7th Annual SMC Pioneering Women Awards Ceremony Features Accomplished Local Women


Seventh Annual Pioneering Women Award Winners

Spartanburg Methodist College held the 7th Annual Pioneering Women Awards Ceremony on March 24 on the SMC campus. The ceremony concluded Women’s History Month and acknowledged local women of character, courage and commitment. Nine women were honored for their leadership in respective fields of work including public service, government, education, alumna, missions, business, service to church and philanthropy.

The awards were presented by Dr. Litasha Dennis, SMC Professor of English and President Scott Cochran. South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman was the keynote speaker. “I was honored to be a part of this wonderful event honoring women serving in leadership roles in important and highly impactful fields and industries,” said Spearman following the event. “I am truly inspired by the women honored today.”

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Development Dr. Ann Bowles is co- chair of the Pioneering Women Awards committee along with Cheryl Somerset. “Today’s event highlighted the amazing work local women are committed to in helping our schools, businesses, government and churches,” Bowles said. “This event is such an inspirational reminder of the ways women are impacting the world around us.”

2017 Pioneering Women Award Recipients Are:

  • Public Service Award – Mandy Merck, Special Events Manager for the City of Spartanburg
  • Government Award – Sheila Henderson, Retired & Decorated Military Veteran; Co-Owner and Vice President of 4 You Gifts and Awards, Spartanburg
  • Education Award (K-12) – Ann McIntyre, Business Liaison for Workforce and Higher Education for Dual Credit, EEDA Coordinator and GCDF at Dorman High School, Spartanburg
  • Education Award (Higher Ed) – Lorna Hanson, Professor of Criminal Justice and Director of the Criminal Justice Program at SMC, Spartanburg
  • Alumna Award – Winnie Corn, Spartanburg Methodist College, ’47, Spartanburg
  • Missions Award – JoAnn Smith, Director of Arch Ministries, Spartanburg, SC
  • Business Award – Charlita Atchison, Director of Financial Affairs at Atchison Transportation Services, Inc., Spartanburg
  • Service to the Church Award – Suzanne Bachelor, Collegiate Ministry at South Carolina Baptist Convention, Columbia
  • Philanthropy Award – Paige Stephenson, President and CEO of United Way of Piedmont, Spartanburg

Previous Pioneering Women Award Recipients include:

  • Pioneering Women Lifetime Achievement Award: Sheila Breitweiser (2014) Alumna Award: Sarah Melzer (2016) T.K. Butler (2015) Elizabeth Hartley Renneker (2014); Jill Johnson (2013); Stacie Williams (2012); and Jessica Mack (2011)
  • Media Award: Kathie Bennett (2015); Christy Henderson (2014); Amanda Bass (2013); Charmayne Brown (2012); and Keisha Kirkland (2011)
  • Public Service/Government Award: Mary Deku (2015); Sharon Porter (2014), Judge Ponda Caldwell (2013); Barbara Barnes (2012); and Hope Blackley (2011)
  • Missions Award: Melanie Watt (2015); Jean Bradley (2014)’ Jayne McQueen (2013); Julia Lyons (2012); and Lou Landrum (2011)
  • Philanthropy Award: Susan R. Schneider (2016) Cyndi Beacham (2015); Betty Montgomery (2014); Mary Thomas (2013); Phyllis B. DeLapp (2012); and Dr. Charlotte Ellis (2011)
  • Political Leadership Award: Jane Hall (2015); Erica Brown (2014); Harriett Rucker (2013); Liz Patterson (2012); and Rita Allison (2011)
  • Business Award: Dr. Kay E. Woodward (2016) Karen Knuckles (2015); Beth Jeter Hrubala (2014); Sue Schneider (2013); Tammy Devine (2012); and Susan Bridges (2011)
  • Creative Leadership Award: Kathy Cann (2015); Betsy Teeter (2014); Peggy Magarahan (2013); and Mary Ellen Suitt (2012)
  • Education Award: Argyl Brewton (2016) Susan Burgess (2015); Penny Fisher (2014); Donna Christopher (2013); Margaret Peach (2012); and Melissa Andrews (2011)
  • Volunteer Award: Marcia Murff (2016)
  • Community Outreach Award: Liberty Canzater (2016)
  • Community Arts Award: Jennifer Evins (2016)
  • Community Awareness Award: Tracey L. Jackson (2016)

Group of pioneering women

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