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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.

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Spartanburg Methodist College announces Summer Sessions

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to announce their Summer College Sessions and course offerings.  Session I will be held from May 28 to June 27, 2014 and Session II, an ALL ON-LINE program of study, will be held from July 7 to August 1, 2014.

“Summer classes provide an excellent opportunity for Upstate residents to take either that first college step, or return to the college classroom,” shared Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, President of SMC. “Our coursework is highly transferrable, so students who attend college elsewhere and plan to spend the summer at home can take courses here without worry about transferring coursework. We have strong articulation agreements with over 200 colleges and universities and are happy to work with students to ensure a smooth transition.”

According to data from the 2012 US Census, 31.5% of Spartanburg residents have only attained a high school diploma and 19.9% have some college, compared to 29.8% and 21.1% respectively in South Carolina, and 28.0% and 21.3% in the United States.

The earnings gap between young adults with and without bachelor’s degrees has stretched to its widest level in nearly half a century. It’s a sign of the growing value of a college education despite rising tuition costs, according to a recent analysis of census data. Young adults with just a high-school diploma earned 62 percent of the typical salary of college graduates. That’s down from 81 percent in 1965, the earliest year for which comparable data are available.

The analysis by the Pew Research Center shows the increasing economic difficulties for young adults who lack a bachelor’s degree in today’s economy that is polarized between high- and low-wage work. As a whole, high-school graduates were more likely to live in poverty and be dissatisfied with their jobs, if not unemployed.

In contrast, roughly nine in 10 college graduates ages 25 to 32 said that their bachelor’s degree had paid off or will pay off in the future, according to Pew’s separate polling conducted last year. Even among the two-thirds of young adults who borrowed money for college, about 86 percent said their degrees have been, or will be, worth it. ‘‘In today’s knowledge-based economy, the only thing more expensive than getting a college education is not getting one,’’ said Paul Taylor, Pew’s executive vice president and co-author of the report.*

SMC’s summer college provides the unique opportunity for students to accelerate their graduation date and to explore subjects they did not have the opportunity to take during the academic year. SMC’s summer college is also available to students from other campuses who wish to transfer credit back to their home institution. Students may take up to two (3 hr. or 4 hr.) courses and a physical education course in Session I.  Students may take up to two courses in Session II.

Session I includes the following  course offerings: English Composition I, Microbiology, Astronomy and Physics, Public Speaking, Principles of Biology I, Drama Appreciation, First Aid & Personal Safety, General Psychology, Readings in World Literature, English Composition II, Health Education, Introductory Statistics, Western Civilization I, and Jogging.

Session II, an all online program of study, includes the following course offerings:  US History I, Intro to Computer Science, New Testament and American Literature II

Tuition is $225.00 per credit hour.  The cost of books and supplies will vary by course and course load. Information regarding costs and financial aid may be obtained by contacting the Admissions Office at 864-587-4213, or the Financial Aid Office at 864-587-4298.

Room and Board costs for Session I are $985.00. Meals are available Monday-Friday. Residence halls are open seven days a week during the term. Residence halls will open for student check-in on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, between 3:00 pm-5:00 pm. Residence halls will close at 5:00 pm on June 27.  Residence facilities are not available for Session II.

More information about opportunities available through the SMC Summer School program may be obtained by calling the Office of Admissions at Spartanburg Methodist College at (864) 587-4213 or 1-800-772-7286 or by visiting http://www.smcsc.edu/summer-session-info/

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SMC PSI BETA Seminar to focus on Human Trafficking & Sex Slavery 2014

PSI BETA, the Honor Society in Psychology of Spartanburg Methodist College, will host Patricia S. Ravenhorst, Director and immigration attorney of the South Carolina Immigrant Victim Network, a program of the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network (SCVAN), on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 3 p.m. in the SMC Davis Mission Chapel to discuss Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Human sex trafficking is the most common form of modern-day slavery and it is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world. Estimates place the number of its domestic and international victims in the millions, mostly females and children enslaved in the commercial sex industry for little or no money.

The terms human trafficking and sex slavery usually conjure up images of young girls beaten and abused in faraway places, like Eastern Europe, Asia, or Africa.   Actually, human sex trafficking and sex slavery happen locally in cities and towns, both large and small, throughout the United States, right in citizens’ backyards. The US not only faces an influx of international victims but also has its own homegrown problem of interstate sex trafficking of minors.

Today, the business of human sex trafficking is organized and violent. These abusive methods of control impact the victims both physically and mentally. Similar to cases involving Stockholm Syndrome, these victims, who have been abused over an extended period of time, begin to feel an attachment to the perpetrator. This paradoxical psychological phenomenon makes it difficult for law enforcement to breach the bond of control, albeit abusive, the trafficker holds over the victim.

Ravenhorst has served as the director of the Immigrant Victim Program since 2009 where she works directly with human trafficking (HT) victims in South Carolina. She also regularly trains advocates and law enforcement on HT where she currently serves on the SC HT Taskforce.  Her work with the Immigrant Victim Network is dedicated to ensuring meaningful access to justice for immigrant victims of crime throughout South Carolina.  She demonstrates her passion for the needs of immigrant victims of crime by frequently speaking to immigrant groups, victim service providers, judges and law enforcement officials regarding the rights of immigrant victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.

Prior to joining SCVAN, Ravenhorst practiced law in the areas of immigration, employment and general litigation with Wyche, Burgess, Freeman & Parham in Greenville, South Carolina. Her work experience also includes an internship with the South African Secretariat for Safety and Security in Pretoria, South Africa, where she worked collaboratively with the South African Police Service and the Security Officer’s Board to propose revisions to South Africa’s laws and regulations governing South Africa’s private security industry.  She graduated summa cum laude from Florida State University with a degree in International Affairs emphasizing Latin American studies.  She then graduated from Duke University with both her law degree and master’s degree in political science with a certification in Latin American studies.  Ms. Ravenhorst is licensed to practice before both federal and state courts in South Carolina and is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the SC Access to Justice Commission’s Language Access Committee.

In honor of her work with immigrant victims and her advocacy for immigrant rights,  Ravenhorst was honored to receive the Greenville County Guardian ad Litem Program’s “Ethel M. Piper Angel Award”; to be named as one of Greenville’s “Best and Brightest Under 35” by the Greenville Magazine and as one of Greenville’s “Most Beautiful Women” by Greenville’s TALK Magazine; to receive the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Award for International Diversity and the SC Lawyer’s Weekly Leadership in Law Award; and to be a member of the 2012 class of the Liberty Fellowship.  She is currently the President of the FSU Flying High Circus Alumni Association and is a former Board member of the Center for Developmental Services, Safe Harbor, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Development Board, Greenville Sister Cities International and Greenville’s Alianza Hispana (formerly the Alliance for Collaboration with the Hispanic Community).

Ravenhorst graduated Summa Cum Laude from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs emphasizing Latin American Studies in 1997. In 2000, she proceeded to Duke University and finished with honors both Law and Master’s Degree in Political Science with a certification in Latin American Studies.


March 24 2014 the Importance of Being Ernest

Spartanburg Methodist College to present Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to announce the SMC Players will present The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s most well-known and successful play, Thursday March 27, Friday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Gibbs Auditorium located in Ellis Hall, both of which are handicapped accessible. The public is invited and general admission tickets are $5, area students tickets are $3, and all SMC students, faculty and staff are admitted free of charge.

The play, which has rarely fallen out of popularity since its first production in London in 1895, is a comedy that draws a parody of Victorian-era morality and its endless concern with status and respectability.  The plot is a complicated stew of false identities, misunderstandings, and marriage which turns the bromides of upper-class British society on its head.  In Earnest, Wilde revived the brittle wordplay of the comedy of manners, a form long abandoned on the British stage, and combined it with more the familiar elements of melodrama.

The Importance of Being Earnest is directed by Dr. Les Buhite. Director of the SMC Drama Program and Adjunct Professor of Public Speaking.  Dr. Buhite holds a BS in Communications Arts/Theater from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; and a MA in Theater from University of Akron; and a Ph.D in Theater from Florida State University. Scenic and lighting design is a collaborative effort with SMC’s Drama Workshop class. The cast is composed of:

Carl Gibson, who is portraying Algernon Moncrief.  Gibson is a regular performer at SMC as both a musician and an actor. He has previously appeared in The Apple Tree, Antigone, and Mr. Scrooge. Hailing from Inman, SC, he is the son of Gary and Robin Gibson and a graduate of Dependent Christian School;

William Chandler Goodrich, who is portraying Ernest John Worthing. Another regular on the SMC stage, Goodrich has previously appeared in An Unexpected Murder, The Apple Tree, and Harvey.  A Film (Cinematography) Major from Greer, SC, he is the son of Debra and William Goodrich and a graduate of Greer Middle College Charter High School;

Leah Meahl, who will be portraying Lady Bracknell, brings an impressive resume to the SMC stage. She is a sophomore from Greenville, and most recently appeared as a narrator in Antigone and Passionella in The Apple Tree. A Wade Hampton High School graduate, she is the daughter of Bruce and Rhonda Meahl of Greenville, SC and is majoring in English;

Torey Brown, who has the role of Miss Gwendolyn Fairfax.  An Arts major from York, SC, she most recently appeared in the SMC production of Antigone, as well as in The Apple Tree, Mr. Scrooge, and Harvey. Brown is the daughter of Garland and Robin Brown of York, SC and a graduate of York Comprehensive High School;

Shakira Jackson, who will be portraying Miss Cecily Cardew.  An Inman SC native, she appeared in a number of plays in her church and high school, as well as in the SMC production of Antigone. The freshman Fine Arts major is graduate of Chapman High School and the daughter of Joey and Diane Jackson;

Adell Gordon, who has the role of the Rev. Dr. Frederick Chasuble, is a freshman Fine Arts major from Greenville, SC. He is a member of the Army Reserves and the Gospel Choir, appeared in the SMC production of Antigone, is the son of Shirley and Enrique Gordon and graduated from Berea High School;  

Patrice Haynes, who will be portraying Miss Laetitia Prism. Haynes attended Ridge View High School in Columbia, SC. She is the daughter of Angela and Floyd Haynes and a graduate of Ridge View High School.  Haynes is a Performing Arts major and this is her first appearance on the SMC stage;  

Davis Phillips will be portraying Lane and Merriman:  “The Butlers.” Phillips is a Communications Major from Inman SC.  Prior appearances at SMC include The Apple Tree and Antigone.  He is a graduate of Spartanburg Christian Academy and the son of William and Melinda Phillips; and

Hannah Faires, who is serving yet another time as Production Stage Manager. She is an Early Childhood Education major from Mauldin, SC. The Mauldin High School graduate is the daughter of Ned and Terri Faires. 

The Easter Bunny

Sheriff Department’s Easter Egg Hunt to be held at SMC

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to announce the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held on the SMC campus on Saturday, April 12. The exclusive event, open only to Sheriff’s Department employees’ children and grandchildren, will also feature an appearance by The Easter Bunny.

In 2006 Sheriff Chuck Wright and his wife Kim happened upon information on The Easter Bunny Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a personal visit and a toy from The Easter Bunny during the week of Easter to children in hospitals and pediatric wards across the United States. In 2013, thanks to the Foundation, The Easter Bunny hopped throughout 33 states delivering smiles to 13,000 hospitalized children with the help of 92 Sheriff’s Offices and 4 Police Departments.

Sheriff Wright and The Easter Bunny have visited the pediatric floors, and other areas, of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and Mary Black Memorial Hospital each year to share soft, plush Easter bunnies and the excitement and wonder that only a personal visit from The Easter Bunny can bring.  Within the last few years, they have also visited the Children’s Shelter as well.

Several years ago Sheriff Wright expanded their mission to also include an egg hunt for the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department’s families.  “The annual egg hunt has been held at the Sheriff’s Office parking lot in the past,” shared Vicki Biggs, Senior Administrative Assistant for Sheriff Wright, “so we are excited to move it to SMC and have a safe, grassy location for our families and their children.”