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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.

SMC Paralegal Program celebrating Governor’s Proclamation

The Paralegal Certificate Evening Program at Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to report that Tuesday October 14, 2014 has been declared PARALEGAL DAY in the State of South Carolina by Governor Nikki Haley.

The Governor’s Proclamation states that whereas, paralegals have the skill, education, and training to provide support to attorneys in a variety of areas including legal research, document preparation, and file maintenance; and whereas, working in law firms, corporations, government agencies, and other organizations, paralegals contribute to lower counsel fees, improved management of cases, and greater cost containment for clients; and whereas, demonstrating a high level of achievement, responsibility, dedication, and integrity, paralegals across South Carolina uphold the highest standards of professionalism; and whereas, Paralegal Day provides an opportunity to recognize paralegals throughout the Palmetto State for the role they play in an efficient and effective legal system.

Governor Haley’s proclamation encourages all South Carolinians to honor paralegals for their many contributions to the availability of quality legal services.

“Paralegals provide critical and integral support to attorneys and have established themselves to be an indispensable workforce within the legal system since the 1960s,” stated to Yvonne Harper, director of the SMC Paralegal Certificate Evening Program, who prior to moving to SC, served for over thirteen years as a litigation and bankruptcy paralegal in Virginia. “The paralegal profession continues to be among the fastest growing of any profession in the nation. Employers are reducing costs and increasing the availability and efficiency of legal services by hiring paralegals to perform tasks once done by lawyers. Paralegals are also performing a wider variety of duties, making them useful to even non-legal businesses.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. In fact, in the coming years, paralegals may have more career opportunity than attorneys, stenographers —even federal judges. The latest job rating survey at the CareerCast job portal ranked 200 different jobs based on five vital work criteria: stress, work environment, physical demands, income and outlook. While “lawyer” came in 82nd on the list of 200 best jobs and “federal judges” 69th, “paralegal assistants” made the top 20—ranking 17th overall. CNNMoney.com ranked the paralegal profession 14th in the Top 20 jobs for “people who want more pay, more upside and more control over where they’re going.”

“SMC provides adult students convenient evening hours of instruction, reasonable tuition and real-time learning with quality legal faculty, composed of local judges, practicing attorneys and paralegals, who provide networking opportunities and offer real-world experience with practical application,” Harper stated. “In the past 10 years at SMC, I have had the pleasure of assisting adult students with no-college, some-college, college graduates, as well as multiple students with advanced degrees (Masters and even Doctorate) receive the education they needed for the legal career they wanted,” said Harper, who added, “all had one thing in common, they wanted to work in a profession that valued their contributions!”

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Northern Border Blue Grass bringing “Old Time” music to SMC – Wednesday, October 15

NBBGNorthern Border Blue Grass will be bringing old time music to the Spartanburg Methodist College campus on Wednesday, October 15. The 7 p.m. event will be held in the Gibbs Auditorium, located in Ellis Hall on the campus of SMC. The event is open to the public and admission is free.

Northern Border, named “Best Upstate Bluegrass Band” in competition and performance at Twichell Auditorium on the Converse College campus, had its beginnings on the campus of Wofford College in 1961 as part of the late Professor Sam Moyer’s choral program. The band’s name is derived from the first line of the Wofford College Alma Mater “On the city’s northern border….” The band leans heavily on the traditional mountain sound featuring three and four part harmonies and driving instrumentals from the five-string banjo and the mandolin. They also feature a variety of musical Americana from Steve Goodman to the Everly Brothers.

The members of Northern Border come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from concert to rock and roll, all returning to the traditionally voiced music of the mountains. The players include Steve Campbell of Greer, S.C.; Greg Farmer of Spartanburg, S.C.; Tom Bratton of Gaffney, S.C. and Milton Smith of Woodruff, S.C.

“Old Time Music at its Best” describes Campbell, who is one of the finest and most respected five-string players in the region. A veteran of bands “Southbound”, Flint Hill”, “Dakota’’ and “Mountain View”, he brings his extraordinary talents on banjo, guitar and dobro to Northern Border. A versatile vocalist, he sings lyric tenor lines as well as the bass part.

Farmer is a Michigan native, a physical therapist by vocation and an excellent singer and musician, bringing his vocal talents as well as his talents on the mandolin, guitar and fiddle to Northern Border. He displays his passion for the old time music every time he hits the stage and was named “one of the top five bluegrass musicians in the state” by “Living in South Carolina” magazine.
Bratton is a fine upright bass player and story teller who handles vocal arrangements for the group. As an All-State and orchestra trombone player, he naturally sings the baritone line as well as the lead part and has a “steel trap mind” when it comes to lyrics.

Smith sings lead and baritone parts and plays rhythm guitar. After traveling for many years as a horn player in contemporary music, he returned to the traditional music which is his first love. He has worked with the late Nashville producer and five-string banjo genius Bobby Thompson and handles logistic for the band.

Northern Border has recorded five albums: “Prisoner’s Song”, “Friends Forever”, “Pickin’ on the Back Porch”, “Live at the Pickin’ at Pickens” and “Nailing It!” and their appearance schedule includes TV, radio, and a variety of festivals, concerts and events including the North Carolina BBQ Festival, the South and North Carolina Seafood Festivals, the Atlanta Folk Festival, the Highlands, N.C. Folk Festival and the South Carolina Juried Arts Festival at Atalaya Castle in Huntington Beach State Park.

Make plans to experience Northern Border on Wednesday, October 15. The 7 p.m. concert is open to the public and admission is free of charge. The Gibbs Auditorium in Ellis Hall is handicapped accessible. Take advantage of this free community concert to learn about the distinct qualities of local blue grass! For additional information, contact Yvonne Harper, harpery@smcsc.edu, 864-587-4278 or 266-7409.

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SMC to feature Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz @ Judaism Seminar

The Social Sciences Department at Spartanburg Methodist College will host Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz on Thursday, October 23. The 4 p.m. seminar on Judaism will be held in the Davis Mission Chapel on the campus of SMC and is open to the public as well as the campus community.

Rabbi Liebowitz was born in Brooklyn, New York, holds a masters in Hebrew letters and has received two honorary doctorates. He recently completed his thirtieth year in the rabbinate and has served in pulpits in New York state and on the West Coast. Rabbi Liebowitz has completed his eighth year with Congregation B’nai Israel, located on Heywood Avenue in Spartanburg, which has proudly served the Jewish community of Spartanburg and surrounding areas for more than one-hundred years.

Judaism, the monotheistic (belief in one God) religion of the Jewish people, was established circa 2000 B.C.E. as part of a covenant between God and Abraham. Uprisings against the Romans during the first and second centuries A.D. led to the beginning of the Jewish diaspora. Those practicing Judaism were kept marginalized from society and persecuted in many countries. The creation of a Jewish state was discussed at the first Zionist Congress in Switzerland in 1897, yet it was not until May 18, 1948 that the state of Israel was formed after World War II and the genocide of over six million Jewish people.

Judaism falls into four major periods: Biblical Judaism, or the Persian Period (approximately 20th-4th century BCE); Hellenistic Judaism (4th century BCE-2nd century CE), a time of Greek and Roman influence in many religions; Rabbinic Judaism (2nd-18th century CE) based on the Talmud; and Modern Judaism (approximately 1750-present). According to the American Jewish Year Book, the core Jewish population includes people who identify as Jews by religion and others who are not interested in religion but see themselves as Jews by ethnicity or other cultural criteria. There are an estimated 13,854,800 Jews in the World, an estimated 43.4% in Israel and 39.2% in the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, 4.2 million (or 1.8% of the adult population in the United States) are Jewish by religion.

Rabbi Liebowitz supports a wide number of interests, including digging for dinosaur fossils, Science Fiction and Music. His interfaith musical duo with Pastor Paul Harmon “The cap and the collar” has performed at over forty venues from Churches and Temples to concert halls. He has taught at the university level for many years and currently teaches at Converse College and University of South Carolina Upstate. Rabbi Liebowitz is married and has four children ages 31, 27, 22 and 12.

According to Dr. Cole Cheek, SMC Professor of History and Anthropology, “We welcome this opportunity to explore common questions about Judaism with our students. Is Judaism a race, a religion or a nationality?” Dr. Cheek went on to elaborate that “it is my wish that students walk away with an understanding and appreciation of the Jewish society and the relationships among individuals within that society.”