Rep. Donna Hicks

Representative Donna Hicks to be featured speaker at Honor Code Signing Monday, August 17

South Carolina District 37 Representative Donna C. Hicks will be the featured speaker at the Honor Code signing on Monday, August 17. The event will be held in the Camak Auditorium. The Honor Code Signing is a time honored tradition of SMC where the campus pauses to recognize the importance of honor and truthfulness and reflect on what that means to us as members of the SMC community.

athletic traininer

Application for Athletic Training Student Scholarship

Application for Athletic Training Student Scholarship-2

Did you know…

Facts about Althletic Training:

  1. There are over 41,000 BOC Certified Athletic Trainers in the United States!
  2. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association is based out of Dallas, TX.
  3. Athletic Trainers practice in a variety of settings including high schools, colleges, professional sports, youth sports, rehabilitation & sports medicine clinics, physician offices, military, law enforcement, fine arts, and theater.
  4. Athletic Trainers are healthcare providers.
  5. Alaska and California are the only two states that do not require athletic training licensure or other registration with the state.
  6. Athletic Trainers are trained in CPR and AED use.
  7. Athletic Trainers are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and to have passed a national certification exam.
  8. Over 70% of Certified Athletic Trainers possess a master’s degree or higher.
  9. Athletic Trainers are required to complete continuing education to maintain certification
  10. Athletic Trainers are part of the Sports Medicine Team which is made of a variety of healthcare professionals.
  11. Athletic Trainers are skilled in manual therapy as a part of their rehabilitation background.
  12. Athletic Trainers are leaders in concussion recognition and concussion management.
  13. March is National Athletic Training Month.
  14. Athletic Trainers specialize in the healthcare needs of the active population
  15. Athletic Trainers are recognized as allied health professionals by the American Medical Association and numerous other national organizations.
  16. Less than half of all high schools in the US provide their student-athletes access to an Athletic Trainer.
  17. Athletic Trainers handle administrative duties such as health forms, budgets, scheduling, and other tasks.
  18. Athletic Trainers are responsible for the prevention, evaluation, and rehabilitation of orthopedic injuries.
Paul Roger Leonard, Jr web small

104th Commencement @ Spartanburg Methodist College will inspire all to claim the life to which the Spirit calls

Spartanburg Methodist College will hold their 104th commencement exercises at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 9th in Bridges Arena to celebrate an estimated 200 students who have successfully met the academic requirements for graduation. The class of 2015 boasts over 20 honor graduate students who have maintained a 3.5 or better grade point average and will be recognized as a Summa Cum Laude, Manga Cum Laude or Cum Laude graduate during commencement.

Click here for a live feed of the Commencement Service that will be streaming beginning at 9:45 a.m. on May 9th.

Courtney Tutterow, recipient of the Yandle Student Leader Award, will be the 2015 Student Speaker for commencement. Nominated by her peers and described as “an all-around outstanding person…Courtney has played soccer both years at SMC… and has also kept a 4.0 GPA. She is a Pioneer Peer, has great leadership skills and qualities and always has a positive attitude.”   Tutterow, daughter of Mike and Michelle Tutterow of Boiling Springs, SC was named a two-time all-region soccer player, an Academic All American and has served as a tutor and student mentor.  “Courtney personifies what it means to be a Pioneer,” stated SMC President Colleen Perry Keith, Ph.D.

Paul Roger Leonard, Jr. will be the 2015 Commencement speaker. Leonard s a man moved by a generous and loving spirit. His most recent work, When the Spirit Moves, is a collection of stories, poems, prayers and reflections that invite readers to look back on their lives, and witness all the ways the Spirit has prodded, poked, touched and moved them. Leonard wants his readers to laugh and cry with him, to get angry with things as they are, to pray for peace, to hope for a brighter tomorrow, to give thanks for every day and to reach out, touch, listen and love all who cross their path.  His goal for the book was for it to be more about you and your life, than it is about him and his, and together he wants us to claim the life to which the Spirit calls.

Throughout the book, Leonard shared the ups and downs and twists and turns of his adult life – spanning four decades, one wife, four children, eight grandchildren, lots of dogs, one cat and multiple jobs from minister to home builder and real estate developer. Leonard, who has worked for nonprofits and both privately and publically held for-profit companies, has served as interim CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, college trustee and board member.  His travels have taken him to all seven continents and over 60 countries and given him a global perspective on our world and its glories and sorrows—and render him a fitting speaker for the college’s 2015 commencement.

Author of WHERE IS CHURCH?-One Man’s Quest and MUSIC OF 1000 HAMMERS, Inside Habitat for Humanity, Leonard graduated Cum Laude with Honors in history from Davidson College, continued his studies, earning a Bachelor of Divinity from the University of Chicago and earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Emory University.   He first served at Trinity Presbyterian Church after which he founded a non-traditional church that focused on community action and service and eventually left the traditional ministry to work in city housing.  Leonard was recruited by the John Crosland Company, becoming the company’s president in 1984. After the company was acquired by Centex Real Estate Corporation, Leonard was appointed as its Executive Vice-President, responsible for the company’s southeast region. After retiring from Centex, Leonard was elected to the Board of Habitat for Humanity International; he served as Chairman of the Board from December, 2001 to December, 2003 and was employed as the Interim CEO of Habitat for Humanity.  Today he is a member of the US Council for Habitat for Humanity International.

TiPS Logo web

United States Senator Tim Scott recognizes SMC’s Training for Intervention Procedures

The Honorable Tim Scott, United States Senator for South Carolina, recently recognized Stacey Mason, Director of Housing and Residence Life at Spartanburg Methodist College, for her interest in helping to prevent alcohol-related incidents in the Palmetto State.

Senator Scott saluted SMC and stated the College’s “participation in TIPS – Training for Intervention Procedures – is a recognition of your professionalism and interest in preventing senseless tragedies in our communities. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and will go a long way in making our state a safer place to live, work and play.”

TIPS for the University is a 2.5 hour program that helps students make sound choices when faced with difficult decisions about alcohol use. Working together and with administration, students address drinking behaviors specific to their schools and develop intervention techniques appropriate to their campuses. TIPS provides students with the knowledge and confidence necessary to reduce high-risk drinking behavior among their peers. More than 1,200 campuses nationwide have implemented TIPS for the University.

 width=Mason shared “as a TIPS trainer, I am able to certify the Residence Life staff each year on alcohol intervention tactics through the TIPS program. This has been a part of our Residence Assistant training for the last eight years.”

ncaa-march-madness

Two SMC Students will be Pepping up NCAA Tournament

Many college students travel to Florida during the spring, but two Spartanburg Methodist College students will have their trips fully paid for – thanks to the NCAA Tournament!

SMC’s Jesse Davis and Jaaron Snyder will have the privilege of a front row seat (so to speak) at the tournament. Yes, all meals, transportation and accommodations will be covered by Wofford thanks to Wofford College being named the 12th seed in the West Region of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Davis and Snyder have been loyal participants with Wofford College’s WOCO Band during the 2014-2015 Wofford basketball season and most recently traveled and performed with Wofford at the Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville. Ron “Doc” Miller, Director of Athletic Bands at Wofford College, shared “both are excellent student band members and we are delighted to have them travel and perform with us.”

Ask any hoops fan and they will tell you there is “something electric” about the environment of a college basketball game. Packed arenas, bright lights, shiny wooden floors, the undeniable sound of screeching shoes on the court and of course, long before the opening tip-off, each team’s pep band filling the building with energy and excitement in anticipation for the on-court action to come.

Davis, a sophomore from Startex who attended Byrnes High School, never imagined while pursuing his associate in Fine Arts at SMC he would one day be performing during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  Snyder on the other hand, a freshman from Jonesville who attended Boiling Springs High School and is pursuing an associate in Arts with a major in film, said the invitation to attend the NCAA Tournament and perform was like something straight out of a movie.

“The fact that Jesse and Jaaron are able to do this probably means we have some pretty envious students left back here on campus! This is not an opportunity that comes along for our students all that often. We are all excited for them! It is also wonderful that SMC and Wofford, as sister colleges in the United Methodist system of higher education, are working together in this way,” shared Colleen Perry Keith, Ph.D., President of Spartanburg Methodist College.

The Wofford Terriers will play the Arkansas Razorbacks on Thursday, March 19 in Jacksonville, Florida. The winner of the game will play the winner of a game between North Carolina and Harvard on Saturday. Wofford is 28-6 this season and won the Southern Conference Tournament championship. The Terriers enter the tournament on an eight-game winning streak and have won 15 of their last 16 games. It is the fourth time in six years Wofford has made it to the NCAA Tournament.

Davis and Snyder are looking forward to being a part of the Terrier nation traveling to Jacksonville. Snyder, who plays the tuba, and Davis, who plays the alto saxophone, participate in the WOCO Band out of pure joy and love of music. Both are quick to say they realize they do have a job – they are responsible for not only amping up the crowd but also motivating the team and keeping the Terriers pumped up during the Thursday game – and hopefully the Saturday game, too. But both agree, you can’t beat a few days in sunny Florida with 80 degree weather, knowing your SMC classmates are sitting in class while you have an enviable seat at the Big Show!

Mookie cover image.jpg

NY Mets Hall of Famer Mookie Wilson to headline SMC Founder’s Day Program

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to announce NY Mets Hall of Fame member Mookie Wilson will be the featured speaker at the College’s 2014 Founder’s Day Program on Thursday, October 23 at 6 pm. in the Gibbs Auditorium. A reception and autograph session will follow and the general public is invited to attend.

SMC’s Student Government Association presents the Founder’s Day program each October celebrating the vision, passion, and purpose of SMC’s pioneering founder, Dr. David English Camak, a visionary Methodist minister. Wilson, who graduated from SMC in April of 1976 with an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, played all or part of twelve seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Mets (1980–89) and Toronto Blue Jays (1989–91).

During SMC’s September 10 Convocation, Greenville native, Adell Enrique Gordon, graduate of Berea High School and the son of Revs. Enrique and Shirley Gordon, was sworn into office as SGA President. Gordon shared “A pioneer, in the simplest form, is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things. Without question, Mookie Wilson is just that.”
The Major League Baseball outfielder and coach is best remembered as the Met that hit the ground ball that trickled through Bill Buckner’s legs in game six of the 1986 World Series. Wilson avoided being hit by a wild pitch, allowing the tying run to score in the bottom of the 10th. His ground ball later in the same at bat went through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, allowing the winning run to score. The play is often known as the “Buckner play” and is blamed on the first baseman, but Wilson’s smart at bat, speed, and determination also affected the course of events and allowed the Mets to win the1986 World Series. The ball that rolled through Buckner’s legs was long housed in the Seth Swirsky baseball collection and on May 3, 2012, was sold through Heritage Auctions for $418,250.

Born William Hayward Wilson, and nicknamed “Mookie” as a small child, in Bamberg, SC, he pitched for the Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Red Raiders baseball team under legendary coach David Horton. While attending SMC, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round of the January 1976 amateur draft, but he did not sign. Instead, he transferred to play for The University of South Carolina Gamecocks, preferring to take the chance of skipping the 1976 draft offer and increasing his draft stock by playing for former New York Yankees great, and fellow South Carolina native Bobby Richardson (who was the head coach of the Gamecocks at the time).

The gamble paid-off as Wilson was selected in the second round of the 1977 Major League Baseball Draft by the NY Mets. A switch hitter with excellent speed, his positive attitude and hustle immediately endeared him to a New York Mets fan base and was enshrined in the NY Mets Hall of Fame in 1996. From 1996-2002, Wilson served as the Mets’ first base coach. In 2003 and 2004, he managed the Rookie League Kingsport Mets team, and in 2005, Wilson managed the single-A Brooklyn Cyclones. After serving as the organization’s base running coordinator, Wilson returned to serve as the Mets’ first base coach in 2011. He moved into a front office job after the season. In 2013, he managed the U.S. Team in the All-Star Futures Game held at Citi Field.

Wilson never strayed from the lessons he learned at SMC that encouraged academic excellence, intellectual exploration, social awareness, and character development. Shortly after his classic time at bat in the sixth game of the 1986 World Series, Wilson and his wife Rosa started an educational center for girls, Mookie’s Roses, near their home in Lakewood, NJ. In 1996, Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercy College in New York. In 2001, Mookie and his family released a gospel CD entitled, “Don’t Worry, the Lord will Carry You Through.” Wilson most recently appeared on the April 28, 2014 episode of The Daily Show to discuss his memoir, “Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the ’86 Mets” (2014).

During the Thursday, October 23 program, the first annual SGA Founder’s Day Faculty Award will also be presented to a faculty member who represents and embodies the spirit and vision of Dr. Camak. The recipient is one who is not afraid to try new things, puts the needs of students first, and is respected in their profession and by the student body. SMC welcomes the general public to attend this uplifting program. For more information, please contact Yvonne Harper, harpery@smcsc.edu, 864-587-4278.

LLWS

SMC product coaches Chicago team to Little League World Series Final

Some of you probably have been caught up in Little League World Series fever the past few days. I know I have. But get this: There are 7,000 Little League teams and the one coached by SMC alum Darold Butler (played for us  in 1997 and 1998, teammate of Orlando Hudson, coached by Tim Wallace) won the U.S. title and finished second in the world! How’s that for Pioneer Pride?! ROLL NEERS!! Link to a story about Mr. Butler is below:

Darold Butler was a little guy who came from the streets of Chicago and did big things on the baseball diamond for Spartanburg Methodist College.

Read more..

http://www.goupstate.com/article/20140823/ARTICLES/140829864/1088?Title=SMC-product-coaches-Chicago-team-to-LLWS-final

 

Psi beta crest

SMC Psi Beta chapter earns Chapter Excellence Award for Third Consecutive Year

Psi Beta, the National Honor Society in Psychology for community and junior colleges, has recognized the Spartanburg Methodist College chapter of Psi Beta with the prestigious Psi Beta Chapter Excellence Award for 2013-14. Few of the nation’s Psi Beta chapters achieve this level of distinction, however, this is the third consecutive year that SMC Psi Beta garnered this prestigious national award.
Psi Beta provides students with opportunities to acquire leadership skills, interact with faculty outside the classroom, learn more about the professional and educational choices available in psychology, meet outstanding professionals in psychology, participate in community service, meet peers with similar interests, and be involved with Psi Beta on the national level. The award challenges chapters to engage in activities reflecting Psi Beta’s four-pronged mission of leadership, scholarship, community service and research.

The SMC Psi Beta chapter, chartered on September 1, 1988, is under the direction of Dr. Mary Jane Farmer, professor of psychology. She is assisted by Pete Aylor, psychology professor and Director of SMC’s Counseling Center and Sue Onken, college counselor. Membership to Psi Beta is by invitation only. To be considered, students must have at least 12 college credits, earn a B or higher in PSYC 101, maintain a 3.25 GPA and be of good moral character. To date, there have been 404 SMC students who have achieved life-time membership to Psi Beta.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, SMC’s Psi Beta seminars boasted attendance of over one hundred students per event. The seminar “O daddy, where are you?” focused on fatherhood and the ills of society. The speaker discussed the importance of a stable home environment led by a father and related this to the social maladies (ex: teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, etc.) in our society. “The Ugly Face of Domestic Violence” seminar was feature in a Spartanburg Herald Journal newspaper article published in the October 18, 2013 edition. A third fall seminar focused on “Suicide: Is it an Option?”

In the spring, Psi Beta presented a seminar on “Human Trafficking & Sex Slavery.” Local WSPA Channel 7 television attended and reported on the seminar during their evening news broadcasts. Other seminars included “Cyberbullying and Sexting;” and on April 10th, 2014 a symposium celebrating SMC students and their outstanding scholarly work in various academic disciplines, “Viva Academia: Let’s Celebrate Academics,” was hosted. Students featured also presented in the Tenth Annual SC Upstate Research Symposium.

Psi Beta conducted a Mobile Mentors Program, where alongside SMC Psychology students, they traveled to area middle schools to talk about college and motivate their younger counterparts to persevere and be ambitious in order to not only reach but ultimately finish college. Psi Beta also presented a well-received, inner-active seminar on bullying to middle school students, presenting not only the facts but also their own personal experiences.

Community Service 2014

Class of 2016 moves in on Friday, August 15 & out into the community on Saturday, August 16

Spartanburg Methodist College, a higher education institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church for over 104 years, is South Carolina’s only private, residential college exclusively for freshmen and sophomore students. That fact might surprise some, but for others, it is the sole reason they choose the small, close-knit community of students, faculty and staff which is SMC.

The exclusivity means SMC’s class of 2016, composed of over 500+ incoming freshman, are immediately immersed into a values-oriented, student-centered atmosphere in the Christian tradition that encourages academic excellence, intellectual exploration, social awareness, and character development within the liberal arts tradition. The student-faculty ratio of 19:1 allows students to know professors personally and immediately engage in the classroom.

For many students, figuring out what they want to study in college (and what they want do for the rest of their lives!) is difficult. SMC provides the time and support freshman and sophomore students need to sort through their many options; and with one of the most comprehensive career mentoring and field of study placement programs around, nearly every student that graduates goes on to a four-year institution, thanks to transfer agreements with over 200 colleges and universities.

SMC welcomes over 73% of students with 3.0 or higher GPA’s, and rewards them with SMC Scholar financial packages. In fact, SMC financial aid packages, including over $14 million in scholarships awarded each year, help 96% of SMC students pay for all or part of their books, housing and tuition, which is less than 75% of the other private schools in South Carolina.

As part of the UMC connection, SMC strives to develop a values-oriented atmosphere where students can develop a sensitivity to the needs of others. Each year, on the first full day that freshman are on the SMC campus, they are sent out into the Spartanburg community to help churches, schools, and non-profit agencies with landscaping, cleaning and organizing, feeding the hungry, working with the elderly, and easing the plight of the homeless. SMC’s 2014 Freshman Day of Service will be held on Saturday, August 16th and over 500 freshmen students accompanied by SMC faculty and staff, will disperse into the community impacting the following 22 Spartanburg sites:

Spartanburg Soup Kitchen, SPACE, Hatcher Gardens, Camp Mary Elizabeth,
Reidville Road UMC, Middle Tyger Community Center, Hollywild Animal Park,
Hope Remains Youth Ranch, Hub City Empty Bowls @ Spartanburg Art
Museum/Chapman Cultural Center, Mobile Meals, Christmas in Action, Alzheimer’s
Assoc., Glendale Outdoor Leadership School, McCracken Middle School,
Cannons Campground UMC, The Waterford at Dillon Pointe,
Hub City Farmers’ Market, Regional Hospice Home, Miracle Hill Thrift Store,
Fuller Center @ Arcadia UMC, Aldersgate UMC, and St. James UMC Playground.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, Candice Y. Sloan, SMC Chaplin, proudly reported that SMC students, faculty and staff provided over 6,008 hours of volunteer labor to the community. SMC…doing all the good they can, by all the means they can, in all the ways they can, in all the places they can, at all the times they can, to all the people they can.

Kelsie Rhodes

Local SAIYL graduate to attend SMC

Spartanburg Methodist College will be the beneficiary of a locally trained leader this coming fall. Kelsie Rhodes, a 2014 graduate of James F. Byrnes High School, will be an incoming freshman at SMC. Rhodes is a former participant of the Spartanburg Academy for Innovative Youth Leadership (SAIYL) program.

The SAIYL program was established four years ago as a leadership program for rising sophomores in Spartanburg County schools. The City of Spartanburg program is designed to offer high school students the opportunity to learn essential leadership skills, understand the workings of local government and become purposefully engaged in community service. The program is now available to rising 9th graders also and this past summer, the City partnered with District 7 schools.

Over the course of the intensive 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, six-week program, students focus on different aspects of leadership and teambuilding; explore opportunities for personal career tracks; gain an understanding of local government organizations and their specific duties, including the relationships among local, county, and state governments; and are exposed to critical life skills issues and issues in general that affect the community of Spartanburg and South Carolina as a whole.
According to Mitch Kennedy, City of Spartanburg’s Director of Community Services, whose department oversees SAIYL programming, “SAIYL provides a hands-on approach to leadership training. Students are exposed to and develop leadership skills demanded by an increasingly globalized world. Rather than reading about leadership, SAIYL students are engaged in a problem and project-based learning environment that encourages the development and appreciation of leadership skills. The City hopes to instill and foster positive attitudes and develop internationally-minded, locally-engaged young leaders.”

At the completion of the six week leadership program, SAIYL students receive an IPAD and a $1,000 scholarship for college, which becomes available upon graduation from high school and enrollment in college. Rhodes, the daughter of Hilton Hunter and Stephanie Rhodes, will be studying psychology at SMC.

Turning Point: The American Revolution in the Spartan District by Katherine Cann and George Fields Jr.

Hub City is throwing a launch party Thursday, October 2 at 7 pm at the Hub City Bookshop for its fifth title of 2014, Turning Point: The American Revolution in the Spartan District by Katherine Cann and George Fields Jr.

About the book

The British Army turned south in 1779, expecting to sweep through the region with the help of their Tory allies, setting the stage for victory in the American war for independence. Upon entering the Old Spartan District in northwest South Carolina, however, they ran up against tenacious opposition from locals and their military leaders. In a series of small skirmishes, the southern Patriots gained confidence and valuable combat experience that led to surprising victories at Kings Mountain and Cowpens, ultimately pushing the British back north toward surrender.

In Turning Point: The American Revolution in the Spartan District, historian Katherine Cann tells the compelling story of how inexperienced backcountry militiamen in the Old Spartan District bottled up the British and learned how to defeat a seasoned foe. George D. Fields Jr., a leading military heritage preservationist, provides color commentary as Fields’ Notes throughout, capturing both the emotion and the commotion of the time.

As a bonus, there’s a handy guide to the Spartanburg Revolutionary War Trail, a driving tour of twelve spots in the Spartan District that were central to the American victory.

Full of drama and memorable heroes, Turning Point is an important and accessible volume about a key moment in our nation’s struggle for freedom.

 

Kathy-Cann August 2014Katherine Cann is professor of history and chair of the social science department at Spartanburg Methodist College. She is a graduate of Lander University and holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina (MA in History) and the University of South Carolina (PhD in History). Dr. Cann is the author of Common Ties: A History of Textile Industrial Institute, Spartanburg Junior College, and Spartanburg Methodist College published by Hub City Press.

Dr_George-Fields - August 2014George Fields is a retired United Methodist minister who served as a pastor, an Army Chaplain rising to rank of Brigadier General, and president of Spartanburg Methodist College. He spends his retirement years researching and preserving Revolutionary War battlefields in South Carolina. He provided leadership in preserving twelve sites, serving as the Military Heritage Director of Palmetto Conservation Foundation.

Mary Alice Monroe 2014

NY Times Bestselling Author Mary Alice Monroe to headline SMC’s 2014 Convocation

Spartanburg Methodist College will mark the official start of the 2014-2015 academic year with its annual convocation ceremony to be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday September 10. The program’s keynote address, referred to by SMC President Dr. Colleen Perry Keith “as a celebration to welcome our new students to the college and gets the campus ready to move into a successful academic year” will be delivered by none other than New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe.

Monroe, author of sixteen novels and two children’s books, writes richly textured books that delve into the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the parallels between the land and life. A frequent on the New York Times, USA Today and SIBA lists, she has received numerous awards, including the Readers’ Choice, the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing and was featured at the National Festival of the Book. The Butterfly’s Daughter won the International Book Award for Green Fiction. Monroe also received the RT Bookclub Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year.

Monroe’s latest work, The Summer Wind, a New York Times bestseller, is the second installation in her the successful trilogy that calls attention to South Carolina’s Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in peril. It’s not unusual for an animal to be mixed among the cast of characters in a Mary Alice Monroe novel. It’s become part of her trademark—captivating readers’ hearts with memorable characters and at the same time awakening people to an important environmental issue. Monroe, who lives with her family on a barrier island off Charleston, South Carolina, is an active conservationist and serves on the Board of the South Carolina Aquarium, The Leatherback Trust, and Charleston Volunteers for Literacy.

Described as the “canary in the coal mine,” her convictions give her a deeper sense of purpose and serve to add richness and meaning to her novels. “I wanted to write a novel about the dolphin because we connect with that knowing, beguiling smile,” Monroe stated, whose novels often focus on the connection between humans and nature. “But the impetus for me to write this series now is the hard fact that 48 to 52 percent of the wild dolphins in South Carolina and Florida are sick. Coupled with the morbillivirus striking along the coast, it’s an alarming situation.”

Monroe uses the plight of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin as the undercurrent in her Lowcountry Summer Trilogy, with the perilous life of one wild dolphin as the trilogy’s keystone. While Monroe’s novels are set against issues facing our physical landscape, her stories explore the emotional landscape of contemporary human and moral issues through her characters. “I’m a story teller. I don’t tell or teach as much as create a story world that establishes a meaningful relationship with nature to make readers aware through the power of story.”

In book one, her New York Times bestseller The Summer Girls, Monroe introduced readers to the complex relationships among three estranged half-sisters who return to the family’s historic home, “Sea Breeze,” before it is sold and their grandmother, “Mamaw” moves to a retirement community. The Summer Girls is a perfect beach read and anyone who enjoys such fine southern voices as Pat Conroy will add the talented Monroe to their list of favorites.

The Summer Wind is a much anticipated follow-up to The Summer Girls. Monroe draws readers back to the unspoiled beauty of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina for the second installment in an emotional trilogy about sisterhood, second chances, and lifelong bonds. The Summer’s End concludes the Lowcountry Summer Trilogy and is set for release in 2015. “My greatest hope is that readers become involved with my characters and enjoy a great story. Then, when they close the book, realize that they’ve learned a lot about this important sentinel species.”

The trilogy is timely. The morbillivirus that killed a record number of dolphins along the Mid-Atlantic coast last summer is spreading southward as dolphins migrate down the coast. This measles-like virus killed 1000 dolphins in 2013 from New York to Florida. More than 10,000 dolphins are thought to roam the Southeast, and the numbers in South Carolina-Georgia are estimated between 6,000 and 7,000.

Currently there is nothing that can be done to prevent the infection spreading or prevent animals that get infected from having severe clinical disease. Marine mammal scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Florida Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and nationwide are studying dolphins in Florida and South Carolina looking for signs of emerging diseases and heavy chemical body burdens that may be making the dolphins sick. Scientists also will test for diseases more common to people, but becoming more prominent in dolphins.

Dolphins are a sentinel species. “If dolphins are not doing well, it says something about what humans may be exposed to,” stated Dr. Pat Fair of NOAA. Monroe participated in the Charleston study with Dr. Fair on a floating “doctor’s clinic” that ran a battery of medical tests on dolphins. This is modus operandi for Monroe, who goes beyond academic research and interviews. She immerses herself in the subject by rolling up her sleeves as a volunteer to work shoulder-to-shoulder with professionals. For the Lowcountry Summer Trilogy (The Summer Girls, The Summer Wind, The Summer’s End), Dr. Fair served as a mentor for Monroe. Monroe also is a volunteer at the Dolphin Research Center in Florida and works with dolphin programs designed for special needs children and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Monroe’s efforts to re-connect human nature with the natural world resonate with her readers.
“Mary Alice Monroe has become the premier nature writer among southern novelists. In The Summer Girls she sings a song of praise to the bottlenose dolphins that bring so much joy to the men and women who gaze at the creeks and rivers of the lowcountry each evening. Like all her books, The Summer Girls is a call to arms.” — New York Times bestselling author Pat Conroy.

Leah Pruitt, Director of Alumni Relations, who secured Monroe for SMC’s upcoming convocation, shared “Mary Alice is a familiar voice to many in SC, and after September 10th she will be a familiar face to Spartanburg. Mary Alice found her true calling in environmental fiction when she moved to coastal South Carolina and was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Her experiences living in the midst of a habitat that is quickly changing give her a strong and important focus for her books. Our hope is that she will inspire our 800+ student body to find their true calling and strive to leave the world a better place no matter where they roam.”

For information, videos, podcasts, and more, go to www.maryalicemonroe.com and Facebook.

SMC Athletes of Distinction per NJCAA

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to announce the release of the NJCAA Athletes of Distinction Academic Student-Athlete award winners for 2013-2014.

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) serves as the national governing body for two-year college athletics in the United States and is the nation’s second-largest national intercollegiate sports organization (second to the NCAA). Each year nearly 60,000 student-athletes from 525 member colleges compete in 28 different sports.

The following eight SMC  sophomore student athletes were recognized with this honorable distinction:

 AutonLindsey Auton was awarded Exemplary Academic Achievement in the sport of Women’s Softball I. Auton maintained a 3.6 GPA. She is the daughter of Kathy Auton, resides in Morganton, NC and attended Freedom High School.

EubanksWilliam Eubanks was awarded the Exemplary Academic Achievement in the sport of Men’s Cross Country I. Eubanks maintained a 3.65 GPA. He is the son of Lisa and William Eubanks, resides in Lyman, SC and attended James F. Byrnes High School.

FarottoJenna Farotto was awarded Exemplary Academic Achievement in the sport of Women’s Volleyball I. Farotto maintained a 3.6 GPA. She is the daughter of Carter and Jimmy Farotto, resides in Greer, SC and attended Eastside High School.

GambrillSarah Gambrill was awarded the Exemplary Academic Achievement in the sport of Women’s Softball I. Gambrill maintained a 3.65 GPA. She is the daughter of Cherie and Milton Gambrill, resides in Charleston, SC and attended Fort Dorchester High School.

HugginsReagan Huggins was awarded the Superior Academic Achievement in the sport of Women’s Tennis I. Huggins maintained a 3.9 GPA. She is the daughter of Angela and John Huggins, resides in Pauline, SC and attended Spartanburg Christian Academy.

OliverAlexandria Oliver was awarded Exemplary Academic Achievement in the sport of Women’s Softball I. Oliver maintained a 3.65 GPA. She is the daughter of Kimberly and William Oliver, resides in Clemson, SC and attended DW Daniel High School.

CourtneyTutterowAlex Tutterow was awarded the Exemplary Academic Achievement in the sport of Women’s Soccer I. Tutterow maintained a 3.73 GPA. She is the daughter of Michelle and Mike Tutterow, resides in Boiling Springs, SC and attended Boiling Springs High School.

WheelerAeriel Wheeler was awarded the Superior Academic Achievement in the sport of Women’s Volleyball I. Wheeler maintained a 3.85 GPA. She is the daughter of Jaci Shuette, resides in Woodruff, SC and attended Woodruff High School.