Preserving Gullah Culture – Rag Quilting Workshop and Presentation on Monday, February 2

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to welcome Sharon Cooper-Murray to campus on Monday, February 2 for two separate events, a hand’s-on rag quilting workshop and a presentation on this lost art by the Community Rag Quilting Preservation Initiative.

According to elderly Gullah women from Wadmalaw and Johns Island, SC, the textile tradition of rag quilting began during the antebellum period when women used feed and grain sacks along with rag strips to make quilts for warmth during inclement weather.This art form was passed from generation to generation.   Today many of the elderly practitioners of rag quilting have passed away and others are no longer physically able to tie the knots required during the rag quilting process.

Today we are faced with the possibility of this Gullah folk art tradition of rag quilting being lost.

The Community Rag Quilting Preservation Initiative seeks to continue the transmission of folk art skills from generation to generation, to promote this indigenous textile tradition within the tourist industry and to facilitate a textile cottage industry of handmade crafts.

SMC will be hosting a hand’s-on rag quilting workshop in the Buchheit Board Room, located within the Vassey Information Technology Center, at 4 pm on Monday, February 2. The public is invited and the event is free of charge.

Later that same day, at 7 pm the college will welcome Sharon Cooper-Murray to the stage of Gibbs Auditorium, located in Ellis Hall, for a presentation on the Gullah folk art tradition and the Rag Quilting Preservation Initiative.  This event is open to the public, and also free of charge.

Cooper-Murray is a native of Lake City, South Carolina, and a Speech and Drama graduate of Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee. After graduating she traveled for a brief time trying decide where she what area to take up residence. It was then she was invited to Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina a small Sea Island southwest of Charleston and the home of the indigenous group known as the Gullah people. She was fascinated by their creole language and even more intrigued by their culture.

Cooper-Murray worked as an Educator for the Charleston County School District in the area of Remedial Reading. While teaching she was recruited by Rev. Dr. Willis T. Goodwin, founder of Rural Mission, Inc. an ecumenical/educational organization which provided community development programs for the Gullah people on the five sea islands known as the Gullah islands; James, Johns, Wadmalaw, Yonges and Edisto Island.   She served as the Development Officer responsible for fundraising and grant writing. The position afforded her the opportunity to work within Gullah community and that was the beginning of what became her lifelong passion for the Gullah culture.

By 1986 after years of research Cooper-Murray partnered with Frank L. Murray to established De Gullah Enna Pry, a heritage development organization designed to preserve, conserve and develop the Gullah Culture. Though the inclusion of the Gullah culture was very limited in the Hospitality/Tourism Industry she believed this rich and diverse culture would greatly enhance the lore of Charleston, S. C.  She wrote, directed and produced two theatrical productions, the 1992 “Don’t let um die Yah,” and the 1997 “Gullah, Rice and Cotton.” In 1993 she served as the Black History Coordinator at Middleton Place, the antebellum rice plantation founded in 1741, which immersed her in the lives of the West African slaves and the evolution of the Gullah Culture.

Today, Cooper-Murray is founder and President of Gullah Enna & E Sweet Pan & Ting, a manufacturing organization i.e. cottage industry specializing in Gullah fiber arts & crafts. The organizations philosophy and mission is to increase awareness of the Gullah culture and facilitate understanding of their way of life; language, music, arts and crafts.

Both events, the 4 pm workshop and the 7 pm presentation, are open to community and are free of charge.  For additional information, please contact Yvonne Harper, or 864-266-7409.


Miss SMC 2015

Ashley Rogers Crowned Miss Spartanburg Methodist College

Miss Ashley Rogers from Easley, SC was crowned Miss Spartanburg Methodist College on Saturday, January 24, 2015 during the annual pageant held in Gibbs Auditorium.   Rogers’ talent was in vocal performance, singing How Great Thou Art.  Rogers, a sophomore, who is pursuing an Associate in Arts degree with the major of elementary education, is the daughter of David and Kelley Rogers.

Seven additional SMC students participated in the Saturday night event, including:

Alyssa Queen, daughter of Phillip and Lisa Queen, of York, SC.  Queen, a freshman, is pursuing an Associate in Arts degree with the major of psychology;

Briauna Foster, daughter of Anita Johnson and Brian Foster, of Spartanburg.  Foster, a freshman, is pursuing an Associate in Arts degree with the major of neonatal nursing;

Brittany Moore, daughter of Robbie and Sharon Moore, of Union, SC.  Moore, a sophomore, is pursuing an Associate in Science degree with the major of physical therapy;

Karina Vega, daughter of Josefina Martinez and Juan Vega, of Gaffney, SC.  Vega, a freshman, is pursuing an Associate in Arts degree;

Alisha Morehart, daughter of Tamara Smith-Morehart and Albert Morehart of Greer, SC.  Morehart, a sophomore, is pursuing an Associate in Arts degree with the major of psychology;

Rebeca Zuniga, daughter of Norma Duron and Tito Zuniga of Goose Creek, SC.  Zuniga, a freshman, is pursuing an Associate in Business degree; and

Angelica Johnson, daughter of Melissa and Keith Johnson of North Augusta, SC.  Johnson, a sophomore, is pursuing an Associate in Arts with the major of early childhood education.

Brittany MooreBrittany Moore, earned the title of first runner up and Alisha MorehartAlisha Morehart was named second runner up. Overall evening gown honors went to Brittany Moore, who also took home the community support award.  Overall talent was awarded to Alisha MorehartKarina VegaKarina Vega was named most photogenic.

The 2015 pageant, which was emceed by Trey Arrington, Executive Director of IT at SMC, welcomed back several former Miss SMC’s and SMC May Queens, including Mrs. Edna Grainger Guthrie, May Queen 1949; Mrs. Peggy Petty Mullinax, May Queen 1960, Mrs. Jo Ann Hill Waddell, May Queen 1962, Mrs. Sandra Irby Hawkins, Miss SMC 1979, Mrs. Sonya Gaines Malone, Miss SMC 1991, Mrs. Ginger West Mackey, Miss SMC 1998, Miss Kayla Jackson, Miss SMC 2011, Miss Nacolle Williamson, Miss SMC 2012, Miss Bonnie Walls, Miss SMC 2013 and Miss Logan Phillips, Miss SMC 2014.

Rogers’ platform for her reign will be mentoring young women to have self-esteem and confidence. Rogers will represent Spartanburg Methodist College this summer in the Miss South Carolina pageant (preliminaries Tuesday, June 23 through Thursday, June 25, with the final night of competition to be held on Saturday, June 27) at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, SC.

The Shroud of Turin

SMC to host The Day the Shroud Foiled Hitler

Could an ancient linen cloth be the actual burial shroud of Jesus?  Could the Shroud of Turin be a document of the crucifixion?  Is that even possible? Or is it nothing more than a medieval hoax?  For hundreds of years this ancient linen cloth etched with the faint image of a crucified man has mystified millions.  It continues to speak from centuries past challenging us to unlock its many secrets.  Nearly every scientific regimen has been employed to unravel the mystery and yet it remains unsolved.

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to host a special presentation “The Day the Shroud Foiled Hitler” by Russ Breault on Thursday, January 29th at 7:00 pm in the Gibbs Auditorium, located in Ellis Hall.Admission is free of charge and the public is invited to attend and hear this incredible untold story.

Breault, is one of the world’s leading experts on the Shroud and has captivated audiences coast to coast and seen in numerous documentaries including The History Channel, Discovery and CBS.  “The Day the Shroud Foiled Hitler” is a dramatic presentation that examines how Adolph Hitler was obsessed with finding or stealing religious artifacts.  Hitler believed they would enhance his power and ability to conquer the world and even tried to steal the Shroud!

Breault has been researching and lecturing on The Shroud of Turin for over 30 years. His highly acclaimed presentation known as Shroud Encounter makes use of over 200 superb images and unfolds like a CSI investigation. The audience is intrigued as each clue is revealed and becomes another piece of a grand puzzle as the mystery of the Shroud is explored. Carefully designed to be educational and entertaining, he delivers a dynamic, fast-paced experience.

Russ Breault has presented to hundreds of audiences from New York to Hawaii. College and university presentations include Duke, Johns Hopkins, Penn State, Cal State and many others.

He has appeared in several nationally televised documentaries includingMysteries of the Ancient World on CBS.  Most recently, he appeared in the highly acclaimed, The Real Face of Jesus? —A two-hour documentary on The History Channel. Breault was both advisor and a primary expert for this groundbreaking program. He was interviewed last year for Good Morning America and World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer to discuss the newest research. He hosted and produced 12 episodes of The Shroud Report, a half-hour interview show with the world’s leading experts.  He has participated in over ten international research symposiums since 1981 and all three recent public exhibitions in Turin, Italy in 1998, 2000 and 2010. He is a long-time member of the Shroud Science Group, an international consortium of scientists and scholars dedicated to further research.  Breault is the president and founder of the Shroud of Turin Education Project Inc., the mission of which is to: “Advance the knowledge of the shroud to a new generation.” 





SAM presentation to SMC Faculty

Dr. StockwellDr. John Stockwell, Executive Director of SAM (Spartanburg Academic Movement)  shared an overview of SAM with SMC’s faculty, staff and administrators on Monday, January 12, 2015. Dr. Stockwell served as chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate located in Spartanburg County; following service in other higher education positions in California, Indiana, New York, and Wisconsin.  He has served in numerous volunteer civic capacities in the County including the founding board chair of the Spartanburg Chapter of the Urban League of the Upstate; board member and chair of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, the Children’s Services Alliances, and the College Hub; and is currently a trustee of the Spartanburg County Foundation.

SAM is an “all-in partnership of schools and colleges, businesses, governments, foundations, faith communities and individuals across Spartanburg County in pursuit of high levels of educational achievement. Collectively, SAM’s mission is to measure academic accomplishment that matters, cradle to career; set achievement targets that escalate annually; align networks in pursuit of these targets; and, report progress with persistent regularity.

SAM, a commitment shared by educators, leaders and communities across Spartanburg County that our children will grow into well-educated, independent adult, is also a commitment to increase the importance we place on academic achievement for every child, from cradle to career and it’s a commitment to assure that our young people gain the education required for life and work in an economy that requires specialized knowledge to be productive. It is a sustaining commitment across our urban and rural county of 288,000 people to link the numerous resources we already have in place: our schools, colleges, and non-profit educational support partners.  This is a commitment to focus their unique missions on persistent and targeted gains in academic achievement at every stage of learning.  This commitment will do the most to advance our indicators of community well-being:  civic and public health, social and natural environments, and economic development.

For more information, visit


Personal Injury

SMC to offer Personal Injury and the Law of Torts Course

Spartanburg Methodist College announced today that they will be offering a Personal Injury and the Law of Torts for Paralegals course in the Spring I, 2015 term of their Paralegal Certificate Program, beginning on Tuesday evenings, February 24.

The 10-week course will present fundamental concepts of tort law with emphasis on the paralegal’s role, from the initial client meeting to the litigation process during trial and/or settlement. Topics will include intentional torts, negligence, and strict liability.  Hypothetical scenarios will demonstrate how abstract tort law pertains to real life accidents and injuries and provide students with opportunities to apply key concepts to the types of cases they will encounter on the job. Students will also benefit from the course’s accompanying textbook which includes an introduction to medical terms, basic anatomy, common prescription drug types, and medical tests that may be encountered when reviewing medical records.

“We are pleased to have local attorney Ryan F. McCarty with the Burts Turner & Rhodes law firm join us as the instructor for this much anticipated course,” shared Yvonne Harper, Director of the SMC Paralegal Certificate Program. McCarty, originally from Dayton, Ohio, graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, earning a B.A. in Political Science.   While at The Citadel, McCarty was a member of the Cadre, Dean’s List, Pi Sigma Alpha National Honor Society, Commandant’s List and President’s List for both academic and military achievement.  Following The Citadel, he graduated from the University of Dayton School of Law, where he was the recipient of the President’s Scholarship.

McCarty began working as an Assistant Solicitor in the Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office under Solicitor Trey Gowdy. During his six year tenure he prosecuted hundreds of cases including DUI, Forgery, Burglary, Larceny, Financial Transaction Card Fraud and Theft, Drug Trafficking, Drug Distribution and PWID, Simple Possession, Assault and Battery and Murder.  In January of 2012, he became an associate of Burts Turner & Rhodes and currently practices in the areas of Criminal  Law (General Sessions and Magistrate Court Offenses); Family Law; Divorce; Child Custody; Civil Litigation; Contracts; Probate Law; Personal Injury; Workers’ Compensation; Automobile Accidents and Injuries; Wrongful Death and Survival Actions; Estate Litigation; and Wills.

Since 1997, the SMC Paralegal Certificate Evening Program has been helping adult students attain the necessary skills to advance their careers in the legal field. Consisting of 14 ten-week courses, the program is designed for beginning as well as advanced legal workers, and provides personalized academic advisement. Instruction is practice-oriented and relates to those areas of the law in which paralegals are most in demand. Faculty, composed of local judges, attorneys and paralegals, provide networking opportunities and offer real-world experience with practical application. Classes are offered on Tuesday and Thursday evenings beginning at 5:30 p.m. For additional information or to register for the course, visit contact or call 864-266-7409.