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C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n magaz in e

Clear Winner

The BOUNDLESS Campaign brought the campus together, launching a new era of distinction.

Art and Science

Lulie Martin Wallace ’09 paints the perfect picture of where a liberal arts education can take you.

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Fa l l 2 0 1 6 Volume XXI, Issue 1 Editor

Mark Berry Art Director

Alfred Hall Managing Editor

Amanda Kerr Associate Editors

Alicia Lutz ’98 Ron Menchaca ’98 Photography

Mike Ledford Contributors

Kris Adams Michael Adeyanju Hannah Ashe ’12 Dan Dickison Maura Hogan ’87 Liz Howell Reese Moore Erin Perkins Mike Robertson Becca Starkes ’16 J.R. Ward II ’00 Michael Wiser

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ATTN: College of Charleston Magazine College of Charleston Division of Marketing and Communications Charleston, SC 29424-0001 College of Charleston Magazine is published twice a year by the Division of Marketing and Communications. With each printing, approximately 69,000 copies are mailed to keep alumni, families of currently enrolled students, legislators and friends informed about and connected to the College. Diverse views appear in these pages and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor or the official policies of the College.

[ table of contents ]












The unending churn of the body politic this election cycle has been a whirlwind of polarizing views, controversy and emotion. At the center of the action are students and alumni, each playing his or her part in the lead up to voters casting their ballots.






Mike Gaumer ’98 is a modest guy who doesn’t like the spotlight. He drives a Ford F150 pick-up truck, wears shorts to the office and speaks in sports metaphors. But make no mistake, the flip-flop– wearing, football-loving president of apparel behemoth vineyard vines is all business.










When the College first sounded the call to make the institution’s future BOUNDLESS, the success of this historic philanthropic endeavor remained to be seen. Nearly seven years later, the fundraising campaign has generated an unprecedented level of giving that speaks to the power of what it means to be a Cougar.

on the cover: (l to r) Steve Swanson ’89 and President Glenn McConnell ’69, co-chairs of the BOUNDLESS Campaign photo by Kip Bulwinkle ’04

| Photo by Kip Bulwinkle ’04 |


Keeping Our Head Above Water IF NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF invention, then what begets reinvention? That question is starting to cross the minds of faculty and staff these days as the institution embarks on the process of its reaffirmation. Every 10 years, the College retools its identity in a key way. That’s because colleges and universities that are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges must undergo reaffirmation to remain fully accredited. A vital part of this process involves establishing a quality enhancement plan (QEP) for the institution and then implementing that plan over a five-year time span.



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Last year, College leaders formed a committee to determine what the focus of that QEP should be. After evaluating a range of proposals, the committee determined that the plan would center around sustainability literacy. Effectively, this means that students will be encouraged to develop the knowledge and skills required to work effectively for a more resilient world. Let’s pause for a moment to better understand that. What does “a more resilient world” have to do with the College? To be resilient is to have the ability to recover quickly from misfortune or disruptive change. When faculty teach students using the liberal arts and

sciences tradition, they’re endowing them with the intellectual resilience to adapt in an ever-evolving job market. When the College invests in a zero-waste dining facility such as Marty’s Place, it is helping the surrounding community become more resilient by diminishing the waste stream that already burdens Charleston’s only landfill. And when students at the College defend the rights of LGBTQ individuals, they’re helping to form a more resilient community. “Our new QEP is one of the most important pieces of work that the College has taken on in its history,” explains Todd LeVasseur ’97, the religious studies and environmental and sustainability studies


professor who was tapped to direct the plan. “This initiative will ultimately touch the lives of everyone here, and we expect it to become a key identifying element of our institution.” A big part of the plan is to invite faculty to infuse existing courses with material that emphasizes the goals of the QEP. Eventually, the College will add a robust mix of new courses that have sustainability integrated into their curricula. In addition, LeVasseur says, “We plan to stage events that will increase student awareness. We’ll work with faculty to offer some study-away and study-abroad opportunities, and we’ll liaise with the Center for Civic Engagement on alternative break experiences that all meet the goals of the QEP as well.” Several dozen existing courses already qualify as sustainability focused or sustainability related. These classes range from an education course on the civil rights movement in Charleston to a first-year seminar on biomimicry to an introductory course on environmental and sustainability studies to a course on ecopreneurship. As the campus begins to embrace this new initiative, LeVasseur and his fellow QEP committee members expect that list to grow exponentially. “It’s important to acknowledge that we live in a more-than-human world,” explains LeVasseur. “Everything requires contextualizing, and that means taking into account our interaction with the natural world – effectively our impact on other species and ecosystems, and how our worldviews, policies and economic incentives all contribute to this impact. But we also need to pay attention to issues of fairness and justice in our communities, as those are central to sustainability literacy, as well.” And that’s really the importance of sustainability literacy. It involves understanding our role in the intricate dynamics at play around us – whether those be human-devised systems or the natural environment. Achieving this literacy will endow College of Charleston students with important knowledge and skills that will render them stronger candidates for a wide range of professional roles and for graduate school, as well. For everyone involved, that’s worth some reinvention.

What is sustainability? Among the initial challenges that the College faces in establishing its new Quality Enhancement Plan on sustainability literacy is the need to answer that question. For starters, sustainability pertains to more than just the environment. The College defines it as the endurance of systems and processes. Effectively, it is a balance between human systems and the biophysical environment. When the two interact sustainably, there is balance and both endure. Proponents of this more expansive understanding speak about sustainability’s three pillars: the economy, society and the environment. Truly sustainable solutions come about when our actions take into account the triple bottom line, which includes not only the financial costs, but the social and environmental costs as well. So how does this apply in an academic setting? If you teach medieval history, music theory or business administration, how would you integrate sustainability into your courses? For the medieval historian, there’s the option of having students read Richard Hoffmann’s An Environmental History of Medieval Europe, or Lynn White’s famous 1967 article on social/religious change and environmental impacts. These works explore the social and economic dynamics

prevalent during that era and how they affected the natural world. The music professor could add ecomusicology readings to the syllabus and foster class discussion regarding the influence of birds on Béla Bartók’s compositions or the viability of musical genres as a way to increase awareness about sustainability in society. And the business professor has a lot of options. Students can research case studies on businesses that weren’t sustainable (e.g., Hummer, Circuit City). They can examine incidents of business ethics that have distinct environmental or social ramifications. They can dialogue about the importance of recognizing the non-fiscal costs of doing business (e.g., CO2 buildup, biodiversity loss, deforestation, ocean acidification, social injustice, environmental racism): what economists call externalities. And they can read case studies of socially responsible corporations that have benefitted from adopting sustainable practices. “Integrating sustainability more broadly into our curriculum is an important challenge for the College because it requires interdisciplinary thinking and dialogue,” explains QEP Director Todd LeVasseur ’97. “The good news is, there’s really no limit to the ways that we can accomplish this.”

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Full Exposure WILLIAM FULMORE ’68 VIEWED LIFE through his own lens. From his point of view, even the most mundane of landscapes had a breadth and depth just waiting to be exposed. As a photographer in the 1970s and early 1980s, Fulmore pushed his boundaries within the medium. With the right lighting, framing and click of the shutter, simple images of doorways, Southern ruins, desert landscapes and coastal scenes took on elements of whimsy, mystery or poignant tranquility. Nearly 20 years after his death, the College is celebrating the work of this elusive alumnus in an exhibit at the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library. Looking Past opened this fall and will remain on display along the library’s



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second floor through the end of the year. The exhibit coincides with another new photography exhibit in Addlestone’s Special Collections focusing on the history of photography from the mid-19th century. Mary Jo Fairchild ’04 (M.A. ’08), manager of research services with Special Collections, describes the 32 black-andwhite prints featured in Looking Past as a collection of environmental landscapes, voyeuristic candids and intimate portraits of Fulmore’s family and friends. “He did some amazing things with light and shade,” says Fairchild, who helped bring the exhibit to the College after its March debut at the McClellanville Arts Center just north of Charleston. Fulmore, who earned a degree in English, had a short career in photography,

spanning less than a decade (from 1972 to 1980). An onset of schizophrenia in his late 20s sidelined his photographic ambitions. After years of declining mental and physical health, he died in 1997 at the age of 51 in his hometown of St. Stephen, S.C. All these years later, Fulmore’s undeniable passion for photography has pushed his family and friends to preserve and share his work. McClellanville-based photographer Nancy Marshall was among those who spearheaded the effort to curate a collection of Fulmore’s images. Because Fulmore didn’t do many exhibits during his life, with much of his work therefore spread out among family and friends, the task of gathering a cohesive assortment of photographs was more difficult than expected.


One of the few places where Fulmore displayed his photographs was at Nexus, an Atlanta-based photography cooperative. Fulmore relocated to the Peach State in the 1970s to pursue graduate studies in photography at Georgia State University. But for the most part, Fulmore created his images for the sheer joy of it, not for praise or money. “He was not at all mercenary or commercial about it,” Marshall says. “He did his photography for the love of what he was doing.” What made Fulmore’s work so special, say his supporters, was the process he used to create his visual scenes. He preferred to use an 8x10 view camera, a highly technical piece of equipment which allowed infinite depth of field and a highly detailed negative. This specialty camera, the same type used by renowned photographer Ansel Adams, required Fulmore to be very meticulous about the story he wanted to tell. “He really had a sense of place,” says John McWilliams, a retired photography professor who worked with Fulmore while he was at Georgia State. “When you set that camera down, you make decisions about where you want to be in the space and what you want to include. It’s a very deliberate process. He just took to it.” Fulmore’s sister, Libba Carroll, who also attended the College, supports Marshall’s effort to honor her brother’s art, even donating her own collection of her brother’s photos. “I am so happy to see Will’s work shared after so many years of me having it in boxes in my closet,” Carroll says. “I am overjoyed to be a part of the exhibit experience.” What once were scattered remnants of a brief photographic career has now emerged as a complete body of work that celebrates Fulmore’s talent. “There’s something about his passion that seems to come through – his excitement for the things that he discovered,” McWilliams says. “And I hope that it will come through with other people.” Fulmore’s gift was capturing the feeling of a place, the intangible magic of a moment in time. His images always offer something more to see.

| Above: William Fulmore ’68 at work using the 8x10 view camera. Below: an image of a masked figure, c. 1975. Opposite Page: a boathouse at Cape Romain Lighthouse Island, c. 1974. |

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| Left: Photo by Mike Ledford; Right: Photo by Kate Thornton ’00 |

Memories Ingrained THESE ARE THE BRANCHES THAT REACHED out and drew us in, embracing us with their captivating canopy of both welcoming comfort and mysterious promise. These are the trunks that stood strong and supported us, providing something to lean on while we stretched our minds and our perspective. These are the roots that gave us foundation, nourishing us with experiences and feeding us with memories that we will carry forever. As the stalwart representatives of the College of Charleston experience for generations, the oaks in the Cistern Yard are a part of us all. And so, when one of those beloved trees uprooted itself, ripping from the soil and crashing to the ground – its trunk crushing the fence, its branches splaying out across George Street onto Glebe – the impact reverberated through the hearts of CofC alumni everywhere. It was a quiet, sunny day in July. The sidewalks and streets were fortuitously empty at the moment the tree in the southwest corner of the Cistern Yard took its fall, wiping out an oak on George Street in its wake. The campus shuddered with the jolt of the news, sending waves of shock onto social media almost immediately. “As soon as I saw it on Twitter, my first



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reaction was how incredibly sad it was, and that it’d be cool if some of it could be kept to use in some commemorative way,” says Geoff Yost ’12, who jumped into action to get some of the tree set aside. His first call was to Katie Kozar Thompson ’09, a jewelry designer who works primarily with wood and who is married to a woodworker and furniture designer. “I knew she was the perfect person to get access to the wood,” says Yost, whose next call was to Ann Looper Pryor ’83, vice president of alumni affairs, who agreed to take immediate measures to save some of the wood. “I really credit Geoff and Katie for their incredibly quick reaction and plan to save the wood,” says Pryor, noting that the alumni response on social media confirmed Yost’s gut reaction: “There were hundreds of emails and social media comments, and everyone wanted a piece of the tree. Everyone wanted to know what was going to happen to it.” What happened was this: Four logs weighing more than 500 pounds each were hauled off to the Thompsons’ kiln in West Ashley to be dried out – a process that takes about three months. “It was a massive tree, and we have a lot of material to work with,” says Thompson.

“Oak has a very distinctive grain – it’ll make some beautiful products.” What those products will be has yet to be determined. “There are so many possibilities,” says Pryor. “We’ll probably end up with a variety of commemorative items to appeal to all tastes.” “Regardless of how it’s packaged, we want the significance to be in the wood, so that there’s meaning there for everyone,” says Yost. “Everyone has their own memories under those trees, and the stories are very personal to the individual. This is an opportunity to root out those stories and honor them, whatever they may be.” One thing is sure: Proceeds from item sales will go toward scholarships. “It’s a way to celebrate the College of Charleston and all that it has given us – and give back at the same time,” says Thompson, noting how committed the College’s alumni are to the Cistern Yard. “It’s a magical place – every student has memories under those trees. It’s near and dear to every alum’s heart. That’s why we wanted to save it and honor it.” “The trees on the Cistern are important to everyone who has attended the College,” agrees Pryor. “These trees witnessed our first and last moments as students and hold a special place in our

hearts. Whenever alumni visit campus, we always find ourselves drawn to the Cistern Yard. It’s a very emotional place for all of us.” The alumni’s outpouring of emotion on social media is proof enough: The College’s Facebook post regarding the incident saw 190,780 impressions, and its Twitter post got 11,891 impressions. In the meantime, Yost – a partner and graphic designer at Charleston digital branding studio Annex – was also making an impression online. He’d altered the College’s logo to depict the fallen tree, and, when he posted it on Twitter, it spread like wildfire. “My phone started doing this little dance, vibrating across the table,” he laughs, adding that 7,000 people saw that tweet and there were 57 retweets, including tweets from the College of Charleston’s and the Alumni Association’s handles. “Everybody thought it was a hilarious symbol of the College and recognized that it was coming from a place of love. There were comments like, ‘This is why we love the College – it’s a place that facilitates creativity in good times and bad.’ It’s an easy thing to appreciate, and it brought people back to the memories of the Cistern Yard and connected them in a humorous way. I’m glad I could remind people of that connection.” The trees of the Cistern Yard have witnessed generations of growth –

| Photo by Kate Thornton ’00 |


| Katie Kozar Thompson ’09 |

providing gentle refuge as we learn to stand up tall, stay grounded and stretch ourselves further than we thought we could go. And as we move through life, we carry a piece of them with us.

As Yost concludes, “There’s a part of all of us in those trees, and a part of them is still in all of us.” Not even the loss of a tree can take that away. That connection never dies.

AFTER THE STORM Hurricane Matthew blew through Charleston on Oct. 8, bringing with it pounding rain, punishing winds and torrential tides. Careful planning in the days leading up to the storm resulted in the safe evacuation of students, while faculty and staff successfully secured offices, buildings and equipment ahead of Matthew’s arrival. The University of South Carolina graciously hosted 50 CofC students along with staff from the Division of Student Affairs in Columbia, S.C., where they safely rode out the storm. The College’s campus – including the historic Cistern Yard – escaped relatively unscathed. The hurricane littered the campus with a blanket of leaves, tree limbs and debris as well

as a few small felled trees. A couple of buildings, including some classrooms and on-campus housing units, sustained water damage, but it was minor compared to what some College facilities suffered during the historic flood in the fall of 2015. Administrators and staff rallied in the days after Matthew’s departure, working tirelessly to dig out from debris and resume classes. And just three days after the tempest blasted the Lowcountry, the CofC campus had dabbed up the water and dusted itself off. The College welcomed students back after a week of being closed, ready to get back to the business of learning.

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| Photo by Kip Bulwinkle ’04 |


LIFE LINE Life can shape death, just as death can shape life. And it is the balance between the two where the soul can find affirmation. That sentiment took shape in a vivid display of defiance, strength and pride during an event this fall celebrating the opening of artist Fahamu Pecou’s exhibition DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. In a procession along Calhoun Street from the Charleston Maritime Center to the Halsey Institute, Pecou’s exploration of the state of black existence took shape through the African spiritual tradition of Yoruba/Ifa ritual. Punctuating the ceremony was a stop at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, where nine black worshippers were gunned down during a racially motivated massacre in 2015. Frustrated by the pervasive images depicting violence and death within the black community, Pecou sought to change that narrative by asking a pointed question: “Under the looming threat of death, how might we inspire life?” DO or DIE answers that query through performance, paintings, drawings and video that elevate the black experience by offering an understanding of the balance between life and death. And in so doing, Pecou reminds us of the never-ending resilience of the human spirit.


| Photos by Steve Simonson |

Floating Ideas



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WHAT BETTER WAY TO STUDY MARINE science than on the water? That’s what biology professor Russell Day thought when he imagined the Marine Science and Nautical Training Academy, or MANTA. As part of the program, students sail the British Virgin Islands in search of exotic aquatic life in the Caribbean Sea. Day shuttles students through two weeks of adventure on a 58-foot Voyage catamaran sailboat, which he calls his “floating classroom.” “The catalyst for starting MANTA and creating this study-abroad program was the realization that a sailing research vessel is an effective, green and inspirational platform from which to teach marine science and explore and study the oceans,” says Day. “I grew up on the water, but I really fell in love with sailing after college on a voyage with my uncle that ended with us getting shipwrecked in Cuba. The sense of ocean exploration from that voyage stuck with me through graduate school and into my career as a research scientist.” Day wants to bring that same sense of exploration to his students, and this program became the perfect way to realize that goal. This summer, Day’s students studied a variety of topics related to the Caribbean coral reef ecosystem. They learned how to identify reef fish, corals, invertebrates and algae. They studied underwater field survey methods, investigated coral reef ecology and researched some of the environmental stressors that threaten these marine ecosystems. Teams of students conducted independent research, scuba diving amid these aquatic landscapes to study topics such as fish behavior and feeding preference or coral disease. After collecting and analyzing data, the students shared their findings.


| Russell Day, biology professor |

“On one hand, we are reveling

in the discovery and amazement of all the wonderful things we see on the reefs. On the other hand, the students learn the sad

story that coral reefs are in peril.”

The lessons learned aboard the floating classroom are multifaceted. “One thing I think is difficult in this program is balancing the contrasting positive and negative perspectives about coral reefs that we experience,” Day says. “On one hand, we are reveling in the discovery and amazement of all the wonderful things we see on the reefs. On the other hand, the students learn the sad story that coral reefs are in peril, and see

firsthand the difference between pristine and degraded reefs.” The perspective was eye opening for senior Sara Dunagin. “I got to experience things I never thought I would be able to experience, and learn so much – not only course materials but diving and sailing lessons, too,” the biology major says. To students who are unsure if this program is right for them, Day would tell them not to be afraid to go outside their

– Russell Day comfort zone: “I have had some students who already feel completely at home in and on the water, and others that have said it sounded scary but signed up because they really wanted to challenge themselves. It’s a great opportunity to grow not only academically, but as a person.” The lesson is simple: Adventure can bring about a sea of change, if you’re willing to go to new depths. FA L L 2 0 1 6 |



Urban Legend

ON A WALL INSIDE THE COLLEGE’S Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Center for Livable Communities hangs a photo of the center’s namesake, jogging along the city’s famed Battery in the early 1980s. It’s an apropos image given Joe Riley’s legendary energy and productivity during his four decades as Charleston’s mayor. But even though he left City Hall in January 2016, the pace of his life hasn’t yet slowed. In between speaking obligations, receiving awards for public service, fundraising for the International African American Museum, and teaching at his alma mater, The Citadel, Riley has also |


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been reengaging with the center that has carried his name since 2001. Over the summer, Riley assumed the position of executive-in-residence at the Riley Center, which is appropriately located on lower King Street – a once rundown corridor that he helped transform into a nationally recognized shopping district. The revitalization of King Street is just one of many success stories among a long list of urban planning achievements that Riley hopes to share through his new role at the College. “I see the center as having great potential to help communities, cities, towns and institutions in South

Carolina successfully address issues in city planning, development, human interaction and progress,” Riley says. “Charleston the city is such a great teacher of city planning and urban design. The lessons are transferable to great big cities or tiny little towns. I think that’s a real great opportunity for the College.” Since Riley’s new position was announced earlier this year, center director and political science professor Kendra Stewart says she’s received a steady stream of inquiries from campus and around the country for Riley to lecture and speak to classes and other groups. Her biggest challenge, she says, will be to harness the enthusiasm and giving spirit of someone who has a hard time saying no to any request. “What the Riley Center wants to do is capture and sustain and share the legacy of Joe Riley in Charleston,” Stewart says. “What does Joe Riley mean to the city of Charleston? What are his greatest contributions? What are the stories that we need to make sure we capture and save in perpetuity so people can learn from him for years and years to come?” Among some of the center’s initiatives in which Riley will be involved are working toward the launch of a graduate program in community planning, policy and design, which is currently in the state approval process, and exploring ways and potential partners to reinstitute a civic design center in South Carolina. Already, the College is partnering with the City of Charleston to make Riley’s personal papers publicly accessible to scholars, researchers and others interested in studying his leadership and expertise in civic design and livability issues. Plans are also being made to tap Riley’s vast network of national contacts to establish an advisory board to help shape and guide the center’s work. Riley says another one of his top priorities is to begin writing his memoirs, and he hopes that his position at the College will help him better organize his post-mayoral life and create more time for writing and reflection in his daily schedule – in other words, help him slow down.



| Photo by Kip Bulwinkle ‘04 |

Online reviews – for better or for worse – are part of the everyday internet browsing and shopping experience. If you’ve ever found yourself reading and re-reading Amazon reviews or watching the latest YouTube endorsement of a celebrity lip gloss or new iPhone, then you’ve benefitted from the world of electronic word-of-mouth, or eWOM. But what makes someone trust advice from strangers on the internet? That’s what marketing professor Ya You, along with researchers Gautham G. Vadakkepatt and Amit M. Joshi, set out to answer in a recent research project praised in the Journal of Marketing. The publication honored You’s work with the Marketing Science Institute/H. Paul Root Award for 2015, which recognizes studies that contribute to the advancement of marketing practices. You and her colleagues used 51 existing studies from marketing, management and information systems to generate hypotheses about the effect of eWOM on product sales. In particular, they compared the influence of eWOM in different platform, product and industry contexts. The studies they looked at explored what you might have already suspected about online reviews: Readers trust actual people more than brands. And consumers are more likely to seek reviews for privately used products and those from lesscompetitive industries. Most importantly – but not surprisingly – readers trust expert consumers. The takeaway? Even in today’s highly digital world, the written word is as powerful as ever.

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INSIDE THE ACADEMIC MIND: GRETCHEN McLAINE Since 2007, theatre professor and director of the College’s dance program Gretchen McLaine has been teaching her students how dance plays a critical role in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. We sat down with her to discuss the intellectual components of dance, her favorite choreography and what gets her moving. WHEN DID YOU START DANCING? When I was 6, my doctor recommended ballet because of a hip displacement. I wore leg braces for the first two years of my life, but at 6, I was still tripping over my own toes. The doctor said that the external rotation would strengthen my hips, and as long as I didn’t aspire to become a professional dancer, I was fine. WHICH DANCE FIRST CAPTURED YOUR IMAGINATION? Revelations by Alvin Ailey. The strength and beauty of the dancers, the traditional spiritual music, the stories of African American oppression and perseverance and the celebration of life. I first saw it on PBS in the 1970s and have subsequently seen it in person many times, and it always moves me to tears. It is so genuine and unapologetic. I remember telling my dad that I wanted to be an Ailey dancer when I grew up. AFTER MANY YEARS OF DANCING, WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT IT? That it never gets old, and there’s never an attainment of perfection. Someone once said that ballet never gets easy, it just gets more possible. I also love that dance taps into our kinesthetic intelligence, makes you a creative problemsolver and gives you lots of practice in conflict resolution. It allows you to experience things from another’s perspective. Knowing firsthand how impactful dance can be to one’s personal and spiritual development, to communicating with others and developing empathy: These are some of the many reasons I love it. WHY IS DANCE AN IMPORTANT FORM OF ARTISTIC EXPRESSION? Well, if I could say it, I wouldn’t need to dance it. It allows for nonverbal communication. Any body can dance; a baby begins moving in the womb and the motion of your vital organs defines your life. Dance is so visceral. I think people are attracted to dance because it exposes our vulnerability. In dance, your body is the instrument of expression. I think that choreography is the most vulnerable of the art forms, which makes it simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE DANCE TO PERFORM? I retired from the stage in 1999, and my favorite piece that I ever danced was Echad mi Yodea, an excerpt from a larger work by Israeli choreographer and director of Batsheva Dance Company Ohad Naharin. It is brutal: You throw your body around, jump on and off chairs repeatedly, throwing yourself to the floor in a series of repetitive phrases. It probably took five years off my performing career, but it was an amazing experience to perform the piece. My other favorite works to dance were by NYC-based choreographer



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John Zullo. I always found his dances to be very intellectually and physically challenging, but also incredibly fun and ultimately rewarding. I’m thrilled to bring him to the College as our guest artist this fall. WHAT EMOTION IS HARDEST TO CONVEY THROUGH DANCE? Anything that is not real cannot be conveyed in your dancing. Modern dance icon Martha Graham is known for her credo, “movement never lies,” and there is so much wisdom in that statement. Dancing requires a deep understanding of the role, whether you are portraying a sylph, lover, demonic entity or another pedestrian. Great performers can have deficiencies in their technique, but if their commitment to performing is not there, the audience knows. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BODY PART FOR A GOOD DANCER? The brain. If you aren’t a thinking dancer, you are boring to watch. Today, many choreographers want to engage in creative collaboration with the dancers, and they can’t do that if there is nothing there. One of the difficulties in performing is that you are supposed to make it look effortless, but inside your head, there is a mad dialogue happening and neurons are firing like crazy. And live performance means being able to creatively solve your own problems, often improvising the solutions without a second thought. Instinct and training take over, and the performance goes on. WHAT IS THE FAVORITE OBJECT IN YOUR OFFICE? My poster of Vaslav Nijinsky from his ballet L’après-midi d’un faune (The Afternoon of a Faun). It was such a revolutionary ballet (1912); it caused riots in the theaters, but it ushered in a new age of ballet, fusing a new movement vocabulary with modernist art and music. It just reminds me of our dance lineage. Without Nijinsky, the entire trajectory of Western dance would be different. It is inspiring that one person can be the catalyst for change. WHAT MUSIC MAKES YOU BREAK OUT IN DANCE? Well, I’m actually a heavy metal aficionado, but you really don’t dance to that kind of music. And while I don’t really enjoy pop music, if one of my students plays some old school hip-hop, I might find myself moving with the music. But going to clubs and dancing – I truly despise that. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU HOPE YOUR STUDENTS TAKE AWAY FROM THEIR DANCE EDUCATION? That dance class is so much more than learning how to dance. It provides you with life lessons, ones that you will carry with you forever. It teaches you so much about yourself, your limits and your potential. I also want students to realize their uniqueness and to find their niche in the larger world. Do you know the saying, “dance like no one is watching?” Well, I tell them to dance like everyone’s watching, all the time, because you never know what opportunities come out of performing that simple classroom combination. Dance like it’s your last opportunity to dance on this earth, because you never know when it will be.

FACULTY FACT • Devon Wray Hanahan ’87 (Hispanic studies) was named the top professor in the country for 2015–16 on the popular website


| Devon Hanahan ’87 |

• Two stalwarts of the faculty retired this summer: Amy McCandless (dean of the Graduate School), who came to the College in 1981 as a history professor, and Katina Strauch (head of collection development and assistant dean for technical services), who joined the library in 1979. • The School of Education, Health, and Human Performance established the Afterschool and Summer Learning Resource Center, bringing professional development, program evaluation and other resources to expanded learning program providers. It is the first center of its kind in the state to be housed at an institution of higher education. • Hispanic studies professor Sarah Owens’ scholarly piece “Crossing Mexico (1620–1621): Franciscan Nuns and Their Journey to the Philippines” was selected as the best article in the women and gender category for 2015 by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women. • This summer, Bernie Powers (history) with S.C. Poet Laureate and adjunct faculty member Marjory Wentworth (English) and former reporter Herb Frazier published We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel. • The School of Sciences and Mathematics has created the Center for Coastal Environmental and Human Health, which is led by adjunct faculty member Paul Sandifer ’68 (marine biology), who is also a NOAA senior science advisor. • Jon Hale (teacher education) published The Freedom Schools, which details the history and impact of 41 schools created in 1964 as part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

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| Photos by Kate Thornton �00 |


Head in the Clouds SYNERGY. THAT’S WHAT INTERESTS Lance Foxworth. As a senior, he’s focusing much of his academic work on the way natural phenomena such as weather and ocean activity influence and affect one another. Though you may not find Foxworth quoting Aristotle, he’s well aware of the notion that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” That concept, in fact, is what’s driving him these days as he prepares to graduate with distinction as one of the first students at the College to obtain a degree in meteorology. The College is the first university in South Carolina to offer an undergraduate



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degree in meteorology, but that’s not what drew Foxworth here. Actually, that major didn’t exist when he first enrolled three years ago. At the time, he planned to study political science, along with French. Then, he took some introductory geology courses and became captivated by the subject matter. That led him to take “Introduction to Meteorology,” and he was fully hooked. “Through that course,” Foxworth explains, “I realized that the scope of what makes up meteorology goes way beyond what I had previously thought. We studied how large-scale physical phenomena are interconnected. It all made perfect sense

to me. So right then – as a sophomore – I knew I’d be taking a bunch more meteorology courses.” Foxworth recalls sitting down with professors in the geology and environmental geosciences department (geology is his other major) to discuss where this new field might lead him. “Right off the bat, they disabused me of the idea that meteorology majors only become weather forecasters,” he says. “They talked about exciting opportunities such as seafloor mapping because they knew I was interested in marine geology. But they told me that it’s difficult to understand the sea


without understanding the atmosphere. Ultimately, they convinced me that so much of what goes on in one major system is influenced by others. All of that helped me understand how getting a grounding in meteorology would enhance my work in marine geology.” And that’s just what Foxworth has been doing. While pursuing his coursework in meteorology, he joined geology professor Leslie Sautter’s Benthic Acoustic Mapping and Survey Program (BEAMs) and began working to develop a predictive model for finding a particular deep-sea coral habitat. “The sites I’ve been focused on,” he says, “are in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which is halfway between Hawaii and Midway Atoll. There are coral species there unique to that habitat. And finding these really specific and niche species allows me to use my marine geology, but it also allows me to apply meteorological science to consider why certain sides of these islands have more corals than others. That involves understanding the wind patterns that cross over the ocean’s surface at those sites. Those patterns can determine which side of the coral mounds ocean upwelling will take place on, and that upwelling brings up the nutrients that feed various species. So, it’s clear that this work involves looking at the earth, looking at the ocean and looking at the atmosphere because they each play into what I’m apt to find.” It may seem that Foxworth is specializing in the intersection of meteorology and marine geology, but his studies have been extremely varied. For example, along with three fellow students, he took on an ambitious project to develop an earthquake primer for the South Carolina Emergency Management Division. “Professor Norm Levine brought this opportunity to us,” explains Foxworth. “The commission wanted something that they could use to inform students in public schools about the basics of earthquakes. So, we developed a webbased, GIS-driven story map. Teachers in K-12 schools now use it to teach about earthquakes. And our entry-level geology courses at the College are using it, as well.” Foxworth and his team didn’t stop there. They augmented the primer by developing a self-guided walking tour of earthquake-

related sites in Charleston. “For the tour,” he says, “we researched historic buildings and found archived images of them before and after substantial quakes. We identified elements such as the pattress plates (earthquake plates) and indicated

added to this mix some contemporary cultural and government factors, and we’re now trying to understand how those affect all of this.” For his final year, Foxworth’s academic agenda will be typically protean. He’ll

“Right off the bat, they

disabused me of the idea that meteorology majors only become weather forecasters.” – Lance Foxworth

how wooden buildings in the same sector of town all lean in the same direction because of the impact of a quake. The tour is mobile friendly, so anyone who wants to can pull it up on their phone and scroll through the information as they take the tour.” More recently, Foxworth traveled to South Africa for a field-study course. He and 11 other students garnered insights about climate history by examining sediments and fossils at various sites around the country. “We looked at paleo climate and then considered the modernday environmental conditions and how they tie in together,” he explains. “Our intent is to learn how the changes in the past affect what’s going on today. We also

be taking at least three courses in GIS, working as a docent for the College’s Mace Brown Museum of Natural History and serving as a teaching assistant for a minerology-petrology course. On top of that, he hopes to sign on and work with geology professor Ian Rumsey, whose research is focused on natural and anthropogenic pollutants (i.e., pollution caused by people). “In one project,” says Foxworth, “he’s measuring and evaluating the deposition of nitrogen, sulphur and hydrocarbons. It’s actually the perfect project for me because it deals with the interaction between the surface biosphere and geosphere and the atmosphere.” In a word, it’s all about synergy.

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Game Changer GROWING UP, SHE DIDN’T REALLY PLAY a lot of video games. Shannon Haas would occasionally log time with the odd Nintendo game here and there on the Game Cube, but that was about it. Although she had always wanted to play video games, a childhood focused on academics and extracurricular activities left little time for what Haas considered a frivolous pursuit. It wasn’t until she started college that she found herself with the flexibility to finally explore the world of gaming. “I didn’t really play video games or interact with video games at all during middle school and most of high school, which is rare for someone who would refer to themselves as a gamer,” she says, noting that these days she does in fact consider herself a gamer. As she’s delved into the immersive world of avatars, fantastical graphics and outrageous plots, Haas has been struck by the hypersexualized portrayal of female

perspective to look at gaming from an outsider’s point of view,” she says. “Everything seemed more poignant. Every instance of misogyny or sexism seemed to stand out and slap me in the face.” Since coming to the College, Haas, a junior majoring in English, has sampled just about every type of video game on the market, ranging from first-person shooters, RPGs (role-playing games), action/adventure, hack n’ slash and horror/survival. “You name it, I’ve at least tried it,” she says with a laugh. For Haas, whose intelligence beams out of a funky, slightly punkish façade punctuated with pale pink hair, the depiction of women in many of these games has been disappointing, to say the least. In a world where women are increasingly on an even footing with men, she thought the same would be true within the digital landscape. But the everpresent buxom women roving around

“Everything seemed more poignant. Every instance of misogyny or sexism seemed to stand out and

slap me in the face.”

characters, particularly in some of the industry’s most popular franchises. (Ever heard of Grand Theft Auto?) After airing her frustrations in an English paper last spring, Haas decided to delve deeper into the issue at the urging of her professor, Tim Carens, who was intrigued by the subject. This summer the pair received grant funding through the College’s Summer Undergraduate Research with Faculty program to study the content of video games within the context of scholarly feminist and media studies. Haas plans to use her research as the basis for her bachelor’s essay. “I think just the perspective of being a young woman and now a young adult, I think that really granted me some



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– Shannon Haas

games with tiny waists and large chests donning short skirts and low-cut tops seem to indicate that isn’t the case. However, the purpose of the project isn’t to attack games where these types of characters are found. Haas just wants to encourage dialogue with the hopes of driving change toward the inclusion of more diverse female characters. “You can point out areas that need improvement and areas of representation that need to be revamped and progressed without totally condemning the material and saying, ‘Oh, this is a terrible game,’” she says. And how does one analyze video games? By playing them, of course. Haas put hit series such as Grand Theft Auto,

Red Dead Redemption and Bayonetta at the top of her list. A long day of research meant playing through the games, and logging various character portrayals and dialogue. In June, Haas spent nearly an entire day in the gritty world of Grand Theft Auto V, focusing her attention on how the game’s prostitutes were programmed to interact with the male protagonist (controlled by Haas). She also noted how the game’s non-player male characters were programmed to interact with the prostitutes. After each interaction, Haas would log a sampling of some of their most outrageous phrases. In one instance, the first thing Haas heard a nonplayer male character say to a prostitute roaming around a virtual strip club was, “Hey, honey, why don’t you make me a sandwich.” “I thought it was really telling because, not only is it unoriginal, but it’s so stereotypical of what a lot of people think that women like me and gender activists in general are advocating against,” she says. Her primary focus has been the examination of what Haas calls “troublesome content” that dehumanizes women and the female form. Without a strong narrative validating such content, Haas questions the value of including these depictions of women at all. Even more of a head-scratcher is that the gaming industry continues to offer up these scantily clad female characters despite the fact that women make up anywhere from 40 percent to 50 percent of video game consumers annually. Haas’ take is that women gamers don’t necessarily like the persistent onslaught of tawdry avatars, but they don’t want to draw attention to the issue for fear of backlash from other members of the gaming community. “I think a lot of women are unsettled by it, but don’t know how to talk about it,” Haas says. If her story unfolds the way she wants, Haas hopes to help usher in a new breed of video game heroine who offers up more than just a pretty face. No doubt she’ll beat that quest in no time.

| Photo by Kip Bulwinkle �04 |



| Photo by Laurence Griffiths |

Point of Sail

SHE CAN BEND WITH THE WIND. BOTH literally and figuratively. Watch Paris Henken sail in the 49er FX class and you’ll observe a kinetic blend of ballet and circus performance taking place just inches above the water’s surface. For competitors of this type of sailing, the 49er FX is a unique combination of strength, agility and strategy – an athletic chess match at a whistling 20 knots (or 23 miles per hour). “The boat goes fast,” Henken points out, “and we do hang off the side of the boat. One minute, you’re standing up; then the


next, you’re trapezing off the side, if there is enough wind. You always have to be on your toes and be good with your balance. And you definitely have to think two steps ahead.” Henken and her sailing partner, Helena Scutt, were always thinking two steps ahead as they represented the U.S. in this new class of sailing, which debuted at the Rio Olympic Games this summer. The West Coast duo (Henken from Coronado, Calif., and Scutt from Kirkland, Wash.) qualified for the Olympics after competing around the globe, from claiming a bronze medal in

the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto to finishing in the top tier in regattas in Finland, Germany, France and Spain. Although the waters of Rio’s Guanabara Bay commanded headlines before the Games for being trash strewn and bacteria laden, Henken and her teammate never lost focus and advanced to the medal race, finishing 10th. It was a magical run for the College’s first female Olympian – the culmination of a lifelong dream. And Henken was not alone in representing the Cougars on the world’s stage in Brazil. Two of her teammates from the sailing program and a College sailing alum were also doing their best to bring glory (and medals) to their home countries in the men’s Laser class: Stefano Peschiera (Peru), Enrique “Quique” Arathoon (El Salvador) and three-time Olympian Juan Maegli ’13 (Guatemala). Maegli reached the medal race and finished his Olympic best at 8th place. “They all had spectacular races,” says Greg Fisher, director of the sailing program. “It’s incredible the commitment and effort they all make, and it was amazing to watch our own Olympians pursue their dreams.” That commitment was something Fisher observed and admired on and off the water: “Paris, Stefano and Quique are all solid students, and they never compromised their studies or grades. To see them work and perform the best they could – whether it was racing, training or studying – was really impressive. Frankly, the drive and determination that they poured into their campaign to be an Olympian was amazing.” And that drive, passion and focus will carry all of them into the next Games and beyond – as sure as the wind blows.

Dupree Hart (baseball) was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American. + Two baseball student-athletes were taken in this year’s MLB Draft: Bradley Jones (Toronto Blue Jays) and Bailey Ober (Los Angeles Dodgers); Ober decided to return to the College. + After playing for the Houston Rockets late last season, former Cougars great Andrew Goudelock (men’s basketball) is playing for Maccabi Fox Tel-Aviv |


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His Best Shot LIKE A LOT OF CHILDREN GROWING UP in Charleston during the 1990s, Jarrell Brantley dreamed of someday playing basketball for the Cougars. That was understandable. Not only was the College a dominant basketball program that regularly sent teams to the NCAA Tournament, but those teams were led by legendary Coach John Kresse. Many kids on playgrounds around the Lowcountry dreamed of one day sinking the game-winning shot before a packed house inside the Johnson Center. Dreams are nice, but Brantley knew that dreams only take you so far. So he worked on his basketball skills: Shot … after shot … after shot. Soon, he caught the eye of AAU coaches and was invited to spend several summers traveling across the region competing against other talented players. Sure, it was fun. But all that competition also pushed Brantley to continue working on his game. And he did: Shot … after shot … after shot. While attending Ridge View High School in Columbia, S.C., Brantley was offered the opportunity to transfer to Notre Dame Preparatory School in Fitchburg, Mass. There, he would be competing against better players in a tougher conference. So he went back to the gym to practice even more shots. It didn’t take long for Brantley to inch his way up the depth chart and become the No. 7–ranked basketball prospect in the state of Massachusetts and the No. 27 top overall prospect in New England. College scouts started looking his way. The basketball offers started to trickle in. Then one evening, he saw Cougars head coach Earl Grant in the stands for a game. “I had one of the worst games ever,” laughs Brantley. “But Coach Grant told me I played amazing.” Grant invited him back to Charleston for a visit, and Brantley knew right away he was in the right place. “This is my home,” he says. “When I came here on my visit, everything clicked.”

But the college game is a lot different than the high school game. After signing with the Cougars, Brantley knew he couldn’t let up. More shots, more practice, more training. And the coaching staff noticed. “Jarrell always gets to practice early, stays late and tries to get in extra work,” says Grant. That added effort quickly paid off. Not only did Brantley lead all freshmen in the Colonial Athletic Association in scoring (11.7 points per game) and rebounding (7.3 per game), but he was also named the 2016 CAA Rookie of the Year and earned spots to the All-CAA Third Team and All-Rookie Team. A lot has changed since a young Jarrell Brantley picked up a basketball

and played his first one-on-one game against his older brother, Jamal. In that span, the TD Arena replaced the Johnson Center. Coach Kresse retired in 2002 and the Cougars’ last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 1999. When Grant took over as head coach in 2014, he changed the climate of basketball at the College. As the team heads into the 2016-17 season, the Cougars have the talent to secure an NCAA Tournament berth in March. But, as Grant has preached to the team during the off-season, it’s going to take hard work and discipline to get there. Brantley smiles at that and says he isn’t worried. This is the dream he’s been preparing for all these years. Shot … after shot … after shot.

in the Euroleague. + Jackie Luna-Castro ’16 (women’s basketball) is playing professionally overseas with Kouvottaret in Finland. + Softball players Taylor DuPree, Rebecca Mueller ’16 and Samantha Martin earned NFCA All-Region honors last season. + The women’s tennis team was named an Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team for the seventh consecutive year. + Parker Derby (men’s golf) played in his first-ever U.S. Amateur Championship this summer. FAL L 2 0 1 6 |



Ace in the Hole HE WOULD BE TERRIBLE IN A GAME OF “Would You Rather.” For example, let’s say that the question is, “Would you rather be an exceptional college golfer or an internet sensation?” His answer would be “both.” And William Rainey should know. Rainey was a 2016 PING All-America honorable mention selection and the first golfer in Cougars history to qualify for the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship as an individual. Last year, he was also named to the Colonial Athletic Association All-Academic Team, won the CAA Individual Championship title and earned CAA Most Outstanding Player honors. But millions of people may know him for another talent. As a senior in high school, Rainey – along with his friend Davis Bateman – decided to tape a series of golfing trick shots. “We did it just for fun and to waste time,” confesses Rainey. “We were bored.” They posted the video on Vine – and it took off. In case you haven’t seen it, the video


shows Rainey mastering outrageous trick shots, such as using a golf club to send a football through a basketball hoop, ricocheting a golf ball off several pots and pans until it lands inside a red Solo cup and nailing a perfect drive using a dead fish as a tee. No, these aren’t your normal golf shots. Not only did the video get more than 5 million views, but it was also featured on the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive program. And it soon became a regular occurrence for perfect strangers to stop Rainey on the street and ask, “Hey, are you that guy from the golf video?” “It was kind of funny,” he says. But there is one trick that Rainey has never been able to master. Think of it as his “white whale.” The shot begins on the second floor of his house in Charlotte. He chips the ball from inside his bedroom, through an open window toward a basketball goal 100 feet away. Flying seamlessly through the air, the golf ball lands inside a red Solo cup on top of the goal. That tough shot, however, has remained elusive for Rainey.

“We spent about two hours on that shot,” he says. “We hit the cup multiple times, but it never went in.” Hitting the cup has not been a problem for Rainey during his college career thus far. This summer alone, he won the 2016 North Carolina Match Play Championship title, and he is one of only 35 men’s collegiate golfers in the country to be invited to play in the 2016 Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic. For the 2016-17 season, Rainey hopes to build on his success. Last year he was an honorable mention All-American. This season, he would like to improve and be named a member of the PING All-America First or Second Team. He’s also looking further ahead with big plans after he earns his sociology degree this spring. Instead of working on his résumé after graduation, he hopes to be working on making the professional golf circuit: “Obviously it will be tough, but I could never just get a job and always wonder ‘what if.’” Like every golfer, Rainey is hoping for at least one good shot.

Former Cougar Shane Rogan ’ 16 is an assistant coach for the men’s golf team. + Philip Oweida, an international business major, was named a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar. + CofC baseball legend Brett Gardner ’05, an outfielder with the New York Yankees, was nominated for the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award in recognition of his community service work. |


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HOME COMING Perhaps no other person in school history has ever experienced as many phases of the College’s evolving sports program as has Jerry Baker ’74. He saw it as a student, when the College first joined the state system and shed its Maroons moniker to become the Cougars. As assistant athletics director (1984–1989), Baker worked with the teams as they pushed for national dominance at the NAIA level (the men’s basketball team won a national championship in 1985). And as athletics director (1991–2007), he helped the Cougars transition from the world of Davids to the arena of Goliaths, when the College made the leap to NCAA Division I and began competing against (and defeating) some of the top names in college athletics. Now, Baker is coming out of retirement and returning to his alma mater to lend his expertise at yet another critical juncture – this time as the College positions itself as a leader within the Colonial Athletic Association. Serving as executive director of the Cougar Club, Baker will now lead the fundraising arm of the Athletics Department, helping to raise support for student-athlete scholarships and athletics facility improvements. “We are so very fortunate to have such a loyal following of supporters in the Cougar Club,” says Baker. “It’s a privilege to work with them to assist the outstanding young men and women who represent our institution and are pursuing their studies to earn a degree and improve their lives. It’s our shared goal to increase the opportunities for them to succeed.” And judging by his storied past with the Maroon and White, Baker will help lead the Cougars to a legendary future.

POINT of VIEW [ student ] A Healthy Perspective Culture shapes our world, from the food that we eat to the music we enjoy to the way we build relationships. It defines how we live our lives. And by exploring a culture other than our own, we often end up learning more about ourselves. BY COR A WEBB

MOM, ARE WE GOING TO VIRGINIA THIS SUMMER? EVERY YEAR that was the question I asked as mild spring days turned to hot summer afternoons. It provided me, a young black girl from the South, a small taste of adventure – a major leap from the familiarity of “any meal of the day” grits I was used to. Virginia. A seemingly short, eight-hour ride packed in a minivan with eight people and pets – me squished with joy in the middle seat. A trip near and easy, cushioned with family. This was my adventure, and it was enough for me. As a child, I didn’t dream of anything beyond our minivan excursions. Consequently, time sped by, college came, and, at 20, I had never been on a plane. But that would soon change. Early in my sophomore year at the College, I declared my major as public health. Shortly after, I began to hear talk of a studyabroad program being planned – the first ever that would be specific to public health. During an information session, the host country of the new program was revealed – Italy. I had to go. So did a close friend of mine who had also never flown. We ran to each other, excited and eager. Over the next few months, we both committed to getting in the air. We applied for our passports, toiled to complete the study-abroad application and searched for scholarships. We worked in overdrive to save every dime for nearly a year. Every time someone asked me why I worked so much, I would explain how I needed to have this chance to see the world, to have this experience – and hard work was going to get me there. But sharing details of my impending journey opened up a flood of concern, joy and advice from friends and family. People told me to watch out for Italian men. They said I should be worried about all the terrorist attacks and turmoil in the world right now. Some said flying was nothing to fear. Others said they flew once and would never do so again. I started having doubts. But my traveling buddy told me we shouldn’t be too afraid to live our dreams. Through all the confusion, hard work and waiting – our applications for the trip were approved. We were going to Italy. The days passed quickly, and seemingly with a snap of my fingers, the day of departure had arrived. After the chaos of getting through the security line, we boarded the plane. As we prepared |


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for takeoff, my friend and I squeezed hands as the plane taxied out and gathered momentum. Just like at the start of my minivan treks as a child, I was full of excitement and anticipation as we lifted into the sky, coming face-to-face with the clouds. When we arrived in Florence, we met the study-abroad staff that would assist us. We received the details about our apartment and were given our keys and whisked away in cabs. I arrived ahead of my housemates and found myself getting a tour of my new abode by the property manager, who excitedly spoke Italian as I nodded yes, pretending to understand. When my housemates finally arrived, our Italian exploits began with a simple meal of pizza, but quickly morphed into an explosion of new experiences. Within our first week, we climbed 463 stairs at the Duomo (the main church of Florence) to view the city from the perspective of its builders. We traveled and toured Bologna, Cinque Terre, the Colosseum and Roman Forum, the Vatican museums and Siena’s Dievole vineyards. Each city offered uniquely different attributes, but there was one common thing among them that humbled me: the Italian people’s value of the historical connection between their land and homes. They understood and appreciated how the legacy of their predecessors affected their everyday lives. It was amid this prism of history that my trip focused on how culture affects health and wellness. While in Italy, I was enrolled in Global Health and Health Promotion. These courses explored how the concept of health (and how to promote it) is impacted by the culture in which we live. The cultural heritage and significance of food in Italy, for example, offered insight into the society’s perspectives on lifestyle and nutrition. Unlike in the United States, where our food culture is more fluid, in Italy, food connects you to your ancestors. Italians value the authenticity of their food and want it to remain unchanged. Such values are reflected in government policies such as the Italian school lunch system, where all school meals are handmade, meal times are part of a slow-food movement and children are not rushed to eat. As Americans, we were a little shocked, but it was alluring to my classmates and me, who remember hurriedly eating microwaved pizzas for breakfast in our public schools. Italy’s approach to smoking, however, stood in sharp opposition to its approach to food. Where food was given a great deal of consideration, the dangers of smoking were largely ignored. Smoking permeates Italy’s culture. Everyone smokes, including children – some as young as 10. Lung cancer is among the most prevalent types of cancer. Yet, there is no public education regarding the risks associated with smoking and there are no prevention campaigns. The only deterrent is a huge warning label plastered on cigarette packages. Ironically, the country’s public-private health system offers a level of compassion seemingly foreign to healthcare in the

| Illustration by Timothy Banks |


United States. In Italy, medical staff often follow a patient’s care from beginning to end until the problem is addressed. And unlike in the United States, where medical care is often dictated by health insurance, in the Italian system, anyone can be treated: immigrant, poor or rich. Outside of my academic pursuits, my education into the Italian way of life continued. I learned that spaghetti and meatballs is not an Italian meal. Restaurants open late and usually don’t give straws or to-go boxes (so eat up). I also discovered some interesting perspectives on how Italians viewed my American culture – particularly one entertaining stereotype that Americans enjoy skating and barbecue. And while we in the United States certainly love to love, in Italy, eager men deliver handwritten notes with phone numbers and romantic words to women they met during a night out, replacing the awkward text messages that often mark the start of many new American romances. Undoubtedly, traveling abroad has changed my perspective on life. It has taught me how to view myself and my home country

through the lenses of other peoples, while remaining willing to understand and explore the unfamiliar culture of another nation. I also developed a greater appreciation of the differences in problem solving, and how cultural values influence these skills. It was a challenging endeavor, to be sure, but being uncomfortable for a moment was worth the heightened sense of cultural awareness I came away with. Even though I started off a little timid and confused, I ultimately felt welcomed into this new and different world full of food, passion and contradictions. And not unlike those spring days of my childhood pining away for Virginia, I have felt a sense of longing since I returned from my Italian adventure. I miss the excitement of discovering something new at the turn of every corner. Hopefully, Italy can become my new Virginia. – Cora Webb is a junior double majoring in public health and women’s and gender studies. She was among the first group of students to study abroad with the public health program this past summer.

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[ faculty ]

A Lesson of Love Life is full of wonder. And, unfortunately, also full of struggle and heartache. One professor – celebrated across campus as an iconoclastic blogger, columnist and thinker – made public these past few years her battle with brain cancer, garnering national attention as she shone a light on the raw emotions of human frailty and human existence. BY ALISON PIEPMEIER AS I WRITE THESE WORDS, I AM TERMINALLY ILL AND IN HOSPICE care. This is likely my final writing assignment. Instead of writing an essay, I’ve been thinking of this assignment as my love letter for Charleston. Not about Maybelle, my daughter, or Brian, my husband – though you could say I have them both in my life because of my years in Charleston. Nor is this a love letter about a physical place. I won’t reflect on riding my bicycle through our beautiful campus (well, I didn’t really love riding my bike through sudden downpours and Charleston’s flooded streets). And I won’t dwell on the long hours I spent in my former basement office at 7 College Way or drinking coffee and eating bagels at every coffee shop on the peninsula, though I took delight in every one of those moments.

This is a love letter for my College of Charleston students, and for my profession. Love is the right word, I think, because my kind of teaching is about passionate engagement with, and enthusiasm about, ideas, social problems and people. I couldn’t imagine merely “liking” teaching. You may be wondering, what have my students done that makes me love our time together? They have studied and strived, although complaining more than a little about the amount of reading and writing and the difficulty of the material. The excitement for me and for them – and the passion – is in growing to understand how difficult material matters and why difficult subjects must be engaged. Community engagement has been critical to this kind of teaching. Years ago, some of our women’s and gender studies learning-community students traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with women in elected office and women who lead nongovernmental organizations. More regularly, my Gender and Violence students performed community service with agencies dealing with violence against women and children. As advocates for victims in the Charleston’s solicitor’s office or as volunteers with People Against Rape and many other organizations, these amazing students did immediate and lasting good. For me, teaching them was about bridging the classroom and the community. Calling them “my students,” though, isn’t quite right. Because I learned from them, as they learned from me. And we grew together as people.

If you were ever in one of my classes, know

that I love you now for the risks you took, the challenging topics you weren’t afraid to discuss, and everything you did to make yourself – and me – a better person. I am

sorry, so sorry, that I will not teach and learn from College of Charleston students in the decades to come.

– Alison Piepmeier



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I also leave knowing that faculty like Claire Curtis (political science) and Marguerite Scott-Copses (English) and Cara DeLay (women’s and gender studies), and so many others at the College, are all that is good and right and wonderful about professors and their profession. – Alison Piepmeier, who came to the College in 2005, was the director of the women’s and gender studies program and an English professor. She passed away on August 12, 2016. Her blog – Every little thing ( – detailed not only her fight against cancer, but her many scholarly pursuits as well as her everyday interests (which were legion).

| Illustration by Britt Spencer |

If you were ever in one of my classes, know that I love you now for the risks you took, the challenging topics you weren’t afraid to discuss, and everything you did to make yourself – and me – a better person. I am sorry, so sorry, that I will not teach and learn from College of Charleston students in the decades to come. I won’t be meeting any more classes for the first time in the Robert Scott Small Building or Maybank Hall or the Education Center. However, I do leave the College knowing the beauty of my profession. I leave knowing the great good that can be done when teacher and student are emotionally invested in learning and in the hard work of changing their world for the better.

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[ alumni ]

Seeing Stars Celebrities often get a bad rap as untouchable, snobby and aloof. That didn’t stop one student from gushing over her literary hero in a chance meeting 30 years ago. And as it turns out, that fateful encounter was just as meaningful for him as it was for her. BY BETSY THR AILKILL TETSCH ’86 IN JANUARY 1986, I FACED SOME HARD CHOICES. I HAD SPENT the better part of the last three semesters in France and faced a daunting 21-hour load of classes to complete my degrees in French and theatre in the four-year time span granted me by my parents. I was busy and a little overwhelmed. Compounding my stress was the fact that I had also accepted a summer job at the NATO hotel in Bad Godesberg, Germany, without my parents’ knowledge or consent. No parental approval (or funding) meant I needed to come up with the money to buy a plane ticket to make it to my European summer job. As luck would have it, I saw an advertisement for “breakfast help” at the Francis Marion Hotel just a short walk from campus. The hours from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. would work with my class schedule, so I took it. When they offered me the night receptionist job, I took that, too. It was a long semester of studying and working, and working and studying. Let’s face it, a European trip is expensive for college students no matter the decade – but I was determined to go. The drudgery and sheer insanity of taking that many hours and working in customer service was punctuated by one incredible event: a face-to-face meeting with writer and novelist Tom Robbins. A chance meeting that, at the time, was the ultimate fangirl experience for this proud literary geek. Tom Robbins was in Charleston to appear in Alan Rudolph’s movie Made in Heaven. The film starred Timothy Hutton and Kelly McGillis, with cameo roles featuring rockers Tom Petty, Ric Ocasek (of The Cars) and Neil Young. One fateful morning after the breakfast shift, as I was tearing my polyester uniform off to rush to the theater for class, my night manager informed me that Neil Young and “some author” called Tom Robbins would be checking in late that night and that I was to check them in under whatever pseudonyms they chose. My heart froze. Could it really be that the author of Still Life with Woodpecker and Jitterbug Perfume was coming to Charleston and checking in during my shift? That evening I grabbed my worn paperback copies of these two titles from



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my private dorm room on Coming Street before heading back to work for the night shift. I distinctly remember thinking that when I was making real money, I would only buy books in hard cover. At the hotel, I clocked in, hummed “Cinnamon Girl” and waited for my literary hero.


This spring, 30 years after my starry-eyed encounter, I decided to attend A Charleston Affair for the first time with my dear college friends, Maura Hogan ’87 and Becky Headen. Maura told me that Tom Robbins had written about our fateful interaction in his most recent autobiography, Tibetan Peach Pie. When I tracked down a copy of the book and peeled back the pages to find that passage, I was surprised to discover a highly detailed account of that meeting between myself and him. And here it is:

Sometime well past midnight, two black-leather-jacket– wearing, straight-from-California–looking gentlemen entered the hotel lobby. It was Robbins and Neil Young. This was it. The moment had arrived. My heart was beating in my throat. I already had the books skillfully positioned on the counter and blurted out something about how Robbins was my favorite author and would he please sign my books for me. He did. As he was signing them, I said, “Mr. Robbins, I love your rings!” to which he replied, “My rings are big and weird like me, and your rings are small and cute like you.” I can still hear him saying those words to me right now. In my excitement to meet the quirky writer, I completely ignored Neil Young – undoubtedly the more famous of the pair. The whole encounter lasted maybe 10 minutes, including check-in, but it continues to be one of my most vivid memories. It was a pivotal brush with stardom where I realized that celebrities were just people. And that it was even possible for them to be nice people.

| Illustration by Angela Dominguez |

One of the perks of associating with celebrities is that you get to experience firsthand the state of invisibility. Step out in public with any rock star or Hollywood actress and poof! – You disappear. People look right through you. It’s a kind of enchantment, more effective than the graduate program at Hogwarts. Once during the filming of Made in Heaven, however, the tables turned and the cloak of invisibility unexpectedly fell about unaccustomed shoulders. There had been a small but lively dinner party at the house in Charleston provided to Debra Winger and Timothy Hutton for the duration of the shoot. The house was in an upscale neighborhood a good distance from the downtown hotel where most of the cast and crew were lodged. At the end of the evening, I caught a ride back to the hotel with Neil Young and his manager. In the conversation that ensued, Neil learned for the first time that the guy in the backseat was a novelist. He’d never heard of me or my books, assuming all evening that I was an assistant producer or some other functionary connected to Lorimar Studios. He was mildly surprised, I suppose, but didn’t seem particularly impressed. It was well past midnight and the hotel lobby was deserted. To retrieve our room keys, Neil and I approached the front desk more or less in tandem. When we got closer to the desk, the night clerk – a pretty woman in her early twenties – suddenly lit up like a ballpark, clutched her chest, and made an audible sound that resembled a mixture of a sigh, a squeal, and a purr. Naturally, Neil thought the excitement was for him. “You’re Tom Robbins, aren’t you?!” the girl gushed. “I heard you were staying with us.” She went on to tell me how wonderful my books were, how much they meant to her, while the great Neil Young (and he truly is great) waited impatiently – invisibly – for his key. The human ego is a treacherous apparatus, best kept at a safe distance from the self, but I confess I took a small measure of pleasure in making a star play the transparent ghost for a change. It was a moment to be sure – evidently as much for Tom Robbins as for me. I believe now, at 51, that life is a series of divine collisions rather than a string of random events. The fact that one of my favorite authors chose to write about me 30 years later convinces me of this even more. – A jack-of-all-trades, Betsy Thrailkill Tetsch ’86 divides her life between creating art at her business, CanvasOne; teaching people how to sell stuff; helping refugees; and spending time with her delightful husband and two daughters.

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THE NEWS COVERAGE HAS BEEN CONSTANT, UNAVOIDABLE, AND AT TIMES OVERWHELMING. NEVER BEFORE HAS SO MUCH ATTENTION BEEN PAID TO AN ELECTION. AND GIVEN THE CHALLENGES FACING THE COUNTRY AND WORLD, PERHAPS NEVER HAS SUCH SCRUTINY OF THE COUNTRY’S FUTURE LEADERS BEEN SO CRITICAL. Climate change, terrorism, war in Syria, illegal immigration, racial tension … these are just a few of the weighty matters awaiting the next American president and all the other public servants who will be elected this fall. The stakes are certainly high, and passions can run even higher when it comes to politics. A number of Cougars know this firsthand, as they’ve helped constitute the machinery of modern politicking during this long election cycle. Whether raising money for political candidates, working on the frontlines of campaigns or offering strategy and media savvy, these alumni have given their blood, sweat and tears. A few brave Cougars are seeking office themselves, eager to steer their communities in new directions. And the faculty members, who worked with the Department of Communication to host a number of presidential candidates in the last year through the College’s Bully Pulpit Series, have kept close tabs on the seemingly interminable campaign season, regularly offering their insights to local and national media. Unfazed by long hours, the chance of defeat, tired rhetoric and sharp words, these alumni and professors find the political grind exhilarating. Thick-skinned and determined, they live for the political battle of wits and ultimately that particular November currency: votes.

CAMPAIGN MANAGER Every election cycle, in thousands of tiny towns and big cities all across America, campaign workers toil in virtual anonymity, knocking on doors and making phone calls for little or no pay. They do it, long day after long day, because they believe in their candidate’s message, because they have faith in the fairness of the electoral process, and because they recognize that ordinary individuals at the grassroots level are the lifeblood of every campaign. Isaiah Nelson ’12 is one of these people. A former president of the College’s Student Government Association, he learned early on that a candidate or elected leader may be the face of a campaign or an administration, but it’s his/her staff who keep the machine moving forward. Since graduating with a degree in political science, Nelson has been steadily working his way up through the world of Democratic politics. He cut his teeth as a student field worker with the 2012 mayoral campaign of Charleston Mayor Joe Riley before earning a spot on the reelection campaign of President Barack Obama. In the fleeting and unpredictable universe of political campaigns, each job leads into the next, last-minute moves to unfamiliar cities are a given and the occasional pizza and beer with campaign co-workers is the extent of one’s social life. “One of the most predictable parts of the political lifestyle is the unpredictability of your next professional move,” says Nelson. “Every few months, or at best every year, you are |


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looking for a new job and most likely in a new city. In 2015 I lived in five different cities and moved six times.” Over the past few years his nomadic existence has taken him across the Southeast. In South Carolina, he worked for the state Democratic Party on the Elizabeth Colbert-Busch ’88 for Congress campaign, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen’s gubernatorial campaign and other federal and statewide races. He moved from Columbia, S.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., where he served as campaign manager for Mayor Alvin Brown, then back to Charleston to serve as a consultant to S.C. Sen. Margie Bright Matthews, who was elected to fill the term of the late Sen. Clementa Pinckney. He then moved back to Columbia to act as state director for the Draft Biden movement before moving on to Baton Rouge for a brief stint with the Louisiana Democratic Party and ultimately returning to the Sunshine State, where he is currently the campaign manager for congressional candidate Randy Perkins in West Palm Beach. “I have been incredibly fortunate to move around the country, meet amazing people, experience different cultures and push myself every step of the way in this journey,” he says. Despite television and movie portrayals of politics, Nelson says the behind-the-scenes work on most campaigns is more grind than glamour, more guts than glitz: “In reality, your average political staffer is working 15-hour days, oftentimes in rural and unfamiliar America, using limited resources to accomplish big and challenging goals. You grow professionally a lot faster in this world than you age in years.” – Ron Menchaca ’98

PARTY BOSS Brady Quirk-Garvan ’08 was ecstatic. For six months he had put in long, exhausting hours as a field organizer in the swing state of Ohio. Thanks to his and others’ efforts, Barack Obama had just been elected the 44th president of the United States in November 2008. As Quirk-Garvan savored the victory the next day, Obama made a phone call to his campaign staff, thanking them for their efforts. Some staff would be heading with him to Washington, Quirk-Garvan recalls the president-elect saying, but many others would be returning home. And back home, Obama continued on that phone call, was where his supporters needed to create change locally. It was a message Quirk-Garvan took to heart. Since returning home to Charleston, he has thrown himself into local politics, working as a consultant on assorted campaigns and serving as the chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party since 2013. This summer he briefly returned to the world of presidential politics as one of South Carolina’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. As chairman, which is a volunteer position, Quirk-Garvan helps potential Democratic candidates in the Lowcountry appreciate the rigors of running a campaign and serving in public office. Oftentimes, he’ll take a potential candidate out for coffee or a drink, beginning a conversation concerning the candidate’s passion, the realities of the political district he or she will be attempting to capture, and, most importantly, what, exactly, it will take to win. In other words, how much time and money will be needed to claim victory. More than anything else, Quirk-Garvan uses this first meeting to hammer home the reality of modern politics: “If you want to be successful, you have to spend a lot of time on the phone raising money and a lot of time out in the South Carolina heat, knocking on doors. Neither of those are the most glamorous or fun activities, but they’re the most efficient way of getting elected.” Quirk-Garvan got his start in politics while a student at the College, being hired to work as a volunteer coordinator for Inez Tenenbaum’s unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2004. After graduating in 2008, he co-owned his own political consultancy before joining his family’s financial firm, Money with a Mission, where he works as a business development associate. The Charleston-based company, he explains, seeks to align clients’ investments with their politics and values. In 2012 he helped elect Peter Tecklenburg as the auditor of Charleston County – the first time a Democrat had been elected to countywide office in two decades. Quirk-Garvan interpreted the victory as a sign of even better things to come. “It was the start of that pendulum swinging,” says QuirkGarvan. “We have the opportunity to create some real, progressive change in Charleston.” His next big challenge concerns the 2020 redistricting process in South Carolina and how new electoral boundaries will take shape. He hopes the redrawn lines will result in a more diverse set of elected officials and loosen the recent Republican hold on South Carolina politics (Republicans have controlled the governor’s mansion, statehouse and congressional delegations of South Carolina for more than a decade, while Democrats ruled the state for much of the 20th century). FA L L 2 0 1 6 |



“It does our state a disservice to have rule by one party,” says Quirk-Garvan. “It’s not healthy for democracy.” If it might seem that Quirk-Garvan is fighting an uphill battle trying to get blue votes in a very red state, he takes solace in the fact that Charleston is more politically diverse than the rest of the state. He also draws strength from past successes, knowing firsthand that change can indeed happen if you work hard enough for it. “To know that I poured in 18 hours a day, seven days a week for six months to help elect the first black president,” says Quirk-Garvan, “is something I will forever be proud of.” – Jason Ryan

MONEY MAN Ever since he was 8 years old, Lane Hudson ’01 has been hooked on politics. Back then, in Hartsville, S.C., Hudson helped campaign for his second-grade teacher’s son, who was running to become a state representative. Three decades later, he’s trying to help elect Hillary Clinton as president, volunteering as one of the former secretary of state’s top fundraisers. Through August, Hudson helped raise nearly $200,000 for the Clinton campaign, making him a member of the Democrat’s national finance committee and a “Hillblazer” – one of nearly 500 people who have raised more than $100,000 for the 2016 election. Hudson first crossed paths with Clinton when he was 18 years old, meeting the then-first lady when he interned at the White House. In 2008, he volunteered for her first presidential campaign, canvassing and organizing rallies in 15 states before Clinton was defeated by Barack Obama. It was exhausting but exhilarating work, and this time around Hudson has campaigned on Clinton’s behalf in the battleground states of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia: “There’s nothing like getting out and talking to voters.” When it comes to raising money, Hudson employs one of two tactics. First, he’ll invite friends to special events organized by him or the campaign. It might be a dinner that includes Clinton or one of her surrogates. Or perhaps an “I’m With Her” concert or a special performance of the musical Hamilton. Second, he’ll appeal to potential donors via social media, often timing his pitch to follow major campaign events, such as the well-received speech made by Michelle Obama at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in July. After the first lady’s speech, the Clinton campaign grossed some of their biggest digital donations, says Hudson. Most online donors give from $5 to $200, making Hudson’s $200,000 total all the more impressive. He says he labors to help Clinton because he’s passionate about the candidate as a person and the significance of her potential election as the first female president. “The prospect of being involved in something so historic is a major point of pride,” says Hudson, who regards his fellow activists and campaigners as family. “It will be some major history we all made together.” He also thinks the election of Clinton, a former U.S. senator from New York, would possibly ease the gridlock that has paralyzed Congress in recent years. “I’m really eager to get back to that place where we actually talk about issues and not sit on our hands and do nothing,” says Hudson, referencing assorted



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impasses and recent government shutdowns due to Congress’ inability to pass budgets in a timely manner. Outside of campaigns, Hudson has had a prominent career in activism and politics in Washington, D.C. In 2006, he exposed U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, who had sent inappropriate emails to congressional pages. Since then, he has been a political consultant, focusing on crisis communication and reputation building. He has worked for major corporations that include Microsoft, Facebook and Airbnb. Most recently, he has operated his own agency, Boykin Consulting. After the election, whomever wins, Hudson plans to take a break from the world of politics and will travel far from Washington, D.C. He and a friend will be starting their own charter sailing company, Trekr Adventures, inviting 50 or so guests at a time to join them in exotic locales where they’ll sail, enjoy top-notch cuisine and see the local sights. Already he’s planned trips in 2017 to the Bahamas, Greece and Thailand. He plans to document his travels through a blog on But before then, there’s still work to do. Hudson will spend the final weeks of this election season campaigning for Clinton in another battleground state: Ohio. For Hudson, there’s satisfaction in returning to his political roots, pounding the pavement for a cause and candidate he believes in. “It’s kind of going full circle for me,” he says, “and doing the kind of work I did in high school and college.” – Jason Ryan

STRATEGISTS As competitive swimmers for the Cougars, Michael ’05 and Millard Mulé ’06 learned what it meant to work hard and sacrifice for a goal. Balancing athletics commitments with academics required dedication and fortitude. And it’s those skills, the twin brothers say, that helped give them an edge as they forged careers as political consultants. “Swimming and politics are very similar,” says Millard. “You have to set goals and you have to put in the work to achieve those goals.” But there’s one major difference. “Swimming affords medals for second or third place,” says Michael. “In political campaigns, there is no second place. You have to win.” The pair got their professional start in politics a decade ago. Michael got his first paid gig in 2006 as a staffer for a congressional candidate in Louisiana. Then the brothers helped Tim Mallard earn a seat on Charleston City Council in 2007. A couple months later, they launched their political consulting firm, UPT Strategies – a nod to “Uptown” New Orleans, where they grew up. In addition to running UPT, Michael is the public information officer for Berkeley County, S.C. Millard left his role with the firm in January to work full time as the communications director for Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, whom the brothers helped elect in 2015. A life in politics came naturally for Michael and Millard. Their father served as an elected judge in Louisiana for 24 years. Their childhood neighbors successfully ran for local, state and federal offices. And their mom once represented Louisiana as a delegate at a Democratic National Convention.

Funnily enough, while the political world of their upbringing made an impression on the brothers – the Democratic affiliation of their parents and neighbors did not. The Mulé brothers are ardent Republicans, and UPT Strategies only represents Republican campaigns and causes. “We learned how Democrats won and now we know how to defeat them,” jokes Michael. Drawn to the conservative mantra of hard work and selfreliance, Michael and Millard, who both would major in business administration, were already confident Republicans by the time they arrived in Charleston. As College Republicans, they regularly engaged in political activities on campus – the highlight of which was debating Al Sharpton during a visit to the College amid his 2004 presidential bid. “The diversity of the students and classes at the College and the respectful challenge by classmates and professors with different political perspectives shored up our political arguments,” Millard says. In the eight years since launching UPT Strategies, the Mulés have represented a wide range of candidates, from local prosecutors and state legislators to members of Congress and state Republican parties from Texas to Maine to Arkansas to New Jersey. The firm offers a variety of services, including campaign management, telephone services, digital media, graphic design, mail and other print materials. FA L L 2 0 1 6 |






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The brothers have made a name for themselves representing less traditional candidates, including state Rep. Samuel Rivers Jr., the only African American Republican in the South Carolina legislature, and state Sen. Katrina Shealy, who was South Carolina’s only female senator for several years. In the summer of 2015, the Rand Paul campaign sought Michael’s political expertise and hired him to be the South Carolina consultant for the presidential candidate. Michael also organized volunteers and helped manage Paul’s visits and events across the state. Amid such an unpredictable election cycle, Millard says it’s a great time to be in politics: “I think it’s been really exciting because what you see is a distaste for career politicians and an acceptance of quote-unquote outsiders.” The Mulé brothers’ political prowess has earned industry kudos as well, including multiple Pollie Awards from the American Association of Political Consultants, dubbed by Esquire magazine as the “Oscars of political advertising.” Campaign and Elections magazine honored the Mulés last year for running the best “get out the vote” operation in the nation. But the true reward, the brothers insist, is working with candidates they believe will make a difference. “At the end of the day, we’re electing people who really will help the average Joe,” Michael says. – Amanda Kerr

ORGANIZER There have been a lot of early days, late nights and last-minute trips over the past year for Andrew Fink. The senior political science major found himself thrust into the world of presidential politics last fall, and he’s been riding the roller coaster of campaign highs and lows ever since. A natural in the political arena, Fink served as co-chair of the Students for Rubio South Carolina chapter in fall 2015. He excelled at leading outreach among college students in the Palmetto State, earning more and more responsibility with the Rubio campaign, eventually landing duties for the presidential candidate in Virginia and Florida. That experience led him to a stint this summer as the digital director and field representative for New Hampshire Republican congressional candidate Rich Ashooh, before heading south to rejoin with Rubio on his re-election campaign as a senator for Florida. And while pursuing his political aspirations has meant crazy hours, unpredictable employment hinging on election results and delaying graduation by a semester (he deferred the final semester of his senior year to join the Rubio campaign full time), Fink says he’s living the dream: “This is something I’ve always wanted to do.” A native of New Hampshire, Fink says growing up in the perennially key primary state nurtured his love of politics. He remembers attending a George W. Bush rally when he was just 8 years old. And in high school, he worked as an intern for Jon Huntsman during his 2012 presidential bid. “I was always around it,” Fink says of politics. Fink enjoys the rush of competition and the challenge each day on the stump brings,

likening it to the thrill of his glory days playing football, baseball and hockey in high school. “This is the only thing I’ve found that gives me the same excitement,” he says. “You’re doing different things every single day and it changes minute by minute.” As a field representative for Rubio’s presidential campaign, Fink led recruiting efforts and helped organize volunteers in South Carolina. The campaign then tapped him to spend 10 days in Virginia generating buzz ahead of the primary there. And then it was off to Rubio’s home state of Florida, where Fink said it was “kind of do or die.” Rubio suspended his presidential campaign in March after losing Florida to Donald Trump. But the loss didn’t leave Fink gun shy. He joined the Ashooh campaign in May. And by September, he was back on Rubio’s team, helping the former presidential candidate seek re-election as a Florida senator. According to Fink, the main difference between working with a well-known presidential candidate versus a political newcomer, like Ashooh, is scope and focus. A presidential candidate like Rubio generates more interest and volunteers and has name recognition. In a local race, Fink says, it’s “all hands on deck for everything,” whether it’s posting Facebook ads in the morning, editing a video and messaging materials at noon or making calls to potential voters at 3 p.m. And while the adrenaline rush of the campaign trail is thrilling, Fink hopes to take his passion for politics to Capitol Hill alongside a winning candidate. “I would like to work on policy and trying to get what the candidate’s running on done,” he says. For Fink, ever the competitor, winning the election is just the beginning of the race. – Amanda Kerr

U.S. Rep. and former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford as he campaigned in a special election to again represent South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. Sanford won the special election, and Alexander found an eventual career helping elect assorted Republican politicians. “I’ve been in love with campaigns since,” she says. “Every day is a different day, every day is a new day.” As exciting as campaigns can be, they routinely present challenges. In 2014, while working as the field director for U.S. Senate candidate Bill Cassidy in Louisiana, Alexander was tasked with finding a venue to hold the 1,000 people expected to attend a last-minute rally featuring former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the Robertson family of the television show Duck Dynasty. The solution was an airport hangar. “We pulled it off in 48 hours,” Alexander says with a laugh. Alexander also worked as press secretary in the congressional office of U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham of Louisiana, enjoying the noncampaign side of politics, too. Wherever she heads after the 2016 campaign, Alexander plans to continue to rely on the lessons she learned at the College. Among the maxims she lives by is advice told to her by the coaching staff of the College’s sailing program: No matter where you are, whether in the classroom, on the water or out in the world, they said, always put your best foot forward. – Jason Ryan

MEDIA MAESTRO As a varsity sailor at the College, Courtney Alexander ’14 regularly faced off against, and defeated, some of the top-ranked sailing teams in the country. That was a reward in itself, but the exceedingly stiff sailing competition proved beneficial in one other way for Alexander: It was the perfect preparation for the sharp-elbowed, winner-takes-all world of politics. According to Alexander, in politics, just like varsity collegiate sports, everyone is constantly pushing the limits and trying to outdo one another. “If you haven’t worked at least 16 or 18 hours each day, you probably haven’t worked hard enough,” she says. “You always have to know in the back of your mind that someone is working harder than you and you need to outwork them.” Lately Alexander has been putting in long hours for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, working as a deputy press secretary for his 2016 re-election campaign in Florida. Despite graduating only two years ago, she’s already a political veteran, having four different jobs since receiving her communication degree. Her first job started three days after graduation, and it’s been nonstop ever since, which is the norm for those helping elect candidates to public office in Washington, D.C. “It’s definitely fast-paced,” she says. “It’s never boring.” Alexander caught the political bug at the College, crediting Professor Michael Lee’s Campaign Communications class as inspiration. Also while a student, Alexander volunteered for FA L L 2 0 1 6 |



THE CANDIDATES There are more than 950 miles, eight states and countless obstacles between Charleston and Boston. It’s a haul that by land, air or sea takes time and planning to complete. As a candidate for the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Dylan Fernandes ’13 hopes his journey from the Cistern Yard leads to the steps of the Bay State’s capitol. A first-generation college student, Fernandes is used to setting goals and going the distance. During his years at CofC, he was actively involved on campus. He sailed J22s, played on a championship-winning intramural volleyball team and worked on a few political campaigns, including Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 campaign for the U.S. Senate and alumna Elizabeth Colbert-Busch’s 2013 bid for Congress. After earning degrees in political science and economics, Fernandes headed back to his native Massachusetts, where he aimed to make a difference. He took a position as the political director for Maura Healey’s campaign as the state’s attorney general. After Healey’s successful election in 2014, Fernandes served in her office as a civil rights mediator and then digital director. A fourth-generation resident of Falmouth, Fernandes is passionate about giving back to the people of his native state, particularly the residents of his potential House district – Falmouth, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket: “I grew up in the district, and I absolutely love it here. It would be an honor to serve the community I love. It’s also the most beautiful district in America – and I can even say that after living in Charleston for nearly three years!” And his dedication to his hometown isn’t just lip service. For the young political candidate, it’s personal. Fernandes’ father grew up in abject poverty among a family of nine brothers and sisters. His dad worked hard to start a landscaping company in the Falmouth area and has grown that business for many years. It’s the tireless toil of his father and other small business owners in Massachusetts that motivates Fernandes to serve through elected office. “I’ve always felt a strong commitment to causes that help vulnerable people and working families,” he says, “because that’s where I come from.” Fernandes credits his time at the College with shaping his goals and political aspirations, particularly political science professor Jordan Ragusa, whose American government course was one of his favorite classes. Education, Fernandes believes, is the foundation of a democratic society and it is an essential element for improving peoples’ lives: “It is the most powerful tool in lifting people out of poverty, expanding opportunity and preparing people from all backgrounds to live up to their full potential.” According to Fernandes, a CofC education certainly affords its recipients many opportunities in life and career. He hopes to capitalize on those opportunities and give back to the community he loves so much. And like all candidates come election season, Fernandes knows that he is |


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ultimately at the mercy of the voting public – for only they get to choose who will serve. But that’s a journey with a reward that’s worth the risk. – Michael Adeyanju If you were at the Wilton Blueberry Festival in Maine in recent years, you may have seen Blaine Richardson ’72. And if you happened to drop in on the Moxie Festival in nearby Lisbon, you might have spotted him there, too, helping celebrate one of the world’s first soft drinks. Richardson would have been hard to miss: an affable, silverhaired gent glad-handing the crowds as two Pembroke Welsh corgis trotted behind him, each sporting harnesses emblazoned with “Blaine for Congress.” In the last six years, Richardson has twice tried to become a congressman representing Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, once as a Republican and once as an independent. He’s fallen short of his goal each time, but this year he’s set his sights on a statehouse seat, hoping to represent the district that encompasses his home in Belfast, located halfway up Maine’s coast. He’s running once again as a Republican, though he prefers to identify as a “constitutional libertarian conservative.” On the campaign trail, he’s calling for reduced government. If he wrote the laws, Richardson says, there would be less regulation of business and the environment, and no government role in defining marriage. “We have a federal government that has found a way into every aspect of your life,” says the 66-year-old home builder, who is winding down his construction business and soon set to retire. “Leave people alone!” An early member of the Tea Party and a staunch Second Amendment advocate, the U.S. Navy veteran began to agitate for change during the recent Great Recession, when small businesses faced acute hardship. “When they started the bank bailouts, that’s when I became politically active,” says Richardson, who was also bothered by Maine’s once-thriving manufacturing industry continuing a long slide. Lamenting the disappearance of canneries, shoemakers and mills, he says, “Our state’s greatest exports now are our kids.” That’s not all he’d like to fix. Despite being a naval aviator for seven years of active duty and being deployed overseas through the U.S. Navy Reserve to Haiti and twice to the Persian Gulf (Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom), the retired captain is critical of the country’s decisions to go to war. He compared the 2003 American invasion of Iraq to “opening Pandora’s box.” Of Vietnam, where he served as a flight instructor in the Navy, he bemoans the massive loss of life: “There’s 58,000 of my peers on a wall, which is a real tragedy.” Looking back, Richardson believes his preparation for politics began at the College. He became comfortable speaking in front of crowds by playing rock n’ roll at Folly Beach. Tough biology exams and papers, on which you might be flunked for a grammatical error, taught him to take care of the details and assume responsibility for his work. Now he’s trying to put those experiences to good use in Maine, hoping his ideas, and two cute corgis, will help propel him to public office. – Jason Ryan

POLITICAL THEATER During this presidential race, political science professors Jordan Ragusa and Gibbs Knotts logged hours in front of cable news television cameras and garnered plenty of ink in dozens of national and international newspapers. Such is the life of a political expert. From MSNBC and CNN to The Washington Post and The New York Times, Ragusa and Knotts have been talking with numerous reporters about the 2016 election for more than a year. The No. 1 topic dominating the discussions this election: Donald Trump. “I’ve answered a lot of questions about how Trump has been underestimated,” says Knotts. “I was certainly one of the people who thought he would not be the GOP nominee. He ran a disorganized and very untraditional campaign, but won the nomination over some very talented Republicans.” Ragusa agrees and says the amazing thing is that Trump was able to do it without a lot of backing: “The year 1952 was the last time either party nominated a candidate who hadn’t held prior elective office. Since then, political parties and political campaigns have become very professional and costly. Yet Trump won the Republican nomination despite the opposition of many party elites and despite being outspent by his opponents. It’s hard to overstate: these are remarkable facts.” Both Knotts and Ragusa think this has been a unique election cycle. “This election cycle is noteworthy for the high negatives for the two major party candidates,” says Knotts. “A lot of people don’t like Clinton and Trump.” And the political landscape will likely never be the same. “I think this cycle will be remembered as ushering in a major transformation within the Republican Party,” says Ragusa. “Whether Trump wins or loses, the GOP will emerge significantly changed.” FA L L 2 0 1 6 |




The trademark pink whale of vineyard vines has become the symbol of the lifestyle brand’s seemingly overnight success. But behind the preppy clothier’s meteoric rise lies the unsung tale of Mike Gaumer ’98, whose liberal arts education and sports-infused leadership style have proven the real tie that binds it all together. BY RON MENCHACA ’98 PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKE LEDFORD


ike Gaumer ’98, president of vineyard vines, doesn’t do many media interviews. At first, this might sound a little surprising for the head of a major lifestyle and apparel brand, a company with legions of loyal customers. But there are a lot of things about Gaumer that don’t fit the stereotype of a corporate chieftain. He didn’t study business as an undergrad and doesn’t have an M.B.A. He didn’t rise through the ranks of industry or inherit a family business. In today’s social media–driven age of sharing and celebrity CEOs, he doesn’t tweet, his LinkedIn profile has no photo and his corporate bio is a succinct 80 words long. Gaumer is a guy’s guy, a throwback to a time when successful people didn’t crave attention or praise. He’s of a breed that just put their heads down and work hard, regardless of whether anyone is watching. A self-effacing, wide-smiling, middle-aged family man, he loves to fish, drives a Ford F150 truck and wears shorts and flip-flops to the office. And, despite the advice of some management gurus who would argue that sports analogies and metaphors oversimplify the complexities of business, Gaumer unabashedly speaks in the language of football. It’s no wonder, then, that the employees at the company’s headquarters in Stamford, Conn., admiringly call him coach.

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To grasp Gaumer’s leadership style, it helps to know something about team sports, or, better yet, to know something about playing on a winning football team: the camaraderie, the selfless sacrifices, the day-in day-out grind of practice, pain and perseverance. To understand a guy like Gaumer, you have to recognize that the best teams and the best organizations are good for a reason, and that winning is a process, a tradition and a mindset. In 1992, Gaumer’s high school football team won the Pennsylvania state championship. As a senior, he played offensive guard and defensive end – a somewhat rare dual role that reflected his abilities on both sides of the ball. Nearly a quarter of a century later, folks in his hometown of Boiling Springs still talk about that Cumberland Valley Eagles team and their perfect 15-0 season. The championship game was postponed for a week after a blizzard blanketed the town of Altoona and its stadium in several feet of snow. But the Eagles were not to be denied their flawless record. On game day, Dec. 20, 1992, after beating the Panthers of Upper St. Claire 28-12, Gaumer and his teammates climbed atop a six-foot snow bank that encircled the field and began harmonizing in unison to the words of their theme song – the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” Led by a police escort on the bus ride back to their school gymnasium, the players were humbled to discover their exit off the Pennsylvania Turnpike clogged with vehicles. It seemed like every citizen in town had turned out to welcome the champions home at 1 in the morning. To cap that magical season, Gaumer was named a two-way firstteam performer in all-star voting. It had been one hell of a ride, a moment of glory he’ll remember forever, a story he’ll someday share with his grandchildren.

But even 24 years on, you can never fully extinguish the fire of a champion and his desire to be the best. Long after their prime, many athletes channel that competitive drive into new pursuits, seeking excellence in politics, entertainment or, as is the case with Gaumer, in business. What you end up with is a company president who carries a football up and down the hallways of vineyard vines’ gleaming new headquarters building, spinning the pigskin on his fingertips and tossing it from one hand to the other. What you end up with is a boss with a blue-and-gold sign over his office door that says, “Play Like a Champion Today.” A sign just like it hangs outside the Notre Dame football team’s locker room, where players ritualistically slap it as they take the field on game days. What you end up with is a leader who idolizes legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, who famously compared coaching a winning football team to running a successful business. “The principles are the same,” Lombardi said in his oftquoted speech “The Habit of Winning.” “The object is to win – to beat the other guy.” When the president of your company thinks and talks like a football coach, you end up with inspired employees who work together as a team, who share common goals and who strive every day to be better than the day before. “Mike is definitely like a coach,” says Jeremy Buccolo ’07, who serves as assistant to one of the founders. “He compliments you when things are going well, and he lets you know when things aren’t going well. He’s very honest.” Once you understand how Gaumer looks at the world, his behind-the-scenes persona begins to make more sense. He shuns the spotlight, because, to him, teams – not individuals – accomplish greatness. “I actually find it difficult to talk about myself,” he says. “Going back to team, I don’t feel like I’ve done any of this – we’ve done this together.” By this, of course, he means building a company that has exceeded all expectations, except perhaps his own. Over the past 18 years, vineyard vines has grown from a three-person operation run out of a beach house into a 2,500+-employee clothing juggernaut with a harborside headquarters, products in some 500 department and specialty stores, and more than 70 of its own retail outlets around the country, from Newport Beach, Calif., to Charleston, S.C.


There’s another good reason that Gaumer prefers to avoid being the center of attention and to focus instead on the operations side of a booming business that has gained a foothold in the vaunted space of lifestyle brand stalwarts like L.L. Bean and J. Crew. And that reason has everything to do with the vineyard vines backstory. The true tale of brothers Shep and Ian Murray, who share the title of CEO and co-founders of vineyard vines, is too good not to love. In 1998, fed up with corporate culture and train commutes, the Greenwich, Conn., natives ditched their Manhattan jobs to make a go of it selling their own line of colorful silk neckties inspired by the laidback lifestyle and water-tinged sights and symbols of Martha’s Vineyard. Even the lower casing of the name “vineyard vines” reinforces the casual nature of the brand.

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Their story is entrepreneurial, rebellious and rooted in a sincere passion for place. So it’s not at all surprising that the company smartly sticks to a script – the brothers inseparable from the brand. Look up any news article or video clip about the company and you’ll find these two handsome New Englanders smiling back at you. But the Murrays will be the first to tell you that there’s more to the story behind the company’s success than what’s often portrayed in the press. There’s a key element missing in much of the coverage: It turns out that the dynamic duo is actually a triumvirate. He’s been called many names – the honorary third brother, the third leg of the management stool, the mediator, the tiebreaker. To the Murrays, Mike Gaumer is simply indispensable. “Mike has been integral to the growth and overall success of vineyard vines,” says Shep Murray. “Ian and I like to say that Mike does the stuff we don’t want, like or know how to do, and in that way he’s become invaluable to the organization.” For his part, Gaumer is content to watch the brothers adeptly function as the faces of the company while he looks on proudly from the sidelines, happily mired in the machinery and minutia of making clothes and managing a workforce: “I like being behind the scenes. It’s where I’m most comfortable. I think that’s why the dynamic works.”


Gaumer’s hometown of Boiling Springs is best known for its natural springs and its status as the original midpoint of the Appalachian Trail. His parents still live in the same house where he grew up enjoying a typical childhood dominated by outdoor play and sports. Though he also played baseball, Gaumer’s passion was on the gridiron. With his strong performance on the squad that won the high school state championship, he had proven himself good enough to play college ball. As Gaumer tells it, there wasn’t much debate about where he would play. His father had played football at Lafayette College in Easton, Penn., and so that’s what his son Mike would do, too. Ian Murray was one of the first people he met after moving into his campus residence hall. “I met Mike during my first week at Lafayette; we lived on the same floor,” recalls Ian, also Gaumer’s fraternity brother. “He was always a likeable guy, easy to get along with and a lot of fun. Not to mention an accomplished athlete as a freshman on the football team.” Gaumer enjoyed the freedom of university life and being immersed in football and fraternity circles, but he also felt isolated by his surroundings. “When I went to school, there was still a Rust Belt,” he recalls. “We were up on this hill overlooking the steel town. It was not the most inspiring place to go to school. So you stayed on campus.” After two years at Lafayette and having played football for much of his life up to that point, Gaumer began making plans to transfer to a new school. He was guided in his search by two criteria: a college without a football team and a campus located in a vibrant city. Having spent summer vacations with his family on the beaches of Isle of Palms, S.C., Gaumer was already familiar with Charleston. And the College of Charleston fit his requirements to a T.

Life without the familiarity of football and fraternity friends was an adjustment, but he eventually settled into Charleston that first year in 1996, lulled by the city’s rich history, natural environment and thriving nightlife. He took full advantage of all three. A history major, he was captivated by the architecture and the national significance of the centuries-old buildings. From his apartment on Cumberland Street, he could look out over the church cemeteries and the rows of headstones bearing the names of famous colonial leaders. The Powder Magazine, which served as a gunpowder store during the Revolutionary War, stood right outside his front door. “I loved the opportunity to go to school in a place where you could actually walk out the door and experience some of the things you were learning about in school,” says Gaumer. “To me, history is always something that is applicable to today … understanding what happened, why did it happen and how could you take steps to change that going forward. I use it every day in our business.” He’s always found inspiration in stories about ordinary people in history who became famous after having enormous responsibility thrust upon them. Men like the late Army Maj. Dick Winters, a fellow Pennsylvanian whose heroic leadership during some of the bloodiest fighting of World War II was celebrated in the book and HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. When he wasn’t immersed in history, Gaumer spent his time playing golf and going to the beach. At night, he hung out with friends at the Blind Tiger and The Griffon. He was giddy with excitement when John Kresse’s Cougars basketball team beat Maryland to advance to the second round of the 1997 NCAA tournament. Now that was a team with a winning tradition, he says. Ian Murray would occasionally visit Gaumer in Charleston, and Gaumer also became friends with Ian’s older brother, Shep, with whom he shared a love of fishing. As the end of his time at the College neared, Gaumer faced a decision about his future. He had a job opportunity with a company that made hospital beds, and although he wasn’t passionate about working in the healthcare industry, he had promised his parents he’d stick with his first job for at least one year. “That was one of those character-building things,” he says. “I thought, ‘All right, I’m going to grit this out.’” His role was to serve as a conduit between technicians in the field and programmers on the manufacturing side. The two groups didn’t get along well and communicated in very different styles. But being able to find common ground between different parties and broker compromises proved to be an invaluable skill that Gaumer would later rely on at vineyard vines. “I work in a business with two brothers who are the founders,” Gaumer observes, “so you can imagine they are both passionate about different things, and, somehow, we have to find middle ground to move the company forward.” He also learned in that first job that if you don’t have passion for your work, no amount of money, responsibility or perks will be enough to sustain you over the long haul. As he neared the end of his one-year job commitment, Gaumer considered trying law school until he could figure out what he was truly passionate about. And then his phone rang.

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WHALE TALE After simultaneously quitting their corporate jobs on Madison Avenue in 1998, Shep and Ian Murray started hawking a limited line of whimsical, nautical-themed neckties out of their Jeeps and backpacks, racking up $8,000 in credit card debt in the process. Running their tiny company out of the Murray family vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard, the brothers were working day and night to get the company off the ground. As if they didn’t already have enough on their plates, Shep was about to get married. Realizing he couldn’t handle the workload by himself with Shep temporarily out of pocket, Ian knew just who to call. Gaumer still remembers the pitch from the other end of the line: “They said, ‘hey, we are doing this thing with ties. Shep is going on his honeymoon, so we could use some help for a couple of weeks while he’s gone.’” With no job and nothing better to do for a couple of weeks, Gaumer tossed a few bags into the back of his black Jeep Wrangler and headed north. In those early days, it was all hands on deck. The first part of the day was spent answering phones, emails and faxes, and strategizing about new tie designs and product ideas. “Then we’d basically drop what we were doing about 3 o’clock every day and go over to their parents’ house, where in Shep’s old bedroom was where all the ties were stored,” Gaumer recalls. “We’d go there, pick up all the ties, drive back to the office we had and ship them out.” By the time Gaumer returned to Charleston a few weeks later to vacate his apartment and retrieve the rest of his belongings, he’d decided to give this tie thing a go. He also had work to do in Charleston, a sales call at Grady Ervin & Co. on King Street. He remembers being extremely nervous and thinks the store bought some ties out of sympathy for his lackluster pitch. But he could see the potential of vineyard vines, and he believed that his liberal arts education would serve him well as he learned the business. And so, without a job title or any real experience, Gaumer became the first employee at vineyard vines. As the company began to grow, the Murrays, who share a keen eye for colors and design aesthetics and a knack for marketing, were increasingly spending more time on business development. By default, it became Gaumer’s job to make sure the bills got paid and the lights stayed on. They eventually sold that first run of 800 ties, and sales grew steadily as the new century dawned. Thanks to some important early business partnerships with select New England retailers, not to mention a lot of hustle and word-of-mouth advertising, the company had tapped into an authentic ethos that says work and play are not mutually exclusive. Following their initial success with ties and other clothing accessories, it was time for the trio to design their first polo shirt in 2004. Having grown up with Lacoste, they knew they needed to make a statement with a simple yet distinctive logo that conveyed the Martha’s Vineyard vibe. They found inspiration in a wooden whale that the Murrays’ father hand-carved and hung on the outside of the family home. Gaumer remembers there being a ridiculous number of conversations with the Murrays about the ideal trajectory for the



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whale’s smile. “We went through a lot of different iterations,” he says. “The smile is an important aspect of it because our motto – ‘Every day should feel this good’ – is important to us. So it had to be happy, but not too happy.” No one could have imagined back then that the pink whale logo they designed would eventually be emblazoned, stitched, printed and painted on everything from bathing suits, button-downs and blazers to boxers, bags and belts … that every member of the family could be outfitted … that U.S. presidents, celebrities and sports figures would wear their products … that vineyard vines would be named the official style of the Kentucky Derby and the America’s Cup or that it would sponsor two professional golfers and a NASCAR driver. No one predicted that the cute, grinning whale would become a generation-spanning status symbol for casual-minded, waterloving, fashion-conscious preppies who want to wear clothing that not only looks good, but feels good, whether you’re piloting a boat or steering a project at work. Gaumer even allows that the whale might now be bigger than the name: “I would bet that if you ask a lot of people, they know what the whale is, maybe vineyard vines not so much, but everyone knows the whale.”


Behind the scenes, Gaumer has his hands on virtually every facet of the company’s operations – from the fabric, fit and function of the clothes to vendors and suppliers in faraway places like Asia to the location and layout of the company’s U.S. retail locations, including the one that just opened on Kiawah Island, S.C. He has 11 key employees reporting directly to him. In addition to senior executives, such as the chief financial officer and in-house counsel, Gaumer also oversees the division heads of major functions, including marketing, product, operations, retail, e-commerce and wholesale. Those last three are particularly important as they represent the company’s primary revenue streams, with retail accounting for about 40 to 50 percent, e-commerce about 25 to 30 percent and the balance from wholesale. Between routine meetings, regular strategy sessions with the brothers, a busy national and international travel schedule and everything in between, Gaumer’s days are usually jam-packed. A happily married father of three active children – ages 5, 7 and 9 – Gaumer is vigilant about making time for his family. He knows it will all go by in a flash if he allows work to swallow him up and doesn’t occasionally take time to appreciate his family and friends. That’s what the company preaches to its employees and its customers – work hard so you can play hard. Will Lanahan ’01, who pioneered the company’s foray into custom collegiate and athletics ties that now includes licensing partnerships with the NFL and MLB as well as dozens of universities, says there’s no doubt that Gaumer’s football background and Rust Belt upbringing forged his work ethic and managerial style. “He is hardworking, driven and very demanding, but also fair and open-minded,” Lanahan says. “Simply put, Mike is the command center of vineyard vines – nothing happens unless it gets his blessing first.”

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It wasn’t always this way. For several years he didn’t even have an official title, which was just fine with him. “To me, titles are always for outside, not inside,” he says. “For a great team, it doesn’t matter if you are left tackle, left guard – you are going to block the same people.” But the company eventually grew big enough that Employee No. 1 needed an actual job title. So Gaumer became vice president of operations. Then, in 2008, he was named president. Naively, Gaumer figured he was already doing the job of president, so the promotion was really just a change in title. “Looking back, that was kind of foolish,” he says. “What I realized was I wasn’t really doing the job. Before, if the sales team wasn’t doing well, I still could say, ‘well, they are the ones.’ When I became president, no longer could I say that.” In other words, it was all on the coach. And the game was about to turn ugly.


Business was humming along until the economic recession hit. Suddenly it didn’t feel so good to be a high-end luxury brand when Americans were losing jobs and families were cutting back on discretionary spending. At the time, aside from catalog and online sales and a few boutique stores, the company was primarily selling its products to wholesalers. When those stores stopped or reduced their orders, vineyard vines felt the contraction like a tightly cinched necktie. “It was very scary,” Gaumer recalls. “Literally, I would get from our CFO a list of how much money came in, and I would sign checks for that exact amount of money to go back out. It was like living hand-to-mouth every single day.” Gaumer says this was a terrifying but valuable period because it forced the company out of its comfort zone and to reexamine its priorities. “We did not want to be in a position where we were at the whims of other businesses. So we decided that our future was going to be in retail – that we wanted to control our message, to control our communication with the customer.” The only problem was, Gaumer knew almost nothing about retail – how to scout for store locations, negotiate real-estate deals, seek zoning approvals, furnish a building or staff a store. But he knew he could learn. At a time when most retail companies were scaling back plans for new stores, vineyard vines went all in and today is on pace to have 100 retail stores by the end of this year, with the potential for as many as 250 stores in the future. The Hail Mary pass saved the company. “It ties back to that liberal arts education,” he says. “To me, the real value is that it teaches you how to think. It’s not about how to do this – it’s about how to think about doing these things and how to adapt when things don’t go the way you think they are going to. We have a saying around here that experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” It’s no accident that the founders and president and dozens of others throughout vineyard vines are liberal arts graduates. Sure, a big company like this has M.B.A.s and lawyers and other professionals, and Gaumer says they are all indispensable. But he can’t help but be a little biased toward an education like

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his own, one that exposes students to a wide array of subjects and provides a foundation for lifelong learning: “People that can think on their feet, can think about what’s happening, can react and adapt to situations, that is the real value of a liberal arts education. You’ve really got a broad perspective on things.”


The lines of vineyard vines apparel and accessories have become so numerous that it seems there’s no place the whale can’t go. And while Gaumer speaks openly about the future possibilities – expanding into new categories, for example – he’s also quick to say that every proposed and new product line must fit the story vineyard vines is telling and the lifestyle it’s selling.



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There’s also talk of expanding the business into international markets, he says. “There’s a huge sailing community in a lot of parts of the world. Golf is huge everywhere. So there’s a lot of opportunity for us to expand the brand presence. We are just getting started.” You’d think that Gaumer might be willing to concede that his team has reached a certain level of achievement, something akin to that perfect football season he was a part of so many years ago. But this coach is relentless in his pursuit for greater feats: “I don’t think that we’ve achieved that much yet. There’s still so much opportunity out there for us. We’ve come a long way, and we’re proud and we celebrate where we are, but we have bigger aspirations and dreams for what we want to do.” Yeah, Gaumer says, he’s happy. But not too happy.

PORT OF PREPPY From the moment you drive up to vineyard vines’ headquarters in Stamford, Conn., a sense of ease washes over you. Located along a branch of the Long Island Sound, the four-story, 91,000-squarefoot building overlooks a marina full of sleek boats swaying in the gentle New England breeze. Past the putting green on the front lawn and through the squeaky-clean glass doors awaits the main lobby, where the stern of a massive sportfishing yacht serves as the reception desk. Adorned with real ocean fishing rods and ship lights, the custom-made desk is similar to the sales counters in many of the company’s retail stores. Overhead, the ceiling features a sprawling nautical map of Martha’s Vineyard. Across the lobby, affixed to a white beadboard wall, a wood carving of the company’s signature pink whale keeps watch as smiling staffers decked out in the pastels of the clothiers’ latest lines casually make their way to the employee café for lunch, a game of shuffleboard or an assortment of free snacks. A question that occurs to many first-time visitors is “Do these people ever work?” Mike Gaumer ’98, president of vineyard vines, hears this one a lot and has a ready reply: “We work really hard to make it look easy.” The building, which Bloomberg called “The Preppiest Office in America,” was gutted, renovated and furnished in meticulous detail before the company took occupancy in 2015. But the flourishes and nautical nods are not limited to the first floor. The entire place is like a funhouse where a surprise awaits around every corner: Colorful, waxy surfboards stand like sentries; entire walls are covered in turf, whale murals or tie patterns. Teaktopped conference tables shaped like boat hulls and rope-wrapped columns convey the company’s maritime-influenced roots.

A mock retail store is a visible reminder of the brick-and-mortar business that’s helped spread the brand’s visibility from shore to shore. Down the hall, the employee exercise room reinforces an air of healthy living that pervades the company’s youthful, cheery ranks. The upper three floors, serviced by elevators, boast employee lounges, each decorated in homage to an iconic getaway – the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and Martha’s Vineyard. Gaumer and company founders Shep and Ian Murray occupy a spacious suite of fourth-floor offices overlooking the marina. Environment is everything when you’re selling a lifestyle brand, Gaumer explains. And that starts with creating an experience, whether it’s for the employees and visitors at the headquarters or for the customers in the retail stores. Past all the polish and panache, you’ll find many of the people who create and design the bright color palettes, casual patterns and beach motifs that make the vineyard vines look so distinctive. New clothes are piled, stacked and hung everywhere. To the untrained eye, it’s nearly impossible to discern a shirt from a skirt in what looks like the aftermath of an Easter egg explosion. The building’s open layout, abundance of common areas and meeting spaces and its cafeteria were all designed to foster collaboration and community, which was easier to accomplish in their former building. “One of the things that we did early on when we realized it was going to be a challenge is we built this very nice cafeteria,” Gaumer says. “It’s right on the water. We want people to congregate, so we asked people not to eat at their desks. There was a lot of groaning at first on that.” Nowadays, the cafeteria is a hub of activity, and you can often find Gaumer and the Murrays eating there and talking shop. And no matter how busy things get around the office, there’s always time to appreciate the finer things in life. On a recent weekday afternoon, Gaumer walked over to the marina to take a group of visitors out for a spin on one of the company boats. It was a beautiful summer’s day as he pointed the bow toward the Sound, his hair blowing back in the wind. He didn’t have to say what he was thinking; his smile said it all: “Every day should feel this good.”

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When the BOUNDLESS Campaign started nearly seven years ago, it was the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the College’s history. An effort of passion, vision and dedication from alumni, students, friends and supporters culminated this summer with a total of $138.7 million raised, making BOUNDLESS the College’s most successful philanthropic and engagement effort to date.




photography by




Together, we delivered results that are both immediate and long-lasting. And, together, we set in motion a bold new course for the College of Charleston. This June, when the BOUNDLESS campaign concluded, it marked the momentous finale to a comprehensive fundraising initiative, which, over the course of nearly seven years, advanced the institution for years to come. Its impact is already tangible, and it will extend and expand for many, many tomorrows. The funds raised represent a historic level of giving at the College; however, those totals are but a part of the achievement. It is also the story of a remarkable collective effort. BOUNDLESS shined an inspiring new light on what it means to be part of this extraordinary community. It gathers longstanding philanthropists alongside enthused students, many of whom are making their first step toward a lifetime of involvement. It embraces both engaged, ardent alumni and treasured friends. It encompasses esteemed foundations with a seasoned eye on giving, as well as world-class corporations whose stock-in-trade is making sound investments. BOUNDLESS has helped to further galvanize a growing legion of lifelong champions of the College. This legion is vast and varied, yet by virtue of this impressive breadth, so strikingly singular. This campaign reinforced something distinct and deep in our campus culture. Here, the individual passions run wide and far, and yet, the heartfelt commitment of those who support the College remains the same. While our walks of life greatly diverge, each of us who stepped forward walks the walk for the continued enrichment of the College. Whether a donor looks to the College to bolster scientific research or to further talks on social justice, each has recognized this institution as the most compelling inroad to a better, brighter future. That investment may focus on a single student, or may well aspire to the betterment of nothing short of our entire world. On the following pages, we offer deeper insight into the many ways that the BOUNDLESS giving of this campaign has led to BOUNDLESS impact. You’ll see it in record-breaking numbers. You’ll see eye-opening facts. And you’ll also gain a sense of the scope of the BOUNDLESS community, through spotlights on just a few of the tens of thousands of its supporters. We hope you’ll begin to grasp this campaign’s BOUNDLESS reach, as our beloved College of Charleston community continues to come together to stand apart.


MADELINE LEIBIN Junior Madeline Leibin is a triple major, studying international studies, religious studies and philosophy. A 2015 recipient of the philanthropy-powered New Student Leader Award, which recognizes students who contributed time and energy to learn about leadership and give back to our community, Leibin is passionate about social justice and human rights law.



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Some people can spot possibilities that the rest of us cannot see. Take Steve ’89 and Emily Molony Swanson ’89. They were keen to attract the best and brightest to their beloved alma mater, and to do so in a way that carried well into the future. With this in mind, they created the Swanson Scholars Program for Honors College students. But the Swansons’ vision did not stop there. To gain maximum momentum behind their gift, the couple also set up the Swanson Challenge, encouraging others to give by matching their Honors College scholarship gifts. The first class of Swanson Scholars graduated last May, with each recipient ready to take on the world as a thoughtful, committed professional who appreciates how philanthropy shapes the future. After all, the Swansons have had their eyes on the long run ever since they first met at the College. And Steve knows a thing or two about increasing returns. As an Honors College student himself, he worked with his statistics professor Jim Hawkes and classmate Jonathan Butler ’86 to envision Automated Trading Desk, which took off on Wall Street and became a multimillion–dollar company. In addition to the Swanson Scholars Program and other gifts to the College, Steve also saw the potential of the BOUNDLESS Campaign from the start, committing to its success by serving as the co-chair of its steering committee: another testament to his exceptional vision.

ADVOCATING FOR CHANGE In order to lift up those in need, we must first lift up ourselves. For the stronger we are as leaders, the stronger our chances will be of bringing about meaningful change. Fortunately, the College has energized individuals like Linda Ketner to raise the tide. Elevating opportunities for women with the potential to lead is the driving force behind the unique scholarship program she created at the College. The Ketner Emerging Leaders


The campaign focused its fundraising efforts on strategic priorities that would together elevate the institution.











Note: Due to the rounding of each priorityʻs figure, sum does not equal final campaign total.

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“Our donors understand the value of a College of Charleston education and have expressed their vote of confidence through their giving. Campaigns like ours are about strengthening both our present needs while also laying a strong foundation for the future. Already, through the BOUNDLESS campaign, we’ve been able to create and award more scholarships than ever. Since 2009, we’ve grown student aid and scholarship support from the College of Charleston Foundation by more than 70 percent – thus making the dream of a College of Charleston education a reality for many more of our students.” – President Glenn F. McConnell ’69

Scholarship program aims to empower high-achieving young women to develop leadership skills and to advocate for important community causes and social issues. Ketner herself is an acclaimed community leader and businesswoman who has long given voice to those who most need it. In her wide-ranging leadership roles, including as president of KSI Corporation and a 2008 candidate for Congress, she has championed underserved communities around causes such as homelessness, affordable housing, racial justice and LGBTQ equality. And, as a former member of the College’s women’s and gender studies program advisory board, Ketner is keenly aware of the gender disparity that can work against women who have the potential to lead. Her own voice resonates loud and strong when it comes to the scholarship program: “My hope is that the scholarships reward and encourage students who think deeply, think long term, think inclusively and then take action on behalf of a better community, state and world.” For starters, our community and our world are already far better places by virtue of this committed, considerate agent of change.

American chair of the College’s Department of Health and Human Performance. The purpose of his family’s scholarship is to provide African American students majoring in physical education or within the Department of Health and Human Performance with life-changing resources. As an educator and philanthropist,

THE CHEERLEADERS Ever since Jean Wayland Johnson and Tapley O. Johnson Jr. first rallied around the College as basketball fans in the late 1980s, they have animated the campus with their cranked-to-eleven enthusiasm for the College. Their giving today has become as broad and magnanimous as their perma-smiles. They are equally generous with their time and talents, serving on numerous College of Charleston boards and even hitting the road to show their support at championship games. Together, the Johnsons have created scholarships in men’s basketball that have been transformative to team members. However, that represents only part of their giving to the College. They have also generously supported the arts, business and education. What’s more, the Johnsons are also rousing proof that it doesn’t take a CofC degree to consider the College your home team. Though not graduates, they have adopted the College with such devotion that, in 2015, they became the first couple to receive the College’s Alumni Award of Honor. Thanks to this powerfully positive pair, the entire campus has more to cheer about. In fact, each time you are greeted by the proud Cougar statue at TD Arena, you can thank the Johnsons for their gift, a fitting tribute to their cheer-out-loud Cougar spirit.

OPPORTUNITY ��� No one can better broadcast the power of learning and teaching than a seasoned education professor. And, when that professor is both personally and professionally invested in ensuring equal access to education, the statement is all the more powerful. As an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance, Andrew Lewis Sr. is keenly aware of the education gap that can limit opportunities for African Americans who want to enter the education field. To address this, he and his wife, Josephine, created the Dr. Andrew and Josephine Lewis Endowed Scholarship for the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance. Lewis has experienced firsthand the challenges African American students face, as well as what it takes to overcome those challenges. In 1991, he made history as the first African

ANDREW and JOSEPHINE LEWIS Associate professor and former faculty chair Andrew Lewis Sr. is a beloved figure on the College campus who champions educational equality. With his wife, Josephine, Lewis created an endowed scholarship to provide new opportunities for African American students and help them succeed at the College.

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Lewis is addressing an issue that has long challenged South Carolina – and that continues to challenge so many South Carolinians. We all have much to learn from him and his example.

THE MATCHING GAME To light a fire, it always helps to have a match. Just ask Jeff Kinard ’77, who was eager to galvanize young alumni around annual giving to the College. To do so, this devoted alumnus came up with a unique method to motivate fellow alumni to collectively help the College. In doing so, he also proved there’s nothing he won’t do to help the College thrive. In March 2015, Kinard put the “fun” in fundraising through a high-energy, offbeat matching gift initiative to inspire first-time giving among young alumni. The monthlong challenge, dubbed “March Matchness,” took its cue from the annual NCAA college basketball tournament every spring and spotlighted Kinard’s sporty antics alongside his favorite mascot, Clyde the Cougar. All gifts supported the College of Charleston Fund, the unrestricted annual giving fund for scholarships and other institutional needs. Putting up a matching pledge of up to $20,000, this seriously funny Cougar fan doubled the original participation in its very first year, creating an annual tradition. “I was hoping to make a gift that had some leverage and impact with new donors,” says Kinard. “Enter March Matchness.” The College is honored to have found a match in Jeff Kinard, whose contagious enthusiasm is mobilizing the next generation of philanthropy.


HANNAH ROBINSON As a C2C and BOUNDLESS donor, Hannah Robinson has gained an appreciation of the tremendous impact that giving has on campus. As president of the C2C Executive Board, this motivated communication and Spanish double major is leading the call to fellow students about the power of philanthropy.



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Though she has yet to walk in white along the Cistern Yard, senior Hannah Robinson is already walking her walk for the legacy of her future alma mater. She does so by supporting the College of Charleston Fund as a donor and by taking on a leadership role in Committed to Charleston (C2C). An officially recognized student organization, C2C raises awareness about the impact of giving back annually to the College of Charleston Fund. As current C2C Executive Board president, this communication and Spanish double major is also instrumental in conveying to fellow students just how transformational philanthropy can be. Her gift and those of hundreds of other students were also matched through the Baxley Challenge, the program initiated by Johnnie Baxley ’92. When she’s not raising awareness and funds for the College, Robinson is raising the bar on the College’s equestrian team and advocating for the Center of International Education’s study-abroad programs. With such stellar Cougar pride out of the gate, Robinson is already working to further a lifelong championing of the College in everything she does.

THE AMBASSADORS How can the College help change the world? The first step is to change a worldview. Greater cultural awareness gives students a deeper understanding of themselves and others and serves as a springboard to solving contemporary social issues. Thanks to philanthropists Harry and Reba Huge, Cougars today are roaming to some fascinating, farflung places, such as Estonia. Through the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation, the Huges are finding ways to help fund scholarships to the College by way of the prestigious Harry and Reba Huge Scholarships in the Honors College. They are also providing special mentoring as well as summer studyabroad trips. Students return to campus with a new understanding of today’s complex global challenges – a perspective that will inform their studies and perhaps even their career paths. The Huges’ generosity is far-reaching, too, as the couple has also provided support for international scholars, as well as awards for music students, faculty exchanges and participants in the Network Globally, Act Locally (NGAL) program. As honorary consul of Estonia, Harry Huge has seen how transformative this cultural awareness can be. That’s why he also helped with an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Estonia’s capital of Tallinn. Honors College student Zach Sturman (last year’s Student Government Association president) worked as a U.S. Department of State intern there and says, “The Huges are some of the most selfless and generous people I’ve met in my whole life.”


BOUNDLESS brought together supporters from the College’s vast and varied community, including alumni, friends, parents, faculty, staff, foundations, corporations and others.

23,892 DONORS





10,089 ALUMNI



That experience with BOUNDLESS philanthropy is certain to stay with this student and many others long after they venture out into the world.

THE ROLE MODEL Chanele Jackson ’87 has always put her family first, even if it meant setting her own dreams aside. The single mother raising three daughters was 31 years old when she enrolled at the College and faced the daunting prospect of simultaneously managing coursework and parenthood. But Jackson found the support she needed right on campus, enrolling her toddler in the N.E. Miles Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) with a waived fee. Still, the pressures seemed overwhelming at times. But Jackson found an extended family in the College, first receiving a scholarship and then, later, professional inroads that launched her lifelong career in banking. Now, Jackson gives back to the community that had her back when she needed it most. She has contributed to the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance, the College of Charleston Fund and ECDC on an annual basis for 15 years. And, most recently, she has made a planned gift toward an ECDC tuition for a child of a single mother who is also a first-generation college student. Always family focused, Jackson says, “I wanted to help someone like me, so that they may have a wonderful, safe environment for their children. The Early Childhood Development Center gives children a foundation of knowledge, of love.”

A FAMILY AFFAIR As parents of two students at the College, Christopher “Chris” and Terri Walker are doubly committed to the institution, both today and tomorrow. And they have demonstrated that commitment in many meaningful ways. As members of the Parent Advisory Council (PAC), the Connecticut-based couple has made significant contributions to the Parents’ Fund, even using their gift to challenge other parents to give. As part of their PAC efforts, they have personally picked up the phone to welcome incoming freshmen. The Walkers have also supported the Grant M. Eney Memorial Scholarship, for which they have hosted fundraising movie nights. By supporting the College, they feel they are supporting their children, Britt, who is currently working full time in Charleston after graduating last year, and Christopher, who is now a junior at the College. “By being involved, we feel a closer connection to our kids and have a better understanding of their pursuits and challenges,” the Walkers explain. “Also, it’s a great and stealthy excuse to spend more time with the kids.”

QUINTEN MEADORS Biology major Quinten Meadors received the support he needed through scholarships from unrestricted funds such as the College of Charleston Fund and the Honors College Dean’s Excellence Fund. A senior pursuing a career in medicine, Meadors hopes to one day open his own clinic to make healthcare available in underserved communities.



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MAKING CONNECTIONS Sometimes, talking the talk is the best step toward transformation. And, when it comes to race and social justice, honest and courageous conversations can reveal the ways we are disconnected – ways that we may not have even realized. Leave it to Google to power the crucial exchange to ensure that everyone in our country is heard. After all, the groundbreaking technological company is renowned for connecting us all to a world of information as much as it is for embracing both ideas and ideals. So, in the wake of the June 2015 tragedy at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel Church, Google connected with the College to power a program fostering frank talks in the community about race and reconciliation. Under the guidance of Lilyn Hester, Google’s head of Southeast public affairs, the Race and Social Justice Initiative represents a collaborative effort led by the College’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture along with other campus and community partners. Lining up speakers such as social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson, education activist Marion Wright Edelman and journalist and National Book Award–winner Ta-Nehisi Coates, the program exemplifies the College’s forward-looking ethos and is reflective of the many ways we can all strive for a better future. As the College of Charleston sets the stage for the days and years to come, it moves forward with a shining abundance of community and connectedness. As BOUNDLESS culminates, some stars sparkle brightly for all to celebrate. Still others are just now beginning to gleam, promising brightness on the horizon. Together, we illuminate the future for the College and ensure that it holds a BOUNDLESS tomorrow.


Together, we achieved historic heights. And, together, we set a new course for the future of the College of Charleston.

$138.7 MILLION

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PHILANTHROPY A Head for Reinvention

COONSKIN CAPS, COWBOY HATS, tricorns, headdresses, football helmets: Susi Beatty ’86 has always worn a lot of hats. “Oh, there was a hat for everything – one for every character she took on,” says Betty Beatty of the plucky, towheaded “wild child” that her daughter was even as a little girl. “She had a different hat for whoever she was, whatever she was into.” Nothing has changed, really – except that, as an adult, she doesn’t need to accessorize with headgear every time she reinvents herself. Whether it’s as the most promising vocalist of the year, the author of the children’s book of the year, an international karate tournament winner or the overall heavyweight bodybuilding champion: Susi Beatty has long been



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getting recognized for what she puts into a role, not what she wears for it. “Besides, my hair was so big in the ’80s, you couldn’t fit a hat over it if you’d tried,” laughs the country music star–turned– entrepreneur/real estate investor, who now serves as the CEO and president of the Beatty Companies and owner of Live Like a Local. “My hair and me: We were always hard to pin down. Just flying away in all different directions.” That may be so, but there was never any real question in Beatty’s mind where she was headed: She was going to be a rock star. “All I ever wanted to do was write songs and sing,” says Beatty, who – as a sophomore at the College – was spending weekends sneaking off to Nashville to

write songs for a publishing company. “That’s how my life got started.” Pretty soon, she was recording an album and taking it on tour through Australia. It was her country album, One of a Kind, with Capitol Records, however, that really got the world listening. “Beatty has such an intense, warm, rock-a-bluesy country voice, it seems amazing that she has lived to be 27 without becoming a big star,” states the May 7, 1990, “Picks and Pans Review” column in People magazine. That year, Major Independent Record Label Awards named Beatty the Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year and named her song, “Nobody Loves Me Like the Blues,” the Single of the Year. That song made it to No. 41 on the country

music Billboard, and its video was named the 1991 Video of the Year. But the fans are what made it all real. “They wanted me to sign everything – their heads, their cigarette packs, their babies. It was crazy. People would ask me, ‘Can I touch you?’ ‘Can my son touch you?’” says Beatty, who spent the summer of 1991 opening shows for Hank Williams Jr. on his Lone Wolf Tour. “I can’t tell you the feeling of standing in front of 40,000 country music fans cheering – this sea of humanity – and all those eyes on you. To be the recipient of all that: It sent every nerve on my body to the top of my skin. It was beautiful. My dreams were all happening – it was everything I’d thought it’d be and 1,000 times more.” And then it was over. During surgery for a slipped disc in her neck – a result of the many sports injuries she’d accumulated over the years – her vocal chords were irreparably damaged. Her vocal range was gone. “My world fell apart. I lost it all: my career, my identity, my passion, my dreams,” she says softly. “When something like that happens, you lose yourself. The only way you can go on is, you have to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and work through the tears. You have to reinvent yourself.” And that she did: She went back to school and earned a master’s in clinical psychology; she bought and sold a GNC franchise; she got married and divorced (twice); she moved to Portugal and worked as a tile laborer; she renovated six homes, two of which she then rented out through Live Like a Local, her hospitality business; and she established the family-focused entertainment firm, Susi B. Marketing. And then she was an award-winning author. She’d created a character named Angie the Ant, who became not only the official mascot for Prevent Child Abuse America, but also the star character in Beatty’s book Angie the Ant and the Bumblebee Tree – which Creative Child magazine named as its Creative Toy Awards 2008 Book of the Year in Family Values – and, later, in her junior novel, The Curse of the Seedling, the Creative Child 2010 Book of the Year. “I’d always loved writing, and I was so happy to be doing it for something good,” says Beatty, explaining that half of the proceeds from the book sales go

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to protecting children from abuse. “The awards were secondary to giving back.” Not that Beatty doesn’t like victory. She loves it, actually. She’ll do what it takes to win, and she won’t quit until she does. She withstood years of injuries from Wado Ruh karate before she won the international conference in Tokyo for the U.S. Karate Federation women’s team and finally quit the sport. Fortunately, she didn’t have to stick to bodybuilding nearly as long. “I decided on July 4, 2012, I wanted to do bodybuilding, and so I did what I had to do to compete to win,” says Beatty, who won the heavyweight division at the Excalibur competition at the College’s Sottile Theatre just one month later and the overall bodybuilding title at the Jen Hendershott Classic that November. “I did what I came to do, and then I moved on.” That drive, that spirit of determination: That’s what Beatty hangs her hat on, time and time again. And that’s what she admires in others, too. “I’ve always been a frustrated athlete – and I appreciate people who come out fighting to win,” says Beatty, who is on the Board of Governors for the College’s School of Business and who established the Big Cat Scholarship to support

Cougars student-athletes maintaining a 2.5 GPA or higher. “I wanted to combine my parents’ philanthropic emphasis on education and my passion for athleticism into a scholarship that invests in our student-athletes’ futures. One day, all athletes have to reinvent their careers, and that’s a lot easier to do when you have an education to fall back on. You have to be thinking about what you’re going to do next.” As the executor of her late father’s estate, Beatty has been getting a lot of practice at investing in the future: Expanding the trust’s philanthropic reserves is one of her main responsibilities these days – that, and overseeing the Beatty Companies’ operations, brand and vision. “I’m a leader. I have ideas. I’m rebranding and marketing to families and to the influence of technology in today’s world,” she says, explaining that she envisions her family’s shopping centers as outdoor, family-friendly gathering spots. “When I’m done with that, I’ll reinvent myself again. Who knows what I’ll become! It could be anything!” Whatever the hat she puts on next, one thing is for sure: Susi Beatty will wear it well.

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Filling the Gap

MALCOLM KATES ’16 HAS ALWAYS BEEN able to see the big picture. That’s why, upon graduating from the College, he knew that taking a “gap year” would be the best thing in the long run. It wasn’t until Kates received a National Institutes of Health Postbac Intramural Research Training Award to study genetically inherited muscular disorders at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, however, that his parents got on board with the idea. “They’re really excited now,” says Kates, who double majored in biology and international studies and plans to attend medical school next year. “And I’m more excited about what I want to do now, too.” As an undergraduate, Kates worked in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical



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University of South Carolina, where he studied alcohol dependence in mice for two years. He’s getting an entirely different perspective in the at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “At MUSC, I worked in more of a bench science lab, but, being at the NIH, I get to work with patients, too,” explains Kates. “I get to see the translation between research and application. You definitely get more appreciation for the who and the why behind what you’re doing.” He’s especially enjoyed seeing how the different parts of the lab work together. “Being in an NIH lab is amazing because there are so many different people in there, and everyone has their own experiments going on. Everyone is doing their own thing, but it’s all for

the same purpose, so it’s this incredibly collaborative atmosphere,” says Kates, a McLeod-Frampton Scholar, who also was a William Aiken Fellow and International Scholar in the Honors College. “It’s an opportunity to see how all the research fits together. It just adds to the big picture.” Kates credits the College with providing the perfect canvas for that picture. “In the liberal arts and sciences environment, you get a ton of experience in all different areas – not just the sciences – and that helped me look at science from the perspective of why and how,” says Kates. “It taught me about how science is influenced by healthcare policy, business and politics. But I think that’s also what kept me excited. That variety is what prevented me from getting too burned out.” Kates thrived on a variety of extracurricular activities at the College, too: He served as an Honors ambassador, captain of the tennis team and an executive board member of Charleston 40, the school’s official student-led tour organization. “I couldn’t have been that involved without my scholarships,” says Kates, who – as one of the 11 graduates of the Swanson Scholars Program’s inaugural class – is grateful for all the support Steve ’89 and Emily Molony Swanson ’89 showed him and his classmates during their four years at the College. “Steve and Emily are more than donors. They really cared about our education and tried to be a real part of that. They were always there, without fail.” The four-year Swanson Scholars Program was established to bring the most academically gifted students to the Honors College. “When the best and brightest go into a program like the Honors College, all boats float higher,” says Steve Swanson. “The students are more engaged, the professors who teach them are more challenged, the whole College improves. And when that happens, it is good for the entire Charleston community. When you have these kinds of students in your population, everyone wins.” And, as Kates can attest, it’s all about the big picture.

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Statement Pieces THERE’S MORE TO GOOD ART THAN MEETS the eye. What we hear about the work, and what we feel compelled to say ourselves, is an equally vital part of the visual art experience. What’s more, it is this dialogue that can strengthen and even transform the community around us. Here’s a vivid example: In 2014, the College’s Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art invited street artist Shepard Fairey to animate Charleston’s cityscape. He boldly did so with outsized, red-and-gold murals emblazoned with words like “power” and “glory.” Today, passersby are still spotted taking them in and discussing their meaning. Art can break down the walls we build around ourselves on a city street, as we muse, point, shrug and nod with strangers passing by. That the Fairey show continues to ignite conversations is no happy accident. After all, the exchange that is sparked by contemporary art is part of the Halsey’s guiding mission. “The Halsey focuses

on creating meaningful interactions between adventurous artists and diverse communities,” says Mark Sloan, the Halsey’s director and chief curator. “It’s a key component of our curatorial and programmatic approach.” Art as social connectors also resonates with Deborah Chalsty, a lifelong collector who was so moved by the Halsey’s mission that she stepped forward to pledge $1 million in support. Given in honor of her mother, Jennifer A. Chalsty, the endowment will strengthen the Halsey’s role as a vital cultural resource for the College’s students as well as help to further the institute as a cultural hub in the city and beyond. It will also support the documentation of exhibitions, the Looking to See program for K-12 students, and the artist-in-residence program. This fall, the College will honor Chalsty’s generosity with the dedication of the newly named Deborah A. Chalsty Gallery. Chalsty sees her support of the Halsey as an extension of what she has been

doing her entire adult life: supporting contemporary art. Contributing to the Halsey allows her to do so on a much wider scale. “I have been collecting my friends’ art since I can remember,” notes Chalsty. “It’s almost like having a conversation with them every day.” She’s particularly inspired by artists previously underrepresented in the art world. “I think of art as a language that simply has a different vocabulary, grammar and syntax than that which we are used to, and that’s, in part, what makes it so interesting,” says Chalsty. “There’s an ambiguity in that language that allows us to insert our own unconscious and fantasies. To my mind, that’s what makes art so dynamic long after their creation.” We have all heard the virtues of the art of conversation. Now, thanks to the considerate philanthropy of Deborah Chalsty to the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, we can all gain a deeper appreciation of the conversation of art.

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CLASS NOTES 1958 Yvonne duFort Evans was elected

assistant secretary to the Charleston Citywide Local Development Corporation Board of Directors. Yvonne is also a past president of the College’s Alumni Association.

1966 Sarah Lynn Gainey is the president of the employee assistance program, SAVE Incorporated, based in Charleston. Sarah has been with the company since 1982. She is also a past president of the College’s Alumni Association.

1967 Johnny Warren is a partner at the

law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in Charleston. He practices in the area of real estate development and corporate transactions.

editor of the Charleston Mercury and is also a columnist for the paper. Larry Gale won three ribbons in the professional photography division of the juried art show at the North Charleston Arts Festival.

1979 Elizabeth Colbert-Busch was

1975 Jim O’Hern was elected to a four-

1976 Glen Brown is the vice chair of the

vice president and general manager for Southern Wine & Spirits of America’s South Carolina division. Nita Sims Vaughan has retired from Dominion Virginia Power after 34 years and lives in Richmond, Va.

of the College’s Alumni Association. He is the president of Miler Properties in Summerville, S.C. He and his wife, Julie, have four children, three of whom are recent CofC graduates. Sherwood also serves on the College’s Foundation Board. Randell Stoney was recognized by South Carolina Super Lawyers as a top-rated civil litigation attorney. Randell is an attorney with Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms in Charleston. year term to serve as a district judge in Fort Smith, Ark., and will take office in January 2017. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith and the faculty advisor for the Iota Mu chapter of Pi Kappa Phi. College’s Foundation Board of Directors. Glen retired from Santee Cooper as vice president of human resources and is also a past president of the College’s Alumni Association.

1977 Carol Ann Hickman Bailey is

an associate professor of sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech and has been conferred the title of “associate professor emerita” by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. Carol Ann has been at Virginia Tech since 1987 and served as a member of the university’s Academy of Teaching Excellence since 1992. She has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards during her tenure at Virginia Tech. Creighton Evans is the priest and rector at All Souls Anglican/Episcopal Church in Okinawa, Japan. Jeff Kinard is the chair of the College’s Foundation Board of Directors. He is the owner of Jeffery E. Kinard, CPA, PA on Pawleys Island, S.C., and is a past president of the College’s Alumni Association. Laura Jenkins Thompson is the 2016 recipient of the DAR American Heritage Award for Embroidery. SAGA (Smocking Arts Guild of America), an international association dedicated to the preservation of fiber arts, has named an award in her honor: the “Laura


1978 David Farrow is the managing

honored by the Center for Women at their Be Brave Brunch in Charleston. Elizabeth was part of a three-person panel discussion focusing on issues facing women in South Carolina and across the nation. She is the director of business development for Clemson University’s Restoration Institute and is a member of the College’s Alumni Association Board of Directors. Kim Moorer McDermott began her career as an English teacher at Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant in the 1980s, and she retired 25 years later after teaching seventh-grade honors English at Moultrie Middle School. In August 2015, she turned her hand to writing and published her first suspense romance, Hiding (The Wild Rose Press).

1974 Sherwood Miler is the president


Jenkins Thompson Embroidery Award,” which is given annually to a recipient whose work exemplifies excellence in execution and creativity in design and color. Laura is the art director at Mason Preparatory School in Charleston.

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1980 Steve Baker is the executive

1983 Scott Barnhill is a real estate

broker associate at Keller Williams Realty in Savannah, Ga., for a 440-home neighborhood on Hutchinson Island and at Sea Breeze Real Estate on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Sylleste Helms Davis was certified as the winner of S.C. House Seat 100, which stretches from Summerville to Moncks Corner. Sylleste is a member of the College’s Alumni Association Board of Directors and recently retired from Santee Cooper as supervisor of data services. Gretchen Shay Saussy is the business development manager at Sigmon Construction and Design in Raleigh, N.C.

1984 Carol Stiff Hubbard was elected

to be the vice president of the Charleston Citywide Local Development Corporation Board of Directors. Carol is a partner at Hubbard Davis CPAs in Mt. Pleasant. Sharon Weeks Sellers was named the S.C. Human Resources Professional of the Year. She is the president of Charleston-based SLS Consulting. John Tiller was inducted into the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, a professional association for attorney mediators and arbitrators. He is an attorney in the Charleston office of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.

1985 Cathy Smith Almquist earned her

Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. Stephanie Irick Boehm is the advertising sales representative for Charleston Coffee News. John Busch is the founder of Blue Heron International, a management consulting firm based in South Carolina. John serves on the College’s Board of Trustees. Jack Herndon retired in August 2014 from Pensacola State College in Florida and returned to his hometown of Charleston in May 2015. Bill Morton has worked and lived in New York City since 2001. Bill manages the board affairs for the Nature Conservancy’s 24-member New York State Board of Trustees as well as serves on the Nature Conservancy’s New York executive leadership team. Nadine Orsoff Vogel and her husband, Doug, hosted a reception for CofC accepted students at their home in New Jersey in March along with their daughters, Gretchen and Rachel. Nadine is the founder and president of Springboard Consulting.

1986 Lea Crandall and Dean Carter

were married in December 2015. Lea is the CEO of Crandall Carter Center for Peace, a working farm and residence for veterans in Asheville, N.C. Mike and Jen Clark Finch ’87 live in northeast Columbia and celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last fall. They have three children: Trey, Riley (a junior at the College) and Clark. Mike is a senior partner with Sandhills Pediatrics in Columbia and serves as secretary of the Board of Trustees of the South Carolina Medical Association. Ginger Dillard Selby is a member of the Cougar Club Board. Ginger works for J. Henry Stuhr in Charleston. Eleanor Barefoot Smythe is a sales associate with Lois Lane Properties in Charleston. Kent Wallace-Meggs is the chief philanthropy officer of the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Symphony. She is responsible for securing revenues required to support institutional operating requirements and is a member of the symphony’s executive leadership team, working closely with the board of directors and supervising fundraising staff.

1987 Jen Clark Finch (see Mike Finch ’86) Maura Hogan is a culture and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Gourmet and Garden & Gun, among other publications. Maura is the director of advancement communications at the College. She received her master’s in creative writing at Trinity College Dublin. Caroline Lesesne is a senior vice president and private banker for FineMark National Bank & Trust and is assisting the company in opening a bank in Charleston. Malcolm McDonald is a global procurement manager for IBM in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Malcolm leads the WW Procurement activities for the Storwize Storage line of hardware products.


[ alumni profile ]

| Photo by Sara Davis ’05 |

World Wise

GROWING UP AS THE YOUNGEST OF FOUR siblings – and the only girl – Rebecca Staunton ’95 knows something about successfully challenging the status quo. From an early age, she was a focused type of person who set goals and went after them. When her mother died in a car crash in 1989, Staunton, who was a freshman and full scholarship recipient, left West Virginia University heartbroken and dismayed. “After the sudden loss of my mom, it was difficult to focus on academics,” she recalls. “I had to grow up very quickly.” During what Staunton refers to as “her personal dark ages,” she turned her grief into a call for action. She embarked on a nontraditional journey of living her life to its fullest potential. Today, 21 years after she graduated from the College, the business administration major has trail-blazed in the world of corporate business, building her own company as the founder and CEO of Program Management Professionals LLC (PMP), a certified Women-Owned Minority Business Enterprise. Carving a successful career for herself in program management, Staunton has worked for global financial services and investment banking, technology, telecommunications and risk management

corporations as well as nonprofit and healthcare organizations. Founded in 2008, PMP is a boutique management-consulting firm offering a range of services, including strategy creation (based on unique industry analysis), process management, performance improvement and rescue of delayed or failing initiatives. Early in her career, Staunton surmised the requirements to remain relevant in a dynamic and increasingly complex global business environment. She ran her company full time while simultaneously earning her master’s in technology management from Mercer University, project management certification, scrum master certification and, most recently, her doctorate of business administration from Georgia State University. But, according to Staunton, it was her years at the College that laid the foundation for a successful career in business. She landed in Charleston in 1992 after doing a two-year assignment as a foreign services officer at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. Her passion for geography, diversity and business ignited her interest in international business and, after much research, she decided to resume her undergraduate studies. “There’s a lot to think about as an undergraduate in terms of where you want your future to go,” Staunton says.

“The College’s School of Business helped to frame that for me, structuring my focus on international business.” She still recalls her mentorship by former dean Howard Rudd Jr., to whom she says, “I will be ever grateful for his teaching me to realize that we are world citizens and that the soft skills of business are as equally important as hard skills.” The driving force behind her motivation, though, has always been her Christian faith and the example set by her parents: “I credit my parents for whom I’ve become and what I have accomplished thus far.” This summer, Staunton embarked on her next endeavor as principal program manager responsible for the end-toend delivery of all technology aspects for Kaiser Permanente’s new school of medicine in Pasadena, Calif. She plans to continue operating PMP on a strategically limited basis. Having previously served clients in the nonprofit and healthcare industries, Staunton says she “humbly accepted the opportunity to be part of the new school of medicine,” which aims to afford more opportunity within the community and has an impactful emphasis on diversity and inclusion, wellness, resilience and prevention. “To be a part of that, that’s a piece of history, and I’m all in.” It’s that sense of history and of those that came before her that continues to give Staunton strength as she successfully maneuvers as a world citizen through the status quo of global business. “Sometimes I was the only representation of diversity in the board room,” she says. “In my earlier days, there were times I was scared to death, and my voice would crack, but I made it through. You focus on what’s in front of you if you want to go to the next level, which is a major decision in everyone’s life. Choose wisely, as sometimes opportunities do not rinse and repeat.” There’s no question that Staunton has pushed herself to the next level, focused on paving a way for the next generation that follows. And there’s nothing status quo about that. – Amanda Kerr

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Angie Pitts is retiring after 28 years of teaching special education in the Charleston County School District. She is a culinary talent manager for the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. Christine Gantt Sorenson is a trial lawyer at Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A., concentrating in employment defense litigation. She is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and South Carolina Super Lawyers for employment and labor law, and was named to Greenville Business Magazine’s Legal Elite of the Upstate for labor and employment law. Her daughter, Addie Hoffman, is a student at the College.

1989 Paige Reese Whitaker was elected to serve on the Board of Governors of the 48,000-member State Bar of Georgia. Paige is a deputy district attorney for appeals with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. She received her J.D. from Duke University School of Law.

1990 Tradd Newton is the 2016 recipient

of the Philanthropy Leadership Community Award from the National Children’s Alliance. He was chosen for his long-term volunteer service to the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center. Keith Sauls is the secretary of the College’s Foundation Board. Keith is the managing partner of AppleGold Partners in Mt. Pleasant. Bea Walters Smith is the director of development and foundation scholarships at USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C.

1991 Dana Dyer Baker is the global

account manager at Conference Direct, a company that provides professional event management and meeting planning services. Tracy Simmons Clifford is the president of Tracy Clifford LLC, a Mt. Pleasant–based company providing accounting, financial and strategic planning services to small and mid-size companies. Beverly Fludd (M.A.T. ’94) is an eighth-grade history and math teacher with Prince William County Public Schools in Woodbridge, Va. Edward Hill is the managing director at RentWNC, a property management company in Hendersonville, N.C. Flint Weiss is a senior manager of software development at Amazon in Seattle. Flint and his teams manage digital royalties and accounting for all of the Amazon digital businesses.

1992 Johnnie Baxley is vice president

of the College’s Alumni Association and is a member of the Cougar Club Board. Johnnie is an attorney and partner with Willson, Jones, Carter & Baxley. He and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters and live in Mt. Pleasant. June Warren Fleming is a property manager at Colliers International in Charleston. John Rutenberg is a regional vice president with TD Bank. He and his family live in Myrtle Beach. Leslie Wilson is the field services coordinator at The Budd Group in Greenville, S.C. The facilities services company provides janitorial, maintenance and landscaping services throughout the Southeast.

1993 Eric Cox is a member of the

College’s Foundation Board of Directors. Eric is president of Atlantic Coast Advisory Group in Mt. Pleasant. Yvette Porcelli Grist is a new home consultant at K. Hovnanian Homes in Summerville, S.C. |


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JJ Lamberson serves on the College’s Foundation Board as the Cougar Club Board representative. JJ is president of Twin Rivers Capital in Charleston. Forest Mahan is the fifth president of Aiken Technical College in Aiken, S.C. Before that, he was the vice president for academic affairs and student services at Northeastern Technical College in Cheraw, S.C. Will Sherrod is a member of the Cougar Club Board. Will is a principal and Realtor with Lee & Associates in Charleston. Tripp Smith is the enterprise account executive of sales solutions at LinkedIn in San Francisco. Susan West Story lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with her husband, Jimmy, and her son, Mac. Susan is a contract specialist teleworking for the State Department’s Africa and Middle East Office of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. David and Angel Brown Touwsma announce the birth of their third child, Brown Touwsma, born in April. Angel is a vice president on the College’s Alumni Association Board of Directors and is the marketing director for Starwood and W Hotels in Atlanta. Tim Whisenand is a teacher in Myitkyina, Myanmar.

1994 Amanda Donnelly Callander is

an attorney at Clawson and Staubes and is president-elect of the Rotary Club of St. Andrews – Charleston. Amanda attended the 107th annual Rotary International Convention in Seoul, South Korea. Vinnie Cerchione just completed 18 years with the U.S. Army and was promoted to major in August. He is also a graduate student pursuing his master’s in organizational management. Kellie Roe Kenny is an enterprise account executive at in New York City. Kathy Olmstead Richardson is the temporary District 4 representative for the Horry County (S.C.) Board of Education. Kathy is the executive assistant to the CEO of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce. Danny Rowe is the senior vice president of home market sales for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated in Charlotte.

1995 Chris Day is a faculty member at

the College and an expert on African politics. He delivered the World Affairs Council of Charleston’s final talk of the season, discussing “The Conflicts of Africa: New Forms, New Issues, New Worries for the United States.” Chris received his master’s from Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Devin Heller is the principal consultant of Heller Family Investments in Tulsa, Okla. Chris LaMar is a mission planning support engineer at Fort Carson, Colo., supporting the 10th Special Forces Group. Previously, he was at the Charleston Air Force Base for 12 years supporting the C-17. Kristy Clark Lopez is a CPA and tax senior with Larry Powers, CPA in Mooresville, N.C. Kylon Middleton had the honor of introducing Jennifer Pinckney, widow of the late Rev. Clementa Pinckney of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church, at The Center for Women’s Be Brave Brunch in Charleston. Kylon is the pastor of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church. Dorothy Porcher-Holland is a vacation specialist for all Disney destinations at Ears of Experience, a personal vacation planning company based in Charleston.

Michael Renault is the president-elect of the College’s Alumni Association. Michael is a commercial area executive with First Citizens Bank in Charleston. He and his wife, Courtney, have two sons. Allison Burke Thompson is the vice president of the College’s Alumni Association. Allison is an attorney with Mullen Wylie in Charleston. She was named the collegiate province director for Alpha Delta Pi. She and her husband, Trey, live in Mt. Pleasant with their two children, Burke and Ann.

1996 Diane Borella is the director of

human resources at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated in Charlotte. Elin Cate is an associate director of clinical development at Samumed, a biotechnology company in San Diego. Tina Cundari was named a 2016 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year by the South Carolina Bar. This award is presented annually and recognizes lawyers who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. Tina is a member of the Columbia law firm Sowell Gray Stepp & Laffitte. She is also a member of the College’s Foundation Board. Debbie Wittkopf Petitpain is a dietitian at the Medical University of South Carolina and has been recognized by Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation as one of their Heroes of Everyday Life. Omar and Cheryl Grant Smith announce the birth of their second child, Chase, born in April. Cheryl is a pediatrician and owns Rice Planter Pediatrics in Walterboro, S.C. Cator Sparks (see Paul Saylors ’11) Laura Murray Tobin is the general manager for the Denver environment office of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global engineering and professional services firm.

1997 Brett Bluestein (see Bess

Brockington Bluestein ’02) Jessica Gonzales Gibadlo is a member of the College’s Foundation Board of Directors. Jessica is an adjunct faculty member in the College’s School of Business. Robin Hill-Davidson is the principal for Greendale Elementary School in New Ellenton, S.C. Robin has a master’s degree with an emphasis in special education from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif., a degree in administration from Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and an educational specialist degree from Cambridge College in Cambridge, Mass.

1998 Steve Hunt was inducted into the

College’s Athletic Hall of Fame in January. Steve was a sailor at the College and lives in San Diego, where he coaches the Point Loma High School sailing team. The team won second place in the ISSA High School Doublehanded Championship, hosted by the College at Patriots Point. John Mims is the vice president of corporate development at Echo Global Logistics, a provider of technology-enabled transportation and supply chain management services. Jamie Tuttle is the guidance director at Mason Preparatory School in Charleston. Jamie earned his master’s in school counseling from the University of Georgia.

1999 Jenny Long Auld is a sales executive at Hampton Lake Realty in Bluffton, S.C. Kelly and John Douglass announce the birth of their second son, James January Joseph, born in April. John, a commercial underwriter for


[ alumni profile ]

BRIAN PLEXICO ’95, A FORMER COUGARS slugger, endured some heartbreaking strikeouts before hitting a home run in his career search: scoring his dream job with Major League Baseball. As director of baseball systems for the Tampa Bay Rays, Plexico manages a team of programmers who write and maintain computer code that is the backbone of the organization’s decision-making apparatus. In today’s world of analyticsdriven sports, this is how teams are made. Statistics, scouting profiles and analytics on thousands of baseball players – from amateur prospects to international players to pros on the team’s roster – are loaded into the software. The analysis it churns out can be the difference between a club that makes a run at the World Series and one that stinks up the ballpark. And while programming skills are key, it also helps if, as Plexico does, you love the game. His passion for baseball began as a boy playing tee-ball and grew as he matured into a standout first baseman for Summerville High School in Summerville, S.C. He fielded offers from several Southeastern schools before settling on The Citadel. But just three days into his Knob year, his asthma flared up, and Plexico realized his lungs weren’t equipped for the rigors of military school. After some frantic phone calls and a hatin-hand visit to the College of Charleston admissions office, Plexico secured a lastminute slot at CofC in the fall of 1991. As a bonus, he walked on to the baseball team. But there would be no rise to sports glory. After redshirting his freshman year, a shoulder injury kept Plexico off the field for his sophomore season. As a junior, he made the difficult decision to hang up his cleats. “I started looking past college and figured the books were going to get me further than baseball,” he says. A physical education major, Plexico began working with the College’s athletic trainers, supporting women’s soccer and volleyball. He was also selected for a prestigious sports medicine internship with the South Carolina Stingrays professional hockey team. A future career behind the scenes in sports began to come into focus. But those plans stalled when Plexico, after graduating with honors in 1995, was wait-listed for a spot

| Photo by James Borchuck |

Field of His Dreams

in a physical therapy graduate program. At the time, he was engaged to be married, and waiting around to see if he was accepted didn’t make sense. So, he and his fiancé moved to Atlanta. Plexico hated his first job as a manager at a rental car company. His wife, meanwhile, found work with a company that organized Microsoft Certification courses. Plexico began reading some of the course books she brought home, ultimately teaching himself enough to become a certified network engineer. Over the next few years, he bounced between consulting jobs before eventually moving back to Summerville, doing programming for a real estate company and a defense contractor. But he knew he hadn’t found his dream job. One night in 2006, Plexico dozed off while watching tennis on TV. The next morning, he went online to see who had won. Clicking on a banner ad that caught his eye, he landed on a job posting portal

for pro sports. He selected his skills and up popped an opening for a programmer with the Tampa Bay Rays, then called the Devil Rays. Plexico started as the team’s lone programmer, rising to oversee a group of four coders. He’s celebrated the team’s trip to the World Series in 2008, an American League East Championship in 2010 and trips to the playoffs in 2011 and 2013. He’s met some of his baseball idols, including Nolan Ryan, and now counts among his friends several professional baseball players. And it’s pretty easy to get tickets to take his three daughters to Rays’ home games. “For a kid who grew up a huge baseball fan to get to live this on a daily basis is unbelievable,” he says. “I figured the last time I put on a uniform for the College of Charleston that would be the end of baseball for me other than watching as a fan. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m one of the luckiest guys ever.” – Ron Menchaca ’98

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First Citizens Bank, is the president of the Lowcountry alumni chapter and a member of the Cougar Club Board.

2000 Jeremy Anderson (see Rebecca

Laney Anderson ’01) Matt Cassidy is a a grinder and trimmer on the Oracle Team USA and is also a boat captain, acting as a liaison between the sailing team and shore team. Chris and Courtney Blandford Challoner announce the birth of their daughter, Campbell Madeline, born in May. The Challoner family lives in Norfolk, Va. Jody Lumpkin (M.S. ’01) was inducted into the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame in January. Jody played basketball for the Cougars and is now chair of the math department at Hammond School in Columbia. Eric ’01 and Courtney Sorge McColloch announce the birth of their third son, Jude McColloch, born in January. The McColloch family lives in Peachtree City, Ga. Christi Roe Nam is the convention and meetings manager at Ecological Society of America in Washington, D.C. Karen Schandler is a biologist at the National Institute of Health in Rockville, Md. Lori Sutton-Randolph is a relocation specialist and Realtor at Costello Real Estate & Investments in Charlotte. Jessica Chenault Whitehead is a coastal hazards adaptation specialist at the North Carolina Sea Grant Program. She is a member of the federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

2001 Jeremy ’00 and Rebecca Laney announce the birth of their second

Anderson daughter, Sydney Powell, born in May. Rebecca is an attorney and a hearing officer for the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Jeremy is an optometrist at Spartanburg Vision. Amanda Bunting Comen is the chair of the College’s Women’s and Gender Studies Community Advisory Board. Lindsey Craft is the general manager at Lola, a restaurant, bar and catering company located in North Charleston’s Park Circle business district. Townsend Davidson is a Charleston artist whose paintings investigate the humorous intersection of the natural and artificial within the theater of daily life. Aaron Hite is an advertising sales executive at Google, where he advises business technology brands on their digital advertising strategies. Aaron also serves on the College’s Department of Communication Advisory Board and holds a master’s in mass communication from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He and his wife, Sarah, have two children: Emmett (3) and Rose, born in February. The Hite family lives in Cambridge, Mass. NaKeisha Jones-Helton is the dean of students and families at Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., where she has worked for 12 years. Jay Karen is the chief executive officer of the National Golf Course Owners Association. Amy Kiling Kuenzel is the training administrator for the Chalmers Center, a research and educational institute based in Lookout Mountain, Ga., that trains workers in churchcentered ministries to promote economic development and spiritual transformation in the context of poor communities.



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Eric McColloch (see Courtney Sorge McColloch ’00) Sarah Morgan is the director of human resources for Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Richard Pierce is the vice president and branch manager of BNC Bank in Charleston. He was awarded chapter advisor of the year for Pi Kappa Phi at their national convention. David Regan is a senior fleet management consultant for Fleetmatics in Charlotte and achieved the President’s Club in 2015 (top 1% of all representatives globally).

2002 Bess Brockington Bluestein is

the school psychologist for Fort Dorchester High School in Dorchester District 2. She lives on Sullivan’s Island with her husband, Brett Bluestein ’97, and their two children, Libby and Jack. Kyle Comen has relocated and changed the name of his business to South Side Bait and Tackle in Charleston. Lori Crawford is a regulatory risk senior advisor with KPMG and lives in Lithia Springs, Ga. Christine Wright Fournier is the account executive at Joselove-Filson Advertising in Savannah, Ga. David Santos is a shareholder at McNair Law Firm’s Charleston office. He advises individuals and entities in various aspects of real estate transactions, both commercial and residential. Bob Snead is a recipient of the Award of Achievement from the College’s School of the Arts. Bob received his M.F.A. from Yale and was a co-founder of Redux Contemporary Art Studio in Charleston. He works with the School of Visual Art at Loyola University in New Orleans.

2003 Bradley Banias was selected by

South Carolina Super Lawyers to the 2016 Rising Stars and Top Rated Immigration Attorney lists. Bradley is an attorney with the Charleston law firm Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms. Jeffrey Bogdan was recognized by South Carolina Super Lawyers as a top-rated business litigation attorney. Jeff lives in Charleston and is an attorney with Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms. Alexey Bogomolov is the data and analytics team lead at Oceanside Ten Management Team and lives in Ponte Vedra, Fla. Raymond Burroughs is special counsel in the banking and business litigation, commercial transactions and real estate and tax, estate planning and probate practice groups for Young Clement and Rivers. Raymond earned an L.L.M. in tax law from NYU Law and a master’s in accounting. He is a certified fraud examiner, past president, vice president, secretary and treasurer of the Charleston Tax Council, a council member of the Tax Section of the South Carolina Bar Association and a member of the Charleston Tax Roundtable. Zachary Dennis is the general manager of High Cotton restaurant (part of the Halls Management Group) in Charleston. Jackson Ewing is the director of Asian sustainability at the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York, where he leads projects on environmental cooperation, responsible resource development and international climate change policy. Jay Jordan is an attorney and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives, representing District 63 (Florence County). Samuel and Alison LeMaster Langridge announce the birth of their daughter, Winifred “Winnie” Gates, born in April. The Langridge family lives in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.

Nathan and Katie Linder McCrillis have three sons, Scott, Jonah and Atticus, and live in Port Aransas, Texas. Ross Miller is a member of the Cougar Club Board. Ross is an attorney and partner with Miller/Conway in Goose Creek, S.C. Jeremiah Pope (see Angie Logan-Pope ’05) Mary Shields is a senior associate at McCay, Kiddy & Associates in Mt. Pleasant and has received passing grades on all parts of the CPA exam. Danielle Huebbers Sreenivasan is the director and performance partner at Premier Inc. and lives in Huntington Beach, Calif. Ryan and Ann Ward Treat ’04 announce the birth of their second child, James Parker, born in August. Ryan is the brand manager of the psychology discipline for McGraw-Hill Education, overseeing the strategic vision and the acquisition, development and launch of digital and print products. Ann is the owner of Charleston Hats.

2004 Brandon Cochran is a major gifts

officer at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. Bob Flynn is a member of the College’s Alumni Association Board of Directors. Bob is also the vice president of the Raleigh/Durham alumni chapter. He and his wife, Jackie, live in Holly Springs, N.C., where Bob is a virtual sales account manager for Cisco Systems. James Freeman is a cyber-threat analyst at TEKsystems, a company that provides IT staffing, talent management and services in Baltimore, Md. Matt Gaylord is the commercial property manager at Lee & Associates in its Charleston office. Evan Linder is a recipient of the 2016 Award of Achievement from the College’s School of the Arts. Evan is a co-founder of New Colony Theatre in Chicago, where he works as a playwright, actor and director. His latest play, Byhalia, Mississippi, has garnered very favorable reviews. Curt Martin is a partner at the Charleston law firm Anderson Reynolds & Stephens. Curt represents clients in construction, commercial and personal injury litigation. Liz Mester is the director of communications and engagement at WINGS for Kids in Charleston. Tristan Mouligne competed for the third time in the Atlantic Cup this spring. The Atlantic Cup is the longest offshore race in the Western Atlantic and is also the United States’ only short-handed offshore race dedicated to the Class 40. Tristan is a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley in Boston. Ann Ward Treat (see Ryan Treat ’03)

2005 Johnathan Brown earned a

master’s in writing and consciousness from the New College of California and is completing his M.F.A. at the University of New Orleans. In 2013, he earned the John Woods Scholarship to study in Prague. His poems have been published in the Worcester Review, Wordplaysound, The Nashville Review and Indiefeed: Performance Poetry. He won the 2010 and 2012 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival Poetry Slam in New Orleans. He’s a nine-time finalist at the LEAF Poetry Slam and the 2006 Bay Area Slam Champion. He has been a member of five National Poetry Slam Teams. He taught high school for eight years, two of those in Charleston. Last May, he quit his job in order to chase his dream of making a living as a touring artist. Now, he makes rap music, plays shows and rides a tricycle for a living.


IN ANY EVENT Everyone knows how you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. But for those not wishing to bask in the stage’s famed limelight, there are other ways. Just ask Ginger Vallen ’05, director of special events. Well, actually, it does take practice – just practice by another name: internships. As an arts management major, Vallen took advantage of several internship opportunities, starting with Charleston’s Theatre 99, Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto Festival. “I was able to leverage those experiences into subsequent internships in NYC,” says Vallen, “including an internship with MTV, where I helped to produce the 2004 Video Music Awards.” After working in event planning for the Roundabout Theater Company, one of Broadway’s premier theaters, Vallen joined Carnegie Hall’s special events team in 2007, where, over the years, she has worked with the likes of James Taylor, Bill Clinton, Oscar de la Renta, Sting and Elton John. But don’t be fooled by the red-carpet names; it’s not all glitz and glamour, as Vallen explains: “We plan over 50 events a year – ranging from donor membership events to formal galas – three of which are major fundraisers that raise anywhere between $2 million to $5 million each. The job requires that you stay focused under stress, and can handle multiple responsibilities in a concise and organized manner under a great deal of time pressure. On the night of an event, nothing happens in exactly the way that you planned it, but it’s your job to make sure that your guests participate in a flawless event worthy of their donation, and that any ‘glitches’ that come up are handled quickly and smoothly.” In other words, practice makes perfect.

Amy Caffee lives in Charleston and is the project manager at Thinkmojo, a company that helps businesses demonstrate their value with video content. Will Costigan is the director of income tax for Fairpoint Communications in Charlotte. Nicholas Glover is the vice president of business development at Working Solutions. Nicholas lives in Tampa, Fla., with his wife, Caitlin, and their son, Aiden. Andrew Jaffee is a certified financial planner with Northwestern Mutual in Charleston. Frank Kenan is a member of the Cougar Club Board. Frank is the owner of KD Capital Management in Charleston. Angie Logan-Pope and Jeremiah Pope ’03 announce the birth of their son, Logan Bryan, born in October 2015. They live in Silver Spring, Md. Daniel and Rachel Martin O’Harra ’09 announce the birth of a daughter, Reese Catherine, born in October 2015. Daniel is an IT project manager at The Boeing Company, and Rachel is a marketing manager for Aetna. The O’Harra family lives in Mt. Pleasant. Matthew and Jennifer Barbarino Reagin announce the birth of their second child, Harlow Shay, born in April. Graham Smith is a sales associate for Carolina One Real Estate Services Company in Mt. Pleasant. Megan Stevens (M.A.T.) is an associate attorney with Buxton & Collie. Her practice focuses on commercial real estate, corporate and transactional matters. Channell Webster is a community relations representative at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Columbia.

2006 Brittany Boykin was named a Rising Star by South Carolina Super Lawyers. Brittany is an attorney with the law firm Turner Padget in Charleston. Andrew Cash is an attorney with the Lawton Law Firm in Mt. Pleasant. Andrew earned his J.D. from the Charleston School of Law. Laura Melonas Dargan is a painter who works with different media on wood, canvas and handmade paper. Her artwork was on display at The Real Estate Studio, the downtown Charleston office of Dunes Properties. She is the owner of Laura Dargan Art in Mt. Pleasant. Kimberly LaZar Garmany is a senior accountant in the Charleston office of Moore Beauston & Woodham. She passed the EA Exam, earning her credentials as an enrolled agent, which authorizes her to represent taxpayers before the IRS in all 50 states. Kimberly has been with the firm’s tax and business consulting practice since 2003, specializing in individual and business taxation, cost segregation studies, payroll and bookkeeping services. Rachel Gordon is a designer behind the fashion label, One Love Designs, in Charleston. Michael Honeycutt is a senior finance associate with High Tower in Chicago. Andrea Dupray Huber is a Google apps account manager at SADA Systems. Andrea lives in the Los Angeles area. Richard Hull is the account manager of higher education solutions at Blackbaud on Daniel Island, S.C. Angie Parker is a risk analyst for Facebook in Austin, Texas. Michael Pringle is an international freelance haircare specialist and works throughout North America and Southeast Asia. Stacy Adams Starling is a business intelligence manager with Blackbaud on Daniel Island, S.C. |


| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e

Saviela Edwards Thorne is a certified veterans’ service representative for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Columbia. She is also the public relations representative for Body of Christ, a Christian/gospel group, and an interviewer for Faith Filled Family Magazine.

2007 Eric and Lauren Rushing Anderson

announce the birth of a son, William Rushing, born in April. Lauren received her master’s degree from Frontier Nursing University and is a nurse midwife at Triangle Physicians for Women in Cary, N.C. Margaret Baxley is an innkeeper at Charleston’s John Rutledge House Inn. Clayton and Sarah Jenkins Byrd ’11 live in Nashville, Tenn. Clayton is the director of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Clayton earned his J.D. from the Campbell University School of Law. Sarah is a nurse practitioner specializing in women’s health. She received her nurse practitioner’s degree from Vanderbilt University and completed an accelerated program for nursing at Duke University. Johnathan Capps is a vice president of revenue at Charlestowne Hotels. Tanisia Charles is a law school recruiter for Jones Day and lives in Atlanta. She is also a leader for the College’s alumni chapter in Atlanta. Stefan Cooper is a research assistant professor in Hampton University’s Department of Engineering. He has been conducting postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland, College Park. Jordan Mann and Lauren Whiteside were married in May. Lauren is the assistant director of alumni and campus engagement at the College, and Jordan is a project manager for Telogical Systems. Randall Marshall opened his own dental practice, Berewick Family Dentistry, in Charlotte. He received his D.D.M. from MUSC. Laura Mason is an English teacher at Barna House, located in Barcelona, Spain. She is also the academic program coordinator and English teacher for BrightOn Training in Madrid. Hirona Matsuda is a Charleston artist who pieces together compositions that reflect on her life, using primarily found or salvaged objects. Her work was displayed as part of an exhibit at the Corrigan Gallery this summer entitled, “A Response to Paper Abstractions.” Jay McCutcheon is a senior commercial banker for United Community Bank in Charleston. Boo and Rachel King Moore announce the birth of their daughter, Merritt Elizabeth, born in April. The Moore family lives in Mt. Pleasant. Caitlin Norfleet is the assistant director of special events and programs at Columbia University in New York City. Randy Pease is the director of strategic marketing in the College’s Division of Marketing and Communications. Brianne Steiner is a law clerk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta. Brianne received her J.D. from the Charleston School of Law in 2010. Tyler Wyman is the food and beverage manager at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Bayern, Germany.

2008 Johnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves are the co-founders of Cocktail Bandits ’11 in Charleston. Chris Campbell was selected for the 2016 Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame. He played second base for the College from 2004 to 2007, and when he graduated, he ranked as the program’s all-time leader in games played (240), hits (355), doubles (79) and RBIs (290).

In 2007, Campbell led the nation in RBIs per game with 1.41, while his 87 RBIs in 2005 rank second all-time in Southern Conference history. When he finished in 2007, Campbell’s 290 career RBIs were tied for first in SoCon history, while his 355 career hits were tied for second in the league record books. He played on the Cougars’ first three NCAA Regional teams and was the only player in SoCon history to record two seasons of at least 100 hits. Courtney Clark is the branch manager of the Sangaree Library. After briefly moving to Virginia to earn her M.Ed. in school psychology from the College of William & Mary, Courtney returned to Charleston and received her master’s in library and information science at the University of South Carolina. Whitney Hinds Coble earned her J.D. from the University of Pittsburg and lives in Atlanta with her husband, Brett. Whitney is a corporate associate in the law firm Berman Fink Van Horn. Jessica Cox is the Americas Readiness Program manager in Apple’s operations department. Based in Austin, Texas, she oversees new product introductions throughout the Americas region (Canada to South America). Ansley Easterlin is the director of development at Reach the World, which makes the benefits of travel accessible to classrooms. Joshua Eboch is the founder of RC Partners and lives in Winchester, Va. Angela Hanyak is an agent with William Means Real Estate in Charleston. Angela earned her M.B.A. at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. Katka Lapelosa is the senior social media editor at SheKnows Media in New York City, a women’s media company with more than 79 million unique visitors per month and 292 million social media fans and followers. Alison Martin and David Grantham Jr. were married in May and live in Florence, S.C. Alison is a pharmaceutical sales representative for The Medicines Company. Ben Rosen is a senior creative strategist at Twitter in New York City. Stacey Sigmon earned her master’s in clinical and translational science from Creighton University in May. Gale Thompson earned her M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia. Her work has been published in Denver Quarterly, Los Angeles Review and Best New Poets 2012. Sunday Tuk is the director of sales for Tristan Catering and Events in Charleston. Lori Cook Tuttle is the executive director for alumni relations and annual giving at Winthrop University. Onica Washington earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Duke University and is attending medical school at MUSC.

2009 Jackie Aitken is a gender-based

violence officer at the International Medical Corps, a humanitarian aid organization that provides emergency relief to refugees and internally displaced persons following conflicts and/or natural disasters. Jackie earned her master’s in public health from George Washington University in 2013 and is based in Washington, D.C. Ashley Herod Brockman is the development and individual giving officer at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art in Nashville, Tenn. Nick Chigges was selected for the 2016 Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame. Nick was a two-time Southern Conference Pitcher of the


| Photo by Lori Hoffman/Bloomberg |

[ alumni profile ]

A Rare Commodity THERE’S NO DENYING THE POWER OF THE arts. Provocative paintings, dramatic monologues and innovative melodies inspire a range of emotions in people of all ages and walks of life. It makes sense, then, that so many college students decide to pursue careers supporting the arts. A bachelor’s in arts management, for example, can open the door to careers as museum managers, directors of cultural events and agents for musicians or actors. You probably wouldn’t think, however, of an arts management major turning those skills into a successful career in financial technology. But that’s exactly what Emilie Gallagher ’06 has done, spending the last decade at business and financial news and information firm Bloomberg. A curious and creative person, Gallagher knew she wanted to major in arts management to learn about the world from both a creative and business

perspective. And, after discovering Charleston on a family vacation, she knew the College was where she wanted to pursue that goal. The arts management program exposed Gallagher to wide-ranging artistic knowledge as well as fundamental business principles. That experience made her realize she might be more drawn to working in a corporate environment than she expected. “I originally thought I would want to explore an opportunity within the arts industry, but having that foundation within the business school gave me more options for diverse career paths,” she says. To test out her business savvy, she applied for an internship in the contracts department at Bloomberg. Gallagher fell in love with the company’s culture and energy, which she describes as “wide open.” Bloomberg’s Manhattan location is made up of various glass-walled meeting rooms filled with art – and no one has an

actual office. They don’t even use official job titles, which encourages diverse points of view to be shared among team members of all ranks. Gallagher returned to Bloomberg prior to her senior year for an internship in the sales department. She then decided to explore the field a little more by doing her senior-year arts management internship at Charleston-based software solutions company Blackbaud. “That helped me home in on the fact that I really did want to be in a sales role,” she says of her time at Blackbaud. And with that decided, Gallagher knew where she wanted to go after crossing the Cistern. She joined Bloomberg following graduation as a full-time employee in the company’s New York City office. After spending some time learning the basics in Bloomberg’s customer service department, Gallagher landed a role on the Americas analytics team and steadily climbed the corporate ladder, eventually landing her current role as team leader for North American commodity sales. Gallagher says she’s borrowed many of her personal leadership strategies from Scott Shanklin-Peterson, former director of the College’s arts management program. Shanklin-Peterson’s attentiveness inspired Gallagher to coach each member of her sales team and ensure their personal and professional goals are met: “She taught me about being a successful leader by being hands-on and really taking an interest in the individuals that were going through the program.” Gallagher is constantly using the skills she learned at the College to solve client problems quickly and creatively. Crafting grants and proposals, along with learning to work collaboratively, Gallagher says, taught her the art of “selling” an idea. “At Bloomberg, we try to be as innovative as possible and think outside the box, and unless you can be creative, you’re not going to be able to achieve that,” she says. Gallagher’s advice to students is to explore different fields through handson experiences such as internships. And remember to be open to all possibilities and paths that arise. Because, as she learned firsthand, you never know where you might end up. – Becca Starkes ’16

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Year and collected first-team all-conference accolades in 2006 and 2007. He was drafted by the New York Yankees and played for the 2008 Charleston RiverDogs. He is also a member of the Cougars’ Baseball Wall of Fame. Katie Cox is living in San Diego, where she is completing a six-month music therapy internship at MusicWorx Inc. and Resounding Joy before becoming a board-certified music therapist. She provides music therapy services to companies and nonprofits throughout the greater San Diego area, specializing in medical music therapy at hospitals and working with active-duty service members at Wounded Warrior Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton. Justin Gaeta is the president and treasurer of the Catholic Surfing Ministries, a nonprofit organization promoting morality and the Catholic faith through surfing. Austin Goodson (M.S. ’15) and Brittany Johnson were married in October 2015 and live in Greer, S.C. Austin has a master’s in accountancy from the College and is an assurance associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Keri Howell is the architectural review coordinator at Southern Community Services in Charleston. Keidrian Kunkel is a senior program manager at Eckerd Youth Alternatives, a nonprofit headquartered in Clearwater, Fla. Josh Langdon is an attorney at Wood & Lamping in Cincinnati, Ohio. Josh received his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. David Levine is the owner of BuzzyDoc, a healthcare rewards software, and Integrateideas, a software product development company in Charlotte. Rachel Martin O’Harra (see Daniel O’Harra ’05) Scott and Alexandra Robinson Pierson announce the birth of their son, J. Ford Pierson, born in May. The Pierson family lives in Irvine, Calif. Nathan Smith is a real estate agent for Carolina One Real Estate in Mt. Pleasant. Corley Thomas is a director at HDH Advisors in Atlanta. Joseph and Katie Kozar Thompson announce the birth of their son, Joseph Hamilton Whallen Thompson Jr., born in December 2015. Katie is a design partner at Joseph Thompson Woodworks in the Charleston area. Laura Currey Thompson is the executive administrative assistant at Water Mission, a Christian engineering nonprofit based in Charleston and focused on building sustainable safe-water solutions in developing nations and disaster areas. Crystal Ferguson Williams is an associate manager for the Charlotte market at The Siegfried Group, a national CPA firm. Crystal earned her master’s in accounting from Winthrop University.

2010 Cat Buckley and Michael Leavey

were married in May. Cat is an assistant editor at Vanity Fair magazine. John DeBovis and Ava-Martine Young were married in April and live in Washington, D.C. Alexa Diakoulas is the regional sales manager for SolarCity, a clean-energy services company based in Annapolis, Md. Kelley Elder and Hunter Wilds were married in May. The couple lives in Mt. Pleasant, where Kelly works in the tech industry. Laura Ferguson and Miguel Rivas were married in July. Laura graduated from Oregon State University with a master’s in marine resource management in 2015. Prior to graduate school, Laura spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. She is currently a



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Knauss Marine Policy fellow in Washington, D.C., where she works for NOAA Fisheries’ sea turtle research and ecosystem-based management team. Her bachelor’s essay research was recently published in The Journal of Evolutionary Ecology. Sarah Jensen is an account manager of large customer sales in branded apparel and durables at Google. Marlene Johnson-Moore is a law clerk at the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission in Columbia. Denise Killeen is the communications and data associate at Westchester Children’s Association in White Plains, N.Y. GP McLeer Jr. is the recipient of the 2016 Young Alumni Award from the College’s School of the Arts. GP is the executive director of the S.C. Arts Alliance, a statewide nonprofit arts advocacy organization. Gibbon Miler and Bryan Ashley were married in June. Gibbon is a strategic account consultant for CT Corporation in the Raleigh-Durham area. Julia Jacobs Robinson is a consultant at Katie Koch Home, a design company based in New Orleans. Phillip Simpler is an associate attorney with TencerSherman in San Diego. Hannah Tate and Brendan Smith were married in April. Hannah is a bilingual recruiter at Security Finance in Spartanburg, and Brendan is the co-owner of Rooted, a marketing firm in Greenville, S.C. Taylor Tillman is a real estate agent at Dunes Properties in Charleston.

2011 Ashton Bartley earned her Ph.D.

in organic chemistry from the University of Florida. Ashton is a chemistry learning specialist at UNC Chapel Hill. Caquisha Burton is a leasing manager at Lat Purser & Associates, based in Augusta, Ga. Sarah Jenkins Byrd (see Clayton Byrd ’07) Brandon Cupstid is a business analyst at the Medical University of South Carolina. Connor Drake is a research associate at the Duke Center for Research on Personalized Health Care at Duke University. Connor is also a Ph.D. student of health policy and management at UNC Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Crystal Dully is an outreach and engagement associate at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C. She received her master’s in public administration from American University. Stephanie Eldridge attended the 2016 National Teaching Association Conference. She is a biology and earth sciences teacher at Ashley Ridge High School in Dorchester County, S.C. Samantha Flax is a senior account coordinator at Twitter in New York City. Tanya Garcia is a recipient of the 2016 Young Alumni Award from the College’s School of the Arts. Tanya is a community art fellow with the Creative Alliance at The Patterson in Baltimore, Md. Francis Harrison went to Cuba in 2009 as part of a study-abroad program through the College. In 2013, she founded Conscious Cuba, a travel agency that creates custom, culture-focused trips to Cuba. Francis and her husband split their time between Havana and Dallas, Texas. Brandi Mariko Hudson earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California Davis and was awarded the Allen G. Marr Prize Distinguished Dissertation Award for her work: “Non-Covalent Interactions and Complex Reaction Mechanisms of Organic Molecules.”

Simone Provence Killoren is a manager of Scarlet Macaw, a resort wear store in Venice, Fla. Hugh McDermott is the scheduler to the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Jessica Mitsch is the executive director of the Code School at The Iron Yard. She is also president of the College’s Raleigh/Durham alumni chapter. Richard Newcomb II is the senior showroom director at Alton Lane in Richmond, Va. Riley Nikolychik is the new medical case manager at Lowcountry AIDS Services in North Charleston. Dil Patel completed his surgical residency in Denver and is now in Chicago for his residency in radiology at Loyola. Rainey Patterson earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida, where she studied mass spectrometry. Rainey works for Eastman Chemical in Kingsport, Tenn. Ginny Phillips is the founder and executive pastry chef at Sweet Life Bakery in Durham, N.C. Taneka Reaves (see Johnny Caldwell ’08) Catherine Sandifer is the key account manager at Michelin in the greater MinneapolisSt. Paul area. Paul Saylors and Cator Sparks ’96 were married in May. Paul is the head gardener at Mrs. Whaley’s Garden in Charleston. Cator is the editor-in-chief of The Manual, a website that describes itself as “the essential guide for men.” Don Squires is the development officer for organizational advancement at Windwood Family Services in Awendaw, S.C. Olivia Taylor is an English teacher at IBT Junior English Academy in South Korea.

2012 Chambers Austelle is an artist

focused on the feminine form, mostly faces, which she assembles in cut-out parts before committing and painting on canvas. She also teaches art and serves as an outreach coordinator at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston. Nick Berdux earned a master’s in clinical neuropsychology at New York University in May. Angel Cartagena is an account executive at Gather Technologies in Atlanta. Liam Duffy is the 2016–17 chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Law Practice Committee. Liam is an attorney with the Charleston law firm Rosen Hagood, practicing in the areas of business and commercial litigation. Liam earned his J.D. from the Charleston School of Law. Bess Havens is the general manager at Havens Fine Framing of Charleston. Allison Jahries is a counselor (LMSW) at Sanders Family Counseling in Florence, S.C. Patrick Mugan (M.B.A.) is a senior portfolio analyst at Michelin in Greenville, S.C. Isaiah Nelson is the campaign manager for congressional candidate Randy Perkins, who is seeking to fill the seat being vacated by Patrick Murphy in Palm Beach County, Fla. Ryan Pickhardt is the international transportation manager at Michelin North America in Greenville, S.C. Megan Reese is a client manager of Benefitstore at Benefitfocus on Daniel Island, S.C. Jake Seroussi is an account executive at Resilient, an IBM company in Boston. Brittany Lavelle Tulla is an adjunct professor in historic preservation and community planning at the College. In addition, she is the executive director of the Charleston World Heritage Symposium, and she is the owner/consultant at BVL Historic Preservation Research.


[ alumni profile ]

OZZY OSBOURNE, KATY PERRY AND Kayne West had their time in her career. But none of that matters today. That was then – this is now. And that’s where the story is. Right now: That’s what really matters. “Real time is how storytelling is done now. People don’t want to know what you did yesterday or five minutes ago – they want to know what you’re doing now,” says Susan Kamenar ’08, who – after a decade of digital marketing for big names in the entertainment industry – is shifting her focus to the outdoor adventure and social-action space. “People want honesty and transparency, and live social storytelling is the unfiltered way to bring people with you as the story unfolds.” And that’s exactly why this is such an exciting time – perhaps the most exciting time – in her career. Kamenar started working in the music industry as a sophomore at the College, when Sony Music Entertainment hired her as a college marketing representative to promote up-and-coming musicians in the Charleston area – and, later while studying in Sydney, Australia. By the time she graduated, she was already living in New York City and working for Sony full time while also finishing her Honors thesis. “You make your own luck, and you do that through hard work. I wouldn’t have gotten that job with Sony if I hadn’t put in the work,” says Kamenar, who, as a communication major in the Honors College, held leadership positions in the Student Alumni Associates and the Public Relations Student Society of America, wrote for Charleston’s City Paper, served as editor of the College’s student newspaper George Street Observer and had a spot on CisternYard Radio. She also interned at Sony, the European Parliament in Brussels, Ketchum in NYC and Gold Mountain Entertainment in Charleston. And so she’d already put in the work when, shortly into her first job in the Big Apple, she was handling digital marketing for artists like Shakira, whose music video Kamenar helped release in 2009 with what was then quite revolutionary: a livestreamed video premiere. “It was exciting to see the beginnings of commercial live storytelling,” says

| Photo by Deepi Ahluwalia |

Not the Same Old Story

Kamenar, who – after three years with Sony – moved to Los Angeles to grow the digital footprints of high-profile musicians, actors and athletes for Creative Artists Agency and later worked for venture capitalist and music mogul Guy Oseary at the intersection of marketing and technology. “Today, live storytelling is seamlessly integrated into mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and is the basis for apps like Snapchat, so it is readily accessible to the masses. We have an opportunity to elevate the content being told in real time, and I’m compelled to make sure meaningful stories get out there in an impactful way.” Take, for example, the story of two athletes who set out to summit Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen. They wanted to bring their fans along – to tell their stories in real time through social media. Enter Kamenar, who came up with the concept of a “snap-umentary” to document the expedition. The result was #EverestNoFilter, which used Snapchat to provide an unfiltered, real-time, firstperson view of the athletes’ two-month adventure and which developed its own organic following not just in the outdoors community, but in classrooms, on TV and with families across the world. “Now, the audience is just as much a part of the story as the talent. The way

you engage your community becomes its own sub layer of the story,” says Kamenar, who has since founded her own creative content agency, Coppr, which develops and produces stories that strengthen connections between audiences, environments and her clients, including National Geographic and the REEL ROCK Film Tour. “The goal is to encourage people to experience the world around them, to come together in real life and understand each other more. The stories we choose to tell and how we tell them can make a difference.” And that’s what’s so exciting about telling stories right now: These online and offline storylines are beginning to merge, creating a different narrative altogether. “That’s the power of it – you can create an ecosystem of online and offline worlds. There are no rules: The barriers are blending, and we’re all just making it up as we go along,” says Kamenar, pointing to Pokémon Go as an example of how technology can bring people together in the real world. “That’s what I aim for in my work – to encourage those personal interactions that educate us all. That’s the only way society will change for the better, and that’s what I hope to inspire.” And, for Kamenar, that’s where the real story is. That’s what’s unfolding right now. And that’s what really matters. – Alicia Lutz ’98

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Radio Active



MUSIC IS A RISE AND FALL OF SOUND THAT eclipses language to reflect the power of a shared story. It’s a universal art form that’s also intensely personal; music colors our most joyous moments and comforts us in our darkest hours. Music streaming services sit at the intersection of music and technology, where they offer curated playlists that appeal both to the masses and the individual. For the last 11 years, Pandora has been a leader in the digital world, creating algorithms and refining

employees who listen to every single song in the program’s database. Every. Single. One. These music analysts assign each song any number of characteristics, weighted on a scale from zero to five, to create a unique “genetic makeup” for each title. And the program’s software takes it from there. As a senior software engineer at Pandora, Andrew “Drew” Rodman ’14 knows something about this elaborate balance between man and machine, between personal touch and seamless

features, systems and functional elements that give customers a great experience while also meeting the company’s financial, marketing and legal obligations. The job is perfect for Rodman, who admits he likes being in the thick of things and knowing where Pandora’s tech is heading next. “I’m kind of nosey in that regard,” he says. “I like to get involved in lots of stuff.” Rodman has long walked the line between self-professed tech nerd and

databases to craft the perfect flow of songs for every listener’s tastes and moods. At the heart of these algorithms, however, are regular people – Pandora

algorithm. Working in Core Services for Pandora One, the streaming station’s ad-free subscription-based service, Rodman coordinates with multiple departments to design and implement

laid-back millennial. During his college years, he worked at the King Street Apple Store, voraciously studying Apple products, easily interfacing with customers and making himself so

| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e


[ alumni profile ] indispensable that, over the three years of his Apple tenure, the store could only spare him for about a week and a half per year. In his limited free time as a computer science major, Rodman played ultimate Frisbee with his team The Palmetto Bums and spent three summers interning for a Google program called Summer of Code. He talks about both experiences fondly, making the tug between his recreational pursuits and his technological endeavors seem like an easy equilibrium. His experience with Google’s Summer of Code, in particular, prepared him for life on the periphery of Silicon Valley. (Oakland, where Pandora is

would be like,” Rodman explains. “Pandora is less corporate than Google, but it’s a similar environment. It’s been nothing but a pleasant surprise all around. Broadly, the job is what I was expecting, but on a granular level, I’ve been surprised all over the place.” Indeed, “corporate” is far from how anyone would describe Pandora’s office environment. With multiple stocked

headquartered, is not considered part of the Valley.) “Because I got to work with my Summer of Code mentors and go to Google offices, I had a good idea of what this culture

kitchens on each of the company’s eight floors, a floor-to-ceiling shelf bulging with board games like Risk and Settlers of Catan and a stadium-style seating area for presentations, the vibe is more like your

best friend’s cool loft (if your best friend has 300 hobbies). “That’s my desk over there next to the container of Nerf darts,” Rodman says, gesturing to an open seating-style desk with an impressive view of Oakland. Despite the 101 ways to get distracted from work, Rodman finds himself working beyond 9 to 5, often into the night. In a day full of fun little breaks and conversations

| Photos by Leslie McKellar |

“Pandora is less corporate than Google, but it’s a similar environment. ... Broadly, the job is what I was expecting, but on a granular level, I’ve been surprised all over the place.” – Drew Rodman ’14

with smart, friendly colleagues, he insists that a few hours of extra work is worth it. Because for Rodman, it all comes back to the same thing: balance. – Hannah Ashe ’12

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Candice Ulmer earned her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at the University of Florida and is pursuing her postdoctoral studies at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Charleston. Elyse Chubb Welch was awarded the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation by the CCIM Institute, which marks her as an expert in commercial and investment real estate. Danielle White earned her doctor of pharmacy from The Ohio State University.

2013 Jeff Aschieris is a sales associate

for Sands Investment Group in Mt. Pleasant. James Garilas was a summer associate at the Columbia law firm Ogletree Deakins. Andrew Gunderson is an environmental health manager for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Zachary Hyde (see Amelia Roland Hyde ’14) Jessica VanDusen Hyte is a mental health case manager at Alliance Healthcare Services, working on the initiative to end chronic homelessness in Memphis, Tenn. Erica Kramer is the manager of philanthropy for Spertus Institute in Chicago. Ali Leberfinger is a reporter for Total Traffic & Weather Network’s Rutherford, N.J., operations center. Her reports are part of The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio every weekday afternoon as well as New York’s 1010 WINS and New Jersey 101.5 on Sundays. Leeron Ofer is a product specialist at Tesla Motors in Atlanta.

Meredith Porter completed her service with the Peace Corps in Albania. Meredith is a graduate student in the social work program at Washington University in St. Louis. Katie Randall is a client relationship specialist at Gilead Sciences in Seattle, a research-based biopharmaceutical company. Alex Rieflin is on the Tesla Energy marketing team at Tesla Motors in Palo Alto, Calif. Chris Ruffle is an investment banking analyst with Guggenheim Partners in San Francisco. Becky Salisbury is a client solutions manager at Facebook in New York City.

2014 Hannah Fowler Arky is the

director of hospitality accounts at MtoM Consulting, a digital marketing agency near Washington, D.C. Mary Askew is the stewardship and engagement coordinator for the Phi Mu Foundation in Peachtree City, Ga. Sydney Banks is the advertising sales planner for Scripps Networks in New York City. Amos Bartlett is the founder and owner of Know Allergies, a Charleston-based company that produces healthy snack bars for people with food allergies. The bars are branded NO PEANUTS and NO GLUTEN. Logan Berman is a business development representative for retail and consumer goods at Salesforce in Atlanta. Ashley Blankenship is the administrative assistant at Francis Marion University’s Performing Arts Center in Florence, S.C.

Clayton Clark is an enterprise business development representative for healthcare at Salesforce in San Francisco. Adam Griffin is a member of the Cougar Club Board. Adam is a commercial real estate brokerage associate with Colliers International in Charleston. Zachary ’13 and Amelia Roland Hyde have moved to England to pursue their graduate studies. Amelia is a graduate student at Courtauld Institute of Art, and Zac is pursuing a master’s in medieval literatures and languages at the University of York. Amy Kubie is the solution activation manager at in/PACT, a marketing and advertising company in Charleston. Cori Lehrman is the social media coordinator for J. Public Relations. Cori is based in New York City and does social media strategy for luxury hospitality brands. Catherine Lucas is an account executive at Allison+Partners, a global communications firm based in Washington, D.C. Jennifer Irene Osborne is a neuroscience graduate student at the Medical University of South Carolina, where she also works as a research specialist in the Center for Drugs and Alcohol Programs. Griffin Peddicord is the owner of Redux Yoga, a Charleston yoga studio. He is also the founder, CEO and lead developer for Enhance Global Corp., where he crafted a mobile application that supports commerce in local communities. Victoria Sessoms (M.B.A.) is a portfolio risk officer at BB&T in Greensboro, N.C.

[ passages ] Caroline Eason Newman ’41

Paul Hilton Jr. ’78

Timothy Reinwald ’93

Agnes Mengedoht Street ’48

Bobbie Delony Lindstrom ’78

Martin Worsencroft ’94

Ruth Williams Cupp ’49

Ramona Reinhardt-Hammond ’79

Lind Morris Amick ’95

Richard Seabrook Jr. ’50

Jack De Howitt Jr. ’81

Veronica Larkins-Mancy ’98

Hugh Eason ’53

Hollis Rooke Mays ’81

Ian Hoffmann ’06

Joan Sams Hodgkiss ’55

Nikitas Pappas ’81

Kimberly Sigmon ’08

Harriet Fulmore Borom ’61

Mark Rudisill ’82

Lucas Kaempfer ’16

Lionel Lackey ’61

Carol Renee Infinger Grubbs ’83

Richard Kalata ’16

Betty Rowan Murphy ’64

Heidi Holbrook McCormick ’83 August 5, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

August 19, 2016; Charleston, S.C.

Nancy Rhame Glenn Wells ’66

Carol Robinson Fellows Harvey ’86

Alison Piepmeier (faculty)

Elizabeth Jones Taylor Murphy ’73

Douglas Pommering III ’88

Ryan Brunelle (former staff)

Robert Wickersham ’75

Jonathan Brock ’89

Norman Arnold (honorary degree)

Thomas Anderson ’77

Kimberly Wade Roberts ’90

Thomas Graves Jr. (honorary degree)

August 8, 2016; Aiken, S.C.

July 5, 2016; Charleston, S.C.

July 9, 2016; Charleston, S.C. July 24, 2016; Charleston, S.C. August 28, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. August 5, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. June 25, 2016; Eutawville, S.C.

August 22, 2016; James Island, S.C. June 20, 2016; Lexington, S.C. January 7, 2014; Old Forge, N.Y. June 4, 2016; Charleston, S.C.

July 22, 2016; Summerville, S.C. June 24, 2016; Charleston, S.C.



| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e

August 26, 2016; North Charleston, S.C. July 30, 2016; Athens, Ga.

June 21, 2016; Destin, Fla.

August 8, 2016; Hollywood, Fla. July 28, 2016; Charleston, S.C. August 21, 2016; Charleston, S.C. June 23, 2016; Greenville, S.C. July 16, 2016; Charleston, S.C.

July 24, 2016; Charlottesville, Va. July 17, 2016; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. July 5, 2016; Easley, S.C. July 23, 2016; James Island, S.C.

June 30, 2016; Beverly, Mass. May 5, 2016; Alpharetta, Ga. July 19, 2016; Charlotte, N.C. February 27, 2016; Summerville, S.C. May 30, 2016; Columbus, Ohio July 5, 2016; Summerville, S.C. July 28, 2016; Washington, D.C. July 27, 2016; Simpsonville, S.C.

Raleigh Sutton (student)

August 12, 2016; Charleston, S.C. May 12, 2016; Sterling, Mass.

August 16, 2016; Columbia, S.C.

June 17, 2016; Williamsburg, Va.


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Co-Hosted by Cougar Club and Black Alumni Council For more information, visit

Si Wofford is the sales account manager for the Southeast for, a carpooling app. Si lives in Charleston.

2015 Kayla Bogad is the director

of engagement at Hillel International in Rochester, N.Y. Adriana Boyd is a customer service specialist at PeopleMatter in Charleston. Savannah Cassidy is a sales and marketing assistant for Real Simple at Time Inc. in New York City. Alexandra Cole is the program coordinator at Dharma Publishing, a nonprofit publishing company in California dedicated to preserving the culture of Tibetan Buddhism. Marcus Elliott is the staff accountant at Jarrard, Nowell & Russell, a Charleston-based accounting and business advisory firm. Erin Frey is a cloud solution specialist for the summit program at IBM in Chicago. Alex Hamrick is an area manager at Amazon in Columbia, S.C. Connor Hedley is an analytics representative for the financial services sector of IBM in Chicago. Ashley Hull is the wholesale sales coordinator at Carolina Herrera, an international fashion house. Ashley is based in New York City.

Caroline Kenny is an executive producer and political reporter at Medill News Service in Chicago. Caroline is also a graduate student in Northwestern University’s journalism program. Grace Kettering is a makeup artist at Blushington Inc. in New York City. Chris-Marcus Kitchings is a residence hall director with the College’s Department of Residence Life. Ashley Konkle is an event sales consultant at EventWorks Rentals and an event manager at A. Caldwell Events in Charleston. Carolyn Mau is the assistant fleet manager for Hunter Transportation Company in Charleston. Thomas Mims is a .NET application developer for IBM in Monroe, La. Kearsley Schweller works with medicine of the mind, body and spirit to inspire well-being and happiness. Based in Chicago, she studies herbal medicine and is a certified women’s herbalist as well as an active medicine maker. For two years, she has owned her own small business, Bearfoot Happiness, where she handstitches recycled paper journals that are custom designed for each unique individual. Chase Shaw is the coach for the Clear Falls High School sailing team in Houston, Texas. His team was the overall winner of the ISSA High School Doublehanded Championship, an event

hosted by the College at Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant. Elizabeth Simmons is the sales and services coordinator at One Washington Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C. Ellen Spellman is a benefits administrator at Benefitfocus on Daniel Island, S.C. Elizabeth Works is a graduate student in Mississippi State University’s veterinary medicine program.

2016 Clauson Coward III is a building

systems manager for Coward-Hund Construction Group in North Charleston. Amanda Dix is an area manager for Amazon operations and lives in Carlisle, Penn. Jillian Dowdy is a box office apprentice for Spoleto Festival USA. Rosie Escalante is the area manager at Amazon in West Columbia, S.C. Cate Fryland is the operations team lead at Amazon in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Tiffany Gonzales is an operations specialist for Construction Resources in Decatur, Ga. Joseph Gonzalez is an oracle cloud developer for CSS International on Daniel Island, S.C. Cory Gray (M.B.A.) is an accountant at Constellation Brands, headquartered in Victor, N.Y. Hanna Humphreys is a political assistant for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C. Alex Jacobs is a systems administrator for the Charleston architectural firm LS3P. Megan Jacobs is a marketing intern at Ro Sham Beaux, a design company in Charleston. Rachel Jaffe is the site coordinator at Reading Partners, a national education nonprofit working with Title I elementary schools. Brittany Johnson is the customer service representative in the Registrar’s Office at the College. Trevor Jones is a staff assistant for U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (Fla.) in her Washington, D.C., office. Malcolm Kates is a Postbac IRTA fellow in the neurogenetics unit of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. His research focuses on hereditary muscular disorders. Kelly Lu is a Vietnamese-American artist currently exploring a new landscape in Tokyo, Japan. Her work references ideas of rebellion, the transition from childhood to adulthood and the internal struggle of minorities to discover self-identity in the South, a place Lu never felt connected to despite being raised in Myrtle Beach. Last summer, The Southern, a gallery located in Charleston, featured her exhibition, Kelly Lu’s WAR!. Emily Mainolfi is the barn manager and assistant trainer at Foxwood Farm in Pike Road, Ala. Maura Rush is an area manager for one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Lebanon, Tenn. Sarah Sanders is a high school mathematics teacher with the Peace Corps and is serving in Liberia. Octavia Sims is a senior human resource assistant at Amazon in Minneapolis. Grace Socash is an assistant war-room analyst for FP1 Strategies in Washington, D.C. Kathy Seay Welborn (M.P.A.) and her husband have moved to Pensacola, Fla. Jessica Wigley is a graduate student in Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Check out more stories and information about the College at

FA L L 2 0 1 6 |



[ faces and places ]

1 3 2



6 7


There’s always something going on at the College: 1 Visit by sustainability scholar David Orr: Greg Padgett ’79 (Board of Trustees), Orr and Dana Beach (Coastal Conservation League) 2 Provost’s Luncheon: Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and City Councilman Rodney Williams 3 Provost’s Luncheon: Dana Mong, Dean Valerie Morris (School of the Arts) and Polly Kosko 4 Chalkboard project on College Way 5 Jewish Student Union/Hillel Welcome Back Cookout in the Stern Student Gardens 6 JSU/Hillel Cookout: Alexis Johns (Jewish Student Life) and Mark Swick (Jewish Studies) 7 Reception at the President’s House honoring artist Jonathan Green’s visual design for Spoleto Festival’s Porgy and Bess: Hilton Smith (CofC Foundation Board), John Hill, President McConnell, Marilynn Hill and Green 8 Staff of the College’s N.E. Miles Early Childhood Development Center 9 Staff Appreciation Luncheon: Karen Hauschild (academic advising), |


| C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e











staff-award winner Freddie Lipata (campus recreation) and President McConnell 10 Staff Appreciation Luncheon’s spirit squad: Career Center staff members Erin O’Dea, Meredith Gerber, Cheryl Wingert, Hannah Beam and Katie Smith with Ellen Kilgore (student affairs) 11 Incoming students at the Convocation Ceremony 12 Intersessions: The Art X Hip-Hop Dialogues in the Simons Center Recital Hall: visiting scholar Arturo Lindsay, artist Fahamu Pecou and Michael Render (a.k.a. Killer Mike) 13 30-year-service employees honored at the Back-to-School Picnic: Suzette Stille ’94 (M.P.A.) (admissions), Susan Hartmann (student affairs), Phil Jos (political science), Christopher Gilliard ’97 (Multicultural Student Programs) and Cheryl Connor (Copy Center) 14 Student section at Friday Night Futbol (men’s soccer) 15 Convocation Ceremony in the Cistern Yard 16 Convocation tradition of all new students signing the class ledger 17 Incoming international students FA L L 2 0 1 6 |




Study Room, Liberty Street Residence Hall THE SMALL SIXTH-FLOOR STUDY ROOM IN the Liberty Street Residence Hall is one of six such rooms that sit on the eastern corner of the building, nestled in the heart of downtown Charleston. As one of the newest residence halls, Liberty features a plethora of spaces where students can congregate. It boasts 13 study rooms of all different shapes and sizes. And although six of these rooms are exactly the same, the one on the sixth floor is my favorite, serving as a constant in my college experience. My time at Liberty started two years ago when I became a resident assistant in |


| C o l l e g e o f C h a r l e s t o n m agazin e

the building. One of my fellow RAs worked on the sixth floor, and I was immediately drawn to the study room there because of the amazing views of Charleston – the city that had become my home. As the year went on, I ended up returning to the sixth floor to check out the study room up there. I had an essay to write and I hoped to take in the sights while doing so. All things considered, I think I spent a little too much time staring out the window, but it seemed like a luxury to me because skyline views like this one can be hard to come by in Charleston. From then on, I found myself

returning more and more, whether it be to just sit and think or do schoolwork. As time has gone on, I’ve taken on more responsibility at the College and have been pulled away from that quiet view of the Charleston skyline. Now, almost two years later, I’ve traded my study room perch for an office on the first floor of Liberty. But whenever I need to think, I find myself returning to that small room on the sixth floor. Nothing beats those views. – Nicholas Mashuta Nicholas Mashuta is a senior from Albany, N.Y., majoring in marketing.

| Photo by Michael Wiser |



Upon that first step into the Cistern Yard, the possibilities we discover at the College are transformative. And now – thanks to the BOUNDLESS Campaign and the generosity of donors like you – the College’s impact reaches farther than ever. That’s because, no matter how far it takes us, at the College of Charleston, BOUNDLESS is just the beginning.

COFC.EDU #boundlesscofc

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID College of Charleston Charleston, SC 29424-0001

Profile for College of Charleston

College of Charleston Magazine Fall 2016  

Within these pages, you're going to find many stories showcasing the College of Charleston's dynamic and intellectually vigorous culture.We...

College of Charleston Magazine Fall 2016  

Within these pages, you're going to find many stories showcasing the College of Charleston's dynamic and intellectually vigorous culture.We...