Trustee Spotlight: Carol Burdette
This article appeared originally in the Fall/Winter issue of Frontiers Magazine.
“The quality of what goes on is eye-opening. SMC provides an experience for students that is life-changing.”
As the former mayor of the town of Pendleton, South Carolina, and now as CEO of the United Way of Anderson County, Carol Burdette knows about bringing together people of diverse backgrounds and interests for a common purpose. “I love working within a community and seeing people benefit,” she said.
It’s a strength she brings to the Spartanburg Methodist College Board of Trustees, on which she has served since 2011. Like Burdette, board members contribute a wealth of experiences and perspectives to the job of setting the institution’s direction. It’s a group of leaders who have expertise in business, law and education as well as experience in philanthropy and community volunteerism.
Helping others has been Burdette’s passion throughout her adult life. She was known as a passionate and committed leader in Pendleton, and her 12-year tenure as mayor was highlighted by collaboration and problem solving. A case in point: facing the need for a new town hall, she and other elected officials decided to renovate an old school building to use for offices and meeting space. The move saved a community landmark while providing a cost-effective solution for the town’s facilities challenge.
Following Burdette’s time as mayor, town leaders voted to name the building for her. “That was one of the greatest honors of my career,” she said.
Like all colleges, SMC is embedded in a community. It interacts with local governments and partners with social service agencies. It’s affected by state legislation and bureaucratic initiatives. It’s important for institutions of higher learning to build and manage relationships while taking advantage of beneficial opportunities.
Burdette’s background in local government and nonprofit work have been of enormous value to the college. Under her leadership, the college pursued an Advance SC grant offered by Duke Energy to support education and business development.
“I love working within a community and seeing people benefit.”
Burdette is proud to contribute to the success of SMC and is excited by what she sees taking place at the college. “The quality of what goes on is eye opening,” she said. “SMC provides an experience for students that is life-changing.” In 2017, Burdette ran for state Senate. During the campaign, she touted her experience in local government and described herself as “a get things done leader.” She suffered a narrow defeat, but that has not slowed her down. She is enjoying her work with the United Way of Anderson County, where she leads fundraising initiatives and supports the efforts of other nonprofit organizations to address community needs. Meanwhile, SMC is never far from Burdette’s mind. She takes the responsibilities of board leadership seriously. One of the most important decisions the board has made since she has been a member was the selection of a new president. Burdette is thrilled with the appointment of president Scott Cochran. She describes Cochran as “an innovator who looks for solutions that are outside of the box.” In all, she believes the college’s future is bright and is pleased to be playing a role. “It’s been a great experience.”
Article by Baker Maultsby
Mr. Andrew Babb ’88
Mr. Phillip Buchheit
Ms. Carol Burdette
Mr. Darrell Campbell
Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher
Rev. Jerry L. Gadsden
Mrs. Catherine Gramling
Mrs. Marianna Habisreutinger
Mr. Pat Henry ’64
Rev. D. Mitchell Houston ’73
Mr. Derrick Huggins
Mr. Ray Lattimore ’80
Dr. Frank Lee
Mrs. Kathleen McKinney
Rev. Evelyn Middleton
Mr. John Moore
Mrs. Marilyn Murphy
Dr. Darryl Owings
Mr. John Ramsey
Mr. W. Guy Spriggs
Rev. Mary V. Teasley
Mr. James F. Thompson, Chair
Mr. William “Mookie” Wilson ’78
Mr. Robert Webb “Bret” McAbee Jr. ’16