships, and building better-equipped advocates for WCU as we ‘Fill the Western Sky’ together.”

In addition to the beautiful website and video, WCU also created campaign materials now in use with the “Fill the Western Sky” theme. Based on the written case for support initially drafted by CapDev, the materials convey messaging designed to share information on the campaign, but more importantly, to motivate giving.

WCU will celebrate the successful conclusion of the campaign in 2026.