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SMC Faculty and Staff Recognized during Annual Service Recognition and Awards Luncheon

Spartanburg Methodist College recently recognized dedicated faculty and  staff at their annual service and awards luncheon. Twenty-one employees have 340 years of combined service to SMC!

Employees were recognized for 5-year increments of service, including Megan Aiello, Head Volleyball Coach; Harry Bayne, Professor of English and Chairperson of the Division of English; Jeff Brookman, Head Men’s Basketball Coach; Amanda Cheek, Library Assistant; Sue Onken, Counselor; David Revan, Adjunct Professor of English; Chris Roberson, Financial Aid Counselor; Jonathan Sedberry, Professor of English; Kelly Tillinghast, Admissions Counselor; and Paula Williams, Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Students, who celebrated five years with SMC. Jessica Harwood, Professor of Biology and Chairperson of the Division of Science and Health, was recognized for 10 years of service. Sherry Collins, Athletic Event and Budget Manager, and Johnny Worthy, Maintenance Technician, were recognized for 15 years of service. Steven Jeter, Tutor Coordinator for Student Support Services, and Dan Kenneally, Director of Soccer and Head Women’s Soccer Coach, celebrated 20 years of service; Jill Johnson, Registrar, and Barry Ward, Professor of Health and Physical Education, were recognized for their 30 years of service; Sharon Porter, Director of Student Support Services, and Mike Bowers, Director of Church Funding, celebrated 35 years of service and Harry Barnett, Senior Maintenance Technician, and David Gibson, Professor of Mathematics, were recognized for their unwavering 40 years of service to the College.

Janet Wilson, Professor of Mathematics and Chairperson of the Division of Business, Math, and Computer Science, was honored for her 37 years in the classroom that spanned the evolution from slide rulers to digital technology. Wilson is retiring from full-time responsibilities at SMC; but, she will return as an adjunct professor of mathematics.

Teresa Ferguson, Chief of Campus Safety, was awarded the J.L. Geddis Award for outstanding service to the College.  Geddis served admirably at SMC for 41 years, beginning in 1964 as a student at Spartanburg Junior College (present day SMC) and held many areas of responsibility during his 41 years here at SJC and SMC including: Business Manager, VP for Business Affairs, Faculty Member—teaching Accounting and Economics, and Men’s Golf Coach for 5 years. In 2007 the college established the J. L. Geddis Award to honor an outstanding SMC staff member each year.

Ferguson has been the Chief of Campus Safety for eight years and serves as one of only a few female chiefs in the State of South Carolina.  She has a M. S. degree in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies from Limestone College. She has 20 years of  experience in law enforcement; six years as a School Resource Officer in a local public school district, and five years as a Community Patrol Officer.  Chief Ferguson is a graduate of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, is certified as a Class I Law Enforcement Officer, and is a State Constable.  In addition, she has extensive in-service training, is certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy including as a Basic Instructor, and FTO Manager and has received advanced certification as a School Resource Officer.  She also is an adjunct instructor of the Freshman Year Experience at Spartanburg Methodist College. She is secretary and member of the Spartanburg County Police Chiefs Association.

The Dr. James S. Barrett Award was presented by his son, Rob Barrett, partner with the Holcombe Bomar, P.A. law firm.  The annual award is presented each year to recognize an SMC member who demonstrates exemplary service to and support of the Department of Institutional Advancement. Dr. Barrett served as president of SMC for 10 years, and his son shared that he could think of no honor that would please his father more than having this award presented in his name. “My dad would say about the recipient of this award that they ‘get it’; they understand that the true mission of SMC calls people to service that goes above and beyond. Our 2015 recipient certainly exemplifies that spirit and her title is certainly indicative of the vast amount of turf that she covers here at SMC. I think family friend Fletcher Thompson, local attorney and a very proud alumnus of SMC summed it all up very well when he said, ‘I have never known anyone who could do more things at the same time – and do them all well – than Yvonne Harper.’”  Harper earned a double major with a Bachelor of Arts in Business/Merchandising and Paralegal/Pre-Law Studies from Virginia Intermont College. She has served as Public Information Director for SMC since 2013, and as the College’s Director of the Paralegal Certificate Evening Program since 2004. Harper previously served the Upstate business community for 14 years as a program manager with the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce.

 

Alumni logo

SMC Recognizes Alumni with Awards

Spartanburg Methodist College hosted their annual Homecoming Alumni Weekend November 14th and 15th. The Class of 1964 celebrated their 50th reunion, as did several members from the Class of 1974, who were celebrating their 40th reunion. Each year, the Alumni Association honors and recognizes certain individuals who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and support of Spartanburg Methodist College. This year’s recipients included:

goodParker Drake Anderson, who was recognized as the 2014 Young Alumnae of the Year by Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, President of SMC. Anderson, class of 2010, is originally from Chesterfield, SC. According to Leah Pruitt, Director of Alumni Relations for SMC, “Parker chose to attend SMC because of a wrestling scholarship and he considers it one of the best decisions he ever made.”
After graduating from SMC, he attended USC Upstate, earning a BA in Mass Communications and worked as a photographer at a television station in Augusta, GA before coming back to the Upstate. He currently works as a new photojournalist with WYFF-TV, but recently accepted a position at KSTP-TV in Minneapolis as a sports photojournalist where he will be covering the twin cities’ four professional teams as well as the University of Minnesota. “You could say this is somewhat of a dream job where Parker will be traveling around the country with the pro teams, covering sports 24/7,” shared Keith.

Steve Denton, SMC alumThe 2014 Alumnus of the Year Award went to Stephen Denton, Class of 1984. A lifelong Spartanburg resident, Denton graduated from Spartanburg High School, studied criminal justice at SMC, earning his Associates Degree, and then a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina Upstate. Denton was with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department for nearly two decades, serving as a narcotics and vice squad officer and homicide investigator before retiring as captain of the investigation division, where he supervised over 100 detectives. At the age of 43, Denton enrolled in the Charleston School of Law, receiving his Juris Doctor in 2010. After being admitted to the SC State Bar that same year, he ventured to the other side of the courtroom, and now represents defendants. Denton practiced law on his own for a year before joining the law firm of Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., where he practices criminal law – his dream job. When not working 60-hour weeks, Denton enjoys riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle and spending time with his wife, Leigh and their two daughters.

Mookie Wilson, SMC alumWilliam Wilson, better known as Mookie Wilson was honored with the SMC Distinguished Service Award which is given each year to highlight the exemplary leadership that its recipient has given in advancing the mission of the institution. The award recognizes long-term loyalty demonstrated by a history of support to the College and continued interest and participation in SMC as well as community involvement. After retiring from Major League Baseball, Mookie, class of 1976, made helping and inspiring people his focus. He now serves as a minister, author, motivational speaker and mentor. Recently, he traveled to SMC to spend time with students and also delivered the keynote address at SMC’s Founders Day celebration.

Pruitt commented “SMC congratulates these award winners, and we wish each continued success in their futures. They make us proud to call them family.”

SMC Asks You to Ponder

Ask any grade school child and they will tell you Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1621 when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians shared a fall harvest. Some might even tell you that in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be held each year in November, and that today in the United States, Thanksgiving is held on the fourth Thursday in November.

The very word “Thanksgiving” conjures up images of brilliant orange, crimson and purple leaves falling from trees; visiting family and friends; watching football and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, either in person or on television; and without question – food. Turkey dinners with all of the holiday trimmings; including pies and stuffing, made for generations – one particular way.

Yet, Thanksgiving Day is more than a day of fond memories, parades, football and dinners. It is a day to remind us of the blessings, treasures and wonderful family and friends in our lives. Most will spend a few moments before dinner to give thanks, but for many the true meaning of Thanksgiving ends at the dinner table.

The meaning of Thanksgiving however, should not end after a few seconds of meditation or a prayer, it has broader significance. It is a reminder to slow down and take an assessment of our lives. “Thanks” – “giving” is a call to action in both thought and deed. It is a time for us to see, really see, and appreciate the abundance in our lives. This recognition allows us to express our gratitude and prompts us to share such blessings of wealth, time and talents with others.

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, as you sit down to dinner, spend a few moments giving thanks and pausing to reflect on what actions you can take in the next year to fully express and experience the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Can you free-up one hour each week and share that time with someone in need? Can you increase your charitable monetary giving? The very act of giving of your time and talent acknowledges that there is abundance in your life.

Spartanburg Methodist College prays this Thanksgiving Day you experience a new perspective on the true abundance of your life!

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Congratulations to the 2014 Homecoming Court.

Congratulations to the following students who were voted by their peers to the 2014 Homecoming Court. A 2nd vote will take place next week to determine the King and Queen. The court will be presented and the king and queen crowned on Saturday, November 15th between the two basketball games!

King Nominees and the clubs/groups that nominated them:
Jesse Herrera – Pioneer Peers
Travis Goodjoin – POPS Programming Board
Jason Smith – Kappa Sigma Alpha
Thomas Sparks – SGA
Kendall Witt – Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Queen Nominees and the clubs/groups that nominated them:
Brookelyn Brockelbank – SGA
Amber Johnson – Volleyball
Ashley Rogers – Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Chelsea Seibles – Women’s Basketball
Brianna Wright – POPS Programming Board

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.

Methodist Cross and mission

Life After School Summit helps dreams come true

An event organized by a United Methodist Church in Taylors, S.C., shows the positive influence churches can have in encouraging young people to continue their education. More than 150 youth and family members attended the Life After School Summit at St. Mark UMC in Taylors, S.C., on May 17, 2014, for presentations and exhibits by representatives from colleges and universities, the armed forces and other organizations.

For the past decade, St. Mark has sponsored an annual education program about scholarships and college testing requirements typically attended by 7-12 students and their family members from the congregation. This year, however, the program was opened to anyone in the community, and about 125 students and 45-50 parents participated, including several busloads of participants from other churches. “One of the most powerful things we had was nine of our [church’s] college students, ranging from freshmen to first year out of college, who were on a student-only panel,” said church member Derek McGowan, a corporate campus relations manager and former U.S. Air Force recruiter who chaired the church’s program committee. “They opened up and talked about anything those students needed to know about going to college. That received the highest marks.”

Representatives from seven colleges and universities, the military and other organizations were present for workshops, counseling sessions and other presentations. More than $280,000 in scholarships were offered to students attending the event. Melanie Overton, assistant general secretary for Schools, Colleges and Universities at the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry, said the St. Mark event is a great example of how churches can help high school students. “The church has a role to play in mentoring students,” Overton said. “Some students need the help of a community to explore their options and prepare themselves to make the best possible decision about their future.” Churches are a part of young people’s lives long before they begin thinking about college, Overton said. “Churches are there when kids are in middle school and high school, and they are the ones who can help nurture their aspirations and help them think about financial planning and those kinds of things,” Overton said.

Six workshops ran simultaneously in church classrooms on topics such as job enrichment opportunities, military careers and parenting first-year college students. A representative of the Workforce Development Agency in nearby Greenville talked about summer jobs for students. A panel of parents discussed how to help students get through their first semester. Other speakers talked about how to fill out job applications and how to be successful in interviews.  One standing-room-only session featured college coaches and players who spoke about NCAA rules and requirements. “A lot of students were thinking how easy it is to be on scholarship and go to college, so some of the high school coaches sent their football teams to the meeting,” McGowan said.

“We didn’t want to exclude anyone in our congregation by focusing on academia only. That’s why we called it the Life After School Summit,” McGowan said. “Traditionally, churches have a college program or something that’s college-focused, [and] there is nothing there for people who want to go to technical colleges, two-year schools, trade schools or the military. So adding that component made it a much more successful program because those rooms were filled, as well.”

Retired teachers and educators in St. Mark’s congregation served as part of the support team for the summit, and 7th and 8th grade students wore “Ask Me” t-shirts and helped participants find their sessions. The church’s hospitality committee provided free lunch to everyone attending.

One college participating was Spartanburg Methodist College, a two-year liberal arts institution in nearby Spartanburg, S.C., where more than half of its 800 students are the first in their families to attend college.

“A two-year school [like Spartanburg Methodist] is really a great place for people to start, especially if they are first-generation students, because of the one-on-one attention that our students receive,” said Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, president of the 103-year-old United Methodist-related college. She said because the college focuses on the first two years, faculty and staff really understand the challenges these first-generation college students face. “And we work to try to make those challenges manageable for them,” she added. Nationally, about 20 percent of students who start two-year colleges complete their four-year degree elsewhere, but that percentage at Spartanburg Methodist is more than four times greater, Keith said. “Our mean graduation rate for the last nine years is 41.3 percent for those who actually go for the full two years and meet all of the degree requirements to graduate,” she said. But Keith said 82 percent of Spartanburg’s students either graduate or go on to pursue their education somewhere else.

Following on the summit’s success, McGowan said St. Mark is planning another educational event later this year.

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SMC’s Dr. Colleen Perry Keith to speak at Spartanburg High School’s Academic Excellence Awards Program

Spartanburg High School will hold their 2014 Academic Excellence Awards Program on Monday, March 31 at 7 p.m. in the Spartanburg High Gym.   Last year one hundred and seventy-seven students in 10th-12th grade were recognized for being National Merit Finalists/Semi-finalists, National Achievement Finalists/Semi-finalists, achieving a Perfect SAT/PSAT Score, Straight A’s, 4.12+ and 4.50+ GPR, and for their selection to the Governor’s School (Academics).

The SHS Academic Awards Program, established in 1990, honors students who have excelled in a variety of academic pursuits and in addition to recognition, the event allows students to have an opportunity to hear distinguished speakers who have excelled in their careers.  Prior speakers have included such personalities as Bruce Littlejohn, Chief Justice (Retired) South Carolina Supreme Court; Richard W. Riley, Former US Secretary of Education, Jean Toal, Associate Justice SC Supreme Court, George Dean Johnson, Jr., the Honorable Trey Gowdy, US House of Representatives, as well as many other community and state leaders.

The 2014 address will be provided by Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, who has served as President of Spartanburg Methodist College since July, 2009.  Her talk will challenge those in attendance to pay attention to the historical time they are in, and bring their talents to bear to offer solutions to issues as each chooses what career path they want to follow.

A native of northern New York, Keith has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, in capacities including student service roles, program development, teaching, fund raising, and administration. Dr. Keith earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University, a Master of Education degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from State University of New York, University Center at Binghamton.

Under Dr. Keith’s leadership, SMC successfully completed a $15 million capital campaign ahead of schedule; built an $11 million academic building; launched two new academic degree programs; implemented new bridge programs and articulation agreement with senior institutions; led efforts resulting in a 249% increase in annual donor gifts and pledges; energized marketing efforts resulting in the doubling of annual prospective student inquiries from 3,000 to nearly 6,000; and received national recognition for SMC service initiatives involving faculty, staff and students. 

Keith, an active presenter and panelist, is the current President of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church, and a current member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, College and University Personnel Association, and the Association of Governing Boards.  She serves on the Advisory Board, South Carolina Women in Higher Education (partner organization of The American Council of Education’s Office of Women in Higher Education); is the 2013-14 Secretary of the South Carolina Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission; and is a member of the Executive Committee of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, in addition to serving on their President’s Council and Finance Committee.

She currently is a member of the Diversity Leaders Initiative Advisory Committee for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine;  Board of Directors, Mary Black Foundation; Board of Directors, Greer Educational Foundation; Board of Directors, Hospice Division, Spartanburg Regional Hospital Foundation; Board of Directors, The Arts Partnership, Spartanburg, SC, serving on both the Financial Policies and Governance Committees; Board of Directors, College Town Inc., Spartanburg, SC; Board of Directors, Habitat for Humanity; and is a member and lector of The Roman Catholic Church of Jesus Our Risen Savior.

In January, Dr. Keith began a two-year term as Chair of the Board of Directors, for the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, where she also serves on the Public Affairs Committee and Workforce Education Committee.

Curry talk

SMC to host Georgia author Carolyn Curry

Spartanburg Methodist College will host author Carolyn Curry for a talk and book signing on Tuesday, March 25th from 3 to 4 p.m. in the SMC Davis Mission Chapel.  Curry’s “Suffer and Grow Strong, The Life of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1834–1907,” is destined to become a classic in women’s studies, and is as enjoyable as it is educational.

Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas’s journals have long been an indispensable source for anyone seeking to understand the nineteenth-century South and Southern white women’s experiences,” says Michele Gillespie, Presidential Professor of History at Wake Forest University. “Yet surprisingly, Thomas has never been the subject of a full-length biography. Carolyn Curry’s welcome new book carefully documents Thomas’s life story and puts her journals into an intriguingly fresh context.”

Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas was an intelligent, spirited woman born in 1834 to one of the wealthiest families in Georgia. At the age of fourteen she began and kept a diary for forty-one years. These diaries of her life before, during, and after the Civil War filled thirteen hand-written volumes with 450,000 words. In the early years she described her life of leisure and recorded the books she read. Her father recognized her love of learning and sent her to the first college for women in America, Wesleyan Female College in Macon, Georgia. After college graduation in 1851, she was a “gay young girl of fashion” who met and married her Princeton-educated husband in 1852.  However, with the coming of the Civil War and its aftermath, her life changed forever.

Thomas experienced loss of wealth, bankruptcy, the death of loved ones, serious illness, and devastating family strife. She gave birth to ten children and saw four of them die. But, through it all, she kept pouring thoughts into her diary. Thomas examined what was happening, asked questions, and strived to find ways to improve her family’s dire economic straits. She started a school in her home and later ran a boarding house out of the old family mansion.

In 1893, Thomas left Augusta and moved to Atlanta where she became active in many women’s organizations. She found comfort in her work with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Suffrage Movement. She began producing articles for newspapers, keeping them in scrapbooks that tell the story of her life after she quit keeping a diary. In 1899 she was elected president of the Georgia Woman Suffrage Association. Because of her own losses, Thomas was sensitive to the well-being of other women. As she said, she had “suffered and grown strong.” Her life is an amazing story of survival and transformation that speaks to women in our own time.

History has been a great silencer of women, but on Tuesday, March 25th SMC invites you to experience this masterfully researched and inspirational story of a remarkable Southern woman, written by a Southern woman, with women, like yourself, from around the Upstate at the 3 p.m. talk and book signing event.  The public is invited and admission is free of charge.

Carolyn Newton Curry holds a BA in English from Agnes Scott College and MA and PhD degrees in History from Georgia State University. She has taught at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta and The University of Kentucky. Curry is the founder and chair of Women Alone Together®, a non-profit foundation created to meet the needs of women who are alone in our culture. The well-being of women past and present has been her lifelong passion. Curry resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fleming and Keith

Converse/SMC Partnership Paves Way to Four-Year Degrees

Converse and Spartanburg Methodist College are partnering to streamline the college transfer process and help students complete their four-year degree. Presidents Betsy Fleming and Colleen Perry Keith signed an agreement to create The Converse Bridge Program, which guides students in selecting appropriate coursework at SMC to transfer into degree programs at Converse. The partnership aims to increase accessibility to four-year degrees, save students time and money over the course of their college career, and positively impact the education level of our community.

“Put simply, this is all about expanding access to a college education,” said President Fleming. “Converse is working on all fronts to ensure that our distinctive, high-quality educational experience is possible for talented young women from all backgrounds. This partnership guarantees that SMC students are best prepared to transition into Converse degree programs. It also demonstrates that Converse values transfer students’ contribution to our community and that we are committed to their success.”

As the only two-year, independent, residential college in South Carolina, SMC provides a nurturing and challenging environment that focuses on preparing students to continue liberal arts studies at four-year institutions. “Each year, several of our women graduates transfer to Converse to complete their baccalaureate degrees,” said President Keith. “It has always been a smooth transfer process but this agreement further strengthens that process and brings SMC and Converse into a closer relationship that will benefit our students even more. The fact that Converse is just across town from SMC makes this a very selfish agreement for me personally: it means I can still see our students after they leave us!”

The partnership involved an extensive study of Converse and SMC courses to align the requirements in a number of majors and map the appropriate coursework for transitioning into third-year studies at Converse. This information will be available via the Converse website for SMC students who plan to continue studies at Converse, and is meant to be a helpful planning tool for both SMC students and their advisors.

Colleagues Jeff Barker and Ann Bowles, Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs at Converse and SMC, are committed to making the transition process smooth for students. “Access and affordability are essential to student success in college and the new Converse Bridge Program will help make that possible for SMC students,” said Barker. “Our goal with this bridge program is a seamless transition from SMC to Converse that removes any potential academic or administrative stumbling blocks to earning a four-year degree on time.”

Bowles underscores SMC’s aim to not only provide the first two years of a baccalaureate degree, but also start students on a direct pathway to complete that degree. “Many students who come to college aren’t sure what that pathway looks like,” she said. “Bridge programs like the SMC-Converse connection enable students to see how they can accomplish their educational goals and assure them that they will find a welcoming higher learning community at the senior institution. That is a strong incentive to earn the four-year degree.”

One Student’s Journey of Determination, Vision, and Support

Stories like that of Laura Morales, who graduated as valedictorian from SMC last spring and is now a junior at Converse, demonstrate the value of partnerships like this best. Laura’s journey from SMC to Converse was marked by determination, vision, and critical support from many people along the way. A capable young woman with a bright future, she is similar to many whose dream of a high quality college education is seemingly beyond reach. Her story underscores the many ways two institutions can partner to strengthen their collective impact in our world, and her excitement about new possibilities through The Converse Bridge Program is palpable.

“Visiting Converse during high school was very inspiring – everything seemed to be full of life and I knew this is where I wanted to spend my college years,” Morales begins. “As I started to attend Converse events and make friends with Converse students, this only fueled my dream more. However, I knew my mom – as a single parent – could not afford a Converse education for me. It has been an arduous journey but I never gave up, and ultimately my determination to go to Converse got me here.

“My mom cleans houses, and two of her clients had SMC connections. Just three weeks before classes started in fall 2011, these women took me to SMC to talk with Ron Laffitte, the Dean of Students. He understood my situation and my dream of college, and we worked out a plan for me to attend SMC. My mom’s clients, who became and are still my mentors, also helped pay some of my expenses at SMC.

“I found a host family to live with through Baptist College Ministries, so I did not have to pay room and board, and my mom worked extra hard so she could pay some of the tuition. I felt a tremendous amount of pressure and expectation from my family and people who knew my situation.

“I learned to be extremely disciplined, working hard to make sure my room was always clean and everything in my life was organized. I learned to respect people from all kinds of backgrounds and saw how other people live their lives. I learned the benevolence of people.

“My college career began with an open mind and determined attitude. I showed my professors that I was capable of thoughtful work, staying up countless nights studying. I ended up having the top grade point average in my graduating class, proving to myself that diligence, determination and a good attitude really would get me anywhere I wanted to go in life. I was an admissions ambassador and worked with alumni, I was part of the women’s tennis team and editor for the Trailblazer newspaper, I volunteered as a tutor and traveled to D.C. to speak with Congressman Trey Gowdy about poverty in Spartanburg, and I was chosen by the campus community to be the student commencement speaker. Today, I see endless possibilities for the goodness in life because of the experiences I had at SMC.

“One of my professors, Briles Lever (whose late mother, Joe Ann Lever, was a long-time dean at Converse) came to Converse several times to help arrange a plan for me to enroll here. Another SMC professor, Lori Merck, who is a Converse graduate, also visited with me to help figure out how my courses would transfer. She even offered for me to live with her if I couldn’t afford room and board at Converse, and I was amazed that she was so willing to go out of her way to make sure I could finish my education.

“Because I attended SMC, I am now more aware and ready to be part of Converse.

Being a Converse student means I can do and be anything – it means being a leader and an independent critical thinker. It’s also humbling to be part of a network of incredible women who have transformed the world that I live in. SMC opened my eyes to a bigger picture of the world and now Converse gives me the tools to tell my story and learn more about that world. For me, this is the best possible combination.

“The more we can make an education accessible to people that want it, the better our community and the world at large will become. I am thrilled beyond words about what the future will look like after this great partnership takes off. Can you imagine the hundreds of students that will make a positive impact in the community because of this partnership? I can, because SMC and Converse are fundamentally grounded in the positive contributions people can make.”

 

Spartanburg Village

SMC to be part of Spartanburg Village Network’s Education forum – 3/6 at 6 p.m.

The Spartanburg Village Network, known as The Village Network, began about two years ago with members from churches, civic groups and professions. The group started as a way for people to support and get to know each other but developed into something more over time.

Members started focusing on ways they could unite and make a difference in the community. The goal is to come up with ways to help families in areas ranging from education to finances.

After weeks of planning, the group has scheduled its first community forum at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Spartanburg Community College-Downtown Campus. The forum is titled “It Takes A Village: From the Cradle to Career An Education Conversation.”

Leon Wiles, chief diversity officer at Clemson University and a former University of South Carolina Upstate vice chancellor, will serve as moderator. Panelists include Molly Talbot-Metz, vice president of programs at the Mary Black Foundation, Spartanburg Methodist College President Colleen P. Keith and Herb Johnson, Jr., vice president and chief diversity officer of Michelin North America. Other panelists include John Stockwell, executive director of Spartanburg Academic Movement and former chancellor of USC Upstate, Jil Littlejohn, president of the Urban League of the Upstate and Spartanburg District 7 Superintendent Russell Booker, who is also vice chairman of The Village Network.
If we are going to move the needle for graduation rates, then we need to focus on the African-American community,” Booker said. “This is a pretty strong and diverse panel. We wanted education to be the topic of our first forum. The event is open to everyone because it is going to take the entire community to make a difference.”

Booker said the education forum will outline programs available to help prepare children before they begin school and while they are in school. He also said the forum will help residents learn more about the importance of education.

“The idea is to share information and talk about the challenges of education,” Booker said. “This forum also will talk about the successes because that is just as important as talking about the challenges. There is so much going on that we want people to know what is happening in the community.”

Future plans are to hold discussions on health and wellness and financial planning. Organizers don’t plan to stop after offering a few forums. They hope to continue working on issues in the community and encourage other people to join them in the effort.

The Village Network organizers say their mission is “to unite a committed leadership base focused on educating, engaging and inspiring local families.” The other part of the vision is to focus attention on resources and programs that have the most potential in helping local families.

The Rev. Keith McDaniel, chairman of The Village Network and senior pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, said he is excited about the group’s first event. He said members spent time looking at ways they could help others.

“We have too many families struggling with education, housing, health and other issues,” he said. “The village concept comes from the African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child, and we have applied that to leadership. It takes more than one leader to lead a community.”

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PSI BETA “Bullying and Its Effects” and “College Life” Presentation

On Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1 p.m., PSI BETA, the Honor Society in Psychology, had the special privilege and honor to visit with students from Carver Middle School. After touring SMC’s beautiful grounds and having had the rare chance of dining in the cafeteria with SMC students, the Carver 6th, 7th and 8th graders were treated to two (2) seminars presented by the PSI BETA Honor Society, “Bullying and Its Effects” and “College Life”. Led by Dr. Mary Jane Farmer, advisor, and the officers, PSI BETA talked about the definition and the three (3) types of bullying – verbal, social, and physical. They also talked about various statistical records and the effects of bullying. The experience was made more personal and relevant when each of the PSI BETA officers, together with a number of PSYC 101 students, shared their personal experiences on bullying. The closing seminar was on College Life. All of the college students present shared with their younger counterparts a simple yet essential message: in order to get to college, one must be focused and ambitious. Persistence, sacrifice, high motivation, choosing friends wisely and putting academics first, were also a few of the nuggets of wisdom that PSI BETA and the PSYC 101 students shared with the middle school students of Carver. It was a beautiful and a meaningful experience to all who attended.

SMC students featured in the photo include: Daniel “Bear” Berends (on the floor); from left (L) to right (R) are Kaitlyn Pless (Sec, PSI BETA), Leah Meahl, Matt Bishop, Dr Mary Jane Farmer (advisor, PSI BETA), Alexis Landrum, Jason Smith, Alex Wooden, Myia McClurkin, Alex Blanding, Ryan Gruver, Tierra Izzard (VP, PSI BETA), and Stevonna Jeter (President, PSI BETA). Not in picture, Grace Kopacz and Amichia Corcher.

Champ Squires

SMC announces Champ Squires Endowed Scholarship

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to announce the establishment of an endowed scholarship to honor Champ Squires, a 2013 graduate of SMC.

The Champ Squires Endowed Scholarship was established by the estate of Betty Stewart Parnell in memory of her sister, Margie Stewart Treadway.  Treadway was a graduate of the class of 1943 and a former member of the SMC Board of Trustees.  Awards will be made annually, in honor of Squires, to students who demonstrate academic promise and determination and who are physically impaired.

The Champ Squires Endowed Scholarship name was selected by the executors of the Parnell estate because “Champ Squires exemplifies everything the scholarship is intended to reward – his abilities, stamina, and courage overcame his physical shortcomings,” an estate spokesperson shared. “SMC’s administration and student body treated Squires wonderfully as a student and Squires speaks and sings to glorify the Lord.”

“I met with Champ and his mother on their very first visit to SMC. I had no idea that day how much he would impact my life and heart. Champ stood out from day one, not because of his disability, but because of his ability to show love and compassion in all that he did,” shared Kelly Tillinghast, SMC Admissions Counselor. “In his short time here, I believe Champ represented everything that SMC is about. He was a friend to all, an outstanding student and a natural born leader. Champ was known to stretch himself thin, but only because he wanted to be as involved as possible.”

Squires currently attends Southern Wesleyan University and plans to go into full-time ministry in family counseling  Squires is a member of Lewis Chapel UMC in Sumter. While at SMC, Squires was an active member in Chapel, an Ambassador for the Office of Admissions and was a member of the Troubadours, an auditioned choral ensemble, which performed challenging repertoire at local churches and various venues throughout South Carolina.

A committee appointed by SMC will select a qualified recipient or recipients each year and the award is renewable for a second year, upon achievement of academic success in the first year.

According to Don Tate, Director of Development for SMC, the Champ Squires Endowed Scholarship fund is open to receive additional contributions from other individuals or churches in the community to assist in the perpetuation of this award. “The benefits of such an award to qualifying students is life-changing – not only for the individual recipient but for those of us fortunate to be blessed by their gifts and talents,” Tate added.  Contributions to this fund should be made payable to SMC for: Champ Squires Fund and mailed to:  Office of Institutional Advancement, Spartanburg Methodist College, 1000 Powell Mill Rd, Spartanburg, SC  29301.

SMC Wrestling

Spartanburg Methodist College Wrestling Team Earns National Rankings

Spartanburg Methodist College learned today that two of their 2013-2014 Wrestling Team members are ranked in the top 10 for the Nation.  The SMC Pioneer Wrestling team, who went 7-3 overall this season, was also ranked 16th in the country.

According to the NJCAA and Intermat, SMC Freshman DeAndre Johnson, son of Angel Johnson, from Beaufort, is ranked 4th in the Nation.  Johnson is a graduate of Battery Creek High School.  Fellow team mate, also a freshman, Ian Clevenger, son of Mike and Brenda  Clevenger of Inman, SC, and a Boiling Springs High School graduate, is ranked 7th in the Nation

The SMC Wrestling Team is under the direction of Rob Sater, who is in his third season at the helm of the SMC Pioneer Wrestling program. Sater helped lead the Pioneers to their first ever winning season in 2012-2013. During his tenure at SMC, Sater has coached eleven national qualifiers and one All-American wrestler.

“I am extremely proud of how our young team has come together and pushed through adversity all season to produce the best dual meet record in school history. Ian and DeAndre are two young men that truly deserve the honor of being ranked nationally. They are hard workers on the mat and in the classroom, and exemplify what it means to be a student-athlete at Spartanburg Methodist College,” shared Coach Sater. “We have a few other individuals that are on track to finish high on the podium at nationals as well. I’m excited to be a part of such a special group of wrestlers and coaches. The sky is the limit for these guys if they wrestle up to their potential over the next three weeks.”

Sater originally served as Head Coach of the Boiling Springs High School Wrestling Team for the three seasons. Sater was the 2009 Spartanburg Herald Journal Coach of the Year, 2010 and 2011 BSH won the County Wrestling Tournament Championship (2010 was the first in school history). Sater (66-13 dual meet record) had 37 Upper-State qualifiers during his three years as head coach at BSHS. He coached five of the schools seven South Carolina All-State Wrestlers. He also had five freestyle/Greco national qualifiers.

Sater attended Division 1 Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio for two years before transferring to and graduating with a BA in English from Limestone for his final two years. He wrestled at Limestone and was team captain for each year voted on by his teammates. Sater teaches English at BSHS.

Sater is assisted by his father, Bob Sater, who wrestled for Thiel College in Greenville, Pa where he was a Division III national qualifier in 1972.  The senior Sater returned to Madison HS in Madison Ohio to serve as an assistant coach for the first 14 years of his coaching career. He moved on to Perry HS to serve as their Head Wrestling Coach for the next 16 years. While serving in this position he was inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2000. He was named the Ohio Wrestling Division III State Coach of the Year for the 2002 Wrestling Season.  He went on to serve as an Assistant Wrestling Coach for Cleveland State University (NCAA Division I) located in Cleveland, Ohio. He also served as an Assistant Wrestling Coach for Limestone College (NCAA Division II).