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F3T Fly Fishing Film Tour Joins Lees-McRae College 2023−24 High Country Adventure Film and Speaker Series on April 13

April 8, 2024 For 18 years, the F3T Fly Fishing Film Tour has hit the road annually to bring the best fly fishing films from around the world to eager international audiences. The film tour is back again this year with their latest film lineup, and the Lees-McRae College campus is one of the next stops on the tour’s schedule. This year’s series of short films takes viewers around the world, exploring fly-fishing communities of all kinds and capturing the intricacies of this beloved sport. This is a series of films you truly will not want to miss, so get your tickets now before they are gone.

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Appalachian Heritage Week Tradition Returns to Lees-McRae College April 15 – 19

April 8, 2024 The John B. Stephenson Center for Appalachia and Comparative Highland Studies is back with a beloved annual tradition, Appalachian Heritage Week. Each year the college sets aside time in the spring to celebrate the place we all call home through programming that highlights Appalachian culture, food, history, natural resources, and more. This year, the Stephenson Center will host Appalachian Heritage Week Monday, April 15 through Friday, April 19 with fun and educational activities each day. Click here for full schedule of community events for Appalachian Heritage Week 2024.

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Tickets for 2024 Season of Lees-McRae Summer Theatre Available Now for All Performances

April 2, 2024 Tickets for the latest season of Lees-McRae Summer Theatre are now available for all performances. The season will officially kick off the college’s 125th anniversary celebrations with what Lees-McRae Summer Theatre Director Janet Barton Speer calls, “a love letter to our beautiful area.” This year’s season opens with “From the Mountaintop: The Edgar Tufts Story,” which tells the story of Rev. Edgar Tufts, who transformed Banner Elk and the surrounding community when he founded the college along with the Banner Elk Presbyterian Church, Grandfather Home for Children, and Grace Hospital. The season also features a brand-new variety show, “High Country Talent Jamboree,” which showcases the culture of the High Country through music, dance, and more

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Lees-McRae College New Opportunity School for Women Accepting Applications for Three Week Summer 2024 Session this June

March 25, 2024 The Lees-McRae College New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW) is now accepting applications for the program’s 20th annual summer session. This year’s session is held Sunday, June 2−Saturday, June 22. NOSW is seeking 14 women to take part in this year’s session. The three-week residential program is free for participants, and assistance with travel and childcare costs are available. Throughout the session participants explore career options, set educational goals, and develop leadership skills, all while enjoying the college’s historic campus and the beautiful mountains that surround it.

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Barton, Lees-McRae Claim Atlantic Casualty Conference Carolinas Cheer and Dance Championship Crowns for Second Straight Year

March 11, 2024 Lees-McRae claimed the team title in Cheerleading for the second straight year, while Barton claimed its second consecutive Dance team title at the annual Atlantic Casualty Conference Carolinas Spirit Championships.  Lees-McRae was also chosen as the Advanced Co-Ed Division winner in cheerleading, while North Greenville captured the Intermediate All-Girl championship in cheerleading.

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Lees-McRae Basketball Advances to Conference Carolinas Quarterfinals with 79-75 Win over North Greenville; Faces No. 3 Chowan on March 8

March 5, 2024 Lees-McRae men’s basketball moves to the Atlantic Casualty Conference Carolinas Men’s Basketball Championship Quarterfinals after defeating No. 12 North Greenville, 79-75, on Monday evening. Nico Ashley posted the fourth-most blocks in NCAA Division II this season with nine and Ja’Quavian Florence led the Bobcats in the scoring column with 20 points.

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Lees-McRae College Summer Theatre Announces Exciting New 2024 Season Featuring Audience Favorites; Tickets Go on Sale Monday, April 1

March 5, 2024 Get ready for another summer of engrossing performances, stunning set design, and inspiring stories with the latest season of Lees-McRae Summer Theatre. The 2024 season of the beloved theatre series is the official kickoff of the college’s 125-year anniversary celebration, and Lees-McRae is bringing back some crowd favorites to commemorate the milestone. This year’s season will feature an all-new variety show and a revival of the beloved local history tale “From the Mountaintop: The Edgar Tufts Story.”

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Celebrate Winter in the Mountains at Lees-McRae College with Inspiring Short Films from “Mountainfilm on Tour” this Saturday Feb. 17

February 13, 2024 Mountainfilm on Tour, the annual tour of the most inspiring short films featured at that year’s Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, Colorado, is coming to Lees-McRae on Saturday, Feb. 17. The tour has been bringing exciting, cutting-edge short films about the great outdoors to cities throughout the country since 1999, and for the first time the tour will be stopping in Banner Elk as part of the college’s High Country Adventure Film and Speaker Series.

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Lees-McRae Wins Inaugural Developmental Women’s Basketball Championship

February 6, 2024  The inaugural Conference Carolinas Developmental Women’s Basketball Championship was held on Monday, Feb. 5 in Belmont, North Carolina inside the Wheeler Center on the campus of Belmont Abbey. Lees-McRae went 2-0 on the day to claim the title. The Bobcats began the afternoon with a 54-50 victory over the host Crusaders. Barton then defeated Erskine 96-38 and the Crusaders took third with a consolation game win over Erksine, 53-23.

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High Country Adventure Film and Speaker Series returns to Lees-McRae, kicks off with Reel Rock Film Festival

October 17, 2023 The High Country Adventure Film and Speaker Series returns to Lees-McRae again this fall, kicking off with the Reel Rock climbing films as the first event of the semester on Friday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. That evening, students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to gather at the Outdoor Amphitheater on South Campus at Grandfather Home to enjoy three exciting new films from Reel Rock Film Festival that are sure to deliver an adrenaline rush.

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Lees- McRae Summer Theatre to Take Flight With Final Production of the Season, “The [W]right Sister”

July 10, 2023 BANNER ELK, N.C.─ Every North Carolinian knows the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright who successfully piloted the first manned heavier-than-air aircraft in history at Kitty Hawk and allowed the state to claim the title of “first in flight.” However, another equally important figure in the story has largely been lost to time. The omission of Katharine Wright from the public consciousness will be rectified this summer when her story takes center stage in the final Lees-McRae Summer Theatre production, “The [W]right Sister.”

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Kamp, Yoos lead Lees-McRae to Nationals No. 1; LMC Men finish No. 2

March 20, 2023 MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, CA. — By sweeping the top two places in the Snowboard-Cross event, Lilly Kamp (No. 1) and Nicole Yoos (No. 2) propelled Lees-McRae College to first place in the Alpine Combined women’s team competition on March 9 at the 2023 U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboarding Championships hosted by Mammoth Mountain. By David Rogers

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Lees McRae College Alumnus Darius Malbon Publishes Book about Finding One’s Purpose

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July 7, 2022 One of life’s big questions is what is your purpose? Around one in two people don’t know their purpose or feel like they don’t have a purpose, which can lead to devastating outcomes, such as people taking their own lives. However, Lees McRae College alumnus Darius Malbon is striving to help others overcome this challenge and find their calling. After battling his own suicidal episode in 2016 and losing a friend to suicide in 2018, Darius found his own calling to write and publish a book last year titled From Darkness to Life: Win the Battle, which is about suicide awareness. “The first book went really well,” Malbon described. “I sold around 100 books within the first couple of weeks, which was great. A lot of people connected with it. A lot of people told me they really dived into exploring those darker depths of their mind and really understood that they were struggling. I had a lot of people say that they had been encouraged, so that was really good. That was the whole point of me writing the book was to encourage people to be honest and get the help that they need.” By Harley Nefe

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High Country Residents Bring Home Gold Medals From USASA 2022 National Championship Including Blake Broussard

April 15, 2022 The world’s largest snowboarding and freeskiing competition just wrapped up this week at Copper Mountain in Colorado, and some High Country residents were named National Champions. The United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association (USASA) 2022 National Championship took place from April 2-13 with around 2,000 athletes competing from across 31 regional divisions nationwide, including the Southeastern Series from North Carolina. By Harley Nefe

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Lees-McRae College Communication Arts and Design Program Hosts Student Exhibition on March 17 Juried by Adams Adcock

March 9, 2022 The Communication Arts and Design program at Lees-McRae College will be hosting their annual Juried Student Exhibition on Thursday, March 17. The show will open at 11 a.m. in the King-Shivell Gallery in Cannon Student Center. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are encouraged to attend the gallery opening and view some of the best works of art from Lees-McRae students.

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Lees-McRae College Hires Charles E. Gibson, III as Inaugural Chief Diversity Officer

February 7, 2022 In keeping with its commitment to expand diversity and inclusion efforts throughout campus, Lees-McRae has named Charles E. Gibson, III as its first ever chief diversity officer. Gibson, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, who attended Appalachian State University for graduate school, unites a love for the High Country with a strong background in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work at institutions of higher education. “In 2020, the college made its own commitment that we must do more to ensure that our intention for diversity is more prominent in everything we do,” said President Lee King. “That commitment has led us to name our first ever chief diversity officer. In a short time, Charles has already made a positive impact on relationships and has begun to develop an institutional framework for excellence and diversity.”

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Lees-McRae Ranked Among Top Regional Colleges in South for Undergraduate Teaching by U.S. News & World Report

September 13, 2021. U.S. News & World Report ranked Lees-McRae College 28th among regional colleges in the South in its 2022 Best Colleges guide. The institution is in the number 8 spot on a list recognizing the best regional colleges in the South for undergraduate teaching and for the second year in a row appears on the list for top performers on social mobility. “While rankings do not tell the whole story of a college, they can point to some key strengths, which in our case includes teaching excellence,” said Provost Alyson Gill. “Our faculty are deeply committed to bringing their disciplines to life in the classroom and connecting with our students. In a place that is In the Mountains, Of the Mountains, and For the Mountains, our faculty build experiences that extend beyond the classroom walls with a shared recognition that an essential part of student learning happens outside the classroom.”

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Franz Rueckert Joins Lees-McRae as Dean for the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences

July 29, 2021. Franz Josef Michael Rueckert, PhD, has been hired as the new Dean of Natural and Behavioral Sciences. He will officially assume the role on Aug. 9. “I am thrilled that Rueckert will be stepping into this position and look forward to working with him at this exciting time in Lees-McRae’s history,” Provost Alyson Gill said. “The depth of the leadership experience that he brings will be a great benefit to the School of Natural and Behavorial Sciences college and I know that he will be a wonderful colleague.” Rueckert comes to Lees-McRae from the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, where he was the founding dean for the School of Sciences and Humanities. Prior to the school’s formation, Rueckert served as the chair of the Department of Sciences, where he oversaw the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics programs, the opening of new state-of-the-art lab spaces, and the development of the interdisciplinary Applied Sciences major. Rueckert’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, a Bachelor of Science in Physics, and a Master of Science in Physics all from San Diego State University, and a doctorate in Physics from the University of Connecticut. In addition to his administrative and leadership experience, Rueckert has worked closely with students in both classroom and research settings.

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Lees-McRae College Hosts Inaugural School Counselor Experience

July 26, 2021. More prospective students will learn what Lees-McRae has to offer after 12 counselors from schools in New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina participated in a multi-day tour of the college and surrounding area. With more than 50 academic programs, access to active research in the Elk Valley Preserve, an on-campus wildlife rehabilitation center, a partnership with the local Beech Mountain Resort, immersive art and theatre spaces, and a high-tech nursing school facility, among other offerings, Lees-McRae provides a truly one-of-a-kind educational experience to students who choose to attend. This year, the Office of Admissions wanted to show a select group of high school counselors what the college could do for their students with the first annual School Counselor Experience. “Counselors are a great resource for students and parents and can make a huge difference in their lives by referring them to the best fitting college or university,” said Kevin J. Phillips, the vice president for enrollment management. “The goal was to let more counselors know about Lees-McRae, as many do not. We hoped that counselors could start to picture particular students from their schools that they could see attending Lees-McRae.”

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Lees-McRae College Debuts New Musical Celebrating Norman Rockwell

July 12, 2021. A world-premiere musical about one of America’s most popular artists debuts during Lees-McRae Summer Theatre, July 25 to Aug. 1. “America’s Artist: The Norman Rockwell Story” showcases the life of a beloved painter who created more than 4,000 pieces of art. Rockwell captured the essence of America with each brushstroke, from Rosie the Riveter to The Four Freedoms. His Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations reflected small-town America at its most endearing. Written and directed by Janet Speer, Lees-McRae professor emeritus and Summer Theatre artistic director, the show transports audiences from Rockwell’s career beginnings in the early 1900s through his final years in the 1970s. Speer’s in-depth research included discussions with Rockwell’s granddaughter, Abigail Rockwell.

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Lees-McRae College to host ‘A Conversation with Warren Daniel and Dudley Greene’

July 7, 2021. On Friday, July 23, the state senator and state representative for Avery County will participate in a free public forum on the Lees-McRae campus. Warren Daniel and Dudley Greene will answer questions from their constituents and address issues relevant to area residents. Daniel, a graduate of the United States Military Academy and the University of North Carolina School of Law, has served as a member of the North Carolina State Senate since 2013. Greene was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2021 after previously serving as the sheriff of McDowell County and the chief detective/chief deputy with the Avery County Sheriff’s Office. This nonpartisan event will take place in Hayes Auditorium from 6:30–7:30 p.m. and be moderated by Jim Swinkola.

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May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Lees-McRae College to Host Wildlife Presentations in Banner Elk

May 28, 2021 After a year-long hiatus, the Lees-McRae May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will again be offering wildlife presentations to the public. Starting June 4, representatives from the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will be holding educational presentations at the Tate-Evans Park amphitheater in Banner Elk. Presentations will take place every Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. throughout the summer and will end August 13. The talks are free to attend and feature a number of animals native to North Carolina. The May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is situated adjacent to the Elk River on the campus of Lees-McRae. The center annually admits more than 1,500 injured and orphaned wildlife patients from the western part of North Carolina. The patients are individually evaluated and treated based on their medical needs, with the goal to release as many animals back to the wild as possible.

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