Preston Blakely to Speak at Chancellor’s List Event

Recognizing students who have demonstrated commitment to academic and personal excellence.

Preston Blakely at WCU
Preston Blakely graduated in 2019 from WCU with a master’s degree in public affairs.

The Western Carolina University alumnus will be the keynote speaker for the Chancellor’s List Award Ceremony.

The event, celebrating students who made the chancellor’s list during the fall 2022 semester, will be Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at 5 p.m. in the Bardo Arts Center Performance Hall.

At 27, Blakely is the youngest mayor elected in Fletcher, North Carolina, and the youngest serving mayor in the state. His first year in office has been tracked and covered by news entities across the state, including WLOS, Blue Ridge Public Radio, Mountain Xpress, The Urban News, and the Asheville Citizen-Times.

Blakely is well known to the WCU community as someone from a long lineage of local leaders who are future focused and community oriented. Upon graduating in 2019 from WCU with a master’s degree in public affairs, he was named “Outstanding Public Affairs Student in Public Management.” Blakely has now served his first year as mayor, while also managing his family’s Asheville-based business, Quality Janitorial Group.

Blakely has consistently invested in his education and community presence with pride and purpose. At WCU, he was the graduate assistant at the Public Policy Institute. As part of his capstone project, he created performance metrics for the city of Hendersonville’s Public Works Department. As a resident of Fletcher, he has both volunteered and served on nonprofit boards. Now, as an elected official, he hopes to inspire other young people in leadership and active citizenship.

Qualifications for Chancellor’s List Award

  •   Student must be an undergraduate
  •   Student must have achieved a 3.8 GPA or higher during the previous semester
  •   Student must have retained full-time status (12 credit hours or more) for the entire semester
  •   All students’ grades must have been finalized by the end of the term (no incompletes given)

For more information on the Chancellor’s List, please visit