Life Had Other Plans For SMC Graduate



When Corin Hewins graduated high school in 2012, she enrolled in college to start on a path toward career success. On the advice of friends and family, she decided to pursue nursing because it was a solid profession.

“Everyone told me I’d always have a job as a nurse,” she said.

A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Hewins’ plan involved becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and then paying for college by working in the profession part-time. But just after her first semester at Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina, life had other plans. Her mother became seriously ill and was hospitalized shortly after Christmas, leaving Hewins’ younger brother and terminally ill grandmother without care.

“I could have gone back to school, but I was needed at home. I had to figure out what to do,” Hewins explains.

As her friends returned to college, Hewins stayed behind to care for her family. At the same time, she stuck with her original plan, earning a CNA certification from Greenville Technical College in 2013. With her credentials, she was able to begin working full-time as her mother’s health

When her grandmother passed away, and as her mother’s health improved, Hewins knew she had a choice to make: she could continue working as a CNA or she could move forward toward her goal of finishing her college education.

Because of costs and the distance from home, returning to Voorhees College (over two hours away in Denmark, South Carolina) no longer seemed practical. “But I said, ‘I’m not going to settle,’” she recalls. “I had friends who had gone to SMC, so I applied.”

In the fall of 2014, Hewins began taking classes to earn an associate’s degree in biology, continuing to work part-time as a CNA, and sticking to her original plan to become a nurse. Money was tight, and even though she had family members who helped with tuition, Hewins was determined to be as independent as she could. During her sophomore year at SMC, she went home every weekend to work, in addition to holding down a work-study position in the campus library.

When she wasn’t working or studying, Hewins got involved in campus life at SMC, participating on the cheerleading squad, the year book staff and even competing for Miss SMC (she was second runner-up).

At the same time, she was beginning to realize that nursing wasn’t for her.

“It wasn’t as rewarding as I’d hoped. I don’t think you should pick a career based on salary and stability if you don’t also love it.”

A different plan was beginning to take shape for Hewins. In high school, she’d had some experience working with children with developmental disabilities, including her brother, who’d been born prematurely. In Dr. Mary Jane Farmer’s psychology class, Hewins enjoyed discovering how learning takes place – specifically for disabled children.

“It reminded me of those times with my brother and how fascinated I was by how the therapists helped him learn. These children, like my brother, couldn’t help being different from others,” she said. It was really stressful for their parents; most of them didn’t know what to do.”

“In my Developmental Psychology class, Corin was always ready to pipe up – whether to volunteer any information that enhanced our class discussions or to ask questions,” says Farmer. “Like many of my students, it was a joy and a delight to have Corin Hewins.”

Drawn to a career that will allow her to both help and teach others, Hewins listened to what life was telling her and changed her plans. This spring, she was accepted to USC-Upstate, where she’ll complete her education – not in nursing, but in early childhood education (with a minor in psychology).

To help pay for school, she’ll work as a paid intern for the Greenville Family Partnership.

“It’s been hard to pay for my education, but I’m happy I’ve been through it. I gained a lot of strength,” Hewins said. “I hope to find a job, like everyone, but I really hope to meet someone who is in my shoes, and help them. I’m an advocate for people who haven’t had such an easy path.”

Shameia Web

Outstanding Student Leader Plans Career Helping Others

Shameia Web

When Shameia Rosier was born, doctors said her life would be marked by all the things she wouldn’t be able to do.

“They said I’d never walk or eat without a tube,” Rosier says.

On Saturday, May 7, after a lifetime of proving her doctors wrong, Rosier will walk across the stage to accept her associate’s degree from Spartanburg Methodist College. From there, the sunny 20-year-old plans to continue her education at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina.

“I’m getting a degree in psychology, and I hope to be a licensed therapist,” she says. “I like to help people, to listen. You don’t necessarily need to talk all the time.”

Born with arthrogryposis, a congenital disease causing joint deformities, Rosier, who grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, spent the first years of her life in and out of hospitals. She underwent multiple surgeries on her hips and heels, and even endured a full body cast for weeks. Until the fifth grade, she wore braces on her legs.

Rosier credits her grandparents, who raised her, with instilling in her a determination to push beyond her physical limitations.

“When I was a baby and on the feeding tube, my grandmother just kept giving me tiny little bits of food, day after day, until I could swallow on my own,” she recalls. “And when I decided I wanted to walk, she encouraged me to keep trying until I could do it.”

Rosier’s “Papa” was a staunch advocate for his granddaughter – his attention to her needs and care made all the difference in her success, she says. “My Papa has always been there for me. Kids with disabilities need an advocate to make sure they’re getting the right services and help, otherwise they can fall through the cracks. Papa was always on top of it, and I will always be grateful for that.”

With her grandparents’ example of selfless commitment to her welfare, it’s not surprising Rosier was drawn to programs that focused on leadership and volunteerism. As a participant in Ladies of Distinction in middle school and Bridges to a Brighter Future (a Furman University program) in high school, she spent hours working outside the classroom with other students who were passionate about improving themselves and their communities.

“In Bridges, I was surrounded by a very diverse group of kids, and I learned that everyone has a story and not to judge a book by its cover,” Rosier says.

At SMC, everyone knows “Meia.” She just finished a year as president of the Student Government Association (SGA). She helped found and manage the school’s first hip hop dance team. She’s on the board of the college’s service fraternity, Kappa Sigma Alpha (KSA). And those are just a few of the clubs and activities she’s been involved in during her two years at SMC.

During the college’s award’s night in April, Rosier received the KSA Thomas R. Bailey Humanitarian Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership, commitment and service to humanity. She also received the SGA Leadership Award, a Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges Achievement Award in Leadership and the Olin D. Johnston Good Citizenship Award, which was presented to her by President Scott Cochran.

“Shameia is one of the most determined individuals I have ever had the pleasure to work with,” Cochran said. “She’s bright, focused and a community builder. Success favors hard workers and Shameia is an exceptionally hard worker. She’s going to change the world.”


Coast Guard Connection Bonds Student and Professor


Coast Guard Connection Bonds Student and Professor

by Baker Maultsby

Spartanburg Methodist College professor Barry Ward knew Randy Duncan as a hard-working student, a leader and “just such a real friendly guy.”

SMC is a place where classes are small, office doors are open and students and faculty develop meaningful relationships. But following the college’s awards program in late April, Ward found a deeper personal connection to his former student in health and physical education classes.

Duncan was honored with the American Legion Award and is heading into the United States Coast Guard after graduating this Saturday. Ward received the same award 37 years before as a student at SMC, where he landed after serving in the Coast Guard before enrolling.

“I’m biased, but I think the Coast Guard is the ‘elite branch’ of the military,” Ward said, noting that the Coast Guard is tasked with essential functions in both wartime and times of peace.

The American Legion Award honors young people who demonstrate courage, patriotism, scholarship and service.
“It was awesome – I had no idea I was getting the award,” Duncan said, though his credentials are certainly impressive.

A male and a female student receive the award each year. Along with Duncan, sophomore Brittany Halter was honored. Both of these students exemplify what SMC works to instill in its students: leadership, hard work and a commitment to making the world a better place, said Kim Caton, Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development.

“Randy is a student with a heart that longs to serve others,” Caton said. She pointed to a t-shirt fundraiser he coordinated to support South Carolina flood victims in 2015, as well as numerous leadership positions on campus.
“He is always willing to help, willing to serve, willing to make a difference,” said Caton.

Looking toward his service in the Coast Guard, Duncan said he is excited about seeing new places and having opportunities to help people. Among the duties of the Coast Guard is responding to boating accidents at sea and carrying out search and rescue missions.

Each branch of the service has many mouths to feed, and Duncan hopes to have the chance to develop his skills as a chef. Although he was born in Columbia, South Carolina, he spent his early childhood in Connecticut in “a big Italian family” and learned to appreciate authentic recipes – marinara is a favorite – at an early age.

“I love to cook,” said Duncan, who majors in business and hopes to one day open his own restaurant.
Duncan’s family returned to Columbia, South Carolina, when he was nine. Years later, he became interested in SMC when a friend was being recruited by the school to play baseball, and they both decided to attend. Duncan feels that it was a great decision.

“It’s small, and you’re able to meet with your professors and develop a one-to-one relationship,” he said. “They want you to do well. They aren’t just here for a paycheck.”

Ward finished his undergraduate education at USC-Upstate after graduating from SMC. He taught and coached at Landrum High School for several years before completing a master’s degree and returning to SMC as a professor. In addition to teaching health and physical education, he manages intramural programs at the college. He appreciates getting to know students in the classroom and on the field.

“I enjoy the relationships with students,” Ward said. “I love helping them to develop a healthy lifestyle, and I tell them that I want them to live better longer.”

And Ward is pleased to see one of his students following his footsteps into the Coast Guard. He believes Duncan has what it takes.

“I hope it will be a great life adventure for him like it was for me.”


SMC student, singer and scientist looks to a future in medicine




SMC student, singer and scientist looks to a future in medicine

by Baker Maultsby

Bret McAbee likes to be where the action is. And he’s found plenty to be part of as a student at Spartanburg Methodist College. He works as a tutor for other students, serves as an orientation counselor and sings tenor as part of the Troubadours choral group – all while earning a GPA that’s a whisker away from 4.0.

McAbee’s career plans, too, reflect his taste for the fast pace. He wants to work as a doctor in an emergency room, where caregivers are constantly on the move and the pressure is intense. “The idea that someone’s life can be in your hands, and it’s up to you to do what needs to be done – that’s essential,” he says.

A chemistry major from Campobello, in northern Spartanburg County, McAbee appears to be well on the way to reaching his goal of a career in medicine. Chosen by his classmates to be the graduation speaker at this Saturday’s commencement ceremony, he will head to Presbyterian College next fall with nearly a full scholarship.

But first, he and fellow student Austin Miller will join chemistry professor Adam Siegfried in a prestigious summer research program at Furman University. Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation and engages students and professors in state-of-the-art chemistry research.

McAbee’s team will study halogen-bonded crystals during the ten-week program.

With long-term goals in mind, McAbee says he’s excited about the REU opportunity because it could strengthen his resume for medical or graduate school. In the short-term, he’s glad to have the chance to continue working with Siegfried, whom he describes as a terrific teacher. “He explains things really well – gives a lot of examples of the concept we’re studying.”

McAbee says Siegfried is like the majority of faculty members at SMC – engaging, friendly and always willing to offer extra support. “I doubt there are a lot of places like this, where the professors keep their door open anytime they’re in their office,” he said. “They give you the tools to succeed.”

In addition to studying chemistry, McAbee has particularly enjoyed singing with the Troubadours. The group sings religious songs, patriotic music and the occasional pop or folk song from the 1960s.

“I just love hearing all the harmonies come together,” said McAbee, adding that director Lanny Lanford is an inspiring leader and the kind of educator whose impact goes beyond the classroom (or stage). “He’s one of the smartest men I’ve ever met,” he says. “It’s great to work with someone who you respect everything they say. He not only knows about what’s in the book, he just knows a great deal about life.”

McAbee plans to continue singing at Presbyterian. The choral group there is slated to take a trip to perform in Europe next spring. It will be McAbee’s first trip abroad.

McAbee is a first-generation college student. He was a strong student at the small Christian school he attended and always expected he would attend college. “I don’t see it as that big a deal,” he said. Still, he acknowledges, “My parents are pretty proud of me.”

Vice President for Academic Affairs Ann Bowles says McAbee is a great representative of the college and its mission. “Bret is one more example of a student who has come here and taken advantage of and immersed himself in opportunities to learn and grow,” she said. “He’s well-
rounded and clear about what he wants to do, and there’s no doubt he will be a success.”

McAbee is excited about moving on to Presbyterian and eventually pursuing post-graduate studies. But he’s developed a deep loyalty to SMC. He says he will always feel connected to the college.

“It’s one of the things I plan to say in my graduation speech: Once a Pioneer, always a Pioneer.”

A selfie of Cody, taken inside the Fairchild Metroliner cockpit.

The Sky’s The Limit For SMC Graduate

For as long as he can remember, Cody Downey has loved to fly. As a child, he traveled extensively by airplane with his father, a FEMA agent who didn’t want to be separated from his family on long assignments.

“We flew on big commercial jets to Ireland, to the Bahamas, all over the country,” Downey recalls. “We also had a big field in front of our house, and my Dad’s boss used to land his plane in it all the time. For a little kid, that was the coolest thing ever.”

By the time he was eight, Downey, who grew up in Inman, South Carolina, knew he wanted to be an airline pilot. He took his first flight lesson at age 14. On his 16th birthday – a day most high school students are excited about getting their driver’s license – Downey performed his first solo flight. And by age 17, he had his pilot’s license.

When it was time to choose a college, Downey looked first at schools with flight programs. There were good ones in the region, but cost was a factor. And time.

“Everything is about seniority when you work in the airline industry,” he said. “I realized going the traditional route to a degree would set me back a hundred grand and cost me three years.”

For months, says Downey, Bob Seawright – the pilot who landed in his front yard – encouraged him to consider SMC. “When I finally listened to him, I realized SMC offered me the fastest track to the airlines for the most affordable, debt-free price.”

Downey enrolled at SMC in 2014, determined to get an associate’s degree for credibility while completing pilot training on his own. He continued flight lessons in Hendersonville, North Carolina, earning a commercial pilot’s license for single and multi-engine airplanes and an instructor’s license.

To pay for lessons, he worked as a ramp agent for Delta Airlines in Greenville, South Carolina, and as a waiter. He also taught flight lessons and even started his own air tour business – all to earn the flight hours needed to be competitive for a job after graduation.

As much as he was driven to reach his goal of becoming a commercial pilot, Downey took time to enjoy life. He directed the choir for his church and sang in SMC’s Troubadours choral group. He continued following another passion: playing the guitar.

And Downey excelled academically. When he walks across the stage to receive his diploma at Saturday’s graduation ceremony, he’ll be in the top 5% of his class. He appreciated the close attention from SMC faculty and advisers during his two years at SMC. “People like Dr. Kris Pratt, they relate to you on a human level. It’s not just a job for them,” he said.

Pratt, who directs advising at SMC and teaches religion courses, says he was impressed by Downey’s determination to reach his career goals while balancing work, school and extra-curricular activities. “From the day he set foot on campus, Cody knew he wanted to be a pilot. He’s been an important part of the SMC community, and we’ll miss him.”

Downey’s years of hard work have paid off. On May 12, the 20-year-old leaves for Laredo, Texas, where he’s accepted a job as a first officer with a charter service. For a year, he’ll fly a Fairchild Metroliner to destinations in the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico and South America – as well as the United States. All the while, he’ll build additional flight hours and jet time, earning the seniority that should get him well on his way to a first officer position with a major airline – and well ahead of where he might be had he attempted a more traditional degree.

“l’ll finish my Bachelor’s degree online while I’m working,” Downey said. “I’ll have the degree and the job, and no debt.”

Looking back over the past two years, Downey acknowledges that at times it was tough. “That’s a lot of work for someone my age,” he said. “I was always told as a child to aim for the moon but shoot for the stars. To me, that means you can do anything you set your mind to. Just don’t expect it to be handed to you.”


Holycross receives 2016 SCICU Excellence in Teaching award



Mark Holycross, Professor of Physical Science and Physics, was honored with the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award at a reception and dinner April 12.

The Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes dedicated and committed faculty from 20 SCICU member institutions who work one-on-one with students whom they also serve as advisers, mentors and friends.

Holycross came to Spartanburg Methodist College in 2007 after a distinguished 20-year career as an engineering scientist in the private sector. His research led to numerous publications, presentations and patents for the imaging industry.

“We are fortunate that Mark’s career path led him to the college classroom where he encourages and enables students to study science and pursue careers in science and technology,” said Dr. Ann Bowles, Vice President for Academic Affairs at SMC.

Holycross’ creativity in teaching difficult concepts, consistent involvement in campus life outside the classroom and engagement with the students he advises were cited as additional reasons he was deserving of the SCICU award, which includes a $3,000 professional development grant.

“Among an outstanding faculty, Mark’s quiet leadership and steadfast devotion to his students, advisees and the college are characteristics worthy of not only this award, but the admiration and respect of the community,” said President Scott Cochran. “It’s a pleasure to work with a colleague of his caliber.”

“I am honored to be Spartanburg Methodist College’s recipient of the SCICU Excellence in Teaching award this year,” said Holycross. “It means a great deal to be recognized by my peers for this award.”

Holycross holds B.A. degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Findlay and a Master of Science in physics from the University of Toledo.


Art show features faculty, staff & student work


Painting (left) by Rev. Father A. Edmund N. Cass, Professor of Art. Drawing by Josh Holt, Admissions Counselor.


Spartanburg Methodist College will showcase the artwork of faculty, staff and students in a new exhibition opening April 11 in the galleries at Ellis Hall on the college’s campus.

An opening reception will be held from 2-4 p.m. on April 11.

The gallery show and opening reception are free, and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Over 25 original works of art, including photographs, paintings, drawings, mixed media and textile art are on display and will remain available for viewing until May 9.

SMC Marketing logo PMS Reflex Blue U

Choral concert at SMC will feature traditional, Christian and pop music selections

SMC Marketing logo PMS Reflex Blue U


Spartanburg Methodist College will present the 2016 Music Department Spring Concert Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in Gibbs Auditorium (Ellis Hall) on the college’s campus.

The concert will feature traditional choral music and contemporary Christian choral works as well as works by pop artists such as Bob Dylan, the Gatlin Brothers, the Eagles, Average White Band and Keith Urban.

The concert is free, and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The concert will feature performances by the SMC Singers, the SMC Troubadours – a choral ensemble which travels across the region to perform concerts and worship music – and the SMC Instrumental Ensembles.

The SMC Singers and Troubadours will perform under the direction of Dr. Lanny Lanford, Director of Music Programs & Professor of Music at SMC. The Instrumental Ensembles will perform under the direction of Dr. Patrick Flynn, Adjunct Professor of Music. Pianist Rebekah James will accompany all performing groups.


Spartanburg Methodist College welcomes new vice president for professional development and design


Spartanburg Methodist College announces Courtney Shelton as the college’s first vice president for professional development and design, effective April 1, 2016.

Shelton brings to SMC 10 years of experience in developing programming for higher education. Most recently, she directed the Impact and Launch Programs in The Space at Wofford College, where she mentored, instructed and advised students in the creation of over 100 businesses, nonprofits and community impact projects. During her tenure, she also guided student consulting groups through business engagements with local, regional and national companies. Under her direction, Wofford College rebranded and relaunched its Center for Professional Excellence as The Space in 2013.

Prior to her work in The Space, Shelton served Wofford as the Director of Student Activities and Greek Life before transitioning into an Assistant Dean of Students position.

In her role as vice president for professional development and design, Shelton will create and lead Spartanburg Methodist College’s new professional development program. She has extensive experience in design thinking – a structured, empathetic approach to problem-solving that leads to innovation – and will also work with all areas of the college to improve programs and program delivery.

“Courtney was instrumental in building professional development programs for students at The Space at Wofford over the last five years and has extensive experience in designing co-curricular programs that combine active learning, instruction, coaching and applied experience,” said Scott Cochran, president of Spartanburg Methodist College. “She’s passionate about finding ways to help everyone she encounters become more successful, and we’re excited to have her creative energy here at SMC.”

Shelton holds a B.A. in Religion from Presbyterian College and a M.A. in Higher Education from the University of South Carolina.



“Bus Stop” to be performed at SMC



Spartanburg Methodist College’s “SMC Players” will present “Bus Stop,” a comedy by William Inge, as its annual spring theatrical performance. The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. March 31 through April 2 and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 3. All performances will take place in Gibbs Auditorium in Ellis Hall on the SMC campus.

Bus Stop premiered on Broadway in 1955 and is set in the rural midwest. An early March snowstorm has stranded a bus at a small diner 25 miles outside of Kansas City. The travelers, forced into a brief layover in the early morning hours, alternately clash and fall in love as they wait out the storm.

The play was so popular that it spawned two film adaptations, one for the big screen and one for HBO, and one short-lived television series. Marilyn Monroe (1956), Marilyn Maxwell (1961) and Margot Kidder (1982) played the leading role of Cherie on the big and small screens. Freshman student Sarah Grace Reed of Boiling Springs, South Carolina, will play Cherie in the SMC production.

The play is directed by Neill Hance, adjunct professor of public speaking and director of SMC Theatre.

Tickets are $5.00 and may be purchased at the door before each performance. Adults aged 60 and above may purchase two tickets for the price of one. High school students with school ID may also purchase two tickets for the price of one. All proceeds benefit the SMC drama department.

For more information, visit


Pioneering Women 2016 Awards

EvinsOutstanding Upstate Women Recognized at 6th Annual Pioneering Women Awards Ceremony

As a prelude to Women’s History Month, Spartanburg Methodist College hosted the annual Pioneering Women Awards Luncheon on Friday, February 26. The awards acknowledge women of character, courage and commitment in the Upstate community. This year, SMC recognized eight women for their commitment and leadership in their respective fields of volunteerism, business, philanthropy, leadership, education and community advocacy.

“Every day, these women are changing the world around them,” says Leah Pruitt, Director of Alumni Relations and chair of the Pioneering Women Awards committee. “They inspire others with their leadership and selflessness, and I was honored to welcome this distinguished group to campus.” Over 100 women attended the event, which included a networking session, awards ceremony and luncheon.

“I’m in awe of the achievements of our award winners. These are strong, dedicated, smart and talented individuals,” says Scott Cochran, President of SMC. “Pioneers blaze a trail for others to follow. It’s what we expect of our students, and that’s the spirit we celebrate with this event.”

The awards ceremony was held in the Gibbs Auditorium of Ellis Hall. Kim Hutzell, President and CEO of Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands, Inc., gave a keynote address to the assembled winners and guests. As the head of one of the state’s largest nonprofit organizations, Hutzell coordinates the agency’s services to more than 12,000 girls and 4,500 adult volunteers throughout 22 counties of the Midlands and Upstate Regions of central and western South Carolina.

The 2016 Pioneering Award recipients (click name for photo and bio):

Volunteer Award: Marcia Murff, Public Relations and Development Manager, Spartanburg County Parks Department
Business Award: Dr. Kay E. Woodward, President and Owner, J.W. Woodward Funeral Home
Philanthropy Award: Susan R. Schneider, Director of Public Relations and Advocacy (retired), Girls Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands, Inc.
Community Outreach Award: Liberty Canzater, Founder/President, The Butterfly Foundation
Community Arts Award: Jennifer Evins, President, CEO & Director of Development, The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg
Education Award: Argyl Brewton, Principal, Woodruff Elementary School
Alumni Award: Sarah Melzer Gibson ’03, Youth Ministry Coordinator, Matthews United Methodist Church
Community Awareness Award: Tracey L. Jackson, Executive Director, Piedmont Care

Previous Pioneering Women Award recipients:

Pioneering Women Lifetime Achievement Award: Sheila Breitweiser (’14).
Alumna Award: T.K. Butler (’15)Elizabeth Hartley Renneker (’14); Jill Johnson (’13); Stacie Williams (’12); and Jessica Mack (’11)
Media Award: Kathie Bennett (’15); Christy Henderson (’14); Amanda Bass (‘13); Charmayne Brown (’12); and Keisha Kirkland (’11).
Public Service/Government Award: Mary Deku (’15); Sharon Porter (’14), Judge Ponda Caldwell (’13); Barbara Barnes (’12); and Hope Blackley (’11).
Missions Award: Melanie Watt (’15); Jean Bradley (’14)’ Jayne McQueen (’13); Julia Lyons (’12); and Lou Landrum (’11).
Philanthropy Award: Cyndi Beacham (’15); Betty Montgomery (’14); Mary Thomas (’13); Phyllis B. DeLapp (’12); and Dr. Charlotte Ellis (’11).
Political Leadership Award: Jane Hall (’15); Erica Brown (’14); Harriett Rucker (’13); Liz Patterson (’12); and Rita Allison (’11).
Business Award: Karen Knuckles (’15); Beth Jeter Hrubala (‘14); Sue Schneider (’13); Tammy Devine (’12); and Susan Bridges (’11).
Creative Leadership Award: Kathy Cann (’15); Betsy Teeter (’14); Peggy Magarahan (’13); and Mary Ellen Suitt (’12).
Education Award: Susan Burgess (’15); Penny Fisher (’14); Donna Christopher (’13); Margaret Peach (’12); and Melissa Andrews (’11).



Combat veteran and psychologist to speak about PTSD history, symptoms and new treatments

CraigBurnetteCombat veteran and psychologist to speak about PTSD history, symptoms and new treatments

From the Civil War until 1980, terms like “nostalgia, soldier’s heart, shell shock and battle fatigue” were used to describe the behaviors of soldiers returning from combat. Those behaviors are now recognized officially as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and are seen as one of the signature “wounds of war.”

Dr. Craig Burnette, a decorated Vietnam veteran and psychologist who spent 28 years working in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will provide a historical overview of PTSD, while discussing specific symptoms, treatments and what some are calling “post trauma growth,” as medicine moves toward challenging the prevailing notions that individual mental health issues are unchanging and/or irreversible.

Burnette’s talk will take place Monday, Feb. 29, from 3-4 p.m. in Gibbs Auditorium (located in Ellis Hall) at Spartanburg Methodist College. The event is free and open to the public. Psi Beta, the college’s Psychology Honor Society, is sponsoring the event.

“Every Psi Beta seminar is a platform to address theories, issues and concepts talked about in the classroom. Dr. Burnette is a war veteran who happens to have a dearth of personal and professional experiences dealing with cases of PTSD, a disorder addressed in our psychology classes,” says Mary Jane Farmer, professor of psychology and SMC faculty adviser for Psi Beta.

Burnette served in the U.S. Army as an infantry platoon leader, company commander and military adviser. His decorations include the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. He began his VA service as a therapist for other Vietnam veterans and their families before moving into administrative positions in outreach and residential care programs. He was instrumental in the planning, development and implementation of Project CHALENGE (Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups) for veterans, a nationwide program that annually assesses the needs of homeless veterans in 170 cities and towns across the U.S. and then develops local action plans to meet those needs.

Burnette currently lives in Inman, South Carolina, and actively works in support of veteran’s issues. He serves as a board member for Mental Health America, Spartanburg, as a consultant for the VA, and is a member of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans for the VA. He is also a volunteer with the Upstate Warrior Solution.


Speaker to discuss role of black churches in social change


The Rev. Dr. Sheila Elliott, pastor of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Lake City, South Carolina, will discuss the role of the black church in social change as part of Spartanburg Methodist College’s observance of Black History Month.

Elliott’s talk will take place Thursday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. in Davis Mission Chapel on the SMC campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Click for a campus map

Elliott is a 2008 graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. She is a native of Columbia, South Carolina, and the first tenured African-American professor at Columbia College. She received an undergraduate degree in history and political science from the University of South Carolina.

As an undergraduate, Elliott’s focus was American politics and international affairs. She earned her Ph.D. degree in international relations, specializing in African studies and women in the developing world. Elliott’s other areas of research have centered on women’s studies, the African diaspora and African studies, with a concentration in Southern Africa, social justice education, leadership studies and faith and health.


Sarah Grace Reed crowned Miss SMC 2016


Miss SMC 2015, Ashley Rogers, pins the crown on Sarah Grace Reed, Miss SMC 2016.


The 2016 Miss SMC Pageant was held January 24, 2016, at 6 p.m. in Gibbs Auditorium on the SMC campus. Sarah Grace Reed, a freshman student from Boiling Springs, South Carolina, won the crown and the right to represent Spartanburg Methodist College in this summer’s Miss South Carolina Pageant in Columbia, South Carolina.

Reed is an accomplished singer and actor, appearing in 13 Spartanburg Youth Theatre shows during the last six years and serving as the president of its junior advisory board. She is the recipient of numerous awards in piano and vocal performance from the National Federation of Music Clubs. During the pageant talent competition, Reed sang “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from the 1964 musical “Funny Girl.”

During a year of public appearances, Reed will work to support and promote local arts and arts education, her pageant platform issue.

Miss SMC 2016: Sarah Grace Reed
First Runner-Up: Jacosha Nicole Simpson, sophomore, of Boiling Springs, South Carolina
Second Runner-Up: Corin Hewins, sophomore, of Greenville, South Carolina

Overall Talent: Sarah Grace Reed
Overall Evening Gown: Corin Hewins
Most Photogenic: Sarah Grace Reed
Community Support Award: Sarah Grace Reed

Learn more by following the Miss SMC Pageant on Facebook:


Sunday’s Miss SMC Pageant continues 70-year tradition of service, scholarship


2016 Miss SMC contestants, from left to right: Alyssa Queen, Corin Hewins, Brittany Stokes, Tynia Goode, JoAnna Gorrin, Sarah Grace Reed, Jacosha Simpson. Not pictured: Brittany Warren.


In 1946, Spartanburg Methodist College, then known as Spartanburg Junior College, crowned its first May Queen and began a tradition of selecting a young woman to serve as an ambassador for the college during a year of service in the local and regional community. On Sunday night, when eight SMC students vie for the title of Miss SMC, two former May Queens – Edna Guthrie Grainger, class of 1949 and Joann Hill Waddell, class of 1962 – will be in the audience along with family, friends and students.

Since 2012, winners of the Miss SMC Pageant have been eligible to compete each summer for the Miss South Carolina crown. But more important than a chance at the state title and even a shot at the Miss America crown is the personal development pageant contestants experience, says Kim Caton, director of student activities and leadership development at SMC. “All of the past winners I’ve met, including May Queens from decades ago, talk about how much they learned about themselves during pageant preparation and the appearances they make as Miss SMC.”

Miss SMC contestants must have a platform – a social cause or charitable organization – she will promote as a contestant and, if selected to wear the crown, during her year of service. The winner will promote her platform at public appearances, volunteer opportunities, college events and throughout the community, says Caton. The winner will also participate in activities that promote and raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the official philanthropy of the Miss South Carolina and Miss America organizations. Contestants are raising money through the sale of pioneer hats the week before the pageant. All money raised will be donated to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Of the eight contestants, one winner and two runners-up will be selected by a panel of judges who base their scores on individual interview, onstage question, evening gown, physical fitness and talent. In addition to the title and crown, the winner will receive a $1,000 education scholarship. The first runner-up receives a $500 scholarship, and the second runner-up will take home a $250 scholarship. Special recognition is also given for talent, evening gown and community support.

The 2016 Miss SMC Pageant will take place Sunday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. in Gibbs Auditorium on the Spartanburg Methodist College campus. The event is open to the public, and admission is $5.00.


2016 Miss SMC Contestants (click each contestant’s name for a high resolution image; a high resolution group image is here). 

1. Tynia Goode. Hometown: Spartanburg, South Carolina. Platform: Overcoming Insecurities. Educational Goal: Bachelor’s degree, communications. Talent: Monologue.

2. JoAnna Gorrin. Hometown: Greer, South Carolina. Platform: Depression Awareness. Educational Goal: Master’s degree, psychology. Talent: Dance, “Heartbeat.”

3. Corin Hewins. Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina. Platform: Women Empowerment. Finding the Queen in YOU. Educational Goal: Bachelor’s degree, early childhood development. Talent: Poem, “A Black Woman, Nothing Else.”

4. Alyssa Queen. Hometown: York, South Carolina. Platform: Take a Stand: Stop Relationship Violence. Educational Goal: Criminal Justice, Law. Talent: Lyrical dance, “Note to God.”

5. Sarah Grace Reed. Hometown: Boiling Springs, South Carolina. Platform: Support and Promotion of Local Arts and Arts Education. Educational Goal: Bachelor’s degree, theatre. Talent: Musical Theatre Vocal, “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”

6. Jacosha Nicole Simpson. Hometown: Boiling Springs, South Carolina. Platform: Alleviating the Stigma of Shame for the Victims of Sexual Assault. Educational Goal: Bachelor’s degree, early childhood development. Talent: Jazz dance, “Respect.”

7. Brittany Stokes. Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina. Platform: HIV/AIDS Awareness/Prevention. Educational Goal: Master’s degree, international business. Talent: Dance/Clogging.

8. Brittany Makayla Warren. Hometown: Johnsonville, South Carolina. Platform: Overcoming Insecurities and Peer Pressure. Educational Goal: Master’s degree, accounting. Talent: Guitar and vocals, “Try.”

2016 Miss SMC Pageant Judges:

Charmayne Brown, editor-in-chief/publisher, Rejoice Magazine, Spartanburg.

Jamarcus Gaston, television host and producer for “Studio 62,” Spartanburg.

Holly Hanna, co-owner, Hanna’s Driving School and teacher, Spartanburg School District 6.

Bobby Holcombe, director of financial aid & scholarships, The University of South Carolina Union.

Doretta Osburn, owner/manager of Night Sky Entertainment, Nashville, Tennessee .