C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n magaz in e
Blending Art and Science
Ryan Coker â€™05 is among several alumni leading the craft brewery movement.
Art and Science
Lulie Martin Wallace â€™09 paints the perfect picture of where a liberal arts education can take you.
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Spring 2016 Volume XX, Issue 2 Editor
lege of Charleston Col
Mark Berry Art Director
Alfred Hall Managing Editor
Alicia Lutz ’98
MNI WEEKEND 2016
Ron Menchaca ’98 Jason Ryan Photography
Charleston AFFAIR ófe
APRIL 30 - MAY 1
Mike Ledford Leslie McKellar Contributors
Kris Adams Michael Adeyanju Kip Bulwinkle ’04 Dan Dickison Mary Jo Fairchild ’04 (M.A. ’08) Maura Hogan ’87 Mike Robertson J.R. Ward II ’00 Sam Wheeler ’05 Online Design
Charlie Stinchfield Alumni Relations
Karen Burroughs Jones ’74 Contact us at
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ATTN: College of Charleston Magazine College of Charleston Division of Marketing and Communications Charleston, SC 29424-0001
ïFor more information, visit acaweekend.cofc.edu. ï
College of Charleston Magazine is published three times a year by the Division of Marketing and Communications. With each printing, approximately 62,000 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 ]
62 SPIRIT ANIMAL
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BY RON MENCHACA ’98 A doctor, a school counselor, an aide for special needs children, a corporate operations manager and a theater program director. These alumni share a common bond: They all wore the suit of Clyde the Cougar. And each, in his or her own special way, helped define the magnetic persona of our revered mascot while carrying on a proud College tradition.
FLYING START BY JASON RYAN
Drones that drop explosives are almost exclusively used by the military. The exception: Robert Blank ’11 and his lifesaving startup, Mountain Drones.
BY SAM WHEELER ’05
LIFE ACADEMIC 8 MAKING THE GRADE 14 TEAMWORK 20 POINT OF VIEW
CLASS NOTES MY SPACE
Ten years ago, making high-gravity beer in South Carolina would put you behind bars. Thanks to these three alumni, however, the state has hopped on board with the microbrewery movement – crafting an industry with some real economic punch and brewing up some serious success for the entrepreneurial pioneers themselves.
LIFT AS YOU CLIMB BY MARK BERRY
Jasmine Twitty ’10 is bold in her dreams and bold in her style. Last summer, at age 25, Twitty was sworn in as one of South Carolina’s youngest associate judges, proving again that fortune favors the bold.
on the cover: Ryan Coker ’05 photo by Leslie McKellar
AROUND the CISTERN Campaign Central IT’S ELECTION SEASON IN AMERICA, and that means many college students around the country are volunteering, interning and organizing their fellow students in support of a presidential candidate. Students are doing everything from holding and attending rallies to canvassing and registering people to vote. Here, at the College, students are getting a more up-close-and-personal, front-row view of the election through the Bully Pulpit Series. This unique, nonpartisan event series is a collaboration between the departments of communication and political science and aims to grow political participation throughout the College community by enabling and supporting active dialogue with leaders who are seeking our nation’s highest elected office. The Bully Pulpit Series is comprised of town-hall events with political candidates, voterregistration drives, student debates, hosted media events, unique campusservice opportunities and relevant independent-study experiences. Since its launch in 2008, the Bully Pulpit Series has hosted many presidential candidates, such as future President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. John McCain, U.S. Sen. John Edwards, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich. Then-candidate Obama’s event filled the Cistern Yard and, to this day, is the largest crowd in the series’ history. During the 2008 and 2012 presidential primaries, the Bully Pulpit Series received substantial national media attention as numerous candidates visited campus for speaking engagements, public forums and television news appearances. For the 2016 election cycle, many current and former Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls, such as Gov. Martin O’Malley and U.S. Senators Sen. Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, have held events at the College.
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From town halls in the beautiful Stern Center Gardens to remarks and Q&A sessions in the Stern Center Ballroom and Alumni Hall, students, faculty, staff and community members have had the special privilege to hear directly from candidates. “The Bully Pulpit Series has grown to be so much more than a few events during the presidential primary season,” says Amanda Ruth-McSwain, associate professor of communication and director
of the series. “It is truly an experiential learning opportunity that provides a unique platform for participation in the political process. The series truly takes advantage of our location as first in the South to provide a lab environment for communication and political science students.” In fact, students work on everything from event management to media relations for the series. Students involved with CisternYard Media, a student media
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organization, gain experience through exclusive interviews with presidential candidates. In addition, student volunteers are invited to work alongside national news outlets on complementary media events. “Working for the Bully Pulpit Series has been an amazing experience that I know most college students
Similar to Kajfez, many students find that the series is a wonderful reflection of the College’s holistic approach to education. Further, it’s a direct example of the university’s commitment to providing opportunities outside of the classroom. Simply put, the Bully Pulpit Series is a dynamic, interactive experience that many colleges do not or cannot offer.
concept that has been echoed throughout time by many people, including former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt: “Our children should learn the general framework of their government and then they should know where they come in contact with the government, where it touches their daily lives and where their influence is exerted on the government. It must not be a
| (Clockwise, from top, left) U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in Stern Student Gardens; U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in Stern Student Gardens; Gov. Martin O’Malley in Stern Student Center Ballroom; Opposite page: (top) Charleston Mayoral Debate in Sottile Theatre; (bottom) U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in Alumni Hall | never have,” says Katie Kajfez, general manager of CisternYard Video and a senior communication major with a double minor in French and political science. “Being able to meet presidential candidates, talk with them and introduce their ideas to other students are some of the many highlights I have had from working with the series. This has easily been my most memorable class during my four years here and I hope to see the series grow even more over time.”
“Being a member of the Bully Pulpit Series has been unlike anything else,” agrees Alexa Chiarelli, a senior communication major. “Seeing the reaction from students following our events, specifically with a greater interest in registering to vote, is like going home with a victory for our nation’s future.” The Bully Pulpit Series reinforces the message that the growth of our country is backed and guided by the process of citizen interest and involvement – a
distant thing, someone else’s business, but they must see how every cog in the wheel of a democracy is important and bears its share of responsibility for the smooth running of the entire machine.” The College continues to do its part in making sure the machine runs smoothly by developing informed students and, in turn, citizens. And as the Bully Pulpit Series keeps growing in size and stature, perhaps we’ll see again that the road to the Oval Office goes through the College.
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The College Champion BY THE NUMBERS 7: Number of CofC presidents
Riley worked with as mayor from 1975 to 2015
: Length in minutes of Riley’s speech to graduates at Winter Commencement on Dec. 19, 2009
: The year that Riley’s late mother, Helen Schachte Riley, graduated from the College as salutatorian
OVER THE FOUR DECADES THAT JOE RILEY served as mayor of Charleston, he had a hand in shaping virtually every facet of life in the Holy City. Under his guidance and leadership, Charleston has become an international tourism destination, a hub of culture and the arts, an economic powerhouse and a model for historic preservation and urban design. As the city has grown and prospered, so, too, has the College. Launching Spoleto in the Cistern Yard Mayor Riley has said that if not for former College of Charleston President Ted Stern (1968–1978) and the resources of the College, Spoleto Festival USA would never have gotten off the ground. So it was fitting that Riley, Stern and others kicked off the opening ceremonies for the inaugural festival on May 25, 1977, in the College’s Cistern Yard. The College and the international festival have enjoyed a close and symbiotic relationship ever since. “Spoleto Festival USA will be identified as Mayor Riley’s signature contribution to the arts in Charleston,” says Karen |
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Chandler, director of the College’s arts management program, who notes that Riley was also actively involved in establishing Piccolo Spoleto and the MOJA Arts Festival as well as spearheading the renovation of the Gaillard Center and the proposed International African American Museum. “The history of American arts leadership has Mayor Riley’s name and cultural achievements written in its annals. Those of us who call Charleston home, and those who visit here, are all the better for his vision, tenacity and unparalleled leadership in the arts.” Balancing Old and New Among Riley’s most heralded achievements is the manner in which he sought to balance the needs and development of a growing city against the importance of preserving the city’s historic homes and buildings and architectural significance. While the College is a caretaker for numerous historic and modern structures, three campus buildings speak to Riley’s legacy in the area of preservation and urban design.
Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library: Mayor Riley spoke at the dedication ceremony for the library in March 2000, recognizing its importance for the campus and Charleston. Riley Center: This campus building will always be associated with the former mayor. The Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities is part of the College’s Department of Political Science and is focused on enhancing community life in the Charleston area. Established in 1978 as the Center for Metropolitan Affairs, the center was renamed for Riley in 2001. Randolph Hall: Riley often visited this National Historic Landmark for College and community commitments. In fact, the building inspired the design of one of Riley’s crowning building achievements as mayor: The $142-million Gaillard Center features a neoclassical design intended to mimic the College’s Randolph Hall, with both structures serving as anchors on their respective ends of George Street. “It is impossible to introduce the concept of historic preservation in America without discussing Charleston and the impact that Mayor Riley has had on the preservation community – locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally,” says R. Grant Gilmore, director of the College’s historic preservation program. “Riley’s vision for the City of Charleston has provided the most successful example to date for an unrivaled combination of urban planning/design and historic preservation in the U.S.”
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NEW ON THE MENU Napoleon burgers, mac ’n cheese, beet and sweet potato chips, loaded baked potatoes: That’s just a taste of what’s on the menu at the College’s new kosher vegetarian/vegan dining facility, Dr. Martin Perlmutter Dining Hall, known on campus as Marty’s Place. Featuring curved ceiling details, cool pastel colors, an entry wall of Jerusalem stone and some outdoor seating, the 5,000-square-foot dining facility occupies the first floor of the extension to the Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center on Wentworth Street and is open to the public. “We want people to come in from off the street for a cup of coffee. We want the community involved,” says Marty Perlmutter, director of the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program and the restaurant’s namesake. “What I’m hoping is that it becomes a center for people who are concerned about what they eat – a congregating zone for those people to come and feel that they’re on a comfort level with likeminded people.” A gift to the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program from several donors, including Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold and Anita Zucker, Marty’s Place observes kosher dietary laws and serves vegan and vegetarian dishes – making it the perfect choice not just for the Jewish community, but for anyone looking for good food without the meat.
| (Left) Jessica McMahan, veteran and military student services coordinator; (Right) Ceremony at the President’s House (6 Glebe St.) for the opening of the College’s Veteran and Military Student Services Center | IT’S HARD ENOUGH TO HIDE THE PRIDE AT the College, but when it comes to campus members of the U.S. armed forces, it’s nearly impossible. On Veterans Day 2015, the College showed both pride and gratitude for its approximately 335 students who are using some form of the GI Bill – whether as family members/dependents of veterans or as one of the 100-plus military veterans currently enrolled at the College. That appreciation manifested in the opening of the new Veteran and Military Student Services Center, which is tasked with creating individualized road maps for veterans and military students pursuing an education at the College and connecting them with the campus and with community resources and support they need to be successful students. With the $24,900 grant from the Palmetto Warrior Connection to open the center, the College was able to |
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fund a position for Jessica McMahan, coordinator of the Veteran and Military Student Services Center. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served for 12 years as a combat videographer, McMahan knows firsthand the struggles that many veterans face as they transition back to civilian life, and is thus ideally suited to serve as a connection between the military and higher education. Twice deployed to Iraq to document the war and the selfless service of her comrades, often carrying her rifle in one hand and filming with a video camera in the other, McMahan regularly witnessed the stark realities of combat. She was, at times, forced to put down her camera and take up fighting positions with her rifle when Army infantry units she was filming came under enemy fire. In 2007, she was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for combat leadership.
According to McMahan, she had a difficult time readjusting to life after leaving the military, and she believes those experiences help her relate to and understand the unique needs of student veterans. “You have to find yourself again,” says McMahan, who first came to the College in 2015 as an office manager for the ROAR Scholars program. “That’s why I wanted this position so much. I get to help other people get through that.” McMahan says her overarching goal is to make the College’s student veterans feel as much a part of the campus community as any other member. “Most veterans are nontraditional students, so their needs are different than traditional students’,” she says. “I want to create a community for student veterans on campus so that we have each other for support. All military veterans are my brothers and sisters. There is always that bond.”
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GUEST OF HONOR Back in his day, the T. rex could clear a scene just by eyeing it. He wasn’t the most well-received among his peers; get cornered by that monster, they knew, and you were plain out of luck. Chance encounters with the tyrant lizard king were to be avoided at all costs – nothing good could ever come of that. What a difference 66 million years can make. Now Mr. Popularity, the life of the party, the T. rex draws a crowd wherever he goes these days. People come to him. Museums and educational centers don’t just welcome him, they vie for him, hunt him down. And that’s exactly what Phil Manning, paleontology professor and newly appointed director of the College’s Mace Brown Natural History Museum, and his wife, Victoria Egerton, adjunct faculty member of the geology department, did to get the 13-foot-tall, 41-footlong cast of “Bucky,” an adolescent T. rex, mounted in the Sciences and Mathematics Building’s atrium for all of 2016. On loan from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – which the College is working with on various outreach, research and teaching projects, including expeditions to Wyoming and South Dakota – Bucky is a welcome addition to campus and is attracting the attention and imaginations of schoolchildren, CofC students and adults alike. Indeed, if it was hospitality the T. rex was after, he’s found it at the College.
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LIFE ACADEMIC Class Trending Now BETWEEN THE ECONOMY, GLOBAL conflicts, technological advances, scientific discovery, the creative arts, cultural shifts, new vocabularies, a developing sense of self and a sliding socioeconomic scale, it’s a wonder anyone can keep up. It’s an elusive thing, fashion. Heidi Klum’s been warning us about it for years: “One day you’re in, and the next, you’re out.” Considering you can have one foot on the catwalk and still get blindsided in the race down the runway, for those of us already fashionably late to the scene, it’s pretty much a lost cause. If fashion forward isn’t how your friends describe you, here’s all you need to know to keep up: Fashion is fickle.
Byars is no stranger to the fashion scene. She’s worked as a model, a photostylist, a makeup artist and – in the 1980s, the heyday of runway fashion – she was the fashion and public relations director for Saks Fifth Avenue, overseeing expensive runway shows involving over-the-top theatrics and celebrity. She returned to Charleston in the late 1990s to open the Saks on King Street, which has since been replaced by Forever 21. “Fashion is a youth-oriented industry, so it makes sense that it’s always changing. It has to stay young,” says Byars. “Everything in fashion has changed, other than change. That’s the one constant. I want my students to have a greater appreciation for where
in her economic time. This new ideal silhouette was also something of a girly protest to the voluptuous curves of Edwardian women.” The textile industry also had an immense influence over fashion, with new fibers and fabrics allowing for the hitherto unheard of. “Think about latex and nylon: They changed everything,” says Byars, explaining that, at the beginning of the 20th century, bathing suits were made from wool and, later, knit. “When vinyl came out, every designer had to do something with it, whether they should have or not. It just changes what is possible in fashion.” As the textile industry evolved, so,
“Fashion is propelled by external forces. We’re telling the story of our 20th-century advances through a different prism – we’re using the language of fashion to tell the visual story of our history.” – Glenda Byars ’75 It is, in the words of Miuccia Prada, “instant language” – something that can’t be studied or learned in the moment. It is so fleeting, so erratic, that it can only be understood in the retrospective context of all its cultural, political, social, practical, scientific and economic influences. “Fashion is propelled by external forces,” says Glenda Byars ’75, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Theatre and Dance, who last fall taught the first-year seminar The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: 20th-Century Fashion. “We’re telling the story of our 20th-century advances through a different prism – we’re using the language of fashion to tell the visual story of our history.”
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fashion originates and why – and the effort it takes to stay relevant. I want them to discover a passion for learning the why: why things happen.” Fashion, Byars explains, is always a response to something. For example, the flapper style of the roaring ’20s was a direct result of World War I. “The world changed when all the men went away to war and women needed clothes they could move in. They couldn’t mess with that corset anymore,” says Byars. “Women had done men’s jobs, and they had money to buy their own cigarettes, their own dresses. They became able to choose their own dress. The flapper was just rolling up
too, did the cultural, political and social climates in the United States and around the world. And by the 1960s, the landscape was unrecognizable. “The most cataclysmic shift was in the ’60s, because fashion was no longer dictated by the couturiers. It was an antiestablishment period, a protest period. It had that anti-authoritarian undercurrent that made street fashion bubble up as couture. True haute couture was coming to an end, and fashion became something accessible to everyone,” says Byars. “That was the last gasp of air in different social classes in terms of attire. It closed that gap – no one wanted to differentiate themselves as a higher class anymore.”
Since then, fashion has remained something for the masses – although, Byars notes, “we saw a resurgent opulence in the 1980s, until the stock market crash. And then comes grunge, which is this juxtaposition to the 1980s’ affluence. The pendulum must swing.” As fashion and the fashion industry evolve, so, too, does cultural perspective. “The technology boom really changed our point of view as a culture,” says Byars. “Technology makes things smaller, but it also makes things instant, even more fleeting.” It also is highly individualized, a trend
that (surprise, surprise) also carries over to fashion. “Today, fashion is much more tribal than ever before – clothes are identifiers. They tell us who is part of our ‘clan.’ It’s become a subset of your culture – athletes, hipsters, professionals all have a fashion of their own,” says Byars. “You know where you belong. It gives us a tribal affiliation. “It’s most obvious in theater,” she continues. “The costumer is responsible for making the characters identifiable. The costumer gives the visual signals that define the various characters. There’s a
visual story there, and the costumer tells that story with clothing.” It’s a universal language that we can all pick up on: The high-society lady, the maid, the professor all have their own look. “I think theater makes it clear that fashion is the most effective form of nonverbal communication,” says Byars, noting: “Fashion and theater are both mirrors of society with a home address on the pulse of a time, place and attitude.” Not to mention the politics, sciences, technologies and culture that are found there – at least for now, anyway.
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Taken by Storm
MENTION HURRICANE KATRINA AND most people recall exactly where they were when that historic storm made landfall in 2005. Physics professor Gabe Williams certainly does. At the time, he was an undergraduate at Morehouse College in Atlanta. For Williams, Hurricane Katrina was a game changer. “At that point, I was actually interested in astronomy,” Williams recalls, “but I saw the devastation of that storm firsthand. I saw all the human and social elements, which were awful and tragic. And, what I also saw – for the first time – was a lot of open discussion about hurricane formation and hurricane intensification. Everyone was talking about that storm. When you have a storm that intense, people talk a lot about it: just like Hurricane Andrew in Florida in ’92 and Hurricane Hugo here in Charleston in ’89. That’s what Hurricane Katrina was for my generation.” Williams found himself engrossed in the myriad information available about Katrina – especially with a number of field
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experiments that were examining the structure of hurricanes. “A tremendous amount of data was available online because so many scientists were looking at this problem,” he says. “That piqued my interest, and I realized that I had a good background to get involved. Because I was a physics and math major, I already had the tools in place.” Fast forward – past his graduate school days and his dissertation on Hurricane Hugo – to today, and you’ll find Williams continuing his studies on the structure of hurricanes as an atmospheric physicist. “In my field, you either work on the operational side,” he says, “which includes forecasting and analyzing weather maps, or you examine the physics of the atmosphere. That’s what I do: I try to understand the forces that act on hurricanes and how energy is distributed within a storm.” Williams’ work involves examining data acquired principally by hurricane-hunting aircraft that actually fly into and around active storms.
“I’m particularly interested in understanding eye-wall formation and disintegration,” Williams says. “Hurricane scientists are very adept at determining a given storm’s track, but we don’t do as well in forecasting the changes in intensity. My goal is to better understand storm structure as a means of determining changes in intensity – and that starts with the eye wall.” Though he refers to himself as a theoretical physicist, there’s a good deal of practicality to Williams’ work. “The only reason to study science is if you believe that it actually serves humanity in some way,” he offers. “I chose this path not because I was a physics nerd interested in this topic, but because I actually saw the impact of Katrina. For me, the whole question of discovering more about the structure of these storms is that you have the potential to improve hurricane forecasting.” At least that way we’ll know exactly where not to be the next time a historic storm makes landfall.
| Photo by Alan Lim |
She has taught and inspired countless students, performed in more than 20 countries, recorded an album inspired by her late father and recently penned a memoir: From Clementi to Carnegie. So many accomplishments might seem overwhelming for most musicians, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the much-lauded violinist and music professor Lee-Chin Siow. In November, Siow was recognized again for her musical greatness, this time by her native country, Singapore. President Tony Tan presented Siow with a Composers and Authors Society of Singapore Meritorious Award in appreciation of her efforts to develop local music in Singapore. “It is a double honor to have received this award in the same year that Singapore celebrated its 50th year of independence,” says Siow, who leads the College’s violin program. “I am deeply grateful, especially to my teachers and mentors who have been instrumental in my journey.”
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INSIDE THE ACADEMIC MIND: HECTOR QIRKO Since 2010, anthropology professor and associate department chair Hector Qirko has been captivating his students on a wide range of topics, from pop culture to social and cultural change. We sat down with Professor Qirko to discuss his interest in better understanding human behavior, his research into suicide terrorism and his passion for music, both listening to it as well as creating it. HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN ANTHROPOLOGY? I’m the son of an Albanian father and Cuban mother, raised in New York City and half a dozen Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela – but also time in Mexico and Cuba), so I guess an interest in culture was pretty much inevitable. But as for the field of anthropology, when I went back to school after a long time playing music, I tried an introductory course and was hooked. I thought, and still think, that the discipline provides the best lens through which to understand the big human questions and problems. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS TO TEACH? I guess the introduction to anthropology course, for the opportunity it gives me to introduce students to an anthropological perspective – frankly, given how relevant it is to the world today, I wish kids could get more of that in high school. Also Applied Anthropology, in part because it can help students (as well as their parents) figure out how to use anthropology in nonacademic settings and jobs. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE AN ASPIRING ANTHROPOLOGY MAJOR? Don’t decide too quickly which of the major subfields (cultural, biological, archaeological, linguistic) on which to focus. A large part of the value of anthropology is that we look at interrelationships to get an integrated view of humanity. So, while you’ll inevitably specialize as you go along, don’t rush it. YOUR RESEARCH INTO SUICIDE TERROR ORGANIZATIONS SEEMS PARTICULARLY TIMELY, IN LIGHT OF LAST FALL’S EVENTS IN FRANCE, LEBANON AND EGYPT. HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN THAT PARTICULAR TOPIC? One of my major interests is organizational culture, and, specifically, how organizational practices help maintain and reinforce altruistic or sacrificial commitment on the part of members. As a consequence, I’ve looked for the costliest examples of altruistic behavior in organizational settings, which led me to suicide terrorism. It’s obviously hard to know much about the inner structure of terrorist organizations, but there seem to be pretty consistent patterns in recruitment and training practices across them, particularly as associated with the manipulation of kin ties. This led me to suggest in a couple of papers that, in many cases, organizational analyses will be a useful complement to ideological and psychological profiling in attempts to predict suicide terrorist threats.
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SOME OF YOUR STUDENTS MAY NOT KNOW YOU’RE A GIFTED GUITARIST. WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU ENJOY? All kinds! Old, new and pretty much any genre. But it’s got to really knock me out, so that keeps the pile manageable. Right now, I’m on a kick to investigate old records I don’t know but have heard great things about. So, at the moment in my car are Duke Ellington at Newport, Orchestre National De Barbes (Poulina) and The Flaming Lips (Yoshimi). All three are terrific in quite different ways. HOW DID THE CHICAGO BLUES SCENE INFORM YOUR MUSICAL INCLINATIONS? Very personally. Growing up, I knew blues music through rock and was drawn to it without knowing exactly what I was hearing. I really learned it on the fly when I worked in Chicago for Lonnie Brooks, from him directly and from the many other blues folks around the scene at the time. At first I was so clueless I didn’t know who anybody was. But I sure learned quickly that good blues delivers highly concentrated emotional messages through minimal, elegant forms – less is truly more. I love many kinds of music, but I usually approach what I play and write from that perspective. WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR LATEST ALBUM – FIELD NOTES? Oh, you know, the usual: love and loss, life and death. I had some songs that I hadn’t yet recorded, some ancient and some I’ve written since I moved to Charleston, and wanted to get them down. I also wanted to use making the record as a way to meet and play with some of the very talented folks around here. For each song, I tried to create the right band feel, and for many I was lucky that locally based players such as Kevin Crothers, Roger Bellow, Johnny Spell, Jack Burg and Ron Wiltrout were willing to help me out. But I also worked with musicians based out of Knoxville, Nashville and Asheville. WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION FOR WRITING SONGS? I write songs, but I’m not a songwriter – I mean, I don’t usually work to write them, but tap into them when something hits me. So there’s no particular process, other than keeping the guitar handy so that I can try to catch whatever fleeting idea or feeling comes along. But I should add, on this record, a couple of songs are based on ideas and lyrics written by songwriting friends – in collaborations like that, I do sit down and consciously work to try to come up with music that fits well. IF YOU COULD LEARN ANOTHER INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Playing the bass really well would give me a lot of pleasure, because it’s so fundamental to everything else. The rhythm section is the engine, after all, and we’re not going anywhere without it. WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS? Strange as it may sound, my favorite spot is my own office on Wentworth Street. It feels very good to work there, and when I want a break, I can take a walk in some of the most beautiful old neighborhoods in the country. You can’t beat it!
• Brian McGee | Brian McGee | (communication) was named provost and executive vice president of academic affairs last fall. He had served as the College’s interim chief academic officer for 2014–15. In this new role, he oversees the College’s academic programs, faculty affairs and many academic support functions. During his tenure at the College, which began in 2004, McGee has worn many hats: professor, department chair, chief of staff and senior vice president of executive administration. McGee’s academic research covers several areas, including political rhetoric, argumentation and communication about race, ethnicity and gender. • The Society of Health and Physical Educators selected Susan Flynn (teacher education) to be one of only 20 SHAPE Physical Activity Leaders. After attending training at the Nike Headquarters in Oregon, she is the only PAL trainer in South Carolina and will conduct workshops across the state to help teachers to incorporate physical activity into their curricula. • Joe Carson (physics and astronomy) published in Nature last fall his research regarding new revelations about the tempestuous and fierce environments from which planets may sometimes form. • Jim Deavor (chemistry and biochemistry), Christine Byrum (biology) and Renaud Geslain (biology) received research funding from the National Institutes of Health through its IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Grant, which is designed to boost biomedical research capacity in South Carolina. • Under program director Joe Kelly (English), the College launched a new minor in Irish and Irish American studies this fall. The program, along with the College’s Special Collections in Addlestone Library, is collecting materials (letters, photographs, journals and other historical papers) that preserve the Irish and Irish American experience.
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MAKING the GRADE A Cut Above
| from left to right: President Glenn McConnell '69, Clyde the Cougar, Caleb Bubash and Capt. Brian Deiters | IF HIS CLOSE-CROPPED HAIRCUT DOESN’T give him away, his vise-grip handshake and his booming voice are likely to reveal that Caleb Bubash is not your typical college student: He’s also a U.S. Marine. And if that alone is not enough to make you take notice, you should know that Bubash, a senior business administration major, is among the best of the best: He was recently awarded the 2015 Marine Corps Commandant’s Trophy, a prestigious honor bestowed annually upon the top graduate from the corps’ Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, Va. The 10-week training program is designed to test – and weed out – those who think they have what it takes to
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lead other Marines in battle. Based on his excellent academic performance, physical fitness and leadership, Bubash was singled out for the award among hundreds of other officer candidates in 2015. He is the first College of Charleston student to earn the award. “I had no idea right until the point they told me,” he says of the appointment. “I just worked hard.” Upon his graduation from the College this spring, Bubash will officially become a commissioned officer in the Marines. And about two weeks after commencement, he’ll marry his fiancée, Nicole Newman ’14. A native of Easley, S.C., Bubash says he’s always wanted to be a Marine, and
he’s had plenty of inspiration from other family members who’ve served in the military, including his older brother, a first lieutenant stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Bubash was so intent on becoming a Marine that he planned to enlist right out of high school before his parents and brother talked him out of it, encouraging him to attend college first and enter the Marines as an officer. After heading to The Citadel in 2011, he wound up enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve, where he currently holds the rank of lance corporal. After two years at the military college and a one-year stint working construction, he transferred to the College in 2014. “I went to boot camp after my knob year at The Citadel,” he says. “I decided that would be good experience if I wanted to be an officer.” But as difficult as boot camp was, OCS was even harder. A 4:30 a.m. wake-up, followed by physical training, drilling, land navigation, obstacle courses, road marches, classroom instruction and other demanding tasks would leave him and his fellow candidates struggling to keep their eyes open. Physically and mentally exhausted and wanting only to catch a few winks before the next morning’s wake-up, Bubash learned to push through fatigue, to crack his books and study for the numerous tests he had to take on topics ranging from military tactics and customs to courtesies and uniforms. “That’s what makes OCS the hardest, I think, is doing the academics,” Bubash says. “You are mentally exhausted and you have to push through it, and you have to decide if you really want to be there.” Marine Corps Capt. Brian Deiters, who has trained and mentored Bubash, says emerging as the top officer candidate among the hundreds of other top-notch men and women who endure the training each year is no small feat.
MAKING the GRADE
“It’s a huge award because if you go back 100 years, there’s only one student who’s received it every year,” says Deiters. Since winning the Commandant’s Trophy and returning to classes at the College this spring semester as well as his part-time job as an assistant accountant, Bubash says he has an even greater appreciation for how much freedom and free time a typical college student enjoys. “It’s a huge change going from OCS back to here,” he says. “You realize that with the academics here, all you have to do is work hard, whereas at OCS it was exhausting. We have a lot more free time here than we often think we do.” While Bubash was a good student before he left for OCS in the summer of 2015, his transformation since then is quite obvious to Angela Passarelli, an assistant professor of management and marketing in the School of Business who has taught Bubash in two courses. “He has a different sense of purpose about him,” says Passarelli. “He has a role and he knows that he’s going to have a huge responsibility. That realization for him has provided a lot of focus and maturity that I don’t see other students having yet at this point in their senior year.” Capt. Deiters says the honor that Bubash won reflects positively on the College of Charleston’s liberal arts and sciences curriculum, particularly the manner in which its students are taught to think critically and synthesize information. “When you think about it, the essence of a Marine officer is his or her ability to take information, make a decision and communicate that decision and act,” he says. “They’ve been trained for four years of college in this, and it actually translates well into being a Marine Corps officer.” While some of his courses at the College, such as theatre and philosophy, might not mesh with the stereotype of a hard-charging Marine, Bubash believes strongly that his liberal arts and sciences education will ultimately make him a better leader of other Marines. “Just because you are at a liberal arts school doesn’t mean you can’t go into the military and succeed,” says Bubash. “I’m one of those examples.”
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Strong Suit IT DOESN’T SEEM LIKE THE FITNESS regimen of a world champion weightlifter. Stephen Lesage eats what he wants. He eschews the help of a personal trainer, improving his technique instead by watching YouTube videos. He never jogs, boldly claiming that “cardio is a myth.” And he only entered the local weightlifting competition as a show of solidarity and support for his roommate. But lo and behold, when the dust settled and the barbells dropped back to the mats at that February 2015 competition in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Lesage was crowned the winning powerlifter for his weight group.
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Along with a plastic trophy, however, came an invitation to compete that September in the Global Powerlifting World Championships 2015 in Las Vegas. This was more than he’d bargained for; he hadn’t even expected to place in Myrtle Beach, let alone be invited to the world championships, a competition known to be where some of the world’s strongest people set strength records that Lesage could only dream of. When the Boston native called home to tell his parents the news, his father seemed more excited than he was and suggested that the whole family travel to Las Vegas to watch Lesage compete.
“OK,” Lesage responded quietly. “I guess I better start training for that then.” And so he did, at his own pace and direction. His regimen mostly entailed lifting weights at the George Street Fitness Center six days a week and eating a lot of meat and rice. Lesage got bigger and stronger in the months that followed, but also achy and slightly bored. For the senior physics and astrophysics major, the championships could not come soon enough. Upon finally arriving at the Riviera Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Lesage could see that the competition would be stiff. “I was walking around the hotel, and there were huge people, really big boys,” says the 5-foot-5 Lesage, who weighs just shy of 150 pounds. These massive competitors were screaming and grunting as they prepared to lift. Nearby speakers blasted heavy metal and rock music. Anticipating this kind of tense atmosphere, Lesage had previously warned his mother: “Just so you know, I get really angry and you’re not going to like what you see, but just relax.” Indeed, Lesage, dressed in a skintight black singlet and Captain America socks, began pacing angrily as he put on his game face, preparing to channel all the energy and adrenaline in his body into a few swift lifts. The Cougar muscleman then proceeded to squat 403 pounds, bench press 303 pounds and deadlift 501 pounds. That’s a total of 1,207 pounds, more than eight times Lesage’s body weight. It was also more than any of his competitors, making Lesage the world powerlifting champion for the sub-148pound weight category. He earned a medal for his strength and proudly wore the pancake-sized prize around his neck on the plane ride home. Since his victory, Lesage has relaxed his workouts and allowed his body to rest. “I’m eating Oreos every night,” he says. “It’s great.” But Lesage has an appetitie for competition, too, and by December he was back to competing. Not that he’s varied his lifestyle that much. Why would he? “I did it my way,” says the world powerlifting champ, “and it worked.”
MAKING the GRADE
FINDING YOUR VOICE What does it mean to find your voice? For some, it calls for joyously living out loud. Others transform their voice into action, making sound to make change. There are also those who buck their comfort zone, amplifying inner worlds to comfort others. However we choose to find our voice, doing so can be frequently daunting, yet remarkably freeing. In November, The College Reads! program explored this theme in a four-day celebration of diversity, community and the power of expression. Boundless Words & Voices took its cue from the Civil Rights activism recounted in The College Reads! 2015-16 selection, Freedom Summer: The Savage Season of 1964 That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy, by Bruce Watson. On a Sunday afternoon in Randolph Hall, spoken word artist Marcus Amaker (top left) gathered poets, musicians, choreographers, dancers, faculty, students and others. The room soon resounded with poetry readings, jazz protest work, candid monologues, Klezmer music, Latin theatre, Chinese dance and more. Community partners such as Wings for Kids, Thrive and Heart invited guests to join their efforts. The stirring voices echoing through Randolph Hall demonstrated the many ways in which freedom can ring, sing, riff, rhyme, shine, step, repeat, rock and roll. With resonance and reverence, they also proved that every voice is crucial in creating meaningful community.
Hamlette FRAILTY, THY NAME IS WOMAN! The outburst isn’t fooling anyone. Everyone can see exactly what’s going on here: ’Tis unmanly grief: Hamlet is acting like a girl. When Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, he swathed his protagonist in so much internal and dramatic conflict, the irony of the attitudes toward gender roles is enough to get through even the thickest skulls in the churchyard. Of course, it only gets more obvious in today’s social context – especially, as Darien Bucher discovered, when Hamlet is played by a female. Bucher, a senior majoring in English, stumbled upon her first female Hamlet in a 1921 German silent film while studying in Ireland. The actress was Asta Nielsen, and she was the best Hamlet Bucher had ever seen. “It was striking. She really was Hamlet!” says Bucher, who has been a Shakespeare junkie ever since she read Romeo and Juliet in eighth grade. It was Shakespeare, in fact, who swayed her academic focus
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from theater to English. “Shakespeare is where it all comes together. It is the meeting point between literature and theater. The middle ground. It is literature that is meant to be performed and interpreted for the stage. It suits me perfectly.” And so does her senior thesis topic: females portraying Hamlet. “As a woman who’s interested in theater, it mattered to me that I try to understand what the female perspective of Hamlet has been and how it might continue now, especially since nontraditional casting has become a popular phenomenon,” says Bucher, whose first order of business was tracking down other female Hamlets. That, it turned out, was the easy part. “It’s actually a pretty established tradition starting as early as the mid-18th century,” she says, noting that female Hamlets are more common in theater than in film. “Especially for unknown actresses in the 19th century, this was a way to prove their worth. Because there weren’t a lot of opportunities for women
to prove their acting skills, you see a lot of budding actresses starting out in this role at that time.” For the amount of female Hamlets out there, however, Bucher found a surprising lack of academic research. “There just isn’t much scholarship about women who have taken up the most famous role in Western drama and what they have been trying to say about a woman’s role in both theatrical society and the wider world stage,” says Bucher, whose research focuses primarily on the silent German film and a 1976 Turkish film that speaks to women’s roles there. “That was a pivotal one because women were so oppressed in that culture. The actress makes the most of the voice she’s given in that role, scorning violence against women,” says Bucher, explaining that, instead of ending with the stabbing, “the last image is the female Hamlet destroying violence and potentially the patriarchy. It sort of appropriates the story, because it doesn’t end in death.” Bucher has found a lot of variation in females’ portrayals of Hamlet, but, she says, “Most of them want to do it for a reason. They had something to prove. They wanted to show, ‘This is what women’s lives are like.’” And now Bucher is showing their perspective again. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to delve into a sort of darkside-of-the-moon aspect of Hamlet studies that really deserves to see the light of day,” she says. “I’m also perhaps fostering a hope that I can be that female Hamlet one day, especially knowing now how the tradition has moved through history and how much can be said with Shakespeare’s text that applies today.” And what, exactly, would she bring to the role of Hamlet? “An understanding of his grief and how it affects his indecision. His actions and lack thereof are all manifestations of that grief – I would want to show that.” Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief That can denote me truly: these indeed seem, For they are actions that a man might play. Or, in this case, a woman.
MAKING the GRADE
Stand-up Guy MOST PEOPLE SEE THE HAIR FIRST. It’s understandable, given the fact that Joshua Bloodworth ’15 (M.P.A.) sports a three-inch-tall Mohawk. But there’s a lot more to the graduate student than his stiff shock of neatly coiffed hair. As president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA), Bloodworth represents about 800 graduate students at the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C. Under his leadership, the group has sought to increase funding of grants and assistantships, secure more parking spaces for students, increase fundraising for the school and host social events meant to bolster graduate school spirit and raise money for charities. And that’s just a fraction of Bloodworth’s workload as a graduate student. He’s held campus jobs in the Office of the Provost as well as the Office for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning. He is president of the College’s Master of Public Administration Student Association, chairman of the Student Library Advisory Board and a member of the campus’ One In Four group, named after the statistic of college women who will survive rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. “I like the idea of working with, and for, people,” says Bloodworth, a native of Cope, S.C. “While I may be the face of the GSA, as president, it’s important to note how involved graduate students are in their respective fields, at the university and in the Charleston community.” As Bloodworth prepares for a more buttoned-up career in higher education or local government, he is savoring his last year in graduate school and what he suspects is his last chance to wear his Mohawk. And so he applies his hair paste every morning, stands the follicles up straight and tall, then gets to work finishing his degree and helping fellow graduate students achieve their goals, too. After all, Bloodworth is the first to admit, you need more than a funky haircut if you really want to stand out. Editor’s Note: After graduation in December, Bloodworth, who’s now an assessment and accreditation analyst for the College, trimmed his Mohawk.
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TEAMWORK Here to Assist
IT ALL STARTED IN A MIDDLE SCHOOL gymnasium in North Carolina. Dressed in knee-high socks, an old T-shirt and baggy basketball shorts, 13-year-old Ally Beckman shuffled onto the makeshift volleyball court with dozens of other eighth-graders getting ready for the first day of practice in the Apex Recreation Department’s volleyball league. She did not want to be there.
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“My mom actually signed me up. I did not want to play,” confesses Beckman. “It hurt my arms and I just didn’t want to do it. Thankfully, she urged me to keep going to all of the practices, and I eventually fell in love with the sport.” That love showed five years later as she took the court as a member of the Cougars volleyball team. And it didn’t take long for Beckman to make her mark on
the program. Ten games into the season, she set the record for the number of assists in a three-set match: 42 against Wofford College. A few weeks later, she broke that record, with 44 against William and Mary. Then, she broke it again when she had 49 assists in a game against James Madison University. But it wasn’t just the three-set matches where she was a force. In five-set matches, she set the College’s single-match record for the most assists in a game when she collected 68 assists against JMU. She also holds second place on that same list from when she had 60 assists in another game against that same university. Yes, she likes playing JMU. This season alone, Beckman has inched her way to No. 7 on the College’s list of all-time career assist leaders. Oh, an important detail: She’s just a freshman. Head volleyball coach Jason Kepner has nothing but praise for Beckman, who earned a spot on the CAA All-Rookie team and All-CAA third team honors. “Her biggest strength has been her consistency,” says Kepner. “She allows other players around her to relax because they always know her set location is going to be the same. She adds a calmness on the court, one that everyone can rely on every day. We would definitely not have been as successful without Ally running our offense.” Even though she is the first freshman in more than 15 years to collect over 1,000 assists in a single season, Beckman expects big things next season: “I want to continue to get better. I haven’t hit my peak, and our team hasn’t hit its peak.” And when it comes to taking the program to the next level, Beckman is all in and ready to assist.
The sailing team captured its first-ever ICSA Match Race National Championship title to secure the Cornelius Shields Sr. Trophy. + Several volleyball players were honored with All-CAA accolades: Melissa Morello (first team), Ally Beckman (third team, all-rookie) and Kennedy Madison (third team, all-rookie). + Cross country runners Josh Tierney and Cara Butcher were CA A All-Academic recipients. |
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AND COUNTING Count from 1 to 300. Go ahead. We’ll wait. You’ll soon realize it’s a bigger number than it sounds: It’s going to take a while. That should give you an appreciation of the 300 victories racked up by Ralph Lundy in his 29 seasons as the head coach of the men’s soccer team. It all started with a 3-1 victory over Pfeiffer College in 1987. Since then, games against Ohio State, South Carolina, Wake Forest and many others were added to the W column. He’s also led the College to five conference championships and five appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Pretty impressive. And that’s not even counting the 131 prior wins he collected as head coach at Erskine College. Sure, his 431 career victories rank Lundy fifth among active NCAA Division I men’s soccer coaches in wins, but there is more to coaching than wins and losses. Much, much more. “The impact Coach Lundy has had on so many young men in the program’s history is unparalleled,” says former All-American player Troy Lesesne ’04. “I contact Coach when I need advice or guidance, and he has this type of relationship with so many alumni. Make no mistake, the wins are the byproduct of the relationships he creates with his players.” And Lundy knows it: “I am so blessed to have been at the College and have all these great players over the years,” he says. “I love College of Charleston, and that win means a lot to me.”
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TIME STAMPED TD ARENA, November 30, 8:57 p.m. CofC 70 LSU 58
POINT of VIEW
[ student ]
Change for the Better Sustainability can refer to different things in different situations. The College’s Office of Sustainability has taught these two students that sustainability isn’t something one person, one community, one solution can make happen. Rather, it’s something that connects us all. BY BRITTON HOLMES ’15 AND KELSEY DEPORTE ’15 MY TIME AT THE COLLEGE HAS BEEN A SERIES OF AMAZING opportunities, each one leading me to the next. The first was an internship I got my freshman year with the Pulsera Project, a Charleston-based organization that connects artisan cooperatives, primarily in Nicaragua and Guatemala, with students in the United States. This internship introduced me to the idea of social sustainability and helped me understand the importance of community. When one of the Pulsera Project’s founders, Chris Howell ’11, encouraged me to study abroad with the College’s program in Havana, Cuba, it also led me to my next great opportunity. My study abroad in Cuba was life changing. There, I witnessed the power of community firsthand. I saw how the Cubans have banded together over the past 50 years to overcome obstacles like political confinement and near famine. Despite it all, the Cuban people still manage to love and dance and enjoy life to its fullest extent. During that spring 2014 semester in Cuba, I also experienced a strong sense of community myself: My fellow classmates and I went from being strangers to something like family as we struggled and laughed through the daily hardships of life abroad. We helped each other through our study abroad – and taught each other a few things that we’d bring back home with us. Two of these classmates, for example, encouraged me to apply to work with them in the Office of Sustainability back at the College of Charleston. When I started working there that summer, I had no idea how the office would shape me into the person I am today. In the Office of Sustainability, one opportunity led to another. I worked to expand the diversity of the office’s events and initiatives through communications and presented my work on a panel at a national sustainability conference. I also reconnected with nature by learning more about sustainable agriculture. I had gone to take pictures for Synergies, the office’s online publication, at an organic practice farm just outside of
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Charleston, and after my assignment, I ended up spending a summer picking blueberries and tending bees. This newfound interest in sustainable farming gave me the opportunity to lead the office’s Garden Apprenticeship Program. Most importantly, I found a strong community of determined and caring individuals who would help me find myself and my place at the College of Charleston. The Office of Sustainability takes in students who have big ideas and provides them a platform to grow as students, leaders and people – to change their worlds and to make a positive impact in their communities. And for me, that’s what sustainability is really all about: seeing the value in everything around you – the people, the communities, the systems, the ecosystems – and feeling connected to it and committing yourself and your life to making it better. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” I’m just happy that the College of Charleston has given me the opportunity to do so. – Britton Holmes When I graduated from high school, I felt I was moving on to something beyond just secondary school. Graduation, for me, meant being free of restraints, being on my own to discover, learn and become the change I wanted to see in the world. I had a passion for creative social change and sustainability – and I was excited to let that guide me. I admit, I got a little lost and forgot what was truly important to me when I first arrived at the College of Charleston. After a rough first year of classes and losing my scholarship, I started working in the food and beverage industry to sustain myself. Working 35-hour weeks made pulling my grades up a challenge, and most nights I came home feeling unfulfilled, broken down and alienated. I had to change. Searching within, I discovered a desire to actively create substantial change within society. So, my junior year I drove to Pittsburgh with two other CofC students and attended a national environmental conference and my first public demonstration. These events inspired me to develop an independent study to reduce the amount of materials sent to landfills when students move out of residence halls. For this project, I worked closely with four other students and the Office of Sustainability. These connections ultimately led me to working in the Office of Sustainability for my five remaining semesters at the College of Charleston.
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POINT OF VIEW
Working in the Office of Sustainability helped push me out of my comfort zone. It allowed me room to create my own project and see it through. It was the first time I had ever truly believed in myself and in the work I was doing. It was the first time I felt a sense of belonging in Charleston. I became invested in the Charleston community beyond the campus and the well-being of the community as a whole. I also became involved with the local nonprofit Girls Rock Charleston, which seeks to empower girls and trans youth through music education, do-it-yourself media and creative collaboration. At the same time, my coursework in sociology and environmental studies took a deeper focus into social justice issues, both of which connected to my work in the Office of Sustainability. Through my experiences with Girls Rock Charleston and my coursework, I started to see that social issues and sustainability are profoundly connected. Sustainability is not just about recycling or saving energy, it’s a way of life that greatly impacts the well-being of a whole society. These moments together taught me that simply knowing about the symptoms that cause environmental issues is not enough: Taking action and responsibility for our community’s well-being is how positive change will be made. During my time with the Office of Sustainability, I developed residence life programming that still remains today; hosted
workshops that brought students, faculty, staff and members of the community together; designed graphics that were published on campus and online; and presented at a national conference for sustainability in higher education. In my last semester, my work came full circle when I got to assist new interns in creating their foundations of sustainability with projects they are implementing throughout the community. The Office of Sustainability provided a space for me to work on social justice issues, to meet some of my closest peers, work alongside incredible individuals, become a leader and make changes that could directly impact the College community. For me, sustainability is not just about preserving resources for future generations. It’s about improving the current. It’s about restructuring and restoring our systems and seeking justice for all individuals. It’s about reconnecting with our peers and the very environment we inhabit – seeing the value in the intangible things and finding common ground with those different from us. After all, it is that very common ground that we all share together. – Kelsey Deporte – Britton Holmes ’15 (international business and political science) and Kelsey Deporte ’15 (sociology) graduated in December. S PRI N G 2 0 1 6 |
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POINT of VIEW [ faculty ]
Bird? Plane? Myth. America is founded on myths. Many of our dreams and legends are the stuff of great ambition, of great hope and of great heroes. However, they don’t always fit the type, and sometimes the American hero is the myth itself. BY ELIJAH SIEGLER I’M WRITING THIS ON THE DAY THAT THEY RELEASED OSCAR nominations for the best films of 2015. The eight nominations include a post-apocalyptic action thriller (Mad Max: Fury Road), a hard sci-fi drama (The Martian), four films based on true stories (Bridge of Spies, The Revenant, Spotlight and The Big Short)
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and two arthouse films with strong female leads (Brooklyn and Room). My favorite of the bunch? The one where the protagonist leaves his/her comfort zone, enters a strange new world and gains self-knowledge and new abilities – and eventually ends the story full circle. Oh, sorry, I’ve just about described all the best picture nominees. If you’ve noticed an underlying sameness to most American movies, you are not alone. Academy members like and expect movies to be heroic journeys of redemption. Audiences, even more so. Take a look at the top five highest-grossing movies of 2015: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Inside Out and Furious 7. All 13 of the films I’ve mentioned above are about people we care about becoming individuals by leaving their family and
POINT OF VIEW
their known environments and moving ever outward, toward the unknown, while discovering something about themselves. Many of these films are violent – and, though the heroes try to avoid violence, they will use it unapologetically in the face of evil. Most American movies tell this same story because this is the story America tells itself: the myth of the American hero.
I use the word myth here deliberately, following its accepted definition in my particular field of religious studies as a culturally transmitted story that gives that culture a sense of identity and meaning. In ordinary usage, myth refers to a tale of ancient gods and heroes (e.g., the myth of Orpheus) or to a commonly accepted but incorrect assumption (e.g., the myth of drinking eight glasses of water a day). In both cases, a myth is untrue. For scholars of religion, on the other hand, all myths are true, in the sense of revealing important cultural realities, whether they are factually and historically accurate or not. So the myth of the American hero reveals American values, and, as Americans, we live in and through this myth, often without realizing that such a myth exists in the first place – in the same way fish don’t know what water is, as the story goes. As a teacher at a liberal arts and sciences school like the College of Charleston, I feel it is my job to tell my students about the water they are swimming in.
So last fall, I taught a class called, The Myth of the American Hero. In the first week, I introduced students to the ideas of Joseph Campbell (1904–1987), a writer and speaker who did more to popularize the “the Adventure of the Hero” (as he called it) than anyone else. Campbell analyzed myths from all corners of the globe and all periods of history, seeing them as all telling the same story, the “monomyth” consisting of three major segments: departure, initiation and return (which he further divided into stages). Campbell has been criticized for ignoring myths that didn’t fit the template of his “hero’s journey,” for rewriting myths to fit his preconceived notions and for focusing on the psychological function of myths, instead of their political and social dimensions. But I don’t spend that much time in my class on those important criticisms – instead I let my students discover for themselves how Hollywood films are often purposefully crafted to follow mythic patterns by the screenwriters who have read either Campbell or the screenwriting guides that use him. Students brought in clips of their favorite films, ranging from The Patriot to Finding Nemo, that each dramatized a particular stage in the hero’s journey: the refusal of the call, meeting with the mentor, crossing the threshold. Campbell’s mythic patterns, whether they take place in ancient Greece, or “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” demonstrate all-American values of redemption through violence, of individualism and so on. Campbell thought he was seeing a universal myth, when in fact he was seeing his own American identity reflected. So each Monday night, my students were treated to variations on the American hero myth via classic films of different genres, including the Western, the war film and science fiction. (The films this time were High Noon, Platoon and Star Wars, but these can be, and are, switched out.) But then for the second half of the class I turned to a series of important American films that didn’t replicate that myth, but actively questioned it. These films also represented many different genres – comedy, gangster, crime thriller – but were all written and directed by the same artists: a pair of super-talented brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen. The heroes in Coen brothers’ films are not brave adventurers, but ordinary Americans buffeted by forces beyond their control. For example, Police Chief Marge Gunderson in Fargo and Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in No Country for Old Men are heroic precisely because they know their own limitations and possess the moral imagination to see others’ capacity for self-delusion and vanity (and both movies won major awards at the Oscars, showing the Academy doesn’t only reward films that follow the same mythic pattern). Both the chief and the sheriff seem happiest at home, as does with another well-known Coen brothers hero, Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, who really just wants the return of his rug, which really tied the room together. So, hopefully my students got to better understand the mythic waters we are all swimming in, and then got to know some mythic alternatives. And I got to show them some of my favorite films of all time. – Elijah Siegler is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He is also the editor of a new book about religion in the films of the Coen brothers, Coen: Framing Religion in Amoral Order.
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POINT of VIEW
[ alumni ]
The Power of Yes We’re all faced with things that make us uncomfortable from time to time. This alumna tells us how learning to embrace that discomfort and walk through the open doors in her life has led to one great opportunity after another.
I’D NEVER FLOWN BY MYSELF. THE ONLY TRAVELING I’D DONE was with my family on vacations – and that trip we made to Guatemala to adopt my brother. But this was totally new. I was going to Costa Rica. Alone. Was I scared? Eh, maybe. More excited than anything. I was doing something new. I was leaving my comfort zone. I was taking a chance. Being a student in the College’s studio art program, I’d learned the value of saying, “yes.” Yes to things I didn’t know anything about. Yes to internships at art galleries. Yes to show openings. Yes to meeting the “talked about” people in our city. So, when I finished all my class credits in December, a semester ahead of my peers, I decided to say yes to Costa Rica. I reserved my flights and a room at a hostel that offered a volunteer program (work a few hours each day, sleep for free – not a bad deal) in a town that a friend had recommended. He knew some people there, so if anything went wrong, there was at least someone to turn to. Not that I anticipated trouble. I had the feeling I’d be OK – mostly because, all my life, Charleston had taught me to sit back, relax, look like you know what you’re doing and, eventually, you’ll figure it out. And that’s what I did when I stepped off the bus in Santa Teresa, where I would spend the next 10 weeks. I applied those same rules that brought me there: Look like you know what you’re doing. Stay cool. That proved difficult. Nothing is cool about being the whitest white girl in a surf town. And I clearly didn’t know what I was doing: I couldn’t speak Spanish well and I was wearing jeans and a hoodie in 94-degree heat. But I kept on faking it. I got off the “chicken bus” and found the hostel, where I’d end up staying for the first month as I got to know the town, the language and the waves. I grew up surfing the East Coast, but – as I quickly learned – the waters of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast are completely different. These waves were scary. I was out of my comfort zone, sure. I could have only surfed the baby waves. And I could have just
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| Photos by Lizzy Willingham ’14 |
BY LIZZY WILLINGHAM ’14
relied on people who could speak baby English. But I learned to say yes to the waves I didn’t want to take – and I learned to say si to speaking the language whenever I could. (And, apparently, even when I couldn’t: I once confused the word for travel, viajar,
POINT OF VIEW
with the word for old woman, vieja, and ended up asking my male friend if he’d ever “touched an old woman.”) Despite my foibles, I made friends. I showed them my photography. I collaborated with them and posted my work on the town’s Facebook page when they encouraged me to do so. I offered to do what I love – lifestyle photography – for local
on a wave that scared me, but I learned to surf it. The reins were taken away, but I learned to let go. I also learned how to be OK with doing nothing, which is good because a lot of days there wasn’t much more to do than surf and eat. And that was fine by me. Nothing beats Latin American sweets and fruits. I miss the food. I miss the sunset rallies where everyone in the town goes down to the beach to watch the gold sink under the water. Back in Charleston, every time someone asks about my trip, I’m able to relive little pieces of that time with them. “Do you miss it?” “Would you go back?” Yes, I miss it. And yes, I would go back. Absolutely, I would go back – and hopefully with more friends and people to see once I got there. I’m keeping my eyes out for another chance to travel outside of my city. I used to think that people who loved travel were just running from something, but now I see how it can just be plain fun. I have felt the thrill of newness and uncertainty that comes with being in a strange territory. I get it now. But I still hold this to be true: There’s nothing like knowing a place deeply the way I know my home. I’m someone who likes having people and places that I am well acquainted with. I’ve spent my life in Charleston, and it has bred me into the person I am. It is my home.
All my life, Charleston
had taught me to sit back, relax, look like you know what you’re doing and, eventually, you’ll figure it out.
businesses. Pretty soon, I was photographing the town for a travel blog. Yes was working for me. If I’d never left home, I would have never thought I could make a living as a photographer in any other place. Yes, I’d been put
Besides, Charleston has plenty to say yes to, too. Yes to better relationships with the people I care about. In Costa Rica, I learned what it felt like to be lonely, and I learned to value the time I have with people I want in my life for the long haul. We can be a transient, flaky bunch, but we don’t have to be. Yes to being honest and open. Yes to photographing just because, even if I might not be getting paid. Yes to starting conversations and connections even when I don’t know where they’ll lead. I recently said yes to a creative conference – a networking-type thing that I’d typically avoid – and met someone who has now hired me for lifestyle photography of an oyster farm. How Charleston is that?! I feel really good about being where I am for a while. I learned a lot about life while I was away, but – even here in Charleston – there’s something to say yes to every day. No, I haven’t seen a lot or lived many years, but this is one thing I’ve learned: Even when you don’t know where it will get you, take the chance. Even when you don’t know what you’re doing. Stay cool. Hold your head high. Just fake it. You might fall flat on your face, but you also might learn something you’d never otherwise know. Yes: You’ll be better off for it. – Lizzy Willingham ’14 is a freelance photographer based in Charleston. Check out her work at elizabethervin.com.
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Clyde the Cougar is ever-present â€“ storming the basketball court with us after upset wins, lifting our spirits when our teams struggle, entertaining our littlest fans. From games to grand openings, photo ops to parades, our beloved mascot has been a mainstay at the College for more than three decades. But who is Clyde and how did he become the face of the College?
by Ron Menchaca â€™98 Images by Mike Ledford
n the span of nearly two and a half centuries of College of Charleston history, he is but a blip on our institutional radar. But in the relatively short period of time he has served as the College’s official mascot, Clyde the Cougar has become to many a beloved and irreplaceable symbol of our university, as recognizable and symbolic as Randolph Hall or the Cistern Yard. From humble beginnings in a shabby, ill-fitting and somewhat menacing-looking cougar suit in the 1970s to today’s wide-eyed, cartoonish version, Clyde has evolved with the times. The modern iteration of Clyde maintains a busy performance schedule, collects appearance fees and boasts his own Twitter handle. No one person can lay claim to the title of Clyde. He is a composite of generations of student volunteers who have, quite literally, given their blood, sweat – lots of sweat – and tears to embody this goofy, lovable, strutting hunk of feline fun. By the time Todd Crowe ’86 entered the College as a freshman in 1982, the cougar had been the official mascot for more than a decade. Prior to the 1970-71 school year, the College’s studentathletes competed as the Maroons. A native of Simpsonville, S.C., Crowe had dreamed of becoming a doctor since he was old enough to know what a doctor was. Along the way to achieving that goal, Crowe – now a practicing anesthesiologist in Seneca, S.C. – almost single-handedly created the mascot we know today as Clyde the Cougar. While the College did, in fact, have a Cougar mascot suit through the 1970s and early ’80s, there was no formal mascot program and no dedicated cadre of students volunteering to act the part of the nameless cougar. “At that time, the suit was probably 10 years old,” says Crowe. “It was just something that they had around and someone would occasionally put it on.” One night in 1982, Crowe was attending an early-season women’s basketball game in the newly opened Johnson Center. As was often the case, the cougar mascot was nowhere to be found. Instead, someone had mercifully displayed a stuffed toy cougar on a courtside chair. Crowe shook his head in disbelief as he stared at the lifeless, uninspiring plush doll: “I saw that and I said, ‘Really? This is our mascot?’” Determined to remedy this perceived affront to school spirit, Crowe tracked down a classmate who was known to occasionally wear the drab fleece suit for campus events. Crowe made his pitch: “I really have an interest in taking this and developing it into a character, having some props and having a costume made for him and coming up with a name, let him really develop into something the College can be proud of and people can rally around.” If Crowe was expecting resistance, he got none. “Knock yourself out,” the part-time cougar replied. Following an informal polling of his friends and classmates, Crowe settled on a name for the mascot, and Clyde was born. Soon, Crowe was wearing the costume everywhere he could. He commandeered some hand-me-down T-shirts and uniforms to clothe his new pal. Clyde became a regular at basketball games and campus events. He frequently roamed downtown, often stopping by the student hangout, the Cougar’s Den. He also made an appearance in the Charleston Christmas parade that year.
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Crowe’s timing could not have been better. He brought enthusiasm, organization and professionalism to the role of Clyde at the precise moment the men’s basketball team, under Head Coach John Kresse, was gaining national attention. Mascots are an integral part of athletics at every level, Kresse says, and with the addition of Clyde, the Cougars became a complete team: “I truly believe, especially in college, the mascot, the cheerleaders, the dance team and the bands make the pageantry of college sports the best there is.” The Cougars’ run toward a national championship in 1983 also provided Crowe with an opportunity to upgrade Clyde’s costume. By then, the fragile, aging ensemble was fraying and reeked to high heaven. Under the guise of ensuring safe transport of Clyde’s head to the national tournament in Kansas City, Crowe convinced Women’s Athletics Director Joan Cronan to tote the smelly helmet on the airplane as her carry-on, confident that she would quickly recognize the urgent need for a new costume. “She promised me once we arrived in Kansas City that I would be getting a new Clyde uniform for my sophomore year,” Crowe says, still chuckling about the ploy all these years later. And, of course, the team went on to claim the national championship after winning five games in five consecutive days. The Cougars had clawed their way to the top, and their new mascot was with them through it all. “Our championship run really took Clyde to the next level,” says Crowe.
BEING CLYDE Crowe would serve as Clyde for four years before graduating – in full Clyde costume – in 1986. He took care to leave his alter ego in good hands, establishing a partial scholarship to help support future Clydes. After a series of auditions before a panel of judges, Keith Reynolds ’87, a protégé of Crowe, was selected to be the next Clyde. And so began a tradition of outgoing Clydes handing over the reins to eager young cubs. “I have very fond memories from my years as Clyde,” says Reynolds, an operations manager with Waste Management in Houston, Texas. “I was then, and I am still, very proud to be part of that legacy.” In those early days, one student could handle the mascot duties. But nowadays, as many as four students share the job, with the more senior ones getting plum assignments like basketball games. With each successive generation of mascots, Clyde’s personality and mannerisms are refined and passed down. Christian Smith ’13, who served as Clyde for two years and has also performed as the Charleston Riverdogs’ mascot Charlie, says it’s essential for mascot programs with multiple members to maintain the consistency of their mascot’s character. “There is a specific Clyde walk that everybody has to be able to do,” says Smith. “There’s a certain thing you have to be able to do with signatures. There are things that every mascot, no matter who’s in the costume, has to do exactly the same every time because that’s what people see. After that, you can add your own little flair to it.” The opportunity to infuse one’s own personality and strengths into the role of Clyde is part of what makes the job so much fun. Some Clydes are particularly athletic, some are great dancers
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33 | The Original Clyde: , Todd Crowe 86
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and some are clever pranksters. For longtime Cougars fans, the individuality and uniqueness that each student brings to the role are often evident from year to year. That diversity of Clydes over the decades has produced many unforgettable performances and classic moments. He’s cut a rug with actor Bill Murray, launched from a trampoline to throw down Air Jordan–style dunks, crowd surfed, amazed with magic tricks and proposed to a TV reporter in the middle of a live shot. Clyde has even been bar mitzvahed. Many mascots have developed a persona for their Clyde in the same way that an actor channels a character for a performance. Whenever Kristin Campbell Tarcza ’07 needed to tap the essence of Clyde’s signature swagger during the four years she served as the mascot, she conjured a specific archetype. “I always like to think of Clyde as a College of Charleston fraternity guy,” says Tarcza, now a counselor at a private school in New Orleans. “He’s a lot of fun, he’s laid back. He’s there to have a good time, but he’s very confident.”
Part of what makes being a mascot so physically demanding is that a mascot must perform for the whole crowd, whether they are sitting courtside or up in the nosebleed section. Subtlety doesn’t translate in mascotting, says former Clyde mascot Sheryl Dizon ’13. “When you are in the suit, you want to make sure that all the fans that come out have the same experience, whether they are right there in front of you or at the very top of the arena,” says Dizon. “You have to make sure your gestures and your movements are grand and big enough that they notice you.” Naturally, all of that physical exertion leads to some serious perspiring. If you’ve ever been knocked back by the powerful odor of a locker room in the summer, you have some idea of how the Clyde suit begins to smell after several spirited uses. It’s not like you can toss the expensive costume in the wash and soak away hours of sweaty antics, lung-busting gyrations and body-aching cartwheels. Caring for the costume is a delicate process, and taking it to the dry-cleaner only helps so much.
A MASCOT CAN BE A BIG HIT AND SOMETHING THAT PROPELS A YOUNGSTER TO LOVE A TEAM, A SPORT, AND KEEP COMING BACK,, TO THE GAMES FOR A LONG TIME. (1979– 2002) –J K , , ohn resse men s basketball coach
To Smith, “Clyde is kind of that ornery middle schooler who likes to flirt and likes to hit on people and is very smooth-talking. One of my favorite things to do as Clyde was to propose to people and make it really uncomfortable for them.”
MALODOROUS MASCOT Spend some time watching Clyde and the College’s cheer and dance squads and you realize that these students are every bit as well conditioned and trained as the players on the court. Not everyone who tries out has what it takes to be Clyde. It’s a different realm inside that head: your vision narrows, your depth perception becomes fuzzy and the sounds of the outside world blend into a muffled mess. Even the simple act of walking is a struggle when you’re sporting Clyde’s big, floppy clown shoes. But most mascots will tell you that the most challenging aspect of being Clyde is the relentless heat generated inside the suit. Prancing around in the humidity of Charleston becomes unbearable after only a few minutes in costume. Only the strong can survive an entire game. It used to be even worse. When Crowe was getting started as Clyde in the early ’80s, the College staged men’s and women’s basketball games back to back. Crowe might be in costume for five hours or more. To make things worse, this was during the era of Kresse, who liked to jack up the temperature in the gym to 85 degrees on game nights to gain a competitive advantage.
Despite everyone’s best efforts to keep the costume clean, Reynolds remembers that the thick fur constantly oozed rankness. “I heard more than once, ‘Mommy, Clyde smells funny.’” But the physical exhaustion, the olfactory challenges, the imperative to stay in shape – these are small sacrifices compared to the rewards of being the center of attention, the life of the party and, most importantly, a source of wonder and happiness for children.
FOR THE KIDS The fist-bumping fraternity brother knows that Clyde could be his classmate peering back at him from behind the whiskered snout. The unsuspecting lady who gets a dance twirl from Clyde knows that Clyde is playing a role and she’s part of the act. But the kids in the crowd, they don’t always know that it’s make-believe. Before they understand the rules of the game, care which player is having a breakout season or can comprehend the significance of the big red numbers on the scoreboard, most children are drawn to mascots like Clyde. These live-action cartoon characters are a special part of the sports world, and when you get right down to it, the primary role of the mascot is to entertain the youngest fans in the crowd. “The most important element of the audience at games is the children,” says Kresse. “A mascot can be a big hit and something
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that propels a youngster to love a team, a sport, and keep coming back to the games for a long time.” Most mascots will tell you that, of all the crazy and unpredictable experiences they’ve had in costume, the most treasured ones are the interactions with children. “I loved working with kids, so they were always the fans I would gravitate toward,” says Dizon, who works as an aide for special needs children in the Sumter (S.C.) School District. “There are kids that would yell ‘Clyde,’ and run up and hug you. But then there are ones who would shy away and run and hide behind their parents.” Because Clyde can seem so very real to a child, Smith often debated whether to perform certain moves on the court. “The head never really stayed on, so it was always a panic when you did a front flip or somersault whether that head was going to pop off and scare some little kid.” But, other times, it’s the fans who scare the mascot.
“KNOB CLOB” Being a mascot is a relatively safe gig when your team is playing at home. But things can get dicey when you go on the road to play a rival. Even confident Clyde gets nervous when the Cougars are playing at The Citadel, especially, if as Crowe once did, Clyde boldly struts into The Citadel’s McAlister Field House wearing a T-shirt that says “Knob Clob” and a cadet cap on his head. Perhaps not surprisingly, a mob of cadets pounced on Clyde, determined to teach him some respect and get their cap back. They not only stripped Clyde of his prized hat but also managed to rip off his cougar tail before Crowe could slip away. Games at the military college were always an intimidating experience for Clyde, says Reynolds. “I always had a police escort follow me around during the game.” Tarcza, however, preferred to move about without a guide. But she rethought that strategy after a game at The Citadel in which she found herself surrounded by a company of rowdy, testosteronefueled cadets. “They got a little rough,” she recalls. “They assumed I was a guy.”
THE RULES OF FUN Mascots have a professional code. And among the most sacred of these rules is that a mascot never reveals his or her identity. In fact, mascots speak in hushed tones about violations of this cardinal order in the same way that professional athletes gossip about competitors suspected of using performanceenhancing drugs. “You were not supposed to tell people you were Clyde,” says Smith. “We’d get together and go to these conferences, and we’d talk about stuff like that. If you ever were exposed, we’d all know about it and kind of almost shun you.” But after a few years, it could become difficult for even the most disciplined Clydes to maintain the farce among their closest friends. One of Dizon’s friends who played on the women’s basketball team was upset that Dizon never came to see her play in games. “I’m at your games,” Dizon assured her. “I’m literally your No. 1 fan.” But to preserve the friendship, she eventually confided that she was Clyde. Tarcza spilled the beans to her then-boyfriend and now-husband,
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Walter Tarcza ’06, so he would understand why she was going to basketball games without him. Another rule is that mascots are always on duty. After Dizon became separated from the rest of the cheer and dance team while participating in the Charleston Christmas parade one year, she wandered over to Marion Square and sat down on a bench to wait for an escort. She had almost forgotten she was still in costume when strangers started cozying up to her. “People thought it was a photo op, like when you come and see Santa,” she says. Kresse had his own special rule that applied to mascots. The coach had a standing order with the team that he was the only one allowed to get a technical foul in a game. Unaware of this commandment, Crowe was performing as Clyde in a game one night when he got caught up in the excitement and decided to imitate an unsuspecting referee. While the crowd was amused, the referee slapped the team with a tech. Kresse was livid: “I remember that I was mad at Clyde for at least a week or so until we won our next game.”
FOREVER YOUNG Mascots remain frozen in time. Their permanent smiles never slacken, their energy never wanes. When it’s time for a crop of Clydes to say goodbye to the College, a new class of Cougars steps on to the court. The cycle ensures that Clyde is always fresh, always in top form. But for those who have worn the costume, life moves on. The stamina that once enabled them to perform for hours at a time eventually declines. The athleticism and fearlessness that made them great mascots give way to creaky joints and restraint. Sure, being Clyde is a silly job. But in a sports world that can sometimes take itself too seriously, mascots matter. And you’d be hard pressed to find a former or current Clyde who carries anything but pride and cherished memories of their time in the suit. Walk through Tarcza’s house, and you’ll find framed photos of her days as Clyde. Reynolds spoke so fondly of his run as Clyde that he inspired his daughter, Melaina Castengera, to enroll at the College. Whenever Dizon is asked to give a fun fact about herself, she knows just the one to share. Smith still dreams of becoming a mascot for a professional sports team. For now, he’s content as the director of theater and an adjunct faculty member at a private school in Sumter, S.C. Recently, he’s been working with his students to establish a mascot program for the school. You never outlive your days as a mascot. It’s forever a part of you. And when you least expect it, that exhilarating chapter of your college life comes roaring back. Years after Crowe had left the College and was getting his medical career started, he struck up a conversation with a couple inside a Greenville, S.C., restaurant. As it turned out, the woman had once dated a guy from The Citadel, and she told the story of how her boyfriend had stolen the tail of the College’s mascot and given the war trophy to her as a gift. She bragged that she still had it, having no idea she was talking to the first Clyde, that Clyde. Shocked, Crowe looked sternly at the woman and said, “I want my tail back.”
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FLYING by Jason Ryan : photography by Brett Schreckengost
Robert Blank â€™11 knew it wouldnâ€™t be easy. All the same, he quit his job in Colorado to pursue a dream: building drones that could drop dynamite and help control avalanches. After spending six months in a business incubator, Blank's startup, Mountain Drones, is getting off the ground.
Robert Blank ’11 arrived in Telluride, Colo., at night, having navigated a twisty canyon road that paralleled the snaking San Miguel River. The native South Carolinian had moved to Denver, sight unseen, three years earlier, and was now moving to Telluride, sight unseen again, another 300 miles west. For at least the next six months, this mining-town-turned-ski resort high in the Rockies would be his home. Waking up the next morning, Blank strolled onto his porch and was awestruck by the scene: Daylight had revealed the winter wonderland that is Telluride. Tucked into a majestic box canyon, the town is enclosed by mountainsides covered in pine and aspen, with sheer bands of bare, red rock contrasting gorgeously against the snow-covered slopes. Cozy, picture-perfect Victorian cottages line Telluride’s streets, all of which sit far below Mount Ajax, which looms at the end of the canyon and whose peak reaches up to nearly 13,000 feet. Taking it all in from his perch on the porch, Blank was bowled over. This is so sweet, he said to himself. This place is awesome. Even better was the ski lift just 400 feet from his front steps. And beyond that, the details of his morning commute: a 13-minute gondola ride up the mountainside and a short walk to his office space in a luxury hotel, where guests make reservations for heli-skiing right next door to the spa. Blank was certainly enthusiastic that February morning in 2015, especially since the local business incubator had just agreed to invest $25,000 in Mountain Drones, the highperformance drone company he had just formed with two friends, Brent Holbrook and Warren Linde. Eating a late breakfast in the New Sheridan Hotel on Telluride’s main street nearly a year later, Blank looks out through the glass windows that afford a view of quaint Colorado Avenue and the ski slopes on the edge of town. “It’s a pretty cool environment to develop a product,” he says. That’s an understatement as big as the Rockies are tall. Those who know Telluride love Telluride. Condé Nast Traveler readers have voted it the top ski resort in North America for three years in a row, and SKI Magazine readers deem it the most scenic. Men’s Health calls it “one of the coolest winter getaways,” and Vogue devoted a December 2015 article to praising its beauty and attractions. People have desperately wanted to come to Telluride ever since it was founded in 1878. In those days, Telluride held the promise of fortune. Miners, many of them European immigrants, arrived to the town to extract zinc, lead, copper, iron and more from the nearby San Juan Mountain Range (which is part of the Rocky Mountains). In 1889, the famous outlaw Butch Cassidy took a more straightforward route to enriching himself: He robbed his first bank, stealing more than $20,000 from Telluride’s San Miguel Valley Bank. A year later, the railroad came to town. And a year after that, the first long-distance transmission of alternating current was accomplished when a hydroelectric plant developed by L.L. Nunn and George Westinghouse sent electricity more than three miles to Gold King Mine. These innovations led to a boom in Telluride that swelled its population and even enabled the formation of a bustling red-light district. But after a financial panic in 1893, the town dwindled, remaining a sleepy outpost until the 1970s, when the Telluride Ski Resort was opened and established a new industry to succeed mining. Since then, the ski slopes have expanded considerably, with Telluride Ski Resort becoming one of the world’s premier winter getaways. Skiing atop the mountain, one enjoys |
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astounding views, with powdered and unspoiled peaks, plains and plateaus in each and every direction. Telluride is a world unto itself. An adjacent municipality, Mountain Village, was created in 1995 above a hill outside Telluride, and has since become home to the wealthy, including such celebrities as Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey. The affluence has rolled down the mountain, too, along the gondola line that connects the two towns, as most single-family homes in Telluride now cost a few million dollars. Those who can afford it might argue that it’s still a bargain, given the stunning scenery and easy accessibility to first-rate skiing, hiking, mountain biking and rafting opportunities. Just as Nunn and Westinghouse had pioneered their gamechanging technology more than a century earlier there, Blank was hoping Telluride would provide the setting for his own breakthrough. By joining the Telluride Venture Accelerator, he and his partners would benefit from a five-month business boot camp designed to help launch Mountain Drones and provide valuable mentoring opportunities with local and visiting tech entrepreneurs and business executives. And Telluride, with its tall peaks and ample backcountry ski slopes, was the perfect place for Blank and his partners to test their prototypes of high-flying, dynamitedropping drones.
Flying High Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are
everywhere these days. They patrol the skies of the world’s hotspots and prowl for suspected terrorists. They hover above cities across the country, filming real estate commercials and other aerial photography. Hobbyists fly them in parks, and Amazon wants to use them to deliver packages to your doorstep. Drones are used to monitor container ship emissions at sea, deliver engagement rings during elaborate marriage proposals and bring bottles to patrons lounging poolside at a Las Vegas hotel. The Consumer Electronics Association estimates 700,000 drones were sold in 2015. That’s a lot of competition. But save the militaries of assorted superpowers, there aren’t many, if any, other organizations attempting to drop bombs from remotely controlled drones, or “flying killer robots,” as comedian Bill Maher likes to label them. Mountain Drones’ aerial devices are not designed to kill, however, but rather to save lives. By dropping dynamite to trigger avalanches on backcountry ski slopes, Blank’s company hopes to make terrain safer for skiers. Avalanches kill about 27 Americans each year, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, including backcountry skiers who inadvertently trigger the deluges of snow when gliding down virgin slopes. Blank says more than 400 ski resorts in the United States engage in avalanche mitigation for backcountry skiers each season, clearing slopes by dropping explosives from helicopters, firing cannons into mountainsides or sending climbers out along ridgelines with backpacks or sleds full of explosives. These methods are costly and dangerous. Blank and his partners believe drones provide a better way to deliver the explosives, and they’ve staked the success of their business on this premise. Besides ski resorts, Mountain Drones has received interest from transportation departments and railroad companies eager to find solutions for avalanches that bury roads and rails. There’s a reason so few organizations are dropping bombs from drones. Beyond the danger of dynamite, both drones and explosives
are highly regulated, meaning any startup combining the two risks becomes hopelessly entangled in government red tape. Some of the leaders and mentors at the Telluride Venture Accelerator, in fact, strongly cautioned Blank and his partners about this potential problem, urging them to find other ways to utilize their unique, high-performance drones. “Your market is too small. You can’t scale this,” Blank remembers them saying. “You’re not going to get over the regulatory hurdles. You don’t know what you’re getting into.” In other words, Mountain Drones might never get off the ground. Such criticism, as well-intentioned as it was, can be hard for any entrepreneur to hear. But any company accepted into the Telluride Venture Accelerator, explains Telluride resident and business mentor Len Metheny, will undergo a rigorous, eye-opening examination of who their customer is, what the market needs are for their product and how much it will truly cost to run their business. This process is “not unlike a military boot camp,” says Metheny. “You tear them down and build them back up.” That’s the only way to ensure a company’s business plan is sustainable, he says. Metheny was the founder and CEO of ApplyYourself, a company that counted most major colleges and universities as clients and essentially digitized the college application process. After selling the firm to the Daily Mail in 2007 and enjoying a stint in London, Metheny moved with his family to Telluride, where he began volunteering as a mentor with the local venture accelerator. Through his own experience, Metheny knows how advantageous it can be to receive business guidance, have introductions made for you and be provided with the opportunity to pitch interested investors. “It’s a roller coaster starting a business. The odds are against you from day one,” says Metheny. “What we do is try to improve the odds for these guys.” Blank appreciated the advice from Metheny and other mentors, but he and his partners were stubbornly convinced their original business plan had merit. In Blank’s mind, there were clear buyers (ski resorts and transportation departments/companies) with clear needs (to mitigate avalanches) who could be provided with a solution immediately, courtesy of Mountain Drones. Though Blank dutifully explored the potential of related business opportunities, such as using drones to place scientific sensors in remote parts of the Rockies and other extreme environments, he and his partners ultimately stuck to their guns and decided to focus on avalanche mitigation. “When you say you’re going to drop dynamite from a drone, people say, ‘You’re crazy. That’s absurd,’” says Blank. “But it’s not absurd, and it’s happening.”
The Biggest and Baddest Blank has always liked to tinker. At the age of 14, he transformed a basic tiller-controlled johnboat into a souped-up bass boat, complete with a full cast deck, steering wheel, two fish finders, trolling motors and lights. Blank loved it, even if all the gizmos made it travel 10 mph slower. After moving to Colorado, he became intrigued by drones. Eventually, after many weekend ski trips and happy-hour meetings with other aspiring entrepreneurs, Blank, Holbrook and Linde struck the idea for Mountain Drones. Originally, the
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trio envisioned their drones could be used for search-and-rescue missions in tough and snowy terrain, including emergencies when avalanches trap backcountry skiers. But ski instructors warned the trio that such rescues are infrequent and that perhaps avalanche mitigation was a safer bet for creating a business. The men pivoted, and Blank, as Mountain Drones’ chief technology officer, was tasked with making a drone that could not only fly in the thin, gusting air that surrounds the Rockies, but also could safely drop and detonate bombs. At the College, Blank studied biology. One of his professors was Robert Dillon, who one day infuriated Blank with the stern warning: “Not only am I not going to help you, I’m going to intentionally mislead you,” Blank remembers Dillon telling the class. Blank was outraged. Yet once the anger subsided, Blank realized Dillon’s point: He needed to discover his own answers. Since then, Dillon’s tough love has paid dividends for Blank. Armed with confidence and a can-do attitude, Blank turned a deaf ear to the doubters who inevitably question any startup business plan. “When someone says, always, never, can’t, I just immediately kind of wonder, Is that true? Why is that the case?” says Blank. |
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He forged ahead with his drone dream, setting up a home workshop covered in tiny wires, Dremel tools, microchips and assorted plastic parts. Blank’s girlfriend calls it the “mad scientist room,” and, indeed, Blank used the space to cannibalize a number of consumer drones and create a Frankenstein drone featuring a combination of the best and toughest components. As Blank says proudly of the $20,000 machine, “It’s just the biggest, baddest drone there is.” The Mountain Drones’ prototype features eight rotors that help it fly in the thin mountain air, where motors perform at only 70 percent of the power they’d enjoy at a lower altitude. Their prototype can fly for 30 minutes carrying a 20-pound payload, traveling about 15 mph and never soaring more than 400 feet off the ground (per government rules). While it’s impressive to develop a drone that performs in the cold, blustery Rocky Mountain air, Blank’s real coup was the
development of a mechanism that could simultaneously release an explosive from the drone and remove its cotter pin as the bomb began a free fall. Additionally, Blank toyed with microchips and learned computer programming to create a failsafe method for the drone operator to drop and arm the explosive. Those challenges were time consuming, but at least they were fun – not too far a cry from his childhood experiments with Legos. Preparing a 180-page application to the Federal Aviation Administration to operate explosive-carrying drones was another story. “I wouldn’t wish that process on my worst enemy,” Blank says of the month of 16-hour days the effort required. He would have hired a lawyer to do that work, he says, except it likely would have cost him and his partners the entire investment stake they earned from the Telluride Venture Accelerator. As Dillon taught him in class, some things you have to do yourself.
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Bombs Away The FAA granted Mountain Drones an operating permit in late 2015.
With this major milestone passed, Mountain Drones could pursue more financing. Like any tech startup, cash is a crucial resource. “The reality of all these young companies is they’re always raising money. The clock is always ticking,” says Jesse Johnson, the CEO and co-founder of the Telluride Venture Accelerator, which is owned by the nonprofit Telluride Foundation. Since beginning operations in 2013, the Telluride Venture Accelerator has helped launch 18 companies, which have raised more than $10 million. Johnson is proud to point out that two-thirds of these companies have raised more than $300,000 within a year of graduation from the accelerator, which is more than double the benchmark for accelerators worldwide. One company that began in the Telluride accelerator, Fresh Monster, now sells its natural hair care products in more than 1,000 stores, including Target and Amazon. But another company, which created communal trip-planning software, fizzled. Johnson notes that there are lots of ways a promising venture can derail. “You can do everything right, have a great idea, and still stumble. There are so many things you don’t control,” says Johnson. Hiring choices, establishing a leadership hierarchy, making prototypes and creating pilot programs – these are some of the tough problems for entrepreneurs to solve, says Johnson. Also hard: coordinating a shared vision with your partners and deciding how far the team is willing to go to possibly succeed. “Are you going to mortgage your home, or is that off limits?” asks Johnson. For Metheny, Blank’s business mentor, these challenging issues require a combination of energy and intelligence to navigate. “Passion is important, but many times, your decisions require more than a gut feel,” he says. In the case of Mountain Drones, Metheny credits Blank for being passionate but also data driven. Blank’s determination to obtain a permit from the FAA, says Metheny, also gives Mountain Drones a business advantage, since regulations can serve as a barrier to entry for other firms. Some other good news: The drone market is growing, and fast. It’s a trend Blank is well aware of. “It’s moving at warp speed, like a rocket ship,” says Blank, ticking off estimates for the commercial drone market that range from $30 billion to $120 billion. Ultimately, Blank’s business philosophy is to create a viable product now and be positioned for future opportunity. He peppers his conversations with nuggets of wisdom, some appropriated and some his own, that are variations on this theme: Stay present and keep your head up. … One foot in front of the other. … As long as you’re right more than 51 percent of the time, you’re doing OK. … Learn – use failure as a data point. … You have to make decisions – you can’t keep stalling because others will pass you. … Live to fight another day. The optimism is natural for the affable 26-year-old, but it also serves to counteract the anxiety associated with starting a tech company. “They said this would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and they were right,” says Blank. “I’ve never been this stressed before.” But with permit in hand, consumer interest growing and a spate of media attention for Mountain Drones in publications like Outside and Popular Science, Blank has reason to smile and keep the faith. “I wish I had a crystal ball where I could tell you where we’ll be in 10 years, but, I think, it will be something sweet involving drones and there will be drones out there dropping dynamite,” says Blank. “If I just stay in the game, big things will happen.”
Learn more about alumnus Robert Blank’s work with drone technology and check out some additional aerial photographs and video from Blank and photographer/videographer Brett Schreckengost at today.cofc.edu.
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PUT TOGETHER You could call him the Rumpelstiltskin of digital video. Whereas the ill-tempered imp from the German fairy tale could spin straw into gold, Patrick Latcham ’11 transmutes raw video footage into crisply edited highlight reels. And whereas Rumpelstiltskin demanded a newborn child for his services, Latcham is content to accept a modest fee, no matter if you guess his name or not. Latcham is the founder of ProEditors, an online video-editing startup based in Telluride, Colo. ProEditors customers submit their raw videos over the Internet – usually outdoors or sports footage from activities like skiing or river rafting – and then quickly receive a crisp and polished one- to two-minute clip in return. As ProEditors slogan says, “You film, we edit.” The seed of this idea was planted while Latcham was working as a ski instructor at Telluride Ski Resort in 2012. Nearly every other person coming down the slopes, it seemed, was using a GoPro camera to record their adventures on the mountain. Meanwhile, Latcham’s girlfriend, owing to her video-editing talents, was being bombarded by requests from family members to shape raw footage from their own GoPro cameras and smartphones into mini-movies. One day, a light bulb went off in Latcham’s head and ProEditors was born. Having since worked his way up to sales and marketing positions at the ski resort, as well as having networked with a number of Telluride professionals, Latcham was encouraged to submit his business idea to the Telluride Venture Accelerator. He did so, and in 2015 Latcham was accepted into the competitive business incubator. To his surprise and delight, so was a former College roommate, Robert Blank ’11, a founder of Mountain Drones. It’s a small world. In the months ahead, the Telluride Venture Accelerator helped Latcham refine his business plan. Editing can be tedious, time-consuming work, so one critical breakthrough was the development of software that allowed customers to flag the most important parts of their video footage, choosing clips they expect to be included. It’s a win-win, as this innovation saves ProEditors employees time and also guarantees nothing remarkable from the client’s footage is left on the cutting room floor. “Our customers wanted to be the director,” Latcham explains, “but they didn’t want to learn how to edit.” Another innovation is the outsourcing of the editing work to freelancers across the country and world. Whenever a freelance editor accepts a job from ProEditors, they are provided the clips chosen by the customer as well as relevant stock footage (some of which has been provided by Blank’s Mountain Drones), giving the editor a healthy head start on the video. What might have taken an editor four hours to complete previously, Latcham says, now can be finished within a half hour, with finished videos delivered via a downloadable link or YouTube.
“It took out all the laborious work that editors hate doing and let them focus on the creative aspects,” he says. “I think of it as the Uber of video editing. They have to vet their drivers; we have to vet our editors.” Though Latcham launched the company by himself, he’s since taken on a partner and hired some tech talent. He’s also raised money from investors while preparing to launch a new website in 2016. Len Metheny, a Telluride resident, successful tech entrepreneur and mentor to those in the venture accelerator, says he’s been impressed by Latcham’s aptitude and ability to “scrap it.” “He’s tremendous. He’s like a sponge,” says Metheny, who met with Latcham weekly as he developed ProEditors within the incubator. “He works with confidence, but not too much confidence.” Metheny credits Latcham for singlehandedly proving a market need for his service and raising capital. Now, he says, the trick is to get enough people to use ProEditors. Latcham has tackled this next challenge by partnering with outdoors companies – he hopes to lure customers when they buy their ski lift tickets or hire a river rafting guide, among other strategies. In the future, Latcham sees ProEditors as having much potential beyond the world of outdoors sports. “Anything that’s being recorded on video needs an editor,” he says. In the meantime, he’s plenty busy just getting off the ground and building a strong foundation for his startup. “Right now I’m making less money than I ever have and working more hours than I ever have,” Latcham admits. “But I love it. It’s exciting and I’m creating something, which is definitely rewarding.”
words by S am Wheele r ’05 by Sam W imwaogredss b heeler ’05 y Leslie M images by c Leslie McKKe l l a r ellar
THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A HOME–BREWED BUSINESS..IN THE PAST DECADE, THREE ALUMNI HAVE TAKEN SOUTH CAROLINA’S CRAFT BEER SCENE FROM DRY TO HOPPING, CONDITIONING THE STATE’S TASTE FOR THE FIELD AND CRAFTING THEIR WAY INTO THE ONLY INDUSTRY THAT CAN TAKE YOU FROM IPA TO IPO..
n less than a decade, South Carolina’s burgeoning craft beer industry has grown from a few amateur craft brewers tinkering in their garages to a full-blown entrepreneurial wave backed by venture capitalists and millions of dollars. Old warehouses and dilapidated buildings have been converted into high-output production facilities packed full of gleaming stainless steel tanks and hordes of locals, thirsty millennials and beer connoisseurs. And leading this craft beer explosion in South Carolina is a trio of College of Charleston alumni who, like the craft beer industry itself, are defying stereotypes of what successful business proprietors look like. They all blazed a unique path to success, overcoming obstacles and critics in order to pursue their passion. Along the way, they helped create and expand an economically viable, philanthropically motivated and sustainability-minded industry that did not exist in South Carolina only eight years ago.
“ I was a political novice with a New Jersey attitude demanding the right to brew high-gravity beer. I left each legislator a cute little pamphlet that outlined all the reasons why North Carolina’s laws were better than ours.”
- Jaime Tenny ’00
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JERSEY GIRL In 2005, Jaime Tenny ’00 and her husband, David Merritt, began to seriously consider opening a craft brewery in the Lowcountry. There was just one problem at the time: Craft breweries as we now know them were illegal in South Carolina, owing to a state law that criminalized the production of beer with an alcohol content of more than 6.2 percent. In other words, South Carolina was missing out on a booming industry that was generating billions of dollars, creating jobs and revitalizing blighted areas in towns and cities all across America. If you were going to pick a spokesperson to convince South Carolina legislators that the state’s Prohibition-era cap on alcohol content was culturally antiquated and stifling entrepreneurship, Tenny would not have been the obvious choice. She likely wouldn’t have picked herself for the job either. But no one else was stepping up to the plate, so she grabbed a bat and went to work. While Merritt continued honing his brewing skills, Tenny founded “Pop the Cap South Carolina,” a grassroots initiative aimed at lifting South Carolina’s alcohol content restrictions and creating a legal framework for the production of craft brew in South Carolina. But her first lobbying trip to the South Carolina Statehouse in 2005 went about as poorly as it possible could have. “My first trip up there was a joke,” she recalls. “I was a political novice with a New Jersey attitude demanding the right to brew high-gravity beer. I left each legislator a cute little pamphlet that outlined all the reasons why North Carolina’s laws were better than ours.” As legislators practically laughed her out of Columbia, Tenny recognized that her bull-ina-china-shop approach needed some refinement. She toned down her Jersey attitude and removed any references to South Carolina’s neighbor to the north from her pitch. “Many of our politicians hate for South Carolina to be compared to any other state, especially North Carolina,” she says. While rounds two through 19 of her lobbying bout didn’t fare much better, she eventually struck on the right chord – economic impact. The ears of even the most conservative and close-minded politician will perk up at talk of tax revenue and jobs. Tenny argued that by outlawing craft beer production, South Carolina was foregoing hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars, and thousands of jobs. After two years and countless trips between Charleston and Columbia, the same legislators who had scoffed at the moxie of this Jersey girl passed a bill that lifted the alcohol content restriction on beer, effectively birthing the modern craft beer movement in South Carolina. In 2007, with two young children and a second mortgage on their house, Tenny and Merritt opened North Charleston–based COAST Brewing Company. But Tenny wasn’t done fighting. She continued to push for legislative reforms to help expand the state’s craft beer industry and make it more competitive with other states. The most recent legislative victory came in 2014 when the South Carolina General Assembly passed a law that allows brewery owners, if they meet certain requirements, to serve an unlimited amount of beer at their production facilities.
Jaime Tenny â€™00
Besides ushering in a new era for craft breweries and helping to transform several former industrial warehouses into popular local watering holes, the easing of on-site consumption rules helped the industry generate an economic impact of nearly $450 million in South Carolina, according to 2014 figures from the Brewers Association. Compare that with the $1.1 billion, $1.2 billion and $4.5 billion generated in Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, respectively, and it is easy to see the potential that Tenny saw years ago. Today, Tenny is revered as a pioneer in the industry – an industry she helped create in South Carolina. The biology major credits her success to the broad liberal arts and sciences education she received at the College, which in many ways reflects the various facets of running a craft brewery: “Owning a brewery,” she says, “involves art, performance art, business, marketing, science and political science.”
BRICKS TO BREWS If Tenny cracked open the door for the craft beer industry in South Carolina, then Chris Brown ’05 kicked it wide open. A geology major at the College, Brown was drawn to the idea of brewery ownership because of his love of science and his background in Charleston’s food and beverage industry. As co-owner of Holy City Brewing in North Charleston, Brown has proven that craft breweries produce more than just cleverly named concoctions. They can also generate profits at a staggering rate.
Since Brown and partners Joel Carl, Mac Minaudo and Sean Nemitz ’09 launched Holy City in 2011, production has swelled by about 900 percent and the company now boasts annual revenues of more than $2 million. Holy City employs 25 brewers and bartenders, and its beers can be found in hundreds of bars, restaurants and stores across the state. That success didn’t come easy. Brown and his partners started with nothing. There were no trust funds to fall back on and no venture capitalists lining up to fund their dream. They struggled to find a single bank willing to finance their venture and ultimately cobbled together funding through a variety of sources, including several maxed-out personal credit cards. As its name suggests, Holy City is all about Charleston. From its logo of the downtown Charleston skyline to beers such as “Pluff Mud Porter,” “Washout Wheat” and “Slanted Porch,” Holy City is a high-gravity homage to Chucktown. Even the College gets a nod: Brown pays respect to the precarious walkways and sidewalks of his alma mater with a beer called “Tripping Brick.” The focus on Lowcountry landmarks is more than just branding. Brown and his partners credit their rapid growth to a simple
Chris Brown ’05
“locals first” philosophy. In fact, more than 80 percent of the 700 stores, bars and restaurants that carry Holy City beer are concentrated along the coast between Charleston and Hilton Head. While the idea of confining a business to a relatively small geographic area may seem limiting, Brown says it is part of longterm strategy to grow the company. “I have always believed that if we take care of the locals and support the community, even if growth is contained, we are going to make a bigger impact on other markets as we expand.” And expand they will. This year, Holy City is embarking on a $1.5 million expansion of its Dorchester Road facility, an investment that Brown and the other owners expect to be a step toward making Holy City competitive on a regional scale. The increased production capacity should enable the brewery to double its revenues in the first year following expansion, Brown says. And by 2018, he projects production to be on par with several notable breweries that distribute their libations across the country. But Holy City’s ethos has a second component – “make work fun” – that, according to Brown, is equally as important as the brewery’s focus on the local market.
And why not make working at a craft brewery fun? After all, many people already believe that craft brewers are merely potbellied hobbyists with a penchant for strong suds and bushy beards. “I think a lot of people just assume that we don’t really work hard, that we sit around all day drinking beer and screwing around,” says Brown. “I want to tell people, ‘Yeah, I have a beer after work, and, yeah, we have fun on the job, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t focused on running a successful business.’” Take, for example, Brown’s job title, which is a hard-earned point of pride for many working Americans. Around Holy City and on its website, Brown is known as “Mayor of the Flavor Jungle.” Bestowed on Brown by one of his employees, the moniker reflects the easygoing culture he has fostered at Holy City, where, on any given day, you are likely to encounter employees engaging in impromptu slam-dunk contests, harrowing forklift rodeos and shirtless belly flops into steaming piles of spent grain. All while music from Billy Joel – exclusively his 1980s catalog of hits like “Uptown Girl,” “Tell Her About It” and “An Innocent Man” – pumps over the warehouse sound system. Not necessarily Joel’s best work, and certainly not what you would expect from a burly cast of brewers. Brown contently surveys these scenes and says simply, “I just want my guys to be happy.” If the workplace cultures of technology behemoths Facebook, Google and Amazon have taught us anything, it’s that there is no one right way to succeed. In the craft brewing game, quality is king, but creativity runs a close second. Do away with the corporate formalities and foster an environment of self-expression, creativity and the free flow of ideas, and you will be rewarded with employees who actually enjoy their work. Within the walls of Holy City, “the Mayor” has created just such an environment, and not only is it paying off financially, it’s also inspiring a new generation of craft brewers hoping to cash in on the movement.
“ I want to tell people, ‘ Yeah, I have a beer after work, and, yeah, we have fun on the job, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t focused on running a successful business.’”
- Chris Brown ’05
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THE YOUNG GUN Ryan Coker ’05 considers himself to be the de facto leader of this new wave of South Carolina beer brewers. But unlike many upstart brewers rushing into operation in the hopes of striking it rich, Coker, the founding partner and head brewer of Revelry Brewing in downtown Charleston, took a methodical and pragmatic approach. By the time Holy City was churning out its first batch of beer in 2011, Coker had already begun a yearlong process of developing his business plan. It took him another two years to link up with the right partners, Sean Fleming ’05 and Jay Daratony, and to secure enough funding to completely renovate the brewery’s facility. The crew of budding businessmen opened Revelry in fall 2014 and, like Brown and Tenny, they have plenty of their own skin in the game: Each partner is in for well over $100,000. In less than two years, the brewery has already expanded production and has grown to more than 10 employees, at least half of whom hold College of Charleston degrees. Coker and company pay a premium for Revelry’s location in the up-and-coming “No Mo” area of Charleston. It’s located just south of where Morrison Drive intersects with Meeting Street, near a cluster of bars and restaurants that range from funky to renowned. Several new establishments are under construction, and investors and developers are gobbling up land in the area to take advantage of the migration of young people up the peninsula. While Revelry’s trendy spot and somewhat hipster vibe project a different feel than Holy City or COAST, Coker is quick to praise Tenny and Brown for creating and growing their industry. “Jaime and Chris paved the way for me,” says Coker. “If I don’t make quality beer, then I risk tearing down all they have done to build South Carolina’s beer scene.” In many ways, Coker, with a personal gas tank that never seems to fall to E, is very much a reflection of how Tenny describes herself during her legislative lobbying crusade – full of youth and vigor. Asking Coker a question is like overloading a blunderbuss with facts and information and standing back as it spews forth a stream-of-consciousness blast. His answers run from A to Z with a pit stop at K – just long enough for him to take a long pull of his beer, greet a customer, share advice with an aspiring brewer and inform his co-brewer that work the following day will commence at 5 a.m. “We are brewing a double batch tomorrow,” Coker explains, “so we have to get going early.” It’s not that Coker is scattered. Quite the opposite. His brain is running so quickly through a mental checklist for the brewery – and his finger is so permanently connected to
Ryan Coker â€™05
the pulse of his business – that financial figures, marketing ideas and two-, five- and 10-year goals escape from his voicebox faster than the average person can comprehend what he’s saying. Much of Coker’s excitement is derived from the fact that he has finally found a career that makes him happy. When Coker was first introduced to home brewing by his now-wife in 2008, he was working as a marketing director for a long-term care facility. “I looked into the face of my own mortality every day,” says Coker. “It began to weigh on me.” His brewing hobby started out as a fun escape but soon morphed into an obsession. “Eventually, I had too much time and money invested in brewing not to pursue it,” he says. While Tenny and Brown both came to brewing without a businessspecific education, Coker’s business administration degree from the College informs much of what he does and how he does it. He spouts off about cross-marketing ventures, cost-free capitalization and how “beer is a great bargaining chip.” “I often find myself reflecting on my classes in supply chain management and, no joke, business ethics,” Coker says. “I quickly learned the ‘right’ way to do something isn’t always the easiest or cheapest.” Coker’s hardwiring prevents him from cutting corners or skimping on the finer details of his operation. The hip location, stylish branding and artistic renovations in Revelry’s tasting room are all byproducts of his meticulous nature. To Coker, the business side is as much a part of his operation as the production side. That’s not to say that Revelry isn’t focused on making good beer. Revelry has become a local favorite, and Coker is on the cutting edge of experimentation, using unconventional ingredients and brewing techniques to cultivate beer Ryan styles that are full of taste. “I get to play mad scientist and run a business at the same time,” Coker says wildly, his booming voice and raspy machine-gun laugh revealing a man possessed by his passion. He has good reason to be jovial: In just its second full year of production, Revelry is expected to clear $1 million in revenue in 2016.
products that Coker, Brown and Tenny produce are whimsical and fun and not at all serious. They make beer, not plutonium or microchips. But these are real businesses and their owners are serious people. Despite outward appearances and the novelty of their craft, there is far more to these alums, and all brewery owners, for that matter, than beer. Consider this: Tenny almost singlehandedly created a market for a product and then produced the product for that market. That’s the type of raw instinct that can’t be taught in a business class, and it’s the same culture-creating, generation-defining magic that has helped create brands like Nike and Apple. If you rewrote Brown’s story of success – he’s on track for $4 million in sales after only five years – and replaced the word “beer” with software or clothing, he would be widely touted as a natural entrepreneur motivated by a passion for his product, relentless determination and a keen business sense. All three will confess, however, that despite their successes, they are sometimes frustrated by stereotypes associated with their industry, namely the whole beer and beards thing. Ultimately, these misconceptions boil down to a lack of education about the business of beer. “Travel out West, to California or Colorado, and beer is the standard,” Tenny says. The industry is about more than putting a craft beer in every customer’s hand; it’s about the public understanding the benefits that a brewery can bring to a community. As new markets continue to emerge along the East Coast, several craft beer giants from out West are investing in second or third operations in states such as North Carolina and Virginia – a reverse manifest destiny of sorts. These Coker ’05 breweries have shown a willingness to pour hundreds of millions into their facilities, immediately injecting life into downtrodden areas, pumping millions into local construction industries and creating hundreds of jobs for local workforces. Far from feeling threatened by an influx of larger, deep-pocketed companies, Tenny, Brown and Coker see this outside interest, at least in part, as validation of the local industry they have built and continue to nurture. The future of craft beer in South Carolina is bright. And take it from these three Cougars: It’s not all fun and games. Or, as Tenny puts it, “Beer is important.”
“ I often find myself reflecting on my classes in supply chain management and, no joke, business ethics. I quickly learned the ‘right’ way to do something isn’t always the easiest or the cheapest.” -
BEER MONEY OK. So they work in converted warehouses in parts of town that used to be known for crime or heavy industry. The labels of the
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LIFT as you CLIMB BY MARK BERRY PHOTOGRAPHY BY GATELY WILLIAMS
Late last summer, Jasmine Twitty ’10 generated quite a bit of buzz when she was appointed to the bench in Easley, S.C., and became one of the state’s youngest judges and yet another example of millennial audacity.
he stands in front of the mirror. Everything is quiet. Eyes down and in a soft voice, almost in a whisper, she says, “You want it? Here it is.” Slow breath in. Pause. Slower breath out. She can feel a presence in the mirror, like someone else in the room with her, just inches away. She says it again, a little louder: “You want it? Here it is.” The feeling of a stranger – an intruder in her space – fades away. She raises her chin, her gaze locked on the brown eyes staring back at her: “You want it? Here it is.” This time, her voice has a force behind it and rings with decisiveness, like a gavel striking its sound block. She says it again and again. Finally, the intensity of the figure in the mirror seems to soften, and there’s a slight smile – the subtle, yet confident smile of a warrior preparing for battle. Shoulders back, she smooths the front of her Nine West suit jacket, adjusts her puffy sleeves and checks the length of her A-line skirt. The look, in her mind, is modern yet edgy and sophisticated – she can do anything in this outfit. “You want it? Here it is.” The voice is in full command now. Turning from her reflection, Jasmine Twitty ’10 is ready to conquer the world.
ALWAYS IN STYLE
Hollis France leans forward in her chair, thinking of Jasmine Twitty. Professor France’s space on the third floor of the political science building on Wentworth Street seems more like a tuckedaway roosting place than an office. The walls slant in at an acute angle, almost like a structural embrace. This room, like the others on this floor, is really just a centuries-old Charleston attic retrofitted for office space. Stacks of student essays, manuscripts, books, magazines and faded academic newsletters from around the world are precariously perched on France’s desk, chairs, couch, coffee table, really any space available, for that matter – like plucked campus scraps to make a nest. If there is order to this paper chaos, it is indecipherable to an outsider’s eye. As it is for many academics, clutter is king.
But the room is still warm, comforting and inviting. That’s how Twitty found it as a political science major studying with France. Twitty’s first academic experience at the College started with France, who led her freshman learning community in the area of contemporary political issues. “Dr. France is phenomenal,” Twitty says. “I took her multiple times, from my freshman year to my senior capstone project. I loved what she brought to the table. She was the professor that required the most. It wasn’t busy work. There was always a purpose behind it. She challenged you – not just in lectures, but in the materials and assignments. I kept binders of all those readings, and I still have those binders with me today.” But perhaps Twitty’s favorite part of her coursework with France was the community service requirement. It struck a chord with Twitty, who, throughout her college career (all of her life, in fact), volunteered with church and community groups to advocate for literacy. “I believe in giving back,” Twitty explains. “It’s not about charity. You should devote time to those who represent your passion. For me, I know how to read a book, so I did that with kids so that they could see firsthand the importance of an education, they could see that someone actually cares about their minds. My personal mantra has always been, lift as you climb.” In that first-year course with France, Twitty’s student group chose to work with a local soup kitchen in downtown Charleston. “We’d head off toward the bridge and walk there every Sunday morning,” Twitty recalls, “and do the meal prep and serve those coming in. It was a way for us to be a part of the city, to be citizens of Charleston and not just transient students.” France now smiles thinking of Twitty as a bright-eyed freshman from Greenville, S.C., and her transformation over several years: “Jasmine was very shy in that first class, and you could see her trying to sort her way through this experience,” says France, a soft Caribbean lilt betraying her childhood in Guyana. “As Jasmine found her footing, which she certainly did, she became dynamic. By her senior year, Jasmine was always out front and center, the one leading the questions, doing what you hope all students do by taking real ownership of their learning.“ But that’s not all that made Twitty tick. Yes, she had a heart of service and a passion for learning, but she also had a mind for fashion. “From when she was a freshman,” France chuckles, “Jasmine was one of the best-dressed girls in class. She was always very well put together.” Indeed, shopping on King Street was an important part of Twitty’s college experience. “If we had a rough week in class, or had just finished exams, or had been up all night studying,” remembers friend Candice Coulter ’11, “we would hit the boutiques.” Albeit on a college budget. For Twitty and her friends, it was just as much about the hunt as it was the actual find. “The thing about King Street,” Twitty says, “there is every style. You can see everything that is trending. And a lot of the stores are college friendly in their pricing. For someone like me, who hated washing clothes, it was sometimes easier to pick up a shirt than have to wait around and do a load of laundry. But more important, shopping was a great way to take your mind off of studying, hang out with friends and just blow off some steam.”
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FULL STEAM AHEAD After earning her degree in political science early in December 2010, Twitty, who had just turned 21 that same month, returned to Greenville to begin a different sort of hunt, the one every college graduate faces with a mixture of dread and excitement: the job hunt.
“I love it,” Twitty says. “It’s very fast paced. I never imagined myself doing a job like this because I didn’t know a job like this even existed.” From Monday through Thursday, Twitty checks into the bond court in the evening and leaves the following morning. In those late-night and early-morning hours, Twitty is a ringmaster keeping everything moving: working two phone lines at once, helping people in the waiting area of the lobby, coordinating the docket with the jail, assisting any media or lawyers and making sure the judges have everything they need. During those hours, Twitty witnesses the highs and lows of her beloved community. Every crime imaginable is paraded in front of her desk, and she has had to learn to handle it. “We live in a world where unfortunate incidents take place,” Twitty admits. “Years ago, I made the decision not to take work home with me. If I did, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Yet, in that work climate, Twitty has blossomed. Ever the student, she has quickly learned the ins and outs of what everyone does, from the sheriff’s team to the judges. And in her study within this very unique classroom, she mapped out a plan to further her career in an unexpected way.
A MOST HONORABLE PROFESSION
On some level, Twitty was a little disappointed to be returning home. She had always pictured herself in a larger city. And perhaps she would get there, but she needed a little time – mainly, because she had graduated a semester early to save money on tuition and fees. But something about Greenville kept her there. Maybe it was her closeness to family, or her familiarity with the area or perhaps how quickly the Upstate was growing and changing. So, she, too, worked to change her mindset: “In those first months home, I had to remind myself that it doesn’t matter where I go, but what I bring with me.” And Twitty brings a lot with her: a drive, determination and seriousness that belies her age. By that following summer, she landed a job as the night clerk at the 24-hour Greenville County Bond Court. Fortunately, Twitty, a self-described night owl, found a position that suited her strengths.
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To be honest, Twitty hadn’t dreamed of being a judge. It wasn’t until she worked in the 24-hour court that she saw the path clearly. “In talking with the judges around me,” Twitty says, “they would share their stories, and I would ask them how they had gotten where they were. Then, I realized that this was something that was obtainable for me. You didn’t have to have a law degree. The requirements vary from state to state. And so I became intentional about pursuing it.” Intentional is one of those words that Twitty uses quite often in conversation. It frames her life, in fact. In middle school, she knew she wanted to study political science because she was interested in social issues and how they affected the community. When it came time to pick a college, she was intentional in her selection. Twitty reviewed course catalogs of various schools and found that the College’s political science program and faculty aligned best with her own interests in social justice. Now, in her early 20s, she applied that same focus, that same intentionality, in researching how to become a South Carolina judge. “Really, what I wanted to do was make a difference in my community,” Twitty says. “I’ve always been involved in trying to give back and this was just an extra step to serve the community. I feel that I bring an important experience, another perspective to the bench.” After four years working as a night clerk, Twitty had built a résumé that addressed many of the skills an associate judge needs: courtroom experience, community service and an understanding of the seemingly endless and constantly changing state laws and codes. In the summer of 2015, Twitty met with an interview panel from nearby Easley, S.C., about a vacancy in their bond court. “Honestly, I was a little intimidated walking up to City Hall that day. But I was also prepared. I had been giving myself pep talks in front of the mirror and during the entire car ride over,” Twitty recalls. “By the time I sat down with them for the interview, my confidence was there because I knew their courtroom system,
I had done my homework. And by working in one of the busiest courtrooms in the state, I had something to talk about.” A week later, Twitty was offered the position. And just a little over a month after that, on August 22, she was sworn in as an associate judge of the Easley Municipal Court, becoming the newest member (and one of the youngest at 25 years old) in the S.C. Judicial Department. But this role wasn’t something to quit
“I think millennials are pretty special,” she says. “On the whole, we are more open minded because we have seen tremendous paradigm shifts in American culture. We grew up in that change. Back in the day, there used to be pretty much one route to success. But now, we know there are 10 different ways to get there – and we actually take them. That’s what I did. I found my own path.”
your day job over (or, in Twitty’s case, her night job). Her new position actually complements her night clerk job. Judge Twitty is on duty every other weekend and every other holiday. Her role is a little different than the stereotypical judge presiding in television and movies: a hoary-headed figure banging a gavel behind an elevated oak desk declaring “innocent” or “guilty” and doling out punishment. “In bond court,” Twitty explains, “the defendants are there, usually within 24 hours of their arrest, and the judge’s role is to approve or deny bond on criminal and traffic offenses.” While bond court may lack the elevated tension and emotions of a big-screen courtroom drama, Twitty is proud to serve and fulfill this essential duty in the judicial process. That pride of making a difference, especially so early in her career, goes well beyond the job. And, in many ways, she sees herself as a standard-bearer for her generation.
Within days of her appointment, Twitty also found herself the center of attention. True to form, her peers took to social media to praise her achievement, and soon #jasminetwitty was trending (more than 300 tweets reaching nearly 1 million people). And then the rest of the world caught up, with local news stories and even an interview in the pages of Essence magazine. While the exposure is nice, Twitty concedes, it has nothing to do with the job. That work: That’s what she takes seriously. “I am here to uphold the law,” Twitty says, “to protect the rights of the defendants and the victims and to protect the community. I believe to be an effective judge, you can’t put your personal beliefs first. And as a pubic servant, you must keep an open mind in your courtroom because everyone there brings a unique experience.” Whether you’re a millennial or a member of the Greatest Generation, it’s that kind of thinking – Twitty’s faith in fairness and justice – that will never go out of style.
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| Photo by John-Robert Ward II ’00 |
Saving the World Drop by Drop
EUGENE AND ROSE GANGAROSA BELIEVE in getting a head start. They know how important it is to begin early. They’ve seen how much can be accomplished when you have a strong lead. It is, they say, amazing how far you can go when you start from the beginning. For the Gangarosas, it all started in Rochester, N.Y., where they grew up across the street from each other. From the very beginning, the two first-generation American children were familiar parts of one another’s lives. Still, Rose, the daughter of an Italian barbershop owner,
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didn’t know quite the same poverty that Eugene experienced. The son of a Sicilian stonecutter who was in and out of work, Eugene is the 12th of 13 children – only five of whom survived because they had to ration water. That’s where it all started: the driving force for the Gangarosas’ lifelong efforts championing public health and safe water initiatives. After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Eugene served at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where he laid the foundation for the cholera
treatment that drastically reduced infant mortality. He went on to teach and research at the Pakistan Medical Research Center and then served as the Centers for Disease Control’s director of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, chief of the Enteric Diseases Branch and deputy director of the Bacterial Diseases Division. After a stint as the dean of the American University of Beirut, Eugene began teaching at Emory University, where he helped transform the public health graduate program into the Rollins School of Public Health.
“We’ve saved the lives of a lot of people whose faces we will never see, but we’re equally proud of the people
who have continued to save lives through education. We have watched them bloom and become leaders, and that multiplying effect is the best investment we could possibly make.”
Now an emeritus professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health at Rollins, Eugene is considered a public health legend – and both he and Rose are globally recognized as historic pioneers in the field. Together the two founded the Gangarosa International Health Foundation, which for years has funded global field experiences for Rollins students – and, starting last year, for students in the public health program at the College of Charleston as well. It all started with the Gangarosas’ son, Paul, a faculty member in the College’s Department of Health and Human Performance, who suggested the idea to his father. “Paul started the ball rolling, and whenever Paul gets excited, we get fired up, too,” laughs Eugene, who visited the College to speak to Paul’s public health students. “The students I met that day were exceptional. The level of enthusiasm they had was infectious, and the interaction I had with them was impressive. They were of the same caliber as the students at the Rollins School.” Thus began the Safe Water International Internship at the College, which has so far funded a trip to Haiti for two students, including public health major Maclain Borsich. “This experience was the perfect example of global health in action,” says Borsich, who hopes to continue studying public health at the Rollins School. “Having this opportunity for our students is simply wonderful,” says Fran Welch, dean of the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance, noting
that the Rollins School has been a great resource for the College’s new program, which was established in 2012. “We’re most thankful for the Gangarosa family and its contributions to the program, the College and the world.” Noting that the College’s public health program “is equally impressive as the Rollins program when it was first beginning,” Eugene believes that global field studies are essential to improving not just students’ learning, but the world’s health, too. After all, it was the Gangarosas’ own field experiences that inspired their lifelong dedication to safe water. For Rose, it started with the canal in Pakistan that she had to cross to get to the Lahore American School, where she taught high school English and served as principal: “It was the most polluted water I’d ever seen. And they used this water for everything: baths, laundry, brushing their teeth, drinking. The animals were in it. That just really, really impressed me a good bit. I came home one day and said, ‘I wish there was something I could do. Everybody should have safe water.’ Water is the most important thing in life. You can’t live without it. My hope is that no one has to see the pollution I saw in that canal in Pakistan.” “Rose and I both had experiences that led us to believe that everyone should have the right to safe water,” says Eugene. “We hope for equality in health all over the world. And water is the starting point.” “From there, it all falls into place,” agrees Rose, citing that educating women
| Photo by Kip Bulwinkle ’04 |
– Eugene Gangarosa
| From left to right: Paul Gangarosa with Megan Dunham and Alexis Parrott at the BOUNDLESS launch event in fall 2014 |
in developing countries about water and sanitation has also been crucial, because women provide the water in the homes and are teaching their children. “These women are now educated and passing the torch. I’m glad to have had a part in that.” “We’ve saved the lives of a lot of people whose faces we will never see, but we’re equally proud of the people who have continued to save lives through education. We have watched them bloom and become leaders, and that multiplying effect is the best investment we could possibly make,” says Eugene. “They are carrying the torch from generation to generation.” It just shows how far you can go when you get off to a good start.
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A Moving Tribute
MICHAEL BENNETT ISN’T REALLY ONE TO sit idly by. He’s a man of movement, of enterprise. He doesn’t have the patience for hesitation. He can’t wait to take action. The way he sees it, you don’t get very far just sitting still. Which is precisely why Bennett dropped out of school during his junior year at the College. “I couldn’t stand sitting in those classrooms,” says Bennett, who came to the College as a part-time student after a couple years at the University of South Carolina. “There was just too much to do outside of those four walls.” To be fair, Bennett had a lot going
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on: He was the owner of a bicycle and moped rental business on Market Street, a bellman at the Mills House, an intermittent deck hand on a cruise ship and a boxing champion (East Coast, 1972) in Olympic training. It was working on some Glebe Street renovations with the College’s maintenance crew, however, that really motivated him. “That’s when I started my life education,” says Bennett, who – after six months learning from the crewmembers – sold his moped business and started buying and fixing up properties around Charleston. “I used what I learned at the
College from those older African American gentlemen on that crew, and that’s how I started my career.” That was 37 years ago, when he founded Bennett Hospitality, a development company that now owns eight restaurants and 16 hotels, with many other properties in development. “The College taught me what I needed to know to be successful. The irony is, I got my education from working there, not going there,” observes Bennett. “I got so much from my experience with that crew on Glebe Street. I owe a lot to them.” That’s why, upon hearing about the Mother Emanuel tragedy last June, Bennett jumped into action. He picked up the phone and called the College. Within minutes, he was setting up the “Mother” Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Endowed Scholarship to honor the victims. “It was pretty spontaneous. It was purely emotional. I was so overwhelmed by the grace, the forgiveness, with which the community handled it; it blew my mind. This was my reaction to those beautiful, forgiving people,” he says, adding, “I didn’t want just to write a check. That just felt impersonal for a tragedy that was so close to home.” Not to mention close to his heart: Some of the men he worked with at the College lived close to the Calhoun Street church – and likely attended it as well. “The idea of helping the people of Emanuel AME is moving to me. And I think it’d be especially moving if it helps a relative of the people who I used to work with at the College all those years ago. I think that would be a beautiful thing,” says Bennett, noting that the scholarship will be awarded for the first time this fall and is open to any minority student from the Charleston peninsula. “For me, it’s come completely full circle, because I’m giving back to the people who educated me so well and launched my career,” continues Bennett. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for them. They are the ones who prompted me down my life’s path – they got me going.” And, of course, once he was going, he never sat idle again.
NOW IS OUR TIME Time takes on curious qualities at the College. No matter how long it’s been or how far we go, one step onto the herringbone bricks, and it’s like we never left. But time is a tricky thing: There’s never enough of it, and yet it never really stops. And at the College, the clock is always moving forward. With just a few months until the June 30 culmination of BOUNDLESS: The Campaign for the College of Charleston, we now reach an important milestone in this campaign. Launched in November 2014, the public phase of the comprehensive fundraising initiative has now surpassed its campaign goal of $125 million. It’s a significant marker, but we’re not done. “Campaigns like this are about laying a strong foundation in the present in order to support and strengthen the future,” says President Glenn McConnell ’69. “How do we do this? For one, I ask our alumni to proudly step forward and answer that inner calling to be a champion for the College.” Now is your chance to join the 22,000-plus members of the College community who’ve already invested in the College and generations of students to come. Together, we can prepare the College for its next era of distinction. Where does the time go? We may never know. All we can do is take this opportunity to guarantee that the College will continue to stand the tests of time. Now is our time to demonstrate our boundless support. After all, there is no time like the present. FA L L 2 0 1 5 |
CLASS NOTES 1951 Bill Hilton is the author of A Living Memoir of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, a book about the history of the Charlestonarea church.
1967 Stephen Proctor retired from the
Medical University of South Carolina after 20 years serving as a psychiatric/mental health registered nurse.
1972 Jack Huguley is a Realtor with
Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty. Jack served as the College’s director of alumni relations for 10 years.
1974 Joanne Gazes Ellison is the founder
of Drawing Near to God. She is also a teacher, speaker and author who helps Christian women navigate the distractions of life.
1977 Karen Whitley is the principal of the new Philip Simmons Elementary School in Cainhoy, S.C.
1978 Mark Sayeg received his D.D.S.
from Emory University and owns a dental practice in Atlanta. He is a past chairman of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Charitable Foundation and the founder of Project Start Smiling. Joel Smith was included on Law360’s 2015 list of product liability MVPs for his roles in the Takata airbag crisis and the Toyota “unintended acceleration” litigation, two of the biggest product liability cases in automotive history. Joel is the managing partner for Bowman and Brooke’s Columbia, S.C., office.
1979 Melanie Wilson, who received
her Ph.D. from MUSC, is a professor in the microbiology department at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
1980 Diane Gilruth Barker was named
the 2015 Adult Female Player of the Year by USTA South Carolina. She is currently the No. 1–ranked woman in the state’s 55-and-over singles division. Nationally, she is the No. 3– ranked woman in that division. Jack Moody is the transportation coordinator at KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation in North Charleston.
1982 Mariana Ramsay Hay owns
Croghan’s Jewel Box on King Street. In September, the store received the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Milestone Award, which is given to a small business (with no more than 50 employees) for excellence in entrepreneurship, worker relations, diversity and community contributions.
1983 Bert Howard is a connections pastor at Redeemer Bible Church in Dallas, Texas.
1984 Sylvia Simard Newman is the
director of international programs and a professor of world languages at Cannon School
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in Concord, N.C. Sylvia received her Ph.D. in Romance languages, literatures and linguistics from the University of Florida.
1985 Tammy Carroll Coghill is a member
of the Trident Technical College Foundation Board of Trustees. Tammy is the manager of local government and economic development for SCANA. Sunil Gupta is the author of Sharpening Your Advanced SAS Skills. Sunil has more than 20 years of experience in SAS programming in the pharmaceutical industry and is a bestselling SAS author and global corporate trainer.
1986 Cindy Baggott is the women’s
volleyball coach at Bishop England High School on Daniel Island, S.C. The team won its 16th-consecutive state championship this year, tying for the all-time national record for most consecutive wins.
1987 Amelia Chalmers Fairfax is a
physician with Liberty Doctors and Family First Medical Care.
1988 Jennifer “JJ” Jahn Larson is the first director of violence prevention and support services at Southern Methodist University. JJ continues to work with the Higher Education Case Managers Association and recently presented on the evolving role of case managers on college/university campuses at NaBITA’s annual conference. Milton Thomas is the managing principal and build-to-suit specialist at Lee & Associates in Charleston. Holland Ashmore Williams is the manager of corporate communications at the Historic Charleston Foundation. Holland has a master’s in journalism from the University of South Carolina and taught marketing and advertising at the College for 16 years.
1989 Stephanie Case is the director of IT
enterprise resource applications at Palmetto Health in Columbia, S.C. Dave Lobo is the senior product marketing manager for Imagine Communications in Frisco, Texas, and an adjunct professor at Collin College. He teaches students and business owners about digital brand management, search engine marketing and social media. Dave received his M.B.A. from the University of Dallas. Frannie Baker Reese is the director of fundraising at Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy.
1990 Ann Quesenbery Baldwin is a
special education advocate and freelance proofreader. She and her husband, Jay, recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have three children: J.J.; Cullen (a junior communication major and Tony Meyer Scholar at the College); and Anna Katherine, a high school senior and a CofC teacher cadet. David Manzi is the managing partner at Cirque Real Estate Franchising in Charleston.
1991 Joanna Freeman Cartrette is the
quality assurance manager at Chemlube International in Savannah, Ga. Joanna received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of South Carolina.
1993 Chris Haborak and Kevin Haborak are co-owners of Coastal Empire Beer Co. ’95 in Savannah, Ga. The brewery won silver and gold medals in blind tastings at the 2015 United States Open Beer Championship in Oxford, Ohio.
1994 Bryan Minton was named the
John Newcomb Pro of the Year by USTA South Carolina. He is co-owner of the MW Tennis Academy at the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island, S.C., and has taught tennis in the Charleston area for more than 20 years. His players have won more than 50 state titles at the Palmetto Championships and have reached No. 1 in the South as well as winning at national, international and professional events. Nancy Seago Priester is a human services specialist at the S.C. Department of Social Services in Beaufort. Nancy received her master’s in library and information science from the University of South Carolina.
1995 Kevin Haborak (see Chris Haborak
’93) Frank Herrera is the owner of H New Media Law in Wellington, Fla., specializing in trademark, copyright and Internet matters. Frank and his wife, Elissa Noyes, have two children: Sebastian and Isabela. Joseph Hinske (M.S.) presented “Rest Easy by Putting Your Taxes to Bed” to more than 150 hotel, inn and bed-and-breakfast owners from across the country at the 2015 Select Registry Membership Conference in Key West, Fla. The presentation focused on tax planning, accounting strategies and tax savings for the hospitality industry. Joe has more than 20 years of experience in public accounting and consulting. Kylon Middleton is the new pastor at Mount Zion A.M.E. Church on Glebe Street in Charleston. Kylon received his M.Div. at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., and also holds master’s degrees from UNC – Chapel Hill and Duke University. Michael Renault is a commercial-area executive for First Citizens Bank in Charleston and a vice president of the Alumni Association’s board of directors.
1996 W. Siau Barr Jr. earned his J.D.
at the Charleston School of Law and is an associate attorney in Young Clement Rivers’ Charleston office. He practices in the areas of commercial transactions and real estate. Kevin Kurtz (M.A.T.) has written a nonfiction children’s book, Where Wild Microbes Grow: The Search for Life Under the Seafloor, which was funded through a National Science Foundation grant and is available for free in both PDF and interactive iBook format.
CLASS NOTES [ alumni profile ]
Still in the Game future: “It’s the first PS One game that had real animated cinematics that made the game feel extremely immersive. If you look at it now, it looks really bad. But at the time, I thought, This is the future. This is crazy. How did they do this?” While the graphic interface realm of the digital world remained a mystery to him, Collum began writing his own textbased games and then decided to pursue a computer science degree. Collum, the first in his family to attend college, was at the College of Charleston for two years before he was forced to cut his education short in order help a family member through a life crisis. But he made the most of his time while at the College. “The college experience and moving away from home: That is everything,” he says. “That is the basis of my success, learning how to think and taking away the safety catch and having to figure out how to make it.” And Collum certainly figured out how to make it: In 2006, he landed a job as a quality assurance specialist at Epic Games, a video game company based in Cary, N.C.
He was a perfect match for the job, which was largely about breaking things. “You have to have people whose job it is to try to break your product over and over again, so that when it goes out to a customer, it is as good as it can be,” says Collum, who has since worked his way up to producer at Epic, which is best known for the popular Unreal series of games and the billion-dollar blockbuster Gears of War franchise. The kid of meager upbringing, who skimped and saved to buy his first computer, now travels the world to spread the gospel of gaming. His latest project is a game called Fortnite. It’s the company’s first foray into free-to-play, and Collum says they are determined to get it right. That’s the strength of a company that has been around for nearly 25 years, he points out: It has enough financial stability to take its time building products that will last. It’s better to ensure the game is crashproof because, as Collum knows, there’s always going to be some kid out there trying to break it. – Ron Menchaca ’98
| Photo by Demetria Medevev |
ROGER COLLUM HAS ALWAYS BEEN GOOD at breaking things. But when you grow up in poverty – as he did in Goose Creek, S.C. – you can’t just go out and buy a replacement, so you’d better know how to fix what you break. As a teenager in the early 1990s, Collum mowed lawns, scrounged quarters and saved up to buy parts for his first personal computer. He wanted it so badly he even sold his prized comic book collection. “I pieced it together with duct tape and bailing twine,” Collum says of the 8088 XT computer. “And from there, I was learning how to program on my own.” He spent hours trying to make the computer’s software do things it wasn’t designed to do, forcing it to crash so he could learn how to improve the code. It was an exciting time to be a teenager, with early video gaming consoles like Nintendo and PlayStation One hitting the market, and games like Super Mario Bros. and Double Dragon sucking in an entire generation of youth with mind-blowing graphics and animation. One game, Final Fantasy 7, was the clarion call that would shape Collum’s
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1997 Paul Comer (see Claudia Seeger ’01) Henry Leventis announce the birth of Kelly and their third child, Samuel Patrick, born in April 2015. The Leventis family has relocated to Nashville, Tenn., where Henry is prosecuting white-collar crime for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Traci Rhoden (M.A.T.) earned her second master’s degree from the College and received the Graduate Scholars Award for summer 2015. She is the project director for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program at the nonprofit Charleston Area Senior Citizens Inc.
Steven Daniels Hunt ’98, Jody Lumpkin ’01 and John Pawlowski were inducted into the
College’s Athletic Hall of Fame in January. Hunt (sailing) was a two-time All-American sailor, Lumpkin (men’s basketball) was a two-time Academic All-American and SoCon player of the year in 2001 and Pawlowski was the baseball head coach for the Cougars from 1999 to 2008.
1998 Arly Slepski Douglass is the data
specialist and information manager for the College’s School of Education, Health, and Human Performance. Berri Heinz Hicks is the purchasing supervisor for the Greenville Health System in Greenville, S.C. Berri is also the president of the College’s Greenville/Upstate alumni chapter.
1999 Melissa Johnson (M.S.) is a
shareholder at Elliott Davis Decosimo. A licensed CPA in Oklahoma and South Carolina, Melissa was designated a certified valuation analyst in 2002 and a master analyst in financial forensics in 2010. Chris Koepenick is a broker for Lee & Associates, a Charleston-based commercial brokerage firm. Chris was designated a Certified Commercial Investment Member in 2007. Brannon Montgomery is a licensed CPA and associate at McCay Kiddy, a full-service CPA firm in Mt. Pleasant, where she provides taxation services for individual and corporate clients. Boris Van Dyck is a real estate agent in Peninsula Commercial’s Mt. Pleasant office. Boris has extensive experience in the hospitality industry and commercial real estate sector, with a focus on warehouse and industrial properties. Bridget Welch is an account representative with St. Jude Farms, a sustainable agribusiness in Green Pond, S.C., providing fine seafood.
2000 Karoline Moon and Marvell Adams
announce the birth of twins, Marvell “Ell” III and Emery Rylan, born in September. Marvell is a member of the Alumni Association’s board of directors and president of the Baltimore/ Annapolis alumni chapter. He represented the College at the inauguration of Washington College’s new president in September. Kate Howard Arnold is a development officer for the Lamar Dodd School of the Arts at the University of Georgia. |
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Amy Coleman Bolukbasi (see Kerem Bolukbasi ’01) John Townsend Cooper is a broker with Prospect Real Estate Partners in Charleston. John received his J.D. from the Charleston School of Law and has experience in the construction and legal fields. Paige Watts Day is an assistant principal of instruction at North Augusta (S.C.) High School. Anthony Dixon is the principal of the new Philip Simmons Middle School in the Berkeley County (S.C.) School District. Michael Howell is the cofounder of Gravity Physical Therapy in Beaufort, S.C. His outpatient clinic focuses on neurological and orthopedic injuries. Katie Matthews is a mortgage loan originator at CresCom Bank’s West Ashley branch. Mark Mizell is a principal broker at Birchin Lane Realty Advisors in Mt. Pleasant. He has been a commercial broker for more than 10 years and specializes in the brokerage and leasing of retail, office and investment properties. He was designated a Certified Commercial Investment Member in 2010 and is a recipient of the CTAR Realtor of Distinction Award, Commercial Circle.
2001 Kerem Bolukbasi is the operations
executive at TPG Capital, a global private equity firm. He was recently commissioned in the National/State Guard. He and his wife, Amy Coleman Bolukbasi ’00, live in Walterboro, S.C. John Flack is the CFO of Johnson Automotive Group and lives in Conway, S.C. Darryl Fyall is a legacy planning specialist at Coastal Financial Planning Group in Charleston. Darryl focuses on retirement income planning and wealth allocation and distribution. Beth Hamilton is the pro bono program director for the S.C. Bar. C.D. Rhodes earned his J.D. at the University of South Carolina School of Law and his M.P.A. from the University of South Carolina, and is now a public finance attorney with Pope Flynn in Columbia. He is also a member of Historic Columbia Foundation’s board of directors and advocates. Claudia Seeger and Paul Comer ’97 were married last August. Claudia is an art teacher in Dorchester County (S.C.) School District 2, and Paul is a financial adviser and partner at 360 Financial Partners in Mt. Pleasant. Drew and Ryan Holmes Small announce the birth of a son, Andrew Barrett, born in August. Ryan is the assistant director of annual leadership and reunion gifts in the College’s annual giving office. Mary Ann Richardson Stisher and Jack Maybank ’02 have purchased the Orangetheory Fitness franchise for the state of South Carolina, with the first site in Charleston and another opening in Greenville. Orangetheory Fitness maximizes metabolic burn in 60 minutes of cardiovascular and strength interval training.
2002 Marion Davis is the project manager at Hill Construction in Charleston. He is a LEED–accredited professional and member of the Society of American Military Engineers. Misty Mayfield Deason received her B.S. in nursing and her M.S. in nurse anesthesia from MUSC and is a certified registered nurse anesthetist at AllCare Clinical Associates, one of the largest private physician–owned anesthesia practices in North Carolina. Thomas Hughes is the operations manager for the Allen Lund Company in Charleston.
Angela Mallen is a sales professional at Cintas in Charleston. Jack Maybank (see Mary Ann Richardson Stisher ’01) Richard Vimmerstedt is a sales consultant at Surgical Direct in Orlando, Fla.
2003announce Christopher and Corrine Forte the birth of a son, Flynn
Barnes Forte, born in January 2015. The Barnes family lives in Charleston, where Corrine is a stay-at-home mom. Alexis Heifner Carrico is the program director at Nike Emerging Markets Supply Chain Strategy. Alexis is responsible for aligning and standardizing processes across Nike’s smaller emerging market territories. Ashley Vaughan Denning is the vice president of land acquisition at Sabal Homes in Mt. Pleasant. Jessica Donaldson is a pre-engineering teacher at Cane Bay Middle School in Moncks Corner, S.C., and is a member of the Discovery Educator Network. She was named a Discovery Education Program Champion for the 2015–16 school year. Josh Dukes is a senior employee success trainer at Blackbaud in Charleston. Kit and Dianne Turgeon Richardson announce the birth of their daughter, Elizabeth “Bess” Jane, born in July. Dianne completed her M.F.A. in creative writing with a concentration in fiction at the University of Central Florida. She has published several poems and short stories in various literary journals. Alex Pellegrino Rogers (M.A. ’15) is an adjunct faculty member in the College’s Department of Communication. Meredith Sanders Strehle is the manager of children’s outreach operations at MUSC Children’s Hospital and was named one of Charleston Regional Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40.”
2004 Thomas Bryan and Laura Banos
were married in October and live in New Orleans. Thomas is a commercial real estate sales and leasing executive with Stirling Properties. Jenifer Kampsen Carreras is a certified child welfare law specialist and serves as senior attorney for the DeKalb County Child Advocacy Center in Decatur, Ga. She lives in Roswell, Ga., with her husband, Jace, and their son, Ethan. Kristin Green McCall is an independent sales consultant at Norwex USA. Charles Odom Jr. is the environmental health and safety manager at Rockland Industries Inc. Sebastian Steadman is a consultant with Knowledge Capital Group, where he specializes in change management, strategic planning, process improvement and strategic communications. Sebastian is also cofounder of Possibilities Without Borders, a charity supporting numerous university servicelearning projects to Africa, and he has been named one of Charleston Regional Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40.” Joseph and Abby Henry Walker announce the birth of their son, William Henry, born in January 2015. William was the first baby of the new year in Mt. Pleasant. Patrick Wilson (see Lauren Miller Wilson ’05)
2005 Sarah Gipe and Jeffrey Yandle
were married in October. Sarah is a real estate agent with Gipe Partners at Carolina One in Mt. Pleasant. Caitlin and Nicholas Glover announce the birth of
CLASS NOTES [ alumni profile ]
In Good Taste OWNING A RESTAURANT IN NEW YORK City is an enterprise best suited for the strong of stomach. After all, Manhattan’s glimmering buildings are nosebleed high, and the commercial rents they demand are more staggering still. In spite of such fierce economic trade winds, Billy Waite ’02 has managed to launch a growing empire that has garnered nods from city-savvy news hubs including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and New York magazine. Working with two partners, Waite arrived on the food-and-beverage scene in 2010 with his first restaurant, the Brooklyneer. “I’ve been working in the restaurant business in one position or another since I was 16,” explains the native of Augusta, Ga., whose income from waiting tables fully financed his education at the College. “From dishwasher to line cook to waiter to bartender to manager, and now owner.” Subverting New York’s long-practiced Manhattan worship, the hipster-happy Brooklyneer imports artisanal delicacies from the neighboring borough to the West Village. Manhattanites can
sample rib-sticking sandwiches and hot dogs inspired by stomping grounds like Williamsburg and Greenpoint, or prized pickled offerings like Whiskey Sour Pickles or Napa Cabbage Kimchee. Their second venture, Hill & Dale, finds its roots in Waite’s senior thesis on the history of audio recording. “I went back and looked at my CofC paper,” says Waite. “That’s where I found the term Hill & Dale, which is an early method of audio recording.” The Lower East Side establishment is outfitted accordingly with live music, vintage phonographs and recording memorabilia. It’s not a stretch that Waite would then find inspiration from his CofC days for his third place. In 2014, the partners opened The Folly on Houston Street, a retro nautical gastropub designed with hand-painted, sea-centric literary quotes and subtle pirate chic. Salty city-dwellers can slake a thirst with draft beers while diving into seafaring pub grub like fish and chips and shrimp po’ boys. After all, Waite knows from his college days that Folly Beach is always a crowd-
pleaser. What’s more, he earned his island stripes back then by painting the Folly Boat, the beloved beached skiff that washed up on Folly during Hurricane Hugo and has since received countless coats of paint from locals wishing to share a message. “I painted a birthday greeting to surprise my best friend,” he recalls, adding that he then had quite a challenging time getting the celebrant up that morning to drive to Folly. Waite now entices famously fickle New Yorkers to his reimagined Folly, including the College’s New York alumni chapter, which held a gathering there this past fall and painted a canvas replica of the Folly Boat. Have the all-too-real risks involved in joining the city’s unforgiving food-andbeverage fray given Waite valuable life lessons? “Don’t be afraid to trust and follow what you love, and not just what you think you should do to please others or the status quo,” shares Waite. “If you follow your heart, you’ll always be proud of it, and chances are much, much happier.” – Maura Hogan ’87 S PRI N G 2 0 1 6 |
Nafees Bin Zafar ’98
Tap and Jean Johnson
Penny Jones McKeever ’69
ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR AWARD
ALUMNI AWARD OF HONOR
HOWARD F. RUDD JR. BUSINESS PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD
FIRST NIGHT There were many pioneers – many alumni who represented firsts – at the 2015 Alumni Awards Gala, held near campus at the newly renovated Charleston Gaillard Center last November: EBONY HILTON ’04 (Pre-Medical Society’s Outstanding Service Award in Medicine) is the first African American female to be an anesthesiologist at the Medical University of South Carolina. Hilton was a triple major at the College, studying biology, chemistry and biochemistry. BRUCIE HOWE HENDRICKS ’83 (Distinguished Alumna Award) is the first woman from Charleston to be named a federal district judge. NAFEES BIN ZAFAR ’98 (Alumnus of the Year Award) is the first alum to win two Academy Awards – not to mention the first Bangladeshi to win an Oscar. Currently the director of research
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and development at Oriental DreamWorks in Shanghai, Bin Zafar has won acclaim for his innovative visual effects work in such films as The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Shrek Forever. HARRIET LEE ’08 was presented the Young Alumna Award for her advocacy for entrepreneurship education among S.C. youth through the YEScarolina Program. PENNY JONES MCKEEVER ’69, who retired in 2015 after a 30-year career at the College, received the Howard F. Rudd Jr. Business Person of the Year Award for her involvement and leadership in the School of Business and its success since becoming the College’s first school in 1984. JEAN and TAP JOHNSON JR. earned the Alumni Award of Honor for their support of all aspects of the College (from the School of the Arts, to the Foundation Board, to the Cougar Club, among others), thus making them the first couple to receive the award – and one more topper on the night’s long list of firsts.
CLASS NOTES [ alumni awards gala ]
Ebony Hilton ’04
Brucie Howe Hendricks ’83
YOUNG ALUMNA AWARD
PRE-MEDICAL SOCIETY’S OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD IN MEDICINE
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNA AWARD
| Event photos by Kip Bulwinkle ’04 |
Harriet Lee ’08
| (above) Nafees Bin Zafar ’98; (top right): Martha Kelly, Harriet Lee ’08, Clyde the Cougar, Katherine Lee and Beth Lee; (bottom right) President Glenn McConnell ’69, Dan Ravenel ’72, Penny Jones McKeever ’69, Alan Shao and Howard Rudd | S PRI N G 2 0 1 6 |
their son, Aiden Christopher, born in October. The Glover family lives in Tampa, Fla. Gerald Gregory recently performed with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in a program featuring Grammy Award–winning singer Erykah Badu. Gerald, a pianist, also performs with the Charleston Latin Jazz Collective and the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. Nick Pavia is a financial adviser at Commonwealth Financial Group in Charleston. Mike Perkins and Heather Oddo ’07 were married in May. Heather is the program manager for the Charleston nonprofit Overcoming Obstacles, and Mike is the golf shop assistant at the Kiawah Island Club. Justin Poole is the strategic partner manager at Blue Acorn in Charleston. Layton Ruffin received his International M.B.A. from the Darla Moore School of Business – University of South Carolina and his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is an attorney with Graham Law Firm in Florence, S.C. Grant Tankoos is the owner of Soundview Millworks, a custom woodworking company whose cutting boards have appeared in magazines such as Vanity Fair, Martha Stewart Weddings and Yachting. Grant has also developed a nautically inspired furniture line of tables, bartops and stools. Patrick ’04 and Lauren Miller Wilson announce the birth of their son, Silas Patrick, born in July. The Wilson family lives in Philadelphia.
2006 Jane Baker Birkelbach and and her
husband, Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Birkelbach (USN), announce the birth of a daughter, Liesl Colette, born last September in Norfolk, Va. Tucker Ervin and his wife, Ann, announce the birth of their son, Beckett Rice, born in October. The Ervin family lives in Mt. Pleasant. Alexander Lumans spent nearly three weeks of last summer living aboard a tall ship and making near-daily excursions to Norwegian islands and glaciers with the 2015 Arctic Circle residency program. The trip helped shape the setting for Alexander’s first novel, which involves a sailing crew encountering strange, climate-change–induced phenomena in the Arctic. Alexander is a writing instuctor at the University of Colorado, Denver and the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop. Hunter Marth and David Smythe Jr. were married last October. Hunter is the senior corporate event planner at Benefitfocus in Charleston. Victoria Howle Moore is Palmetto Carriage Works’ chief administrative officer, managing the company’s accounts and finances. Elizabeth and Adam Paul announce the birth of their second son, Edwin Barger, born in September. The Paul family lives on Johns Island. Meredith Ritchie is a senior communications specialist at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union in Washington, D.C.
Four CofC sisters – Carolyn ’10, Meg ’12, Patty ’14 and Charlotte Niemann (a current CofC student) – are building quite the foodie following (more than 315,000 to date) with their Food in the Air account on Instagram.
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Jason Trinklein is the wireless engineering manager at the College. Emily Tyner is the senior communications and outreach specialist for USAID’s Haiti Task Team in Washington, D.C.
2007 Mark Bartle is an attorney with
Roig Lawyers in Deerfield Beach, Fla. Jessica Chaconas and William Carroll III were married in November 2014. Sarah Didow received her B.S.N. and her D.N.P. from MUSC and is a nurse practitioner at Palmetto Primary Care Physicians’ North Cedar practice in Summerville, S.C. Mercedes Pinckney Fabers is the assistant general counsel in the College’s Office of Legal Affairs. She graduated from the North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2011 and received a L.L.M. in international human rights law from St. Thomas University School of Law in 2012. Liz and Alex Mitchum announce the birth of their sons, William Craig, born in November 2013, and Henry Boone, born in February 2015. Heather Oddo (see Mike Perkins ’05) Stacy Patrick has a law practice in Brunswick, Ga. Stacy and Brock Tobaben were married in April 2015, and they live on St. Simons Island with their mini poodle, Willy. Kristin Robinson and Jeffery Goulet were married in September. Their wedding party included classmates Katherine Lelek and Nicole Robinson Duggins ’09. Kristin is the director of human resources for Island Realty on the Isle of Palms. Matt and Sydney Burroughs Tillman ’08 live in Charleston with their two children, Anne Caroline and Connor, born in February 2015. Matt is a resident in pediatric dentistry at MUSC. Sydney taught elementary school in Tennessee for seven years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. James and Erin Marie Ulmer (M.A.T. ’11) announce the birth of their daughter, Alice Walsh, born in September. Danny Vo received his D.M.D. from MUSC’s James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine in 2014 and is a dentist at Railroad Dental Associates in Manassas Park, Va.
2008 Derrick Apple (M.S.) is the audit
manager for the accounting and business advisory firm Jarrard, Nowell & Russell in Charleston. Derrick is a CPA and a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the S.C. Association of Public Accountants. He is also on the marketing committee for the S.C. Captive Insurance Association and the professional advisory board for the 2015 eFileCabinet. He lives in Mt. Pleasant with his wife, Claire, and their daughter. Ian Bowers practices liability litigation in Willson Jones Carter & Baxley P.A.’s Charleston office. Jessica Cox is a sales representative for Reference Services Inc. in Washington, D.C. Jessica Crum is a dance instructor at Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant and founder of the Wando Dance Company. Last year, the S.C. Dance Association named Jessica the S.C. Dance Educator of the Year. Aneel de Albuquerque owns The Same Ghost Collective, a Charleston artist collective specializing in professional development and career and brand management for artists and musicians. Brian and Ashley Levy Grow announce the birth of a son, Jackson William, born in September. The Grow family lives in Mt. Pleasant.
Maria Dzierzko Gurovich (M.Ed. ’13) is the public relations and volunteer coordinator for Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach on Johns Island. Angela Hanyak is a sales associate at Louis Vuitton in Charleston and is a graduate student in the M.B.A. program in the Darla Moore School of Business – University of South Carolina. Calen Henning works in CresCom Bank’s itemprocessing department in the West Ashley operations center. Kimberly Merrow is the director of alumni and parent engagement at Holderness School in Plymouth, N.H. Catherine Rentschler is the director of sales at the new Hyatt Place Washington, D.C./ Georgetown/West End. Sydney Burroughs Tillman (see Matt Tillman ’07)
2009 Bubba Atkinson and Alex Skatell
started IJ Review in 2012. Today, the viral politics news site is one of the top 100 mosttrafficked websites in the country. Mark Christian is a math teacher at Fort Dorchester High School in North Charleston. Logan and Caroline Starr Edwards announce the birth of their second son, Hayden Blaise, born in February 2015. The Edwards family lives in Mt. Pleasant. Ashley Gray is a buyer and sales consultant at Betsy Robinson’s Bridal Collection in Pikesville, Md. Ali Landers graduated from MUSC last May and is a first-year anesthesiology resident at MUSC. Ali and Paul Lataille were married in December. Adam Lytton is a research associate with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Zander Lyverz and Andrianna Hughes ’10 were married in July and now live in Hong Kong, where Zander is teaching history at the American International School and Andrianna is writing and pursuing a job in Hong Kong’s burgeoning art scene. They attended a CofC Alumni Association chapter dinner during their first month in Hong Kong. Patricia Grant Mets earned her law degree from Northwestern University in 2012 and is an attorney and corporate associate at Goodwin Proctor LLP in Boston. Meredith Patterson and Andy Cantrell were married in June, and Meredith is a social media–marketing manager for Intercontinental Hotels Group in Atlanta. Max Remley is the vice president of Salvations Architectural Furnishings in Silver Spring, Md. Elizabeth Royall is the chief operating officer at Wonder Works Toys. Elizabeth also has an inspirational blog called RoyallMotivations. Andrew Walden earned his J.D. from the Charleston School of Law in 2012 and is an associate attorney at Willson Jones Carter & Baxley P.A. in Charleston.
2010 Tim English and Samantha Rae
Wormstall were married last June. Tim is a California workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Bo Katzakian in San Jose. Andrianna Hughes (see Zander Lyverz ’09) Annabel Jones (M.A. ’15) received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the College’s Department of Communication, where she served as a graduate assistant. Annabel also worked in the College’s Office of Admissions, served as president of the College’s Master’s of Communication Student Association chapter and was a member of the Women’s Health Research Team. Her research was accepted for presentation at MUSC’s Women’s Health
CLASS NOTES [ alumni profile ]
All the Right Moves MELISSA SIEGEL ’03 DOESN’T MESS around. She jumps at opportunity, scoffs at distraction and charges at conflict. She’s got plans. She’s got goals. She doesn’t waste any time. Frankly, she doesn’t have any to waste. Here’s why: She teaches graduate courses in migration studies and leads the migration and development research group in the Maastricht Centre for Citizenship, Migration and Development at Maastricht University and the migration studies group at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance and the United Nations University (UNU-MERIT) in The Netherlands; she coordinates and oversees the Migration Management Diploma Program and the migration specialization at the School of Governance and UNUMERIT; she is a research associate at the Center on Migration, Policy and Society and the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford; she trains international organizations (e.g., UNICEF, UNHCR) and governments (e.g., Dutch, German, Swiss, Iranian) in migration issues; and she’s always jetting off to places like Moldova, Ethiopia, Burundi, Afghanistan, Georgia, Morocco and Suriname for field research. “I am really good at being busy,” Siegel shrugs, adding: “I always say that my best quality is my ability to suffer. I’m really good at being uncomfortable – mentally and physically.” Siegel, however, has never had time to do anything but roll with the punches. She’s been on the fast track to success ever since graduating from the Honors College with a degree in economics. In addition to being inspired (and terrified) by her economics professors Calvin Blackwell and Jane Clary, Siegel credits the College for preparing her for what has been a whirlwind career. “The College in general offers so many ways to study the world,” she says, “and economics gives you a nice background of how the world works.” And so, at Utrecht University, she started studying law and economics, policy and organization and underground banking, money laundering and remittances. Eventually, however, she landed at Maastricht University for her postdoctoral
work and became interested in migration. The rest, as they say, is history. “What’s fascinating about migration and migration policy is that there’s so much going into it – economically, culturally, politically and historically – that you can predict the future and change it,” says Siegel, who could have told you years ago that Syria was headed into a refugee crisis. What she sees for the future isn’t so bright, either. “What I see happening is not a migration crisis, but a humanitarian crisis on a global scale. This could be avoided by countries doing what’s morally right. I see a huge missed opportunity to not only step up and do what’s right, but also take in highly educated, hardworking people and add them to their populations,” she says. “The other thing is that the situation in Syria isn’t improving, so this problem isn’t going away. We should be planning for years.” And, she says, there’s no time to waste. The time is now. That’s something she tries to convey to the students whom she and Stephanie Wheeler ’03 teach at the Honors College. That’s right, somehow Siegel manages to come back to Charleston to teach
Global Perspectives on Poverty, Inequality and Vulnerability every summer. “I think it’s important for American students to understand global equality – these are bright students, but they have such a narrow view of the world and what’s happening around it,” she says, noting that she encourages all undergraduates to study abroad. “And not just in England. When you’re most uncomfortable is when you learn the most. Also, look at the courses, not the countries. Go where they offer things you’re interested in.” And, consider Maastricht University: Siegel has established an internship between the Honors College and her institution just for that purpose. “I really want to strengthen the ties between the College and Maastricht,” she says. “Plus, I have a soft spot for the College of Charleston, so if I can offer a global perspective to its students, I am happy to do that. That’s my goal.” Not surprisingly, it’s not her only one. “In five years, I want to lead my center,” she says. “I want to become dean. Then I want to be provost.” Nope: Siegel isn’t messing around. – Alicia Lutz ’98
S PRI N G 2 0 1 6 |
Research Day and the S.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Summer Institute. Annabel is now a digital communications specialist for Method Savvy, a marketing agency in Durham, N.C. Somers Maky and Eric Farmer Jr. were married in November. Somers is the catering sales manager at the Westin Poinsett Hotel in Greenville, S.C. Thomas Mathewes is the vice president of Charted Commercial Group. Thomas, who is licensed in both South Carolina and Georgia, focuses on retail and storage acquisitions and development. George Patrick “GP” McLeer is a member of the College’s School of the Arts Council. Hannah Nuccio is an account supervisor specializing in arts and culture, technology and real estate development in Lou Hammond & Associates’ Charleston office. Erin O’Reilly is a graduate teaching assistant in biology at Auburn University. Julio Gonzalez Piera is a supply chain analyst for Fila USA in Baltimore. Adrienne Rudkin works in investor relations at Seven Bridges Advisors in New York City. Angelyn Thomas is a project manager at South Carolina Power Team. Grace Turin is a buyer and manager at Place des Lices in France’s La Rochelle area. Sam Winkler is a tax manager with Detterbeck Wealth Management in Charleston.
Donald Schneider ’12, a senior
economist and tax policy expert for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means was named to the “30 Under 30” list for law and policy by Forbes magazine.
2011 Logan Bryan is a service manager at
Wells Fargo in Charleston. Charles Carmody is the director of Charleston Music Hall. Harrison Chapman is the manager of the Charleston Farmers Market for the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs. He is also the treasurer of Slow Food Charleston, the coordinator for Holiday Magic and a board member for the S.C. Association of Farmers Markets and the City of Charleston Customer Service Initiative Blue Dot Committee. Nina Deese is a full-time board-certified behavior analyst practicing in Tallahassee, Fla., and an adjunct faculty member at Florida State University. Tanya Garcia is a community art fellow with the Creative Alliance at The Patterson in Baltimore. Sarah Kate Hampton earned her master’s in counseling from Mercer University in 2015 and is a high school counselor at North Forsyth High School in Cumming, Ga. John Ingham and Amy Lee Jones were married in June 2013 and live in North Charleston. They announce the birth of their son, Dawson, born in June. Lauren Swing is the deputy chief of staff for Congressman Rick Allen and manages the daily operations of his office in Washington, D.C. Anne Wallice is a second-year law student at William and Mary Law School. Last summer, Anne worked with USAID in Kampala, Uganda, |
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and plans to concentrate on conflict mitigation in post-conflict countries upon graduation.
2012 Tim Drevins lives in Delray Beach,
Fla., where he is the community manager for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Brittany Errico is the events manager for JMC Charleston. Randall Fernanders is a licensed Realtor with the Southern Shores Real Estate Group in Summerville, S.C. Randall received a master’s in international business from Hult International Business School, Dubai. Greg Gelber is a real estate agent in Dunes Properties’ Charleston office. Susie Hallatt (M.A.) played a retired English opera singer in the Footlight Players’ Quartet production in September. In her real life, Susie is the director of graduate admissions for the Graduate School, University of Charleston, S.C. Editha Harper (M.Ed.) is an adjunct faculty member and a technology coordinator in the University of South Carolina’s English Programs for Internationals. Mike and Sabra Berger Jewell moved to Boulder, Colo., where Sabra continues to work with United Way while also pursuing an M.P.A. at the University of Colorado, Denver. Kelsey Johanson and Colby Huggins were married last September. Ross Kressel is the senior corporate accounts support specialist at InfoMart in Moon Township, Pa. Marla Loftus (M.A.) is the marketing director for the Terressentia Corporation in North Charleston. Halley Black Manett is the development manager at Twin Rivers Capital, a Charleston-based commercial real estate developer. Sarah Miller is the gallery director at Mitchell Hill, a fine art gallery in Charleston. Ruchi Mistry and Thomas McFall are co-owners of Huriyali, a Charleston juice business that distributes to local markets and has a shop on Huger Street. Jack Muren and Amanda Schwarz were married in July. They live in Charlotte, where Amanda is a third-grade teacher at Hickory Grove Elementary School and Jack is an accountant at Grant Thornton. Reggie Patterson is a graduate student in Clemson University’s school counseling program. Claire Petroskey is an account executive for Lou Hammond & Associates in Charleston and specializes in luxury destinations, culinary, hospitality, lifestyle and resort clients. Austin Ray is a Realtor at Carolina One Real Estate in Charleston. Emily Rossetti is a teacher at St. Philip’s Preschool in Charleston. Thomas Zierenberg works with Hospital Corporation of America and serves as the program director for the in-patient psychiatry and neurology departments at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston.
2013 Monica Benyard is the assistant
director of access control and housing accounts in the College’s Department of Residence Life and Housing. Hope Hendricks Coltharp is a systems analyst at MUSC. Martin Erbele (M.P.A.) works in hazard mitigation planning for Michael Baker International, a private consulting firm in Atlanta that works with FEMA to provide mitigation and outreach work across the Southeast.
Lauren Foster is the Carolinas sales representative for Left Hand Brewing Co. Robert Hitt is a software developer at Qonceptual Inc. in Mt. Pleasant. Blake Hoffmeyer is the founder and chief editor of Atlanta-based Hoffmeyer Communications, which is focusing on messaging strategy, client engagement and digital and print marketing content. Savannah Johnson and Jonathan James were married in July. Charles Lanier is an English professor at Heilongjiang International University in Harbin City, China. Thomas McGee is a sales assistant with CBRE in Charleston. Paul and Calynn Johnson Morrison announce the birth of their son, Milo Weston, born in February 2015. Calynn is pursuing a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis. Drew Passarello presented a poster on ranking methods for Olympic sports at the 2015 Carolina Sports Analytics Meeting at Furman University. He and Bryce Pruitt ’15 gave an award-winning presentation and paper at the SE INFORMS meeting. Drew worked on an externship with the U.S. Olympic Committee. Hannah Ruth is a freelance social media coordinator in the greater Atlanta area. Corey Seacrist (M.B.A. ’15) is pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences at Vanderbilt University and hopes to work in the pharmaceutical industry upon graduation. Lauren Strubeck is a regional recruiter for McKinsey & Company in Philadelphia. Tyler Tilghman is a policy assistant in the government relations department at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in Washington, D.C. Emma Versaw is an account associate for News America Marketing in Atlanta. Kyla Wagner is co-executive chef at Mundo Experiences in Minneapolis. Amanda Zeile is a sales associate of event solutions at Cvent in the Northern Virginia/ Washington, D.C., area.
2014 Melissa Bernhard (M.S.) is
a seasonal biologist for Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation & Research program in Sarasota, Fla. Vanessa Bezy (M.S.) is pursuing a Ph.D. in biology at UNC – Chapel Hill. Tyler Boone toured the country and opened for major acts such as Sheryl Crow. He also received radio play, acted in an HBO show (Vice Principals) and recorded new music, including a tribute to the victims of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church tragedy. Tyler lives in Nashville, Tenn. Harris Cappelmann is an insurance agent with General Agency Inc. in Charleston. James Carroll is a technical consultant with Southern Company in Atlanta. Leah Cockerham is a program manager and executive assistant at the Charleston nonprofit Engaging Creative Minds. Matt Coda and Jake Cotreau opened Vive Media in Charleston, a video production agency specializing in drone video and photography. Callie Crawford (M.S.) is a research technician in biology professor Gavin Naylor’s molecular evolution lab at the Hollings Marine Laboratory at Fort Johnson on James Island. Kara Cronin (see Madison McGhee ’15) Sheree Grant is the assistant manager in the College’s Copy Center, where she was a student worker for four years. Peri Hipps married her CofC sweetheart Steven Sheppard (M.S. ’15) last September.
CLASS NOTES [ alumni profile ]
How to Produce a Career HE ISN’T TRYING TO GET AHEAD IN his career – he’s trying to stay ahead. Constantly. That’s the goal when you’re a trending news producer for NowThis, a network created by one of the founders of Huffington Post. From their offices in the heart of New York City, Ryan Sedmak ’13 produces more than 20 cutting-edge videos a week, always hoping he’ll be the first to break the news. “One of our slogans is ‘See it first, share it first,’ so with cutting live events, speed is crucial,” Sedmak says. “We want to get a story out there before it’s trending on social media.” Founded in 2012, NowThis caters to people who get their news from mobile devices and social media. The video network currently has 375,000 followers on Twitter and more than 2 million on Facebook. “I love that I’m informing my generation and reaching them where they are,” Sedmak says. “As we’ve grown, I’ve enjoyed seeing my friends share our content organically.”
He also relishes the fast-paced environment – not what you might expect from someone who spent his college years in the more slowly paced and genteel setting of Charleston. But the communication major says his experience at the College more than prepared him for his current position: “My professors really stressed the importance of internships and hands-on experience. Early on, I knew that I wanted to intern at a network like NBC, and I worked with my adviser, communication professor Jenifer Kopfman, to do this. We came up with a strategy that allowed me to spend my last semester in New York working at The Today Show and Nightly News with Brian Williams and still graduate on time.” According to Sedmak, another unexpected advantage of going to school in the South: manners. “Being located in Charleston, the College by default boasts a considerate, polite atmosphere,” Sedmak observes. “Good manners and kindness are something that is expected of students, and the
faculty does an incredible job of setting this example. The College instilled in me a commitment to this mindset as I continue to pursue my career. Thus far, I believe it has served me really well.” (News flash: You don’t have to be pushy to come out ahead.) Aside from staying on top of the breaking news game, including producing stories surrounding Charlie Hebdo, Black Lives Matter, the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooting and the Paris terrorist attacks, he says, “I also highly enjoyed covering the scaling of the summit of El Capitan in November 2014. We rolled on the live footage for days, and the visuals were incredible. I did a hyper-lapse that garnered positive feedback from our founder and multiple NowThis investors. I like that what I am doing is cutting edge. This is where media is headed.” And thanks to a college experience that afforded him great internships and great advice, Sedmak’s career was already on a roll when he graduated. As he is proving, he can head anywhere from here. – Leslie McKellar S PRI N G 2 0 1 6 |
Peri is the finance and operations assistant at the Charleston Shoe Company, and Steven, who earned his master’s in accountancy last year, is a reconciliation specialist at South State Bank. Austin Hughey is a J.D. candidate at Penn State University. Amanda Kelly (M.S.) is a staff scientist for Environmental Resources Management. Nicole Kollars (M.S.) is pursuing a Ph.D. in population biology at the University of California-Davis. Matt Mintz manages a five-state territory containing 50 teams as a regional manager for Enactus (formerly Students in Free Enterprise), a global nonprofit organization that spurs students to become socially responsible business leaders. He lives in Austin, Texas. Rebecca Mortensen (M.S.) is a research specialist in the S.C. Algal Ecology Lab at the University of South Carolina and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Nicholas and Sarah Baumgarten Pilch announce the birth of a daughter, Chandler Amory, born in November. The Pilch family lives in Hanahan, S.C. Michelle Reed (M.S.) is a biologist in S.C. Algal Ecology Lab at the University of South Carolina and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Allyson Salvucci is a project manager in Skyline Exhibits & Design in Charleston. Allyson is responsible for estimating, scheduling and
ordering displays, graphics and services for existing and new clients. Eli Sarasola is a professional soccer player in Holland. Eli is a goalkeeper for AFC Ajax Vrouwen and is playing in the highest level of professional soccer in The Netherlands. Nikki Scioscia is a freelance artist, photographer and digital illustrator. In 2014, Nikki won the Tyzack Prize and a Portfolio Scholarship at the Penland School of Crafts, and, in 2013, she won Best in Photography at the College’s Salon des Refuses juried art show. Victoria Sessoms (M.B.A) is a portfolio risk officer at BB&T in Greensboro, N.C. Sarah Shipman is a headhunting support specialist at Movement Search & Delivery in Charleston. Meredith Smylie (M.S.) is a research associate at Yale University. Lauren Stevens is a special education teacher in a moderate/severe self-contained class at Westview Middle School in Goose Creek, S.C. Robert-David Weeks is the founder and CEO of RAZ Productions, producing corporate networking functions, college social functions and concerts such as Cobblestone Fest. Leslie Wickes (M.S.) is a biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and for the Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research in Charleston.
2015 Ryan Byrd is a real estate associate
at Keller Williams Realty in Mt. Pleasant. Grace Cappelmann is an organic chemist at GEL Laboratories in Charleston. Caroline Cothran is the director of social media and marketing at Triology Capital Group in Miami. She also provides social media, marketing and creative services on a contractual basis for Sassy Shortcake Boutique. William Creech is a real estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolina Sun. Julie Csizmadia is a sales associate at Anthropologie and a marketing intern at Ooh! Events in Charleston. Jhoana Garcia is an assistant teacher at PorterGaud School in Charleston. Zack Jarrett (M.P.A.) earned his J.D. from the Charleston School of Law. Zack is a workers’ compensation attorney for McAngus Goudelock & Courie in Charleston. Brendan Laubner (M.S.) is the data manager and report trainer for the College’s institutional research office. Bradley Maran is a marketing consultant with Force Marketing, an Atlanta-based automotive direct-marketing agency serving more than 700 dealerships every month. Madison McGhee and Kara Cronin ’14 started a creative think tank called the Lemon Stand, which promotes positivity and happiness through digital content.
[ passages ] David Brockinton Jr. ’40
Lucy Garrett Beckham ’70
Christopher Wilson ’95
Renee Shimel Frisch ’40
Carlton Clark Sr. ’74
Brian Brouwer ’96
Albert Cannon ’41
Richard Cheatham ’75
Thomas Logothetis ’97
Sara Badger Vann ’41
Horace Fletcher IV ’75
Julia Dailey ’98
Gerda Philippsthal Hall ’48
Benjamin Joye ’75
Rachel Pardieck Hazelwood ’00
Sybil Singleton Kline ’49
Regina Bowman Rakar ’76
Justin Griffin ’02
Leon Wolfe Jr. ’49
James Bradley Noe ’77
Carl Baybo ’03
J. Arthur Dunlap Jr. ’50
Sharon Johnson Richter ’79
James Wellington ’08
Margaret Price Schwacke ’50
Mary Carol Smith Snyder ’79
Christopher Bates, student
Charles Meitzler ’53
Milton Blanchett III ’80
Patrick Kohlmann, student
Lucia Manos Morfesis ’57
Lynn Corley ’81
Jackson Moore, student
Ann Key Payne ’58
Bruce Howard ’82
J. Fred Watts, former faculty
Anne Mackey Norrell ’66
Barbara Lassiter Green ’83
Thomas Kicklighter Jr., former staff
Joseph O’Connor ’66
David Battey ’91, staff
John Zeigler Jr., honorary degree recipient
November 1, 2015; Charleston, S.C. November 12, 2015; Charleston, S.C. September 20, 2015; Hartsville, S.C. December 15, 2015; McClellanville, S.C. September 14, 2015; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. December 5, 2015; Charleston, S.C. November 2, 2015; Germantown, Md. September 1, 2015; Greenville, S.C. November 19, 2015; Charleston, S.C. January 4, 2016; Charleston, S.C. August 30, 2015; Charleston, S.C. July 25, 2015; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. September 28, 2015; Charleston, S.C. January 14, 2015; Dover, N.H.
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December 13, 2015; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. September 1, 2015; Moncks Corner, S.C. December 15, 2015; Columbia, S.C. November 5, 2015; Gilbertsville, Pa. November 23, 2015; Columbia, S.C. December 25, 2015; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. September 16, 2015; Charleston, S.C. November 14, 2015; Lake Jackson, Texas November 23, 2015; Charleston, S.C. September 20, 2015; Charleston, S.C. November 5, 2015; North Charleston, S.C. September 4, 2015; Charleston, S.C. October 24, 2015; Summerville, S.C. January 13, 2016; Charleston, S.C.
December 2, 2015; Richmond, Va. November 21, 2015; Minnetonka, Minn. September 14, 2015; James Island, S.C. October 2, 2015; North Charleston, S.C. December 2, 2015; Ladson, S.C.
November 14, 2015; Bozeman, Mont. June 8, 2012; Goose Creek, S.C. October 23, 2015; Locust Valley, N.Y. October 22, 2015; Columbia, S.C. October 19, 2015; Surfside Beach, S.C. November 29, 2015; Isle of Palms, S.C. September 14, 2015; Charleston, S.C. December 19, 2015; Charleston, S.C. October 2, 2015; Charleston, S.C.
DEEP ROOTS For Ann Looper Pryor ’83, it all comes back to the College of Charleston. After crossing the Cistern with a degree in political science, Pryor headed to Capitol Hill, where she served as a congressional staffer, working on constituent services and handling public relations for the late senator from South Carolina Strom Thurmond. There, Pryor also worked as a lobbyist for the American Institute of Architects, before she eventually moved off the Hill to serve as the managing director of the American Society of Landscape Architects and publisher of Landscape Architecture Magazine. Pryor’s career may have taken her far, but she never forgot her roots. That’s why she has given to the College every year since 1987. That’s why she and her husband, Greg, endowed an internship program, the W.N. Looper Award, to honor her father, who, upon his return from World War II, lived in the College’s gymnasium (now the Willard A. Silcox Physical Education and Health Center) before going on to graduate from Newberry College. And that’s why Pryor is back on campus now. As the College’s newly appointed vice president of alumni affairs, Pryor has returned to her roots – and she is looking forward to helping the College’s more than 60,000 alumni reconnect with their CofC roots, too.
Stewart Miller is a signal corps officer in the U.S. Army. Stewart is training at the U.S. Army Signal School to create and maintain the communication networks used by all branches of the U.S. military. Derek Novo was an intern at Adobe Systems in San Jose, Calif., as a National GEM Consortium Fellow. He is a graduate student in Columbia University’s computer science program. Zoe Parry is a design assistant on the design and decor team at Duvall Events in North Charleston. Bryce Pruitt (M.S.) worked on an externship with the U.S. Olympic Committee and also gave an award-winning presentation and paper at the SE INFORMS meeting with Drew Passarello ’13. Luke Rein bicycled across the country on his 1989 Cannondale bike to bring awareness to climate change. The two-month adventure began in Providence, R.I., and ended in Los Angeles. Steven Sheppard (M.S.) (see Peri Hipps ’14) Larissa Steinfeldt (M.B.A.) interned in Daimler
Vans Manufacturing’s finance department, assisted with hospitality and tourism management research projects in the College’s School of Business and served as the chief financial officer of the M.B.A. Association. Thad Sulek (M.S.) presented a poster at a Carolina Sports Analytics meeting and attended the Sloan Analytics Conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thad is a graduate student in the University of Georgia’s doctoral program in statistics. Kate Waddell is a painter with space at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston. Kate was a profiled artist in The Post & Courier. Her style is described as “bold” and “geometric.” David Warren is an artist and sculptor whose work has been displayed at the Art Mecca of Charleston. David crafts ordinary, repurposed materials into geometric figures. Alec Westerman is the assistant director of sports performance in the College’s
Department of Athletics. Alec, who served as a sports performance intern as an undergraduate, works primarily with the men’s soccer and women’s cross country teams as well as the golf, tennis, equestrian, sailing and cheer and dance teams. Miranda Whiting is a graduate student at Simmons College in Boston and is pursuing her master’s in library and information science with a concentration in archives. Tori Williams launched Flawed & Fabulous, an online magazine providing tools and information for postgraduate women to become the best versions of themselves, both personally and professionally. Danielle Woodberry is an intern in the College’s Office of Sustainability and a customer service representative with T-Mobile in Charleston.
Check out more stories and information about the College at today.cofc.edu.
S PRI N G 2 0 1 6 |
[ faces and places ]
1 3 2
There’s always something going on at the College: 1 Dr. Martin Perlmutter Dining Hall (“Marty’s Place”) opening ceremony: Anita Zucker, David Popowski and President Glenn McConnell ’69 2 Marty’s Place opening: Marty Perlmutter, Gerry Sue Arnold, Norman Arnold, Anita Zucker, President McConnell and Zach Sturman 3 Boundless Words & Voices: Vikki Matsis ’07 (foreground) 4 December commencement: Karen Chandler (arts management) and Ronald Rhames ’15 5 Charleston mayoral debate in Sottile Theatre 6 Board of Trustees meeting: Brian McGee (academic affairs), Bob Cape (information technology) and Greg Padgett ’79 (chair, Board of Trustees) 7 Alumni Awards Gala: Tom and Nan Morrison, Alana and Derrick Williams ’99 8 Alumni educators from College Park Elementary School (Ladson, S.C.) 9 Angela Bassett on campus stumping for Hillary Clinton campaign before the S.C. Democratic Primary |
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College of Charleston Gospel Choir 11 Alumni educators from West Ashley High School (Charleston, S.C.) 12 December commencement: President McConnell, Betty Beatty (honorary degree recipient), Sue Sommer-Kresse (honorary degree recipient) and John Kresse (commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient) 13 New laboratory space at Dixie Plantation 14 Marty’s Place opening: Jan Brewton (auxiliary services), Loren Ziff and Mindelle Ziff 15 President McConnell speaking at the forum “Moving From Crisis to Action: A Public Health Approach to Reducing Gun Violence,” held at Emanuel A.M.E. Church (the event aired on CSPAN) 16 New laboratory opening at Dixie Plantation: President McConnell, Steve Osborne ’73 (business affairs), Andrew Baum (CEO, ArborGen) and George Watt (institutional advancement) 17 Fall gathering of the New York Alumni Chapter at The Folly, a Manhattan restaurant owned by Billy Waite ’02 10
S PRI N G 2 0 1 6 |
John Kresse Court, TD Arena I’M NO STRANGER TO DANCING ON STAGE, but dancing in TD Arena during basketball games is a whole different ballpark – or should I say court? I’m used to performing under intense lights, where the audience can see me, but I don’t usually have the privilege of seeing them. When I step on the John Kresse Court, however, I can see everything. And I feed off the energy I see. Yes, it is nerve wracking to perform in
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front of so many people, especially since they’re there to see basketball players – the dance team, for most, is really just an auxiliary to the main attraction. But, what I love is that, even when the players aren’t on the court, the fans are tuned in. They’re watching. That’s why I work hard to boost morale and keep the audience going during timeouts. And I think it pays off: The positive feedback I’ve received from
the students, faculty and staff around campus shows me that they’re enjoying our performances. That’s why I love it so much. My space on the court is something I work hard for every game – and it’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world. – Joshua Bristow Joshua is a freshman member of the College’s dance team.
IS OUR TOMORROW
LET’S PAVE OUR WAY TODAY
Theatre composer and director Mel Marvin ’62 is a longtime Broadway standout, delivering toe-tapping scores for hits like Tintypes and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical. His love of the genre started during his days at the College, and his commitment to his alma mater carries on.
Now is our time to help the College transport its talented students to inspired tomorrows. Donate to the BOUNDLESS campaign today.
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College of Charleston Magazine Spring 2016 Within these pages, you're going to find many stories showcasing the College of Charleston's dyna...