Brave Miss World

SMC’s Psi Beta to screen Brave Miss World film Tuesday, February 24

The Psi Beta chapter at Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to announce they will screen Brave Miss World on Tuesday, February 24 in the college’s Davis Mission Chapel at 7 p.m. The public is invited and admission is free of charge.

At the age of 18, Miss Israel Linor Abargil was abducted, stabbed, and raped in Milan. She had to represent her country in the Miss Worldcompetition only six weeks later. When to her shock she was crowned the winner, she vowed to do something about the rape. The film follows her from that harrowing experience, to her crowning and throughout her crusade to fight for justice and break the silence. During her travels to speak out and meet with other rape victims, her own trauma begins to resurface. Her serial rapist becomes eligible for parole, and she has to hunt down his previous victims in order to help keep him behind bars. The film explores the trauma of sexual assault through one young woman’s journey from teenage rape victim to Miss World to empowered lawyer and activist.

“Brave Miss World is a powerful tool to help ignite conversations and change surrounding the issues of rape awareness and prevention,” shared Dr. Mary Jane Farmer, professor of psychology, and director of the SMC Psi Beta chapter. “The SMC Psi Beta chapter is pleased to bring this film to our community and campus.  Our hope is that by doing so we can help make a difference and inspire dialogue that leads to healing and empowerment,” added Farmer.

Figures indicate that 80% of rapes are unreported. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of support from a rape victim’s family, friends and community.

“The people closest to a rape victim treat them differently when she needs them the most. Studies also attest that most rape cases occur within the family or by a person whom the victim knew prior to the rape. The law in many countries in the world is not on the side of rape victims, and the sentences for rape and sexual assault are terribly inadequate. Even in progressive nations, rape convictions are rare,” shared Lynn Hawkins, Executive Director of SAFE Homes- Rape Crisis in Spartanburg.

Psi Beta, the National Honor Society in Psychology for community and junior colleges, provides students with opportunities to acquire leadership skills, interact with faculty outside the classroom, learn more about the professional and educational choices available in psychology, meet outstanding professionals in psychology, participate in community service, meet peers with similar interests, and be involved with Psi Beta on the national level.

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

SMC 2015 Pioneering Women Award winners web small

Upstate Pioneering Women Recognized by Spartanburg Methodist College

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Spartanburg Methodist College hosted their annual Pioneering Women Awards Luncheon on Friday, February 20th to acknowledge women of character, courage and commitment in the Upstate community.  During the 2015 event, SMC recognized nine women with awards for their commitment and leadership in their respective fields of media, education, public service, missions, philanthropy, politics, leadership and business.

“The Pioneering Women awards program provides SMC with the perfect occasion to celebrate women in our community who are making a difference close to home, around our state and beyond,” said Leah Pruitt, committee member and Director of Alumni Relations. The annual awards luncheon draws over 100 women attendees from a variety of fields.

“The pioneers recognized today are individuals who possess courage and ambition to overcome obstacles – and there are always obstacles when one tries to do something worthwhile,” stated SMC President Colleen Perry Keith.

Heather Witt, Vice President of Community Impact for the United Way of the Piedmont, was the Keynote Speaker at the event, which was held in the Gibbs Auditorium located in Ellis Hall on the SMC campus.

Born and raised in Canal Winchester, Ohio (a small suburb of Columbus), and Witt earned a Bachelors in Public Health Administration and more recently a Bachelors in Organizational Management and Marketing graduating with honors from Southwest University. She began her non-profit career working for the Columbus Medical Association Foundation. Since moving to the Upstate, she has worked as Executive Director for Prevent Child Abuse of Pickens County and for the past, nearly 4 years has served at the United Way of the Piedmont managing all of their impact work and was recently promoted to Vice President of Community Impact.

Witt is a graduate of the 2013 Leadership Spartanburg class, and the 2014 Women Connections Program through Furman University. She serves as a member of the Spartanburg Business and Professional Women Civic Group; she is also an Advisory Board Member for the Spartanburg County Community College, Co-chairs the Behavioral Health Taskforce and actively volunteers as a Guardian ad-litem for the county.

2015 Awards and recipients were as follows:

  • Alumna Award: TK Butler, Police Officer, Aiken Department of Public Safety
  • Media Award: Kathie Bennett, Founder and President of Magic Time Literary Agency;
  • Public Service Award: Mary Deku, Former award-winning educator and active community volunteer;
  • Missions Award: Melanie Watt, Founder of Hope Remains Youth Ranch;
  • Philanthropy Award: Cyndi Beacham, President, Charles Lea Center Foundation
  • Political Leadership Award: Jane Hall, District 4 Councilwomen, Spartanburg County Council;
  • Business Award: Karen Knuckles, owner of Express Employment Professionals;
  • Creative Leadership Award: Kathy Cann, Author, Researcher, Historian and Professor of History and Chair of the Social Sciences Department at SMC;
  • Education Award: Susan Burgess, School Counselor, Chapman High School

Prior winners have included:

  • Pioneering Women Lifetime Achievement Award: Sheila Breitweiser (’14).
  • Alumna Award: Elizabeth Hartley Renneker (’14); Jill Johnson (’13); Stacie Williams (’12); and Jessica Mack (’11)
  • Media Award: Christy Henderson (’14); Amanda Bass (‘13); Charmayne Brown (’12); and Keisha Kirkland (’11).
  • Public Service/Government Award: Sharon Porter (’14), Judge Ponda Caldwell (’13); Barbara Barnes (’12); and Hope Blackley (’11).
  • Missions Award: Jean Bradley (’14)’ Jayne McQueen (’13); Julia Lyons (’12); and Lou Landrum (’11).
  • Philanthropy Award: Betty Montgomery (’14); Mary Thomas (’13); Phyllis B. DeLapp (’12); and Dr. Charlotte Ellis (’11).
  • Political Leadership Award: Erica Brown (’14); Harriett Rucker (’13); Liz Patterson (’12); and Rita Allison (’11).
  • Business Award: Beth Jeter Hrubala (‘14); Sue Schneider (’13); Tammy Devine (’12); and Susan Bridges (’11).
  • Creative Leadership Award: Betsy Teeter (’14); Peggy Magarahan (’13); and Mary Ellen Suitt (’12).
  • Education Award: Penny Fisher (’14); Donna Christopher (’13); Margaret Peach (’12); and Melissa Andrews (’11).
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SMC’s Dr. Colleen Perry Keith Named President of Pfeiffer University

Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, President of Spartanburg Methodist College since 2009, has been named president of Pfeiffer University. The announcement was made today by the trustees of the Misenheimer, North Carolina college. Pfeiffer also has campuses in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham and is a sister college in the United Methodist connection.

“While we are sad to be losing Dr. Keith, we know that this is a great fit for her skills and experience and a wonderful next step for her career as a college president,” said Dr. Phinnize Fisher, Chair of the Board for SMC. “Dr. Keith has been an exceptional leader for SMC and will bring her outstanding gifts in administration and fundraising to bear for Pfeiffer’s benefit. She is widely regarded throughout the field of higher education as a thoughtful and effective leader. SMC’s loss is Pfeiffer’s benefit.”

Under Keith’s leadership, SMC has completed a major funds campaign, increased its capacity for fundraising, raised its public profile across the state, expanded its alumni programming, started two new degree programs, and taken on capital projects including the construction of Ellis Hall. SMC’s enrollment has remained strong throughout Keith’s tenure and the college’s outstanding athletic programs have continued to thrive in competition at the national level.

Beyond the campus, Keith has become an active volunteer in the Upstate. She serves on the boards of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, which she chairs; the Mary Black Foundation; the Greer Education Foundation; the Arts Partnership; the Spartanburg Academic Movement; Spartanburg Regional Hospital’s Hospice Home; and Habitat for Humanity of Spartanburg County. On the state level, she chairs the President’s Council for the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities organization and is the secretary for the South Carolina Tuition Grants commission. On the national level, she is the past president of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church and continues on its board.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I will miss SMC and my Pioneers. This is a great college and one that plays a very important role in getting students started on their higher education journey. Of everything we have accomplished over the past six years, I am most proud of the fact that SMC is no longer the ‘best kept secret’ in the Upstate. People recognize the value that we offer and our amazing success rate (85% of SMC students go onto complete their college education elsewhere, compared to 20% nationally for two-year colleges) is evidence that we are doing an exceptional job at implementing our mission. Even though I am moving onto what is next for me, SMC will continue to thrive and provide an outstanding higher education start for thousands more students for at least the next 104 years!”

Keith will begin her duties at Pfeiffer University on July 1. The SMC Board of Trustees will launch a search for Keith’s replacement in the next several weeks.

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SMC’s Phi Theta Kappa to present to Spartanburg Lions Club and Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to announce that three members of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society will present at the Tuesday, February 16 meeting of the Spartanburg Lions Club and again on Wednesday, February 18 at the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce before their Workforce Resources Council.

SMC sophomore students Marissa Fleming, Ian Clevenger, and Glory Pi Bonilla have been writing a project about Somalian Piracy, its causes and origins, evolution, and international response to it. The project itself is being created to present at the Phi Theta Kappa Carolina Regionals Conference in March. Their project focuses on universal themes of crime, poverty, joblessness, the gap between political leaders and lower classes, and the importance of a stronger middle class for forging a healthy community. It analyzes how an understanding of the interconnected of these themes in a worst-case-scenario (e.g. Somalia) has had an impact and how those same things relate to problems in local communities, be they Spartanburg or all the way to the national level. At its most basic, the project’s mission is to holistically study another culture to better understand our own.

SMC chapter’s Phi Theta Kappa stresses academic excellence, leadership, fellowship and service. Membership is limited to students who have achieved a 3.5 or higher grade point average, be of good moral character and possess recognized qualities of good citizenship.  Fleming is the daughter of Christopher and Rhonda Fleming of Spartanburg, graduated from Dorman High School and is pursuing an associate in Arts.  Clevenger is the son of Michael and Brenda Clevenger, of Inman, graduated from Boiling Springs High School, and is pursuing an associate in Science. Pi Bonilla is the daughter of Johnny Pi Pascual and Gina Bonilla, of Simpsonville, graduated from Mauldin High School, and is pursuing an associate in Fine Arts.

Dr. Cole Cheek, SMC Professor of History and Anthropology, as well as advisor for Phi Theta Kappa, shared “our hope is that by presenting the group’s conclusions to a variety of individuals, especially those in business and government, it will promote discussion about relevant themes and issues locally.”

DanSynergy VII

SMC proudly presents Ballet Spartanburg’s DanSynergy VII, February 24, 2015 @ 7 pm in Gibbs Auditorium

Spartanburg Methodist College is pleased to welcome Ballet Spartanburg’s DanSynergy VII  to the campus on Tuesday, February 24. The 7 pm performance will be held in the Gibbs Auditorium and is part of the college’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program. Admission is free of charge and the public is welcome to attend.

The evening event will feature an eclectic fusion of dance styles featuring collaborations with regional and national artists and including unique and powerful contemporary dance.  The program will start with a dance piece danced to music by African-English composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor and is based on the works of African-American writers W. E. B. Dubois and Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Also featured in the program is a dance work by Cuban Choreographer Nelson Reyes, based on the stories of Cubans trying to immigrate to America. Last in the program is a dance piece inspired by courageous stories of cancer survivors that explores their emotional journey of diagnosis to the triumph of hope and survival.

Ballet Spartanburg’s mission is to promote dance appreciation in Spartanburg County and surrounding areas by providing quality dance presentation, education, and outreach. Since 1966 Ballet Spartanburg has been enriching lives through the art of dance by presenting national and international dance companies. With an ever growing outreach program, Ballet Spartanburg offers lecture/demonstrations, in-school residencies, after school programs, in-school performances, an annual free performance of Peter & the Wolf, summer programs for at-risk youth at inner city housing projects and at the Boys and Girls Club of The Upstate, and performances at nursing homes, hospitals and community events.

Ballet Spartanburg, under the artistic direction of Carlos Agudelo, is recognized as a regional dance company with an exceptional commitment to education and outreach activities in the Upstate. Ballet Spartanburg has performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, at the Koger Center in Columbia, at the Peace Center in Greenville, and in Tryon and Forest City, North Carolina.

Ballet Spartanburg produces a four program season that includes The Nutcracker, a fall program, a spring program and a guest company. These productions showcase world class guest artists from such companies as: Ballet Austin, Houston Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, and American Ballet Theater, and New York City Ballet. In addition, Ballet Spartanburg performs in several festivals and galas each year including, Piccolo Spoletto in Charleston, SC and maintains an active Outreach Program for the community.  In 1976, the Dance Center was established as the official school of Ballet Spartanburg. Today The Dance Center instructs over 400 students from Spartanburg, Greenville, Union, Gaffney, and Asheville, Tryon and Rutherfordton in North Carolina.



Jenny Dunn headshot

SMC’s Jenny Dunn to attend 2015 NAPAHE Conference in DC

Jenny Dunn, Special Assistant to Spartanburg Methodist College President Colleen Perry Keith, has been awarded a $1000 grant to the 2015 NAPAHE Conference in Washington DC, to be held on March 13-15, 2015.

NAPAHE, the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education, enhances the profession of its members through programs, networking and information resources that address the broad range of roles fulfilled by presidential assistants in service to presidential leadership and higher education. The organization provides members a powerful venue to share professional experiences and ideas that spearhead personal success.

NAPAHE is an affiliate organization of the American Council on Education (ACE). NAPAHE meets once a year, in conjunction with ACE’s annual meeting. Colleagues from colleges and universities across the country, and internationally, join together to network, exchange ideas in interactive sessions, and explore and discuss topics of mutual interest that broaden their knowledge of strategic higher education issues, executive speech writing, strategic planning, event management, relation and coalition building, fundraising and advancement activities, communications, legislative and governmental affairs, and office management.

Dunn assumed the role of special assistant to the president in July of 2014, and continues to serves as Director of Human Resources for Spartanburg Methodist College.  Dunn has over twenty-five years of service with SMC, serving in such capacities as Director of Human Resources and Controller.   Dunn holds a Master’s  degree in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina.  She is an active member of First Presbyterian Church and resides in Spartanburg with her husband Joe.



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SMC to host Flannery O’Connor at 90 Conference on May 15-16, 2015

The Spartanburg Methodist College will host Flannery O’Connor at 90 on May 15 and 16, 2015 in Ellis Hall.   In observance of the ninetieth anniversary of Flannery O’Connor’s birth, the Division of English at SMC will host the two-day conference honoring the distinguished short-story writer, essayist, and novelist. The event is open to the public and admission is free.

Papers from citizens, scholars, graduate students, and undergraduate students are currently being sought. Paper subject matter may include any aspect of O’Connor’s writings or her life. For more information, please contact Dr. Harry M. Bayne, Chairperson of the Division of English and Professor of English, or 864-587-4381


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.

See Spartanburg Herald Journal Photo Gallery of workshop:


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.

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SMC to offer Immigration Law Course

Spartanburg Methodist College announced today that they will be offering an Immigration Law for Paralegals course in the Spring I, 2015 term of their Paralegal Certificate Evening Program, beginning on Thursday, February 26.

The 10-week course will be an indispensable and practical guide on U.S. immigration, citizenship and visa procedures and is geared for students interested in a career as an immigration paralegal or anyone interested in immigration issues. Course tuition is $325. The general public can audit the class for $125. Instruction will focus on interviewing, gathering information, case management and document preparation techniques; analysis of temporary and permanent employment visas; analysis of family-based petitions, political asylum and naturalization.  The course textbook features each visa category set forth in a clear and concise manner, with real-life and hypothetical situations and step-by-step instructions, including sample forms and correspondence.

“With the recent developments in the immigration laws, our Immigration Law for Paralegals course is being offered to assist the Upstate legal community with understanding immigration standards and procedures,” shared Yvonne Harper, Director of the SMC Paralegal Certificate Evening Program. “I cannot think of a better instructor for this course than Mary Miranda Hugues, a 2008 graduate of the SMC Paralegal Certificate Program, who was a former successful attorney in her native country of Panama,” added Harper.

In 2004 Hugues and her family came to Spartanburg when her husband Carlos Hugues assumed a ministerial position with the Boiling Springs Church of Christ. She is currently a senior immigration paralegal with the Grek Law Group located on Warren H. Abernathy Highway in Spartanburg and previously worked for five years as an immigration paralegal with the Greenville-based law firm of Allen C. Ladd.

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 or contact or call 864-266-7409.

Presidents Higher Ed Comm Serv logo

SMC named to The President’s Honor Roll for 2014

Spartanburg Methodist College received word today that they have been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 2014. The President’s Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions whose community service efforts achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. This distinction is the highest federal recognition colleges and universities can receive for community service, service-learning, and civic engagement.

”Service to our community and state is a part of our culture and nature. It is what we do at SMC and to be recognized by the President’s Honor Roll is gratifying,” shared Ron Laffitte, Dean of Students at SMC.

Since 1911, service to humanity has been stressed daily at Spartanburg Methodist College. Today, SMC students continue the tradition by volunteering at hospitals, schools, churches, animal shelters, soup kitchens, etc. In so doing, they gain valuable skills, nurture a strong work ethic, and develop assets that translate to future benefits for them personally and for society (81% of Americans who volunteered as a youth, give to charitable organizations as adults.).

SMC’s strategic commitment to engage students in service strengthens the student and the local community. During the 2013-2014 academic year, the College reported over 6,000 community service hours of investing in the lives of others, according to SMC’s Chaplain, Candice Sloan. “Volunteering fosters respect for others, patience, kindness, and the ability to empathize with people who are different from the volunteer” stated Sloan. “As a mission of the United Methodist Church, SMC lives up to John Wesley’s recommendation that we ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.’ In the process, SMC students, faculty and staff have touched a countless number of lives.”

In 2012, a reported 3.1 million students engaged in community service, providing 118 million hours of community service, valued at $2.5 billion, per the Volunteering and Civic Life in America report. Volunteering is the foundation to student achievement and life-long learning. The benefits of volunteering are reaped both now, and in the future. Out of 13.3 million youth, 59.3% volunteer an average of 3.5 hours per week, versus 49% of adults, who volunteer an average of 4.2 hours. Statistically, students who volunteer just one hour or more a week are 50% less likely to abuse alcohol, cigarettes, become pregnant, or engage in other destructive behavior.