Liz Patterson, a Spartanburg Methodist College Board of Trustee member, was awarded the Lee S. Poole Advocacy and Service Award by the Charles Lea Center on Thursday morning, October 31st, at the Annual Meeting of the Charles Lea Center.
Lee Sterling Poole, son of Lynne and John Poole, was born prematurely and was not expected to survive. However, Lee did live and grew into a wonderful young man before passing away at the age of 27 in 2009. His cheerful spirit conveyed an energy that was contagious and Lee represented all that is good and caring about our community. His life was not only a testimonial, but a reminder, that regardless of your situation in life, everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy life to the fullest.
The Lee S. Poole Advocacy and Service Award was established in 2010 by the Charles Lea Center to honor and recognize the commitment of an individual who has worked to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in Spartanburg County. Patterson was honored to receive such a recognition and accepted it on behalf of and in memory of her brother “Bubba.”
The first and only woman to represent the 4th Congressional District, Elizabeth Johnston “Liz” Patterson’s career personifies service: from her early work as a recruiting officer for the Peace Corps and VISTA, as the SC Director of Head Start, to serving as staff assistant for Representative James R. Mann to her elected offices of Spartanburg County Council, the S.C. Senate and the House of Representatives.
While in office, she served on the House Committees on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs, Veterans Affairs and the Select Committee on Hunger. After leaving office, Patterson oversaw the creation of the Professional Legal Assistant (PLA) Program at Converse College in 1997 and served as Director of the program until her retirement.
Her father, Olin D. Johnston, a member of the very first SMC graduating class, served as Governor of South Carolina and as U.S. Senator from South Carolina. Patterson was voted onto the SMC Board of Trustees and has served consecutively since 2004. She was instrumental in moving Converse College’s PLA program to SMC, where it was been housed since August of 2004 and rebranded as SMC’s Paralegal Certificate Program.
In addition to serving on the SMC Board of Trustees, Patterson serves on the SMC Paralegal Advisory Committee and is an active member of the Central United Methodist Church, Business & Professional Women (BPW), League of Women Voters, Rotary Club, the Church Council, Charles Lea Center & Charles Lea Center Foundation, and is an Independent College & University Life Member. Patterson holds honorary degrees from Wofford, Converse, and Columbia College and has been awarded various awards such as Kiwanis Citizen of the Year and Citizen of the Year – Spartanburg Board of Realtors.
Patterson, born in Columbia, SC, holds a B.A. from Columbia College of South Carolina and a M.A. from the University of South Carolina. Patterson is married to Dwight Patterson, and they have three children, Dwight III, Olin and Catherine Gramling.