L IA E T IV T EN C I D PE ES OS PR T R E R
C o l l e g e of C h a r l e s t o n magaz in e
by doing his own thing.
S U M M ER 2 0 14
Orlando Jones finds stardom
You know our storied past. Summer 2014 Volume XVIII, Issue 3 Editor
Mark Berry Art Director
Alfred Hall Managing Editor
Alicia Lutz ’98 Associate Editor
Jason Ryan Photography
Leslie McKellar Contributors
Hannah Ashe ’12 Kip Bulwinkle ’04 Mitchell Colgan Greg Fisher Ashley Lewis Ford ’07 Ron Menchaca ’98 Marlene Navor Holly Thorpe Online Design
Charlie Stinchfield Alumni Relations
Karen Burroughs Jones ’74 Executive Vice President for External Relations
But it’s Today that makes all the difference.
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ATTN: College of Charleston Magazine College of Charleston Division of Marketing and Communications Charleston, SC 29424-0001 College of Charleston Magazine is published three times a year by the Division of Marketing and Communications. With each printing, approximately 60,000 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 ]
26 Foreign Concept
Around the Cistern
by Leslie McKellar
In this photo essay, six faculty members from the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs model their favorite foreign word and/or phrase that lacks an English equivalent.
On a Lark
Life Academic 6 Making the Grade 12
by Alicia Lutz ’98
Point of View
Rosemary Powell James ’59 proves that – at least when it comes to some things – it’s best to live the life unscripted.
The Defiant One
by Jason ryan
How many obstacles do you think one man can overcome? In the case of Trinidadian David Ramjohn ’04, countless.
You are me: the Education of the Precocious, Creatively ferocious Orlando Jones by Mark Berry
When he was a student at the College, Orlando Jones was a veritable force on campus – a man of many talents and a guy that everyone knew and loved. That versatility and magnetic personality would prove invaluable as Jones made his way in Hollywood.
on the cover: Orlando Jones photo by Brownie Harris
AROUND the CISTERN
| Photo by Kip Bulwinkle ’04 |
A Presidential Homecoming
It’s been a long time coming. And now, after 134 years, an alumnus will once again occupy the president’s office in Randolph Hall. Certainly a lot has changed since Nathaniel Russell Middleton ’28 (that’s 1828) guided the College from 1857 to 1880. But, more than a century later, the core mission remains the same: provide the best education possible. And president-elect Glenn McConnell ’69 understands the power of a College of Charleston education to shape lives.
education I received at the College.” McConnell, who grew up in Charleston, studied political science at the College and served as student body president. He earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1972. McConnell was first elected to the South Carolina Senate in 1980 and went on to hold several key leadership posts, including chairman of the rules committee and chairman of the senate judiciary committee. In 2001, he was
“The College of Charleston is in my DNA.” – President-elect Glenn McConnell ’69 “As I told the Board of Trustees during my interview,” McConnell says, “the College of Charleston is in my DNA. Any success I have enjoyed throughout my legal, business and legislative careers started with the excellent liberal arts
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elected the first Republican president pro tempore of the S.C. Senate by a bipartisan vote. During his legislative career, McConnell earned a reputation as a skilled parliamentarian and mediator who was able to forge political compromises
between opposing sides and bring people together. As the incumbent senate president pro tempore, he ascended to the office of lieutenant governor in March 2012 because of a vacancy in the office. McConnell comes to the presidency adorned in institutional honors, having served as the 2013 May commencement speaker and having been awarded the Founders Medal (the highest award bestowed by the College) in 1992. And unlike any other president in the history of the College, he already has a building named for him: the Glenn McConnell Residence Hall on Wentworth Street, the building project for which he played a critical role in obtaining funding. But honors aside, McConnell brings an intricate knowledge of the state and its political culture that only a few College presidents have possessed. “Having worked with him for over 30 years,” observes Senator Hugh Leatherman (Florence), “I know firsthand of his intellect, integrity and ability to bring together disparate parties; I know he will do an outstanding job.” And Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley Jr. agrees: “He understands, firsthand, the great heritage of the first municipal college in America and one of the great colleges in our country. Senator McConnell is an excellent leader and a tireless worker. I know he will guide the College of Charleston to even greater heights.” And greater heights is exactly what McConnell has in mind for the College. “I look forward to serving and leading my alma mater in a new chapter in its history marked by greater diversity, sustainability, relevance and accountability,” says McConnell. “When future graduates reflect upon their lives, I hope they, too, will value their experience at the College as one that propelled them to success no matter what personal and professional paths they choose.”
AROUND the CISTERN
| Photo by Kyodo via AP Images |
Is he or isn’t he? It really depends on whom you want to believe. According to local lore, renowned architect Robert Mills (1781–1855) was a graduate of the College, or at least studied here during his formative years in Charleston. In former president Harry Lightsey Jr.’s pictorial book about the College, Gems in a Crown (1993), he writes that Mills earned his degree at the College. But historian John Morrill Bryan questions the CofC connection in his biography Robert Mills: America’s First Architect (2001). Because there’s no actual record of his attendance at the College, Bryan theorizes that Mills most likely attended evening classes in Charleston to learn drawing and design before moving to Washington, D.C., where he studied under architect James Hoban (famous for his design of the White House). This spring, the Washington Monument, Mills’ best-known work, was reopened to the public after a 33-month restoration to fix more than 150 cracks caused by a 2011 earthquake. The 555-foot monument – for which Mills won the open competition in 1836, though it wasn’t completed until 1884 – was once the tallest structure in the world. Like the Washington Monument, Mills’ other architectural designs, including the Treasury Building and the Old Patent Office Building (now part of the Smithsonian Institution), helped define the image of the emerging American republic for the nation and the world. And his alumni status, like the beauty of his work, is perhaps best left in the eye of the beholder.
| Photo by BadJon Photography |
AROUND the CISTERN
paint The town If College Lodge wasn’t the rock star of residence halls before, it certainly is now. With a whole new image – one that is both bold and modest, brave and understated, edgy and classic, conspicuous and mysterious – the building couldn’t get much cooler. It’s the doing of a rock star in his own right, contemporary street-artist Shepard Fairey (pictured above), who tagged the face of the building as a part of his “Power & Glory” series of murals that hit Charleston last May. The murals – which also popped up on a King Street warehouse complex, atop the Francis Marion Hotel and on the north wall of Groucho’s Deli – are all part of his collection in the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art’s exhibit, The Insistent Image: Recurrent Motifs in the Art of Shepard Fairey and Jasper Johns. “A lot of the work in my show is about the negative side of power and glory,” says the Charleston native, who got his start with his “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” (a.k.a. Obey) sticker campaign and soared to international notoriety with his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. “But this mural is about a positive kind of power that I think is the path to future glory.” Once again, College Lodge gets all the right kinds of power and glory.
LIFE ACADEMIC Speaking His Truth
when he first came to the College, it was as a panhandler. Tony Ellis was just a kid from the Eastside, looking for a buck. Looking for a little escape, maybe. Some time out from under the shadows of Charleston’s old Cooper River bridges. Out from under the shadows of
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his neighborhood, his community. His speech impediment. They called him “Stutter Butter.” They taunted, they teased, they mimicked. And not just the students – the teachers, the school administrators. They put him in special education classes. He was bullied. He fought back. He was suspended. His self-esteem plummeted. He considered suicide. He needed out. Again, he turned to the College. He was looking for something different. “My goal was to drop out of school and work at the College’s cafeteria,” Ellis recalls. “My idea was that a dishwashing job would not require any verbal communication, and dropping out of school would relieve me of constant embarrassment.” Between the eighth and 11th grades, he applied for dishwashing jobs at the College at least 25 times. Fortunately, he never landed so much as an interview. “If I were interviewed and hired, I would have dropped out of school to work at the College full time,” says Ellis. “But I stayed in school because I never got called in for an interview.” Actually, Ellis did eventually get an interview – 15 years later, and this time not as a dishwasher, but as an adjunct member of the teacher education faculty. “Never in my life would I have imagined teaching here. It is extremely emotional for me because of my ties to Charleston,” says Ellis, who – thanks in large part to his high school band director – not only became the first male in his family to complete high school, but went on to earn his B.A. in religion and philosophy from Benedict College, his M.A. in religious studies from Howard University and both his M.Ed. and Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from Howard University. “Many people
doubted that a speech-impaired person could successfully defend a doctoral dissertation. Honestly, I had my doubts as well. But I debunked the myth that students who receive special education–related schooling cannot succeed academically.” Ellis considers his hire a groundbreaking one on the part of the Department of Teacher Education – especially considering that, out of the 50 public K–12 schools he surveyed in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., not one of them employed a speech-impaired teacher. And, out of the 200 schools of education at the university level that he surveyed, only six had speech-impaired faculty members. “I strongly believe that students who want to be teachers need to be exposed to faculty members who have outward disabilities, especially students who desire to become special education teachers. In my opinion, one of the best ways to prepare teachers to work with K–12 students with disabilities is to allow them to learn from a professor with an outward disability,” he says, adding that, because of his speech impediment, he proves to his students that there are many ways to teach effectively, that traditional lecturing isn’t the only way. “My students now have what it takes to authentically tell their future students, ‘You can be anything you want to be, despite your physical challenges or disability.’” It’s a message that Ellis wishes he’d heard as a kid. Maybe it would have kept him out of trouble. Maybe it would have kept him away from special-education classes, away from the fights, away from detention. Maybe so. But it certainly wouldn’t have kept him away from the College of Charleston.
The Evolution of a Discovery Sometimes things just come together. Such was the case with the discovery of a 28-million-year-old fossil belonging to a previously unknown toothed whale. It was a find that, once carefully assembled, connected not only some evolutionary dots for the scientific community, but also some like-minded personalities in the College community. The discovery began in the early ’90s, when Mark Havenstein ’88 – co-owner of Lowcountry Geologic, an online fossil store specializing in megalodon shark teeth from the South Carolina Lowcountry – came across the fossil in Berkeley County. Things started falling into place almost immediately. First, Mace Brown, an avid private fossil collector, bought the fossil from Lowcountry Geologic. As he began preparing it, he could tell from the strange indentations in the whale’s skull, that this was an unusual find. That’s when he called in geology professor Jim Carew and Jonathan Geisler ’95 to take a look at the specimen. Geisler– who, like Havenstein, had taken Carew’s paleobiology class while at the College – had earned a master’s and a Ph.D. from Columbia University and served as curator of paleontology at Georgia Southern Museum. Now an associate professor of anatomy at New York Institute of Technology, he agreed it was an extraordinary find, but he couldn’t perform professional research until the specimen was in a museum. Carew’s shared interest, too, was restricted by the fossil’s place in Brown’s personal collection. “To do scientific research,” Geisler observes, “you need the specimen to be in a museum where other researchers can see it and decide whether or not they agree with your findings.” Thus, Carew worked with Brown to open the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History in the College’s School of Sciences and Mathematics Building in September 2010. This and many other of Brown’s specimens were donated in 2013. In the meantime, Carew and Geisler discovered that the fossil was a previously unknown whale species. They also realized that its skull structure
| Jim Carew, professor of geology | likely allowed it to echolocate, or locate distant or invisible objects by emitting sound waves, which would make it the oldest known echolocating whale. They named the fossil Cotylocara macei (C. macei): Cotylocara means “cavity head” and refers to depressions in the skull unique to this species, and macei recognizes Mace Brown’s donation of the fossil to the College and also his part in opening the museum. “The catalyst in all this was the museum,” Geisler says. “That’s what took it from something we all wanted to do, to something we could actually do.” It was, in fact, what allowed them to spin their hunch about Brown’s fossil into a thoroughly researched article that appeared in the scientific journal Nature this past March. “Having our work published in Nature is very exciting,” Geisler says. “It signals that our findings are of broad interest to the scientific community and anyone interested in evolution, not just specialists in our field.” It’s also an opportunity to bring more
attention to the Charleston area as a prime location for fossil discovery. “Hopefully it’s not too high of a bar,” says Geisler. “Either way, this discovery is just the start.” For Carew, Geisler and Havenstein, it’s been the start of something more personal, too – connecting the professor and two alumni with a new level of friendship and professional partnership. “Having a student be successful and then come back to work together is the ideal thing for someone like me,” says Carew, who stays in regular touch with Havenstein, even accompanying him on a fossil-diving expedition here and there, and remains impressed by Geisler’s dedication to the field – something that began in 1992, when Geisler wrote a paper about whale evolution for Carew’s class. It should come as no surprise that, when Carew was moving his office from the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center to the new School of Sciences and Mathematics Building in 2013, he came across that old paper. Sometimes things just fall into place.
SUMMER 2014 |
He is a smart and worldly man, but John Warner confesses he knew nothing about ghost hearts and the reanimation of dead organs using stem cells until now. It was news to him, too, that girls suffer an inordinate number of concussions from playing soccer because their necks are generally weaker than boys of the same age. Such is the education you receive when you teach academic writing to college freshmen and allow them to choose their own research topics. “I end up being exposed to a lot of ideas I never even knew existed,” says Warner, who has been a visiting English instructor at the College for two years. For their part, College students learn the finer points of writing from an accomplished humorist and man of letters. A frequent contributor to the online magazine The Morning News, Warner has been anthologized in several collections and has served as the editor-at-large of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, a popular humor website founded by acclaimed novelist and friend Dave Eggers. He is the co-editor of a new collection, The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, published in March, and he’s also authored a handful of books, including his novel, Funny Man (2011), and Fondling Your Muse: Infallible Advice From a Published Author to the Writerly Aspirant (2005), a guide of fake writing advice. The advice he gives in his introductory and advanced writing courses at the College, however, is a little more serious. He knows the responsibility he has to inspire students not just to write, but to keep writing: It was a college writing course that unexpectedly took hold of his own imagination when he was young. Later, when he found himself scribbling short stories on legal pads during his spare time at his job with a big law firm, he decided to explore his creative impulse. He ended up earning an M.F.A. and carving out a teaching career. These days, he manages to write a column and blog for Inside Higher Ed and a weekly book column for the Chicago Tribune while also teaching several courses, including one in fiction writing.
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| Photo by Reese Moore |
On the Write Course
“It’s basically a semester-long conversation about writing fiction,” says Warner. “It’s really exciting for students because they’re not usually asked to be creative in school.” When it comes to teaching writing, Warner possesses a philosophy that is both droll and sincere, emphasizing the satisfaction that can be attained, for both student and teacher, when effort is made
to improve one’s writing over the course of a semester. “Education is a process, not a product,” says Warner. “If the process is good, there’s a better chance the end product will be good.” And the process in Warner’s classes couldn’t be better: After all, both he and his students learn something new every single day.
Under the sea You just never know what’s out there. That’s what Leslie Sautter, associate professor of geology, loves about the ocean: It’s uncharted territory. It’s what she loves about teaching: It inspires exploration. And it’s what she loves about working with alumni: It leads to one discovery after another. Through Project Oceanica, which she founded in 2001, Sautter integrates education with oceanographic research and at-sea exploration, developing educational resources and programs available to undergraduate students, high school students and K-12 educators – many of whom are College alumni themselves. Among the many initiatives under Project Oceanica, the BEAMS Program involves geophysical seafloor mapping aboard a research ship. The goal is to lead students to a place that’s still unexplored: the ocean floor – of which less than 1 percent has been mapped in high detail. “There is much to be gained from continued mapping of the seabed: These studies not only generate important information, they also contribute toward training a new generation of scientists and marine surveyors,” says Sautter, adding, “I don’t ‘teach’ research to my students; they discover it. To me, it’s about exploration, discovery and the directions in which our students can go.” And there’s no telling what they’ll find when they do.
| Photo by Bruce Cramer |
Learn more about Sautter’s program at oceanica.cofc.edu.
Inside the Academic Mind: Claire Curtis Since 2001, Claire Curtis has been pushing her students to better understand the world around them. We caught up with the gifted and thoroughly entertaining political science professor to find out more about her research on dystopian literature, her brush with fame and her passion for softball. Where did you grow up and what do you miss about it? I grew up in Upstate New York – Rochester. I miss snow (the nice late November snow, not the icy, dirty piles left in March), and I miss the lilacs. You are well known for your Introduction to Political Thought (POLS 150) course. What do you hope students take away from this class? I love to teach this class! The question the course is built around is: How can a group of people with disparate aims and interests live together peacefully? We read Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Marx, Rawls and others. My hope is that students will both gain an appreciation for the time, energy, effort and care that political philosophers for the last 2,500 years have put into thinking about that question, and that students will have a better understanding about what they might think about why and how we do and should live together. Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Well, I should say Barack Obama, because we brought him to speak for the Political Science Convocation in 2002 with a theme of community organizing. But, at that point, he was simply a state senator, and so he was not famous when I met him. I moved to Seattle after college in part because I loved the dancer/choreographer Mark Morris. I was volunteering as an usher in a theater one night, and Mark Morris came to the show and I got to take him to his seat. Unfortunately, I burst out laughing upon seeing him, and I think he might have been offended. Your research into post-apocalyptic works seems to make you an expert on a lot of things currently hip in pop culture. What do you think is our fascination with these dystopian worlds? I’m going to answer your question – but I would like to pose a different one: Why are we not fascinated by utopian texts? We’ve had heydays in the production of imagination feeding utopian texts: at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries (for example, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland). Likewise in the 1970s, there was another burst of utopian creativity (including le Guin’s The Dispossessed, but also including Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia, among many others). What has happened to our utopian energies? Our fascination with dystopia is twofold, I think. First, every dystopia is a critique of the world in which the author lives. And so, insofar as we read these dystopias as critiquing our world, then the fascination speaks to authentic feelings of dissatisfaction with the status quo. Second, dystopias involve |
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resistant protagonists. And there is something hopeful for a reader in the resistance of the protagonist (even when that resistance fails spectacularly [e.g., Winston Smith in 1984 – but even there, there is still hope for the reader]). I will say that we’re in a time when it’s important to perhaps distinguish between dystopia and the current marketing trend of dystopian trilogies produced for young adult readers, some of which are not particularly good examples of the genre of dystopia. So What’s one post-apocalyptic work that everyone should read? Just one? I’ll give two: Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower (and its sequel, Parable of the Talents, is even more important in terms of pointing out where we might be going wrong). And then Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (the first in the MaddAddam trilogy). Butler’s work imagines a quiet end to what we have known through a combination of environmental, political, economic and social forces. Atwood focuses more directly on the combination of environmental collapse and corporations run amok. What’s the toughest part of being a professor? No one likes grading very much – or, at least, not the amount of grading that seems to all happen simultaneously. But that’s not “tough.” I think the toughest part is knowing that students are in my class but also living whole lives, and sometimes the stuff of their lives is going to collide with classroom success, and there are definitely things I can do about that as a faculty member – but there are real limits. What’s your biggest pet peeve in the classroom? Students texting as if I cannot see what they’re doing with both hands under the desk! What kind of music do you listen to? In my office, I listen to the radio station at Fordham University: WFUV – they play a lot of alternative music. I think I’m dyslexic about music – I know what I like, but can almost never remember who the artist is (unless it’s the Talking Heads). What’s your most prized possession in your office? The art made – throughout the years – by my children. Tell us about your favorite spot on campus. I spend most of my time either in a classroom in Maybank Hall or in my office. But I shouldn’t say that my office is my favorite place on campus, should I? I like the benches along the inside edge of the Cistern Yard – the ones that are tucked away under the azaleas. You can have a good conversation there and observe people without their noticing you. Tell us about the all-faculty softball team, The Hacks. I enjoy softball – but I love playing with the Hacks! Having a fun, outdoor, adult pastime is an excellent outlet in my largely indoor job and kid-centered family life. I play catcher and have successfully tagged out two people at home plate (in over seven years of fall and spring play), so my enjoyment may not actually be based on my excellent ball-handling skills (although my hitting has definitely improved over the years).
Faculty Fact • Three faculty members received Fulbright fellowships to study overseas this past academic year: David Witte (economics and finance) in Rijeka, Croatia; Andrew Sobiesuo (Center for International Education) in London, England; and Richard Bodek (history) in Berlin, Germany.
| Richard Bodek |
• Five professors were honored this spring with faculty awards of distinction – Distinguished Service Award: Lynn Cherry (communication); Distinguished Research Award: Joe Carson (physics and astronomy); Distinguished Teaching Award: Chris Warnick (English); Distinguished Advising Award: Dee Dee Joyce (sociology and anthropology); and the William V. Moore Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Award: Jennifer Cole Wright (psychology). • The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture received a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to produce a film about the life and works of S.C. native Vertamae Grosvenor, who is a poet, writer, actress, culinary anthropologist and NPR correspondent. • Several longtime faculty members retired this spring. The College of Charleston is greatly indebted to these amazing teacher-scholars (with a combined 387 years of service): Karen Berg, Hispanic studies (1990); Jim Carew, geology (1981); Betsy Jane Clary, economics (1984); David Cohen, School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs (1981); Frank Cossa, art history (1985); Herbert Espinoza, Hispanic studies (1987); Tessa Garton, art history (1987); Gary Harrison, mathematics (1982); Anna Krauth-Ballinger, French (1992); Allen Lyndrup, theatre (1991); Kim May, psychology (1992); Marie Ferrara McGahan, library (1998); J. Michael Morgan, economics (1986); Norbert Sclippa, French (1985); and Scott Shanklin-Peterson, arts management (2002).
SUMMER 2014 |
MAKING the GRADE
A Heart for the Homeless He found God in their eyes. They may have had no home, few belongings and little money, but their eyes, at least, possessed the divine. Or so says Robbie Roberts ’14. Roberts is a friend to the homeless, a lifeline to those who lack not only the most basic of needs, but also hope. Roberts offers them a chance to right their lives and, just as importantly, the assistance necessary to stay on the road to recovery. It is a responsibility he does not take lightly. “When they fall down, we want to help them up. We want to walk with them through their struggles,” says Roberts. It was seven years ago that Roberts first began having the spiritual encounters
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he credits with changing his life and giving him purpose. After growing up in Mt. Pleasant, he attended MorningStar University, a ministry school in Fort Mill, S.C. There he interacted with the homeless in nearby Charlotte, even comforting some men as they cried in his arms, confessing to crimes and other wrong turns in life. Roberts wept with them and resolved to be of service. After graduating from Morningstar’s two-year program, he came home and enrolled at the College as an urban studies major. He also secured an internship with the Lowcountry Homeless Coalition, where, among other things, he helped conduct a census of homeless people in Charleston and surrounding South
Carolina counties. This required finding a seemingly invisible population, whether on the street, in soup kitchens or in the woods. According to Roberts’ research from January 2013, there are nearly 2,500 homeless people living in the greater Charleston area, about half of them outside of shelters. Significant portions of this population have been victims of domestic abuse and suffer from mental illness and/or substance abuse. There is also a significant population of military veterans among the homeless. Many people, says Roberts, think that those who live on the street are there because they have made poor decisions in life. While that is indeed sometimes the
Making the Grade
case, there are also many homeless people who are victims of circumstance, whether they lost a job, suffered from an expensive illness or caught a series of bad breaks and lacked the support of friends and family. Regardless of who or what is to blame,
Roberts believes that those without shelter need help. And help, he explains, is different than pity. “Pity feels so good and so right, but pity means you give the dollar and just move on,” he says. For Roberts, true compassion occurs when relationships are made with the homeless. Homeless people often need continual help to find and keep work, find and keep a home and create and follow budgets for their personal finances. No one, he argues, is a lost cause. “You never give up on somebody as long as they’re breathing,” says Roberts. Though he devotes much time to helping the homeless, he is also aware of other groups in society that could also benefit from more attention. As part of his urban studies practicum at the College, Roberts wrote about the relatively high mortality rate experienced by black
children in South Carolina. His supervising professor for this study, Kevin Keenan, was impressed that Roberts chose to focus on a matter of social justice for the practicum, as opposed to, say, a research topic focusing on urban planning.
“Pity feels so good and so right, but pity means you give the dollar and just move on.” “I thought that was pretty insightful. We live in a society where we value careers, we value prestige, power, consumption of products,” says Keenan, assistant
professor of political science and director of the Urban Studies Program. “You don’t really have a lot of students talking about social justice. Social justice questions tend to be the ones to require more work and require more thoughtful answers. You
have to seek those out. They tend to not be as visible.” Such is the case with homelessness, a problem to which there seems to be no quick and effective panacea. The solutions that do work, says Keenan, oftentimes require a sustained interest and commitment from those providing aid. Fortunately, people like Roberts have demonstrated such a commitment. And Keenan is struck by Roberts’ humility and openness: “He believes in serving other people, helping people help themselves. He does it because he truly cares about it.” Freshly graduated from the College, Roberts has accepted a job coaching high school basketball in Charleston. He plans to continue his work with the homeless, too, knowing there are many people whose lives he can help improve. Many people whom he can give hope.
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An Eye Toward the Future Heads may turn now and people may stare, but it might not be long before we all walk around looking like Michael Feliciano ’14. As one of the privileged few to use the Google Glass headset – a next-generation, wearable computer that merges one’s real and digital worlds into something called augmented reality – before it was officially released in April, Feliciano stood out on his walks to class. And, as other people stopped dead in their tracks to watch him, he managed to read and reply to emails, watch breaking news videos on CNN and take and instantly upload photos to Facebook. All this is done by simply voicing commands to the Glass, which resembles the frame of a pair of sunglasses with a miniature display – or screen, of sorts – above one eye. Feliciano was able to buy his Google Glass thanks to the $10,000 he raised through the crowdfunding site Upstart, with half that support coming through an award from Innovation Endeavors, a venture fund cofounded by Google chairman Eric Schmidt. Feliciano also used this money to invest in a full virtual reality headset made by Oculus VR, a firm that – according to a March announcement – Facebook is acquiring for $2 billion. Feliciano believes these new pieces of hardware herald a new digital era – and,
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as he stated in his investment pitch for Upstart, he is taking a gap year after graduation to experiment with these new devices and develop applications for augmented and virtual reality systems. He may not be immediately entering the workforce, but Feliciano is hardly one to take time off. In college, while his fellow students were going for morning runs or sleeping in, Feliciano was waking up to solve math problems, training for problem-solving competitions maintained by the online programming community CodeChef. He is quite proud of his ability to pit his intellect against other very, very bright people all over the world, earning him Top 30 national rankings in CodeChef’s short- and long-problem–solving divisions. No matter how stiff the competition, though, Feliciano remains motivated to learn more and share his passion with fellow students and professors. “This is the single greatest thing I learned in college: the ability to solve problems,” says Feliciano. “It is generalizable. It really lends itself to creative thinking.” His enthusiasm for problem solving and his own software projects haven’t gone unnoticed. “Every time I see him, he’s expanded his ambitions to a new hardware platform,” says assistant professor of mathematics Andrew Przeworski. “He’s
been participating in programming competitions, and, through those competitions, he’s come to realize how important math is in programming. It’s always encouraging when a student develops an appreciation for math, considering that most students do everything they can to avoid math.” Since graduation, Feliciano has had the freedom to devote himself nearly full time to the exploration of augmented and virtual realities and the development of applications that can one day be used by the general public. He spends a portion of his time, too, developing health care applications with his father, a geriatrician. Feliciano is sure that his efforts will be useful in emerging fields down the road. But even if things do not pan out exactly as planned, the worst case would be he spends a year learning on his own and experimenting. That’s a risk he’s more than willing to take. “The cool thing about being on the cutting edge: You’re often faced with problems few, if anybody, have ever faced before,” says Feliciano, sitting in the Cistern Yard and donning his Google Glass headset. “You’re really in a position to define how things progress.” And, if things keep progressing the way they are, Feliciano might just be the very image of our future.
Making the Grade
Standing Tall She may be small in stature, but when 4-foot-9-inch Briosha Sanders ’14 takes a stand, her voice is as big as they come. “I didn’t always have an avenue to voice my opinions, but it became increasingly important for me to speak up and offer my opinions and ideas whenever I could,” says the women’s and gender studies major, who first became concerned about LGBTQ rights and comprehensive sex education as a high school student in Spartanburg, S.C. “My parents thought I was a little militant. They just thought I should be a little more careful. I was small, black, and the world wasn’t necessarily going to be on my side.”
During her four years at the College, however, Sanders found her voice – and the confidence and finesse to use it effectively. As a peer facilitator with the Honors College for three years and an honors ambassador her sophomore year, Sanders thrived in her leadership role, and – as an active member of the Safe Campus Outreach, Prevention, and Education (SCOPE) team – she started to see more and more problems surrounding consent education, anti-rape education and women’s rights in general. “Between the victim blaming and shaming that goes on in rape culture, and then lack of education, I just got so
frustrated. The language made me crazy,” says Sanders, who began speaking out in discussions with People Against Rape and other venues. “I started to realize the importance of becoming an advocate.” “Bri has come into her own as an academic and an activist leader, and she connects her activism and her academic efforts beautifully,” says Alison Piepmeier, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, who collaborated with Sanders on two research agendas last summer for Sanders’ Summer Undergraduate Research with Faculty (SURF) grant. “She’s done a great deal of research into intersectional identities and feminist efforts at social change, and the knowledge she’s discovered and developed has informed and shaped her activist work – and her activist work has informed and shaped her academic projects.” Over the past year, Sanders has received some media attention for her activism, for rallying her fellow students and standing up for what she believes in. “The College has helped me appreciate the impact that I can have and we all can have when we just let ourselves be heard. When we put our voices together, it can be powerful,” says Sanders, who plans to gain more experience in the nonprofit sector before getting her master’s degree and one day founding her own organization to continue fighting for more comprehensive sexual education in South Carolina schools. “It’s hard enough to teach students about sexual safety issues when they’re heterosexual – we don’t even do that well. But there are so many other issues that come up for the rest of us. I want to see our schools offer all our students the best practices to keep their bodies safe, across the board. For everybody.” She realizes she has a lot of work to do – that the state and the nation have a long way to go – but she’s confident that she can make a change. “You can’t let the size of the problem intimidate you. You just have to remember that the hurdles are more effective in your fight than in your fear,” says Sanders. “Sure, sometimes you feel like you’re throwing yourself to the lions. But I’m not afraid of lions.” After all, they might be bigger, but she can always roar louder.
SUMMER 2014 |
A Life to Believe in Born in Atlanta and raised in Charleston, Weyman excelled at sports and academics at Avon Old Farms boarding school in Connecticut and later at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. He was offered a scholarship at Louisiana Tech, where he redshirted before transferring to the University of Tennessee – a move that required him to
about the months he spent living on the beach in Nicaragua, surfing giant waves and gorging on fresh-caught lobster. When he mentions the multimilliondollar real estate portfolio of historic Charleston properties he amassed in his twenties, you might have to mask a snicker. Surely he’s pulling your leg when he recounts the three years he spent steering an ambitious business venture in West Africa’s challenging yet promising emerging economy. But it’s all true. At 31, Weyman has already lived a fascinating and adventurefilled life. And as a nontraditional student in the College’s School of Business, he couldn’t be happier.
sit out a year. While he sat, bigger-name recruits arrived. By the time he got onto the field, he was no longer The Man. “I never found my way onto the field as a quarterback,” he says. “It was very emotional. I sacrificed everything for football.” Around that time, Weyman received an offer from a friend’s father to oversee the rebuilding of apartments in Mississippi that had been decimated by Hurricane Katrina. The money was good, so Weyman packed his bags and left college in 2006. Eight months later, after an insurance settlement that was to have bankrolled the project failed to materialize, Weyman moved back to Charleston. He studied
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
If you didn’t know Brett Weyman and struck up a conversation with him, it wouldn’t be long before you thought to yourself, Is this guy for real? You might think he’s exaggerating when he tells you he was one of the top college quarterback recruits in the nation coming out of high school in 2002. You might cast a suspicious eye when he talks
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his family’s business, and over the next couple of years built a real estate portfolio valued at nearly $5 million. When the recession hit, he packed his bags again. Weyman and a former Tennessee teammate headed for Central America for “an extended period of reflection.” They surfed and tossed around business ideas. Another friend suggested they start a trucking business – in Mali, West Africa. Never mind that they’d never been to Africa or knew nothing about trucking. Off they went. In Bamako, Mali, they found grinding poverty, political corruption and an economy built upon informal payments and favors, as well as a growing presence of Al-Qaeda–linked militants. Despite regular threats to his life and safety – he was assaulted and jailed multiple times – Weyman was not deterred. In fact, he immersed himself into society. Eventually transcending cultural barriers, he became an official trade and commerce attaché to a powerful Malian senator. His job involved forging deals between the local government and foreign businesses to build housing and other infrastructure. Eventually, the extremists’ threats grew too great, and, following a government coup, Weyman’s local contacts turned their attention from business to survival. So, in March 2012, as Arab Spring uprisings in neighboring countries further destabilized Mali, Weyman headed back to the safety of Charleston. He’s been at the College for two years, majoring in finance with a minor in real estate. He raves about his professors and the caliber of professionals and guest speakers associated with the business school. He’s had many aha moments when class lectures have shed light on a political topic or business concept that he encountered firsthand in the real world. “Right now I’m filling in the gaps with my experiences in business,” he says. “My focus is trying to leverage those past experiences for what comes next.” And, knowing Weyman, whatever comes next is sure to be … well, pretty unbelievable.
Making the Grade
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
When William Harrison ’14 and his friends wanted to waterski as kids growing up on Johns Island, they didn’t require much in the way of fancy equipment. Forget fiberglass and carbon fiber, all they needed was a visit to the hardware store. In no time Harrison and his buddies would be on the river, skimming across the water on skis made of two-by-fours with a pair of sandals screwed into the top as a boot and a pair of door hinges screwed in from below as fins. They may not have been the most elegant set of water skis, but no one seemed to care – they were just a whole lot of fun. When Harrison returned home to Charleston as a transfer student, he quickly got his feet wet again, joining the College’s Watersports Club. By the end of his College career, Harrison was president of the club, overseeing a membership of 45 students participating in sports that include surfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, kite boarding, tubing and paddle boarding. “Pretty much if it involves water, we’re all about it,” says Harrison. Participation is casual, with team members putting out alerts within the club when they are heading to Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Trophy Lakes on Johns Island or Bushy Park in Goose Creek. If there’s an empty seat in the boat, anyone is invited to come along. The club’s members range in skill from nearly pro watersports athletes to amateurs. “We encourage everyone to come out,” says Harrison, a hospitality and tourism major. “Even if you don’t know how to swim, we’re going to get you in a life jacket and teach you how to do it. It’s just about getting out on the water and having fun.”
crossing the cistern There’s nothing quite like it anywhere else in the nation – a shimmering parade of white dresses and white dinner jackets. Perhaps our institution’s bestknown tradition, the May commencement exercises are an elegant affair befitting the oldest college in South Carolina. Here’s a quick breakdown of the Class of 2014: Degrees granted: 1,618 Honors College graduates: 110 Top five degrees awarded: business administration (271), communication (218), biology (184), psychology (164) and political science (92) New degree awarded: archaeology (B.A.) Bishop Robert Smith Award recipients: Logan Herbert (chemistry), Erica Tracey (biology) and Elizabeth Burdette (sociology)
Master’s degrees and graduate certificates awarded: 308 Graduate School commencement speaker: James Newsome III, CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority
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| Photos by Kip Bulwinkle ’04 |
Undergraduate commencement speaker: U.S. Senator Tim Scott (South Carolina)
Making the Grade
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| Photos by Mike Ledford |
A Short Stop Abroad
the SPORTSTICKER |
When she left her home in northern California and headed across the country to Charleston, Lizzy Vaughn ’14 had no idea what to expect. All she knew was that she’d be playing softball and – at some point – traveling abroad. That was the deal. Having observed what a life-changing experience her older sister – herself a collegiate softball player – had enjoyed while studying in Italy, Vaughn made her mom promise that, as long as she landed a softball scholarship, she, too, could study abroad during her college tenure. The scholarship was the easy part for the three-year All-Sierra Valley Conference shortstop. It was fulfilling the other end of the bargain that would take some maneuvering: Coaches typically aren’t too keen on letting their star athletes take off to a foreign country for a semester. “That’s why I chose international studies: Study abroad is required of the major,” Vaughn smiles slyly. She got exactly what she wanted out of the major when she finally carved out two months of study abroad in Morocco her junior year. But her coursework also led to an unanticipated concentration in Asia, as well as a second major in women’s and gender studies, with a concentration in human rights abroad. “I hadn’t planned on taking on a second major, but it just made sense with the coursework I already had,” says Vaughn, who credits Hollis France (political science), Alison Piepmeier (women’s and gender studies) and Tahani Higgins (Asian studies) with the direction of her studies. “It all happened kind of organically.” Vaughn may have let her studies evolve organically, but some things just can’t be left to chance. Softball is one of those
Several basketball players earned Colonial conference honors: Canyon Barry (AllAcademic Team), Adjehi Baru (All-Defensive Team), Bre Bolden (All-Rookie Team), Jill Brown (All-Academic Team), Alyssa Frye ’14 (All-CA A second team, All-Academic Team), Willis Hall ’13 (All-CA A second team), Mikaela Hopkins (All-Defensive Team) and Afreyea Tolbert ’14 (All-CA A first team). + Candice M. Jackson was named the |
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things. That’s why, before a game, she always puts her left cleat on, then her right (in that order); she always takes a minute to look at the two photos in her locker, one of her family, the other of herself, hitting a homerun; she always opens a text that her mom sent her a while back that says, “Be in the moment.” And she always, always, always listens to Beyoncé.
I like to think that the dirtiest player is always the best.” But shortstop isn’t all dirt and dives; it also takes a certain level of sophistication. “You have to have confidence. You have to have command of the field. You have to have composure and a handle on the game. You’re kind of like captains of the field,” says Vaughn, who was appointed team captain last
doing it. But a lot of the aspects of being captain come naturally to me.” Whether those traits are innate or a result of her 14 years on the field, however, is unclear. “I really think everything I am is because of softball,” says Vaughn, who was the Colonial Athletic Association’s 2014 Co-Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-CAA. “I attribute softball with
“I have a bunch of little things I do,” Vaughn laughs, adding that her walk-out song for the past season was Beyoncé’s “Flawless.” And it seems to have worked for her: The shortstop star has indeed played flawless defense for the Cougars time and time again. “I love defense. Hitting is just kind of, you know, well, hit or miss. But with defense, I can always make that diving play,” says Vaughn, who joined her first tee-ball team at age 6 and her first softball team at age 8. “I’ve played all the positions, but shortstop was always my most favorite. I still love it. I just love that I get to dive and make cool plays. And
year and then voted back in this past year. “That was really special to me because it means my teammates liked what I did last year. I love my teammates – it’s all about the team for me – so if I can do good for them, I’m happy.” As team captain, Vaughn was responsible for everything from inspiring her teammates to making sure everyone is communicating to doing some of the lower-level coaching. “It takes a strong awareness of the team and all the little problems that are coming up. You have to stay checked in,” says Vaughn. “I just love softball, so I like
all my successes. It’s taught me how to interact with a group, it’s taught me how to lead, it’s taught me how to overcome failure. It’s taught me how to handle life, to go forth and work with people.” Vaughn, who graduated in May, is trying to secure a spot on a professional softball team in either Italy or the Netherlands. As of now, however, she once again has no idea what to expect when she leaves her home in Charleston. All she knows is, with any luck, she’ll be playing softball and traveling abroad. And that sounds like a pretty good deal.
seventh all-time women’s basketball head coach. + Carly Shevitz ’14 earned a spot on the 2014 U.S. national sailing team. + The equestrian team finished second at the IHSA national championships, earning its third reserve championship in the program’s history. + Both golf teams claimed their first CA A titles and the conference’s top awards: Laura Fuenfstueck (CA A Women’s Golfer and Rookie of the Year), Jamie Futrell (Coach of the Year, women’s), John Jonas (CA A Men’s Golfer of the Year) SUMMER 2014 |
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
When your parents meet for the first time playing mixed doubles, you’re likely destined for accomplishing big things on the tennis court. And so it goes for Kelly Kambourelis ’14, this year’s top-ranked female tennis player, and an academic all-star to boot. A native of Melbourne, Fla., Kambourelis began playing tennis at age 6 and by middle school was ranked first in the state. That ranking stayed high as she matured, and when Kambourelis arrived at the College, it was with a Top 25 national ranking. As a freshman, she went undefeated as the No. 5 singles player, and then went undefeated again her sophomore year, playing at the No. 2 position on the team. Early in her junior year, though, she suffered a foot injury that would sideline her for five weeks. The pain lingered when she returned to
play, but Kambourelis still managed to hit a number of critical shots, propelling the Cougars to their third-straight Southern Conference championship and NCAA tournament berth. Having fully recovered over the summer, Kambourelis secured the team’s esteemed No. 1 position when she returned to school last fall. It was an honor, for sure, but it also meant Kambourelis would consistently challenge some of the top players in the country, such as freshman phenom Jamie Loeb at the University of North Carolina. All the advantages she may have enjoyed against lesser opponents were washed away with players like Loeb, who seem to have few, if any, weaknesses. “It’s kind of a mental challenge,” says Kambourelis, a communication major who graduated summa cum laude in May with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
“Every day, even against the weaker schools, you’re playing the best person in that school.” Yet Kambourelis’ mental toughness is her signature strength, compensating for her small frame and relative lack of power on the court. “Sometimes I look out on the court at Kelly playing in the No. 1 position, and I’m in awe how this petite young woman who barely weighs 100 pounds is able to pull off some of her wins,” says Angelo Anastopoulo, head coach of the women’s team. “She’s not the most athletic member of the team and certainly not the most muscular, but there’s a drive and determination in her that I have rarely seen in other players in my 23 years of coaching.” Also noteworthy is her astounding perseverance. During her senior year, Kambourelis was diagnosed with a thyroid disease, which often left her severely fatigued. Anastopoulo says he was “dumbfounded” by this diagnosis. Though Kambourelis had previously mentioned feeling tired, “she still went out on the court and fought like a warrior,” he says, adding that Kambourelis had played for more than a month before a doctor identified the exhausting illness. Kambourelis’ selfless example was truly inspiring to both him and the other players. “Kelly is unique in that she plays by the motto, ‘Mind over matter.’ To look at her, you’d never suspect that she was a tennis player, much less a celebrated one,” says Anastopoulo. “Kelly’s biggest assets are her smarts on the court and her work ethic. She’s a quiet, humble, unassuming individual, much like a worker bee. She puts her nose to the ground and goes at it – there is no fanfare, no drama and no showy personality, but before you know it, she’s accomplished more than most people only hope to achieve.” Indeed, in the end, Kambourelis really was destined to achieve big things on the court.
and Mark McEntire (Coach of the Year, men’s). + The softball team earned several CA A awards: Carly Corthell ’14 ( All-CA A second team), Carly Hansis ( All-CA A first team), Kelsey Hodgson ’14 ( All-CA A first team), Hope Klicker ( All-CA A first team), Samantha Martin ( All-Rookie Team), Rebecca Mueller ( All-CA A second team), Katie Padilla (All-Rookie Team), Jordan Trgovac (All-Academic) and Lizzie Vaughn ’14 (CA A Co-Defensive Player of the Year, All-CA A first team). |
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A Career in Full Swing
| Photo by Mike Ledford |
When it comes to closing out one’s athletic career at the College, it’s hard to imagine a much better ending than the one enjoyed by Alex Ellis. The senior golfer and his teammates captured the conference title during the team’s first year in the CAA and, for the first time since 2003, earned a trip to the NCAA Southwest Regional Championship. Playing before a crowd of friends and family at Briggs Ranch Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas, not far from his hometown of Austin, Ellis competed in his last tournament as a Cougar, tying for 40th. Ellis’ performance in Texas capped a career in which he was the team’s top player for the last three years and the only one to start every tournament this season. In 42 tournaments, Ellis placed within the top 10 seven times. During his junior year, the sociology major was named to the Southern Conference All-Conference team and competed in the NCAA regional as an individual player. “It was an absolute pleasure to have Alex Ellis play in our program. He was the first recruit that we signed who was ranked in the top 100 in the country. He changed the way we recruited,” says head men’s golf coach Mark McEntire. “He did a tremendous job for us both on and off the course.” This August, Ellis plans to compete in the U.S. Amateur Championship, for which he has qualified twice before. After that, he’s counting on turning pro – proving that one ending is actually just another beginning.
SUMMER 2014 |
| Aerial photos by Terry Manier |
CHARTING A NEW COURSE
| Photo by Bronny Daniels |
On the 50th anniversary of its sailing program, the College is celebrating not only what’s old, but what’s new on the water. Though College sailors have informally competed for years in occasional offshore sailing events, the Cougars fielded its first varsity offshore sailing team this past school year, piloting bigger boats in tournaments across the country. The College’s inaugural offshore team, which featured a co-ed crew from places as far-flung as Ohio, Rhode Island and the Bahamas, was coached by Ned Goss ’02, the College’s dockmaster, former national and North American champion, and member of the U.S. Sailing Team. Among the first year highlights was the offshore team tying for first place in October at the Storm Trysail International Collegiate Regatta in Larchmont, N.Y., where 28 schools competed. For Greg Fisher, the College’s director of sailing, the offshore team’s strong start bodes well for future Cougars interested in sailing big boats. “The new varsity offshore team gives another whole group of talented sailors the opportunity to enjoy all the sailing program offers at the College. Some of the bigger sailors may not be ideally suited for small boat sailing, but a perfect match for bigger boats,” says Fisher. “It’s great that the College of Charleston is able to be one of the 20 to 30 schools that are making a commitment to offshore sailing and fielding teams to many of the major events.”
SUMMER 2014 |
POINT of VIEW
[ student ]
English writer G.K. Chesterton devoted a chapter to cheese in his work Alarms and Discursions, and complained that “poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” Perhaps that silence will finally be broken by a new generation of cheese lovers gathering together at the College. by Madeline Pearse Everyone loves cheese. Whether it’s a slice of smoked Gouda, a slather of creamy Camembert or a string of melted mozzarella: Cheese is one of those simple pleasures that we can all appreciate. I can’t recall the first time I really fell in love with cheese. All I ever really ate as a child was macaroni and cheese; for a while, that was the only thing I ever ordered at restaurants. Of course, my palate did eventually grow to include more substantial foods, and I even came to be known for trying the most unique dish on the menu. In that time, my desire to try better quality cheese grew as well. Eventually, I fell in love with the diverse world of cheese and the seemingly endless possibilities cheese has, all the different ways it can be used both on its own and with other foods. That’s why, my freshman year, I decided to start the College of Charleston Cheese Club. As a Charleston 40 tour guide, I’m expected to talk about campus involvement and some of the different on-campus organizations that make us unique. One of the College’s selling points when it comes to student organizations is that, if they want to start a new club, students need just 10 friends and a faculty adviser to get on board. It seemed easy enough to me; after all, who doesn’t want to sit around and eat cheese? During my freshman year, most of my friends thought the idea was just a big joke. However, all of the other tour guides were very receptive to the idea because they could tell prospective families that we had a cheese club on campus. They began to tell people on their tours that I was in the process of creating the club, though, honestly, I didn’t find the real motivation until the beginning of my junior year, when I studied abroad in Amsterdam. There, I learned about all different types of food, but the Dutch just happen to love dairy more than just about anything, so I guess I lucked out! While biking through the city, I would regularly stop in one of the cheese shops to taste the pesto cheese they were selling to tourists or in one of my favorite cafés
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to buy a goat cheese sandwich. I took anyone who visited me to the Amsterdam Cheese Museum (you can actually dress up as a Dutch cheese farmer if you are so inclined) to show them all of the Dutch’s finest cheeses. I even became certified in cheese tasting at a famous Dutch fromagerie, where I learned about the different aging processes of six different cheeses and how they differ in taste, texture and color. And, while I traveled, I explored all the incredible cheeses in Europe: everything from mozzarella in Florence to brie in Paris. When I returned to Charleston in January, I thought I was pretty much an expert on the subject of cheese. But I realized, too, that you don’t need to study abroad to eat well as a College of Charleston student. Charleston has a vibrant food culture itself, and it’s easy to expose ourselves to incredible foods, including cheese, just by walking down to King or East Bay streets. In my opinion, it’s important that students are knowledgeable about what they are eating when they are out to dinner and that they feel comfortable in ordering both familiar and unfamiliar foods. And so, I finally decided to create the College of Charleston Cheese Club, with the help of Robert Frash (department chair of hospitality and tourism management), to enlighten students about all of the wonderful cheese there is both in Charleston and throughout the world. The overall goal of the club is to give students the experience of trying various cheeses while informing them about the different kinds of cheeses, their aging processes and uses. And, believe it or not, the club has been a big hit. In fact, 50 students showed up at our first meeting! Since then, we’ve tried a number of cheeses, and we’ve worked with goat. sheep. cow, a fromagerie on Church Street run by Trudi Wagner and Patty Cohen, to provide us with gourmet cheeses that we may or may not have tried, but probably can’t afford on our own, and also to teach us about the cheese-making process for each new cheese we taste. Creating this club has taught me that – as much as I thought I knew about cheese – there’s a lot more to learn. And there’s a lot more to do, too. In the next year, I hope to expand the club, working with local Charleston farmers and exploring more cheeses in local restaurants. It may seem like a simple club with a simple purpose, but it has proven to be very popular, and there are a lot of different directions it could go, endless possibilities. In fact, it’s a lot like cheese in that way. – Madeline Pearse is a senior public health major. If you’re interested in learning more about the cheese club, check out the College of Charleston Cheese Club on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@cofcheese).
| Illustration by Gracie Cole-Rousse |
Just Say, “Cheese!”
POINT of VIEW
S PRI N G 2 0 1 3 |
POINT of VIEW [ faculty ] A New World View Travel, no matter the distance, is an integral part of being a lifelong learner. As one professor explains, itâ€™s the journey that makes all the difference in opening our minds to the possibilities of the world.
In the spring of 1989, when I was 17, two of my uncles took me to China. I had never left the country and had spent most of my time in a small industrial town in southeastern Wisconsin. The trip changed my life.
I did not need to go to China to discover how much I loved food (I already knew that), but I did learn that cooking was a statement of love for your fellow man and that a communal meal was an important social experience. However, none of those things constitute my central memory of that trip so many years ago. On the day we came back from the Great Wall in April 1989, we had to pull to the side of the road and wait for a student demonstration to go by. They were commemorating the death of reformer Hu Yaobang. Within days this small demonstration had grown into a movement with thousands of students occupying Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing. By the time we made it back to Shanghai, the protest was an international story, and
We flew from Chicago to Tokyo to Hong Kong, and then on to Beijing. Once in the Chinese capital, we were able to see the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, the Ming tombs and Beijing University. We went on to Shanghai and then made a day trip to Suzhou. We then traveled back to Hong Kong for two days before going home. Engaging China and its thousands of years of history was awe inspiring. Westerners were still a novelty in the late 1980s, and we had the opportunity to meet many people who were invariably kind to us. Every meal was a culinary adventure, a sensuous experience that lasted for hours. The food was already sliced in bite-sized increments that were easily accessible via chopsticks.
I remember thinking that I was witnessing something very important taking place. I, of course, went back to Wisconsin to live with my family, but my town seemed small to me. Going to China and seeing those students revealed to me that I was part of an interconnected planet. Travel changed my view of the world. This is why study abroad is such an important part of an undergraduate education. At the College, we wish we could make it available to all of the undergraduates. Going to another country helps you to see the old world you inhabit in new ways. We have tried to apply these insights to the new International Scholars Program. A collaborative venture between the Honors College and the School of Languages, Cultures, and World
by Bryan Ganaway
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| Illustration by Seth Corts |
POINT of VIEW
Affairs, this program seeks to identify nationally competitive undergraduates and bring them to the College. All of the fellows are double majors (international studies and another discipline of their choosing). During their freshmen year, they share a living-learning community and take Introduction to International Studies as a group. As sophomores, they enroll with me in Honors Western Civilization, a team-taught interdisciplinary course that focuses on “big ideas,” such as religion, democracy, technology, warfare, gender and race. The students receive invaluable professional mentoring from the advisory board at the SLCWA, but if you ask them, the study-abroad opportunities are the real pull in the program. As part of these opportunities, each freshman cohort receives a paid “MayAway” with two faculty members. The first group went to Cuba in 2013, the second group to Paris. The third group will go to India in 2015, and the fourth is scheduled for Estonia. And I just received confirmation that I will get to return to China with the fifth group in 2017. I was also fortunate enough to be a part of that first MayAway to Cuba. The 11 students, Professor Doug Friedman (intercultural and international studies) and I spent one week in Havana and then took a trip to the southern part of the island, which includes Cienfuegos, Santa Clara and Trinidad. I remember the
them to view concerns that they have about their own country (such as health care) in new ways. Every group of students comes back with new perspectives. For those students who went to France last May, it was a different view of war that they gained. This is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the “Ur-Katastrophe” of the 20th century, and the group took a trip to the Somme battlefield in Picardy, where so many of the hopes and illusions of the 19th century drowned in the turned-up earth and mud of a battlefield 20 miles long and 10 miles deep. As many as 20,000 British and Empire soldiers died in the first six or seven hours, and twice as many were wounded. To put this into perspective, this is the equivalent of wiping out two-thirds of the U.S. Army’s infantry component in less than half a day. Today the Somme is sublime, dotted with cemeteries whose beauty is made more unbearable by knowledge of what they commemorate. Walking there, the students learned why Europeans look at war so very differently than Americans. They came back with a much more sophisticated understanding of the similarities and differences in the world views of our two continents. I would be satisfied if the students came back from these trips with new perspectives on old ideas. But study abroad does
students telling me that they were struck by how similar Cubans were to Americans, despite the political chasms that divide our governments. Like U.S. citizens, Cubans believe in the dream of self-improvement, that hard work should be rewarded and private initiative encouraged. Another striking realization for the students was made during our visit to the Latin American School of Medicine, which does not charge tuition and which appeared bare bones by American standards. What cannot be denied, however, is that life expectancy in Cuba is the same as in the U.S., even though they spend only a tiny fraction of their income (adjusted for population) on health care. The key to their success has been a focus on preventative care. For the students, the trip allowed
even more for them. The job market in the 21st century will be increasingly globalized. This can create painful problems as good positions move across boundaries. But the networked globe also creates new opportunities for those individuals who combine strong professional, linguistic and cultural skills and an adventurous mentality. Such people will be able to find their calling and create fulfilling lifestyles for themselves and their families. That is why, at the College of Charleston, we are working hard to make sure that our students have the tools they need to thrive as responsible, democratic citizens in an increasingly interconnected world. We are working to change their lives. – Bryan Ganaway is a faculty fellow in the Honors College.
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POINT of VIEW
[ alumni ]
Detroit: A Tale of Two Cities If you believe the headlines, Detroit is decaying before our eyes. The city, once known for cars and rock ’n’ roll, seems a shadow of its former glory. But maybe we’re looking at it wrong. That’s what one alumna believes as she works to reinvigorate a city not on the decline, but on the rise. by Sar ah Somes ’13 I have always been an optimist by nature. Growing up in Grosse Pointe, Mich., I heard plenty of this and that about Detroit’s many failures, but I believe that if you want to know the truth about something, you have to experience it for yourself, not simply rest on the accounts of others. But it’s a pretty difficult task to unwrap all of the negative messages and layers painted on Detroit that hinder its growth. There’s such a large stigma about living and working in the city. For generations now, people have been fed every possible negative message and statistic about the Motor City, but there has always been good here, and that good is now gaining a much more significant influence over the city. During college, I tried my best to keep track of all the new things happening in the city to combat the negativity I also heard. I followed Detroit’s social entrepreneurs and artists online
In Charleston, lights shine bright at night in the empty stores, and shopkeepers wash the windows and sidewalks every morning. The large storefront windows remain unobstructed, allowing the merchandise to entice passersby who happen to glance in. In Detroit, windows are covered with flyers, advertisements, stickers and street art. The lights are dim at night, and construction scaffoldings line many streets. Both are beautiful in their own right, but I have to admit, it was an adjustment moving from the aesthetic of Charleston to that of Detroit. I had grown accustomed to the pristine facades and found myself wary of places I could not see into. I’m so glad that I love to challenge my fears and biases, because if I didn’t, I would have never heard these words of support from the owner of Eve’s Market: “I’m glad you’re here. You’re going to make a difference.” Or these words of wisdom from a young committee member at the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue: “Meet your neighbors. We’re all a family and we look out for each other.” Or even the movie recommendations from Frank, the man flagging cars to park in his lot for the Tigers’ home game. I would have never met Clark, the proud thirdgeneration owner of Lott Anter Tailor and Cleaning or enjoyed the mom-and-pop bakery that sells mouthwatering cookies for only 75 cents. Through my experiences with Challenge Detroit and on my own, I’ve met many people, seen many places and experienced things that shock and delight me. For example, rather than walking away and remaining a stranger, as most of us do every
For generations now, people have been fed every possible negative message and statistic about the Motor City, but there has always been good here, and that good is now gaining a much more significant influence over the city. and, every time I came home for break, I visited a new place: the Heidelberg Project, the redeveloped River Walk, Green Dot Stables and many more. However, nothing could prepare me for the adventure of taking the plunge and living in the city. Last July, two months after I graduated from the College, I moved into the Detroit City Apartments. My new job as a fellow with Challenge Detroit wasn’t scheduled to start until the end of August, so I made plans to have no plans and just explore the city.
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day, I stopped and met Sandra – a driven woman with children, someone who experienced an unfortunate chain of events that led to her struggles as a homeless mother. My admiration for her grew as we talked about her persistence and urgent desire to support her children and gain control of her life again. It’s easy to assume you know the likely story, and it’s much harder to hear the truths of our world and the pains of our neighbors. An acquaintance recently told me, “Be a lifelong learner, because wisdom can come from anywhere and from anyone.” I have truly
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POINT of VIEW
enjoyed the willingness and eagerness of Detroiters to learn about me and to share their stories. Those of you familiar with the amazing arts culture at the College can understand my excitement when I was invited to a Detroit gallery’s grand opening. I followed my GPS out of downtown and began to lose heart with the ever-darkening streets and the growing ratio of abandoned to occupied buildings. My enthusiasm tilted closer to caution, but I pressed on because I know you cannot judge this city by its skeletons. I was so delighted when I arrived to see people filling the street like it was a last call. One building’s walls stood tall and partly crumbled, its interior exposed to the elements. Black lights illuminated paintings of elegant ballet dancers and abstract images on the exposed brick. The other building housed the artists’ studios and main displays. Loud music pulled me to the back of the building, where I was ecstatic to find myself among courageous people reciting poems and engaging in freestyle word battles. I could imagine all the possibilities of Detroit right here as I saw what two young men, no older than 27, could do with abandoned buildings. Their creation,
the Untitled Bottega, is a place of inspiring and experiential art, an incubator for local talent. Charleston is known worldwide for its Southern etiquette and the hospitality of its people. Despite the many differences of these two cities, I was absolutely delighted to find the same level of kindness and public etiquette in Detroit. In fact, many of my new acquaintances in Detroit have felt more genuine and more eager to support me in achieving my goals than any stranger I met in Charleston. This is the wonderful thing about Detroit: There’s always an adventure to be had, a friendship to be born and an opportunity to be made. But, like at the College, it’s up to you to discover it for yourself. And that is the “wow” factor of this city. You’ll be surprised by all the wonderful people and things that surround you – if you just open your eyes and open your mind to Detroit. – Sarah Somes ’13, former captain of the College’s sailing team, is a fellow with Challenge Detroit, a yearlong leadership and professional development program with the mission to attract and retain innovative and entrepreneurial professionals.
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S o m e t h i n g s j u s t d o n ’ t t r a n s l a t e . A t t i m e s , i t ’s m o r e t h a n a l a n g u a g e b a r r i e r. I t ’s a c t u a l l y a difference in customs, traditions and perspectives. In order to better bridge this cultural divide, we asked six professors from the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs to choose a word or phrase without an English equivalent and illuminate its meaning, which then served as the inspiration behind these portraits. Perhaps t h r o u g h o n e a r t i s t ’s e y e s , t h e s e w o r d s w i l l n o l o n g e r b e l o s t i n t r a n s l a t i o n .
P h o t o essay b y L eslie M c K ella r
“ S e n y , f r o m C atala n , sp o ke n i n C atal o n ia i n n o r t h eas t e r n S pai n , mea n s a c o m b i n at i o n o f wis d o m , c o mm o n se n se a n d awa r e n ess b ase d o n s o cial n o r ms . ” – S i lv i a R o d r i g u e z S a b at e r ( H i s pa n i c S t u d i e s )
“ W e n ( 文 ) h as a c o mplicat e d C h i n ese mea n i n g t h at weav es t o g e t h e r t h e i d eas a n d c o n cep t s o f w r i t i n g , li t e r at u r e , pat t e r n , c u lt u r e , c h a r ac t e r , c o mp o si t i o n , ele g a n ce , r e f i n eme n t. ” – L e i J i n ( Ch i n e s e s t u d i e s )
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“S a u d a d e
i n P o r t u g u ese mea n s missi n g s o me t h i n g o r s o me o n e . B u t I t ’ s ac t u ally a m o r e a b s t r ac t f eeli n g . I t is l o n g i n g a n d b ei n g n o s tal g ic , sa d a n d emp t y. ”
– L u c i M o r e i r a ( H i s pa n i c S t u d i e s )
“ V e r g a n g e n h e i t s b e w ä lt i g u n g mea n s ‘ c o n f r o n t i n g t h e at r o ci t ies / c r imes / t r a u ma o f o n e ’ s o w n c o u n t r y ’ s pas t. ’ I t ’ s a w o r d I wis h t h at was n ’ t l o s t i n t r a n slat i o n f o r ma n y o f m y f ell o w U . S . A me r ica n s . ” – M o r g a n K o e r n e r ( G e rm a n S t u d i e s )
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“ T h e He b r ew w o r d d av k a say s s o me t h i n g a b o u t t h e J ewis h pe o ple a n d t h ei r passi o n t o p h il o s o p h i z e . De r i v e d f r o m A r amaic , i t mea n s t o ‘ t u r n i n t o a p o w d e r . ’ ” – Or e n S e g a l ( H e b r e w S t u d i e s )
“ M i s e e n a b y m e i n F r e n c h d esc r i b es t h e v is u al e x pe r ie n ce o f s ta n d i n g b e t wee n t w o mi r r o r s , seei n g a n i n f i n i t e r ep r o d u c t i o n o f o n e ’ s ima g e . ” – Lisa Signori (French and Francophone Studies)
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This story has danger, espionage, success and fame. It’s got fashion, the arts, the mob, the finer things in life. It’s got conspiracy, courtroom antics, threats, literary greats, famous musicians, oil money, movie sets. And – while Rosemary Powell James ’59 may not have dreamed up the drama or read for the roles – this story belongs to her.
By Alicia Lutz ’98 Photography by Gately Williams
t doesn’t matter what role she’s playing, Rosemary Powell James ’59 has never followed a script. She’s never had a problem with improv, with trying out a part just to see where it takes her. It’s in her nature to take things as they come, to follow her whims. Like the time she ended up on a cruise to Nassau after interviewing the captain of the Norwegian SS Bergensfjord for Charleston’s The News and Courier. “The ship is so glamorous – big and dreamy white and beautifully lit, I am just head over heels in love with it,” she explained to her friend and colleague Barbara Williams, who’d come over to James’ Church Street apartment to help her pack. “I couldn’t resist booking passage, and I’m leaving tonight.” “And you called the office?” Williams asked her, still unsure how you can be going about your workweek one minute and packing for a cruise to the Bahamas the next. Especially when she knew what a workaholic James really was. “Yes, I’m all set!” And, with that James pulled on her gloves, picked up her suitcase and hugged her friend goodbye. “It was purely on a lark,” James recalls, some 53 years later. “Just like the rest of my life, as it turns out.” It’s true: Much of James’ life has been dictated by impulse – taking whatever opportunities life offers her and running with them. That’s not to say she’s not a planner; she is. She’s just never been one to plot out a life plan for herself and plod along with it. She understood from an early age that she loved design and writing. As a student at Myrtle Beach High School, she worked for the Myrtle Beach Sun every afternoon – making up ads, doing social notes, covering news stories. She loved the work, but it was her Pulitzer Prize–winning publisher, Mark Garner, who inspired her to go to journalism school at Syracuse University. “My original idea had been to take design and journalism and be a writer for shelter magazines, like House & Garden, so my college credits were heavy in that direction,” says James, who lost most of those credits when, in 1957, she transferred to the College to get away from the cold. “Except for a paltry few hours of French, English and biology, the only things that transferred were bridge, cha-cha-cha and knitting! And they all transferred very well!” In Charleston, she majored in U.S. history and showed off her bridge skills at Freda’s on George Street and her cha-cha steps at the Bowery Ball, the Delta Delta Delta sorority fundraiser. “She’s a fabulous dancer. I mean, that girl can shag!” says Margaret Jenkins Skinner ’60, a sorority sister and fast friend who remembers a twinkle in James’ green eyes, “her turned-up little nose and always that little smile. She was an exotic creature to me. It was beyond my imagination that any Southern girl would go to Syracuse.” Another thing that made James stand out to Skinner: She worked through college. She had a variety of jobs – waiting tables; interning for a magazine; working in the King Street office of Edwards, a chain of department stores that her father managed. After college, she taught at Moultrie High School, and The News and Courier sent her to Duke University for a summer course in using newspapers as teaching tools. This led to a job in women’s news, which allowed James to write features about celebrities like
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Zazu Pitts and Rose Kennedy for both The News and Courier and The Evening Post. She liked to work. Plus, it allowed her the bankroll necessary to keep up her penchant for nice things – whether it be a skirt from Elza’s or shoes from Ellison’s. “She’s always had a flair for putting together clothes to make them look wonderful. I saw that spark in her early on. She’s got style and she’s been showing it forever!” says Williams, who joined The News and Courier as a political reporter after James had been made fashion editor, which had her traveling to fashion shows everywhere from New York to Paris, Rome to London. “I think you can just look at her and see the artistic part of her. It’s a whole presentation she is putting together.” But it wasn’t just her clothes that made James stand out in those days. She was the only person Williams knew, for example, who would just go out and buy a piece of silver – especially at their age, and on their salaries. “Even when we were young, she wanted beautiful things. She wanted silver, so she’d save up to buy it,” says Williams. “She’s always had refined taste, and she’s always had this visual thing.” And, even then, nowhere was beauty more important than in James’ place. She needed beauty to surround her in her life. And – growing up in Panama and, later, in Myrtle Beach and Charleston – she was accustomed to finding colorful landscapes, people and architecture all around her. “To me, place has always been more important than anything,” says James from her living room in New Orleans’ French Quarter, music from the street performers on Royal seeping through the guillotine windows. Place, as it turns out, is more important than anything to her story, too. And, when she visited some friends in New Orleans in 1963, she decided – again, on a lark – to apply for a job at the States-Item. She got the job and moved to New Orleans in 1964.
n many ways, this story belongs every bit as much to New Orleans – its people, its culture, its history – as it does to Rosemary James. New Orleans wrote the drama, the characters, the premise, the tone. And New Orleans set the stage – it is the stage – for nearly every act that she has had a role in, for every scene that she’s walked onto. “I see this city as living theater,” says James. “It allows you to try on new ideas about yourself. People here are continually changing who they are.” Without this place as a backdrop, there wouldn’t have been a story for her to break about District Attorney Jim Garrison using public funds in his unofficial investigation into the JFK assassination. She wouldn’t have witnessed Garrison’s determined campaign to prove that New Orleans native Lee Harvey Oswald hadn’t done this alone. She wouldn’t have heard what she came to call, “his outlandish theories du jour.” And she wouldn’t have covered the trial of Garrison’s “unfortunate scapegoat,” Clay Shaw. “If you told this story in any other city, people would not believe it ever happened. It was like falling down the proverbial rabbit hole, with Garrison’s string of surprise, certifiable lunatics on parade every day. It was paranoiac-schizophrenic–engineered fiction,” remembers James. “The long-range tragedy of the short-
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term tragedy is that, because Garrison was so full of that wellknown waste material, he ruined the chances of a realistic inquiry by any serious investigator.” Among reporters covering the case, the consensus was that out-of-town elements of the American Mafia were behind the assassination – and Garrison’s reaction to those who suggested as much raised suspicion that he was protecting local mob figures who might have had roles as facilitators. “I mentioned this to Garrison,” James told both CNN, when she was interviewed for its documentary series, The Sixties, and Tom Brokaw when he came to her home in 2013 to interview her for a two-hour NBC News special and companion book, Where Were You? America Remembers the JFK Assassination, excerpts of which also appeared on Everything Changed: JFK’s Life and Death. “Garrison came at me hard, saying he was going to haul me before a grand jury. I shot back, ‘If I were you, I would not. I have uncovered a lot about you that I can’t wait to report.’ That was the last I heard of it.” That wasn’t exactly true, though. Things had started happening. There was surveillance. Threatening phone calls. And then, one
they’re having dinner or a drink, and, since you speak to them in the intimacy of their homes, they expect you to recognize them, too.” She preferred her more behind-the-scenes work as a writer, and – using her established byline even after separating from her ex-husband, Judson James – continued writing a weekly political column for Figaro and freelancing for New Orleans Magazine and other publications. Still, she wanted something different. After eight years on TV, James took a job with the Port of New Orleans, reorganizing its public relations and marketing and coordinating the port’s legislative liaison program. “I literally did myself out of a job there,” she quips. “We figured it would take five years to get everything the port needed from the legislature, and we got it all in the first year.” Thus began one of her most lucrative roles to date: She created a communications firm, taking on Strachan Shipping Company as her first client, and, subsequently, oilman and financier Louis Roussel, who invented the jack-up rig for offshore drilling. “I did very well when I had my PR company,” says James, who had gained a good reputation among shipping companies and
“I’ve had a mixed-bag experience, but it’s all been beneficial. You get bogged down doing one thing, why not try on a new hat?” day, she came home to find two of the pups from her litter of Maltese on her front step. Someone had drowned them. “I was certain Garrison’s goons did it,” she says. “He had these crazed groupies who freaked out over anything bad said about him. I never was scared of Garrison, but I was truly afraid of those out-of-control fanatics.” During this time, James had established herself among local media as a serious, hard-nosed print journalist. She’d started out covering the maritime and oil industries, but was best known for her work in New Orleans courts and politics by 1968, when – on a lark – she moved over to WWL-TV. She’d wanted a new scene, and that’s what she got in her new role as a TV personality, anchoring during elections and covering everything from New Orleans politicians to national political conventions to Mafia don trials to hurricanes. She had mixed emotions about the celebrity that came with the job, however. “Just by your presence on the air, people think they know you. And that’s both the best and the worst part about being on television,” she says. “You go into their homes at night when
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independent oil people and counted a number of Fortune 500 companies among her clients. “But PR and advertising is fraught with feast-or-famine drawbacks. Plus, after I married again, the frantic midnight emergency phone calls – ‘the cat cracker has blown, get your ass out to the refinery’ – reached intolerable levels. But, yes, that has been a real moneymaker for me.” Since her arrival in New Orleans, James had coauthored Plot or Politics? The Garrison Case and Its Cast (a book that “was almost like a playbill” about the Garrison investigation into the JFK assassination); was singled out four times for the LouisianaMississippi Associated Press’ Frank Allen Award for best story or series of the year; had won the national Sigma Delta Chi Award for Courage in Magazine Reporting for her New Orleans Magazine story on corruption in the Louisiana criminal justice system; had her own weekly political talk show, On the Line, on the local PBS station, WYES-TV; was named Public Relations Person of the Year; had earned many first-place plaques for advertising; and had established herself as an expert in Louisiana politics and oil and maritime affairs.
[ Rosemary James Powell '59 with her husband, Joseph DeSalvo, at their New Orleans bookstore, Faulkner House Books ] “I’ve had a mixed-bag experience, but it’s all been beneficial,” says James, who, in 1988, took a different direction altogether when she started Faulkner House Designs to renovate and decorate historic properties. “You get bogged down, dissatisfied, doing one thing, why not try on a new hat?” In her role as designer, she has received three Vieux Carre Commission awards and has been showcased in such magazines as The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Departures, Southern Living, Creative Life, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, New Orleans Living and House & Garden. She has designed custom furniture, lamps, chandeliers and other accessories, as well as a group of limited-edition folding screens with antique Venetian lace patterns and a limited-edition fabric featuring famous Southern writers. She also supervised the creation of draperies for interior sets for the movie Interview with the Vampire. “I adore textiles: feeling them, putting them together, using them to create a color direction,” says James. “I like change, too. And sometimes it’s just time to move on or redecorate.” And New Orleans has given her that opportunity time and time
again – to move on, to refresh, to improvise. It has given her the perfect place for reinvention.
or someone living off script, Rosemary James sure made quite a prediction that first time she visited New Orleans in October 1963. Of course, there’s no way she could have known she was writing her own story, foreshadowing what was to come, when she and her friends were cutting through Pirate’s Alley to get beignets at Café Du Monde on Decatur Street and she pointed to a tall, narrow 1830s Greek revival townhouse and said, “I will live in that house one day.” She just liked the looks of it. She liked the balconies, the way it fit like a puzzle piece with the adjoining structures, the view of St. Anthony’s Garden behind St. Louis Cathedral. “It was place perfect,” says James, who loved it, too, because William Faulkner – with whom she was a little obsessed at the time – had lived in the house. “I think it was a subconscious desire
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for Faulkner’s house that made me trot over to the newspaper and apply for a job.” Twenty-five years later, she and her husband, oil and tax lawyer and bibliophile Joseph DeSalvo, bought the property and began renovating it to include a bookstore on the first floor and their living quarters on the upper three floors. James got her design license and established her design firm to oversee the renovation and take advantage of the wholesale prices. For two years, they reconfigured the miniature-scaled rooms of the house, turning staircases around to make room for closets, closing off inefficient doorways, making fireplaces operable, adding storage space and powder rooms. And, finally, decorating the home for both elegance and livability. The process paid off, as the final interior – with its Louis XVI and Directoire furnishings and the artwork of New Orleanians George Dunbar and George Dureau and Charlestonians Linda Fantuzzo and fellow CofC alum (and Barbara Williams’ late husband) Manning Williams ’63 – appeared in publications such as Southern Accents and Metropolitan Home, which helped James’ design career take off. “I have a good spatial eye, but our house was a test. We have enough rooms, but they’re all doll size,” says James, who had to sell off the English and American antiques they’d collected over the years to buy smaller French provincial furnishings to fit. She also built in custom storage, including one that opens up to reveal a widescreen TV right above a silver service. “It’s an eccentric house full of charm. I like it well enough, but it’s very hard to live and entertain in such tiny rooms.” Still, plenty of notable houseguests have made themselves comfortable in the home: Roy Blount Jr., Elizabeth Spencer, Willie Morris, Barry Hannah, William Styron, Nobel Prize in Literature winner Derek Walcott and the College’s own Bret Lott – whose first book signing for his novel Jewel was held at Faulkner House Books – to name a few. The first guest to stay overnight in the house was Joan Williams, who had a longtime liaison with Faulkner. “She loved being in the house, because she said she could feel his presence. We all feel it,” says James, climbing the steps (each with its own stack of books) to the cozy fourth-floor guest suite where so many writers have stayed. “The house has a good feeling about it. There is that feeling of a communion of souls here.” Faulkner lived on the first floor of the house while establishing himself as a writer in New Orleans and completing his first novel, Soldiers’ Pay. “New Orleans has a great track record for nurturing creativity. It’s a nonjudgmental city, encouraging one and all to try on new persona. And that was very obvious in Faulkner’s exploits here,” says James. “He loved the drama of showing up in some new guise. One of his favorite roles was as the World War I RCAF pilot with a silver plate in his head. You know, he tried it out. And then he would try out some other nonsensical thing. “That’s what people do here,” continues James. “Everybody in New Orleans loves costuming, playing new roles, trying on new masks to see how they fit.” Despite its small rooms, the Faulkner House has turned out to be the perfect fit – both as a home and as an occupation. “We decided that we were trustees of part of the Faulkner heritage and part of the New Orleans literary heritage, and that
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we had an obligation to share the building with others,” says James, explaining that she and her husband opened up Faulkner House Books on Faulkner’s birthday, September 25, 1990. “On a lark – really a bit of a spoof – we called it the First Annual Meeting of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society.” The 500 attendees who showed up at the black-tie celebration – which included well-known writers giving readings and toasts at the nearby Le Petit Theatre and a block party with music, food and wine – urged the couple to make the party a tradition. From there, the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society was created to salute not just Faulkner, but all good writers “who provide the finest possible role models for encouraging young people to discover the rewards of reading and writing well.” “The vision for the society has expanded every year. Some new project for readers and writers occurs, and we go for it. It’s as simple as that,” says James. “It’s just grown like topsy in terms of what we do.” The William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, for example, was established in 1992 to help unknown writers get published. With categories for short story, novel, novella, novels-in-progress, narrative nonfiction books, essays, poetry and short stories by a high school student, the international competition seeks to find new, talented writers and assist them in finding publishers for their work. It counts among its winners the now widely published Stewart O’Nan and National Book Award winner Julia Glass. Winners receive cash prizes, are published in the society’s journal, The Double Dealer, and are invited to present at the society’s annual conference, Words and Music, a Literary Feast in New Orleans. Bringing together readers, new and established writers, scholars, editors, literary agents, publishers and jazz and classical musicians in a celebration of literature and writing, this five-day conference is where James shines. “She didn’t just do a literary conference – she brought music into it, because New Orleans loves its music. She knew to do that. Words, she knew were great, but it’s New Orleans, so she brought in the music: Words and Music,” says Williams. “Rosemary’s creativity spans many fields: design, words, entertaining – and I think she’s used that creativity perfectly in her making this conference something unique and something people in New Orleans want. She makes it fun. It’s like a great vacation that stimulates your mind. You’re learning, but you’re having fun. It’s the complete package. “I think her PR experience has played a role in her success there, because she knows how to write to make people want to come be a part of this event. And her flair for entertaining is evident there, too. Nobody wants to miss one of Rosemary’s events – even book signings at the bookstore – of course they want to come: It’s at Rosemary’s!” laughs Williams. “There’s just this flair that she has. And she’s used it as a tool. She knows what to say, how to draw people in. She can just whip up enthusiasm.” In addition to the conference, the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society began publishing its literary journal, The Double Dealer, in 1992. A revival of the 1920s journal that published the first work of Faulkner, the journal showcases established writers alongside debut writers and provides writing, editing and small-press publishing experience – as well as course credit – for interns from New Orleans¬–area universities.
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“Working with these students is important to me. I like helping young people get focus in their work,” says James, who typically has three student interns every semester. “I like writing, reading, editing and page design, and working with developing writers to help them get their work published is also important to me. “I think for me, everything comes into focus with the society,” she concludes. “In all this is an opportunity to use everything she’s perfected throughout her life,” agrees Williams. “So, in that way, this is kind of the crowning achievement of her career – it’s like it’s all been leading to this. And how nice to find things along the way that have led to such a meaningful career.” It is, perhaps, the role of her lifetime.
rom the beginning, Rosemary James knew she was interested in writing and design. And, for a character without a script, she managed to keep her story on point – even if it was just freelance writing and styling for lifestyle magazines along the way. “There have been so many phases of her own talent: Serious reporter for print and TV, having her own TV show on public
She did that, too, shortly after Hurricane Katrina, when her agent asked her to come up with a concept for a collection of essays about New Orleans, and she put together the book My New Orleans: Ballads to the Big Easy by Her Sons, Daughters, and Lovers, published by Simon & Schuster. She only had 30 days to do it, but she managed to track down 29 contributors (including Bret Lott), compile and edit their essays – all from her flat on the second floor of an early-19th-century Federal mansion in Charleston’s Ansonborough neighborhood. “Rosemary has really come to represent not just the literary scene in New Orleans, but the city as a whole,” says Williams. “She’s got that great way of talking about it – with affection and fascination – she speaks with such love. She has really found her place there.” But, as James warns in her book’s foreword: In New Orleans, “just when you think you’ve finally figured someone out, that person will disappear from the plot, only to reappear in a new scene, reborn.” At this point, says Williams, she wouldn’t be surprised if James makes another shift. “I don’t think anyone who knows Rosemary is surprised by anything she does or by the energy that she has to do things extraordinary. Her energy is really amazing,” she says, pointing to
”Everybody in new orleans loves costuming, playing new roles, trying on new masks to see how they fit.“ television, decorating, her own marketing company,” says Skinner. “But writing, always writing.” “Each one of her careers folds into the next; she has incorporated each thing into the next thing,” says Williams. “I think literature is the most important part of her career. Her support for the literary world is amazing.” And it has been recognized by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, which awarded James and her husband a Lifetime Achievement Award for the contributions they’ve made to the literary arts through the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society. “The Faulkner Society has impacted the lives of so many people. I really think the mark she’s made in the literary world has made the biggest difference,” says Skinner. “There are so many models today of the successful career woman in a corporate setting, but Rosemary has had successful careers in the arts, in journalism, with big oil companies. She’s truly a modern-day Renaissance woman.” James says it’s simpler than that – that the thread tying her work together is simply her passion for creation. “I enjoy coming up with concepts and working with others to flesh them out,” she says. “I did that with the PR company, with design and now with the Faulkner Society.”
James’ latest role as the pro bono director of public relations and community relations for the Bishop Perry Center, a mission created by the Archdiocese of New Orleans, for which she has – among other things – produced full-house audiences for a series of six benefit concerts. “Nothing surprises us.” And yet it’s all been a surprise to James. “Everything I’ve done has been on a lark. There’s been no plan. So, my life seems haphazard to me,” says James, whose priest recently told her to look at it this way: “Whenever you have not known what you’re going to do next, you found the energy, or the willpower, the determination to move in a different direction. Maybe you don’t have a plan, but God has one for you.” “And,” says James, “when I think about his words – when I look back over my life, all of the seemingly whimsical decisions, the quick role changes with their attending risk-taking, the opportunities and adventures may not have been just on a lark after all.” That may be true, but, if anything, Rosemary James proves that sometimes it’s better not to read the script. Sometimes you just have to get on stage. Improvise. Put on different masks. See what fits. Because if you find the right role in the right place, your story will write itself.
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The Defiant One
Growing up in Trinidad and tobago, David Ramjohn ´04 had big dreams but little means. Thanks to hard work and a relentless sense of optimism, he overcame some incredible odds to find success at the College and his Caribbean home. by Jason Ryan / Illustration by charis tSEVIS / images by Kibwe Brathwaite The best advice David Ramjohn ’04 ever received was from a taxi driver. The man was also his stepfather – one of two taxi-driving stepfathers that helped raise Ramjohn on Trinidad. The advice was simple and straightforward: “Read everything you can get your hands on.” And so Ramjohn did. At every opportunity he consumed words, whether reading a book in school or spying a scrap of torn paper while in the lavatory. Everything counted. Among Ramjohn’s favorite things to read were Western novels by Louis L’Amour. Landscapes inhabited by cowboys and Indians were certainly foreign to a boy living on the southernmost island in the Caribbean, yet Ramjohn identified with the characters in L’Amour’s books, believing the most noble of them as “the ideal of what a man should be.” Should Ramjohn have wanted to read something more relevant to his own life, perhaps a story by Horatio Alger would have been
more appropriate. In many of Alger’s tales, young men transcend poverty through honest labor and perseverance, earning themselves comfortable and reputable places in society. Oftentimes, these humble and hardworking boys receive critical assistance from benefactors that happen to enter their lives. Alger’s stories were not precisely tales of rags to riches, but rather rags to respectability. Ramjohn did not dress in rags as a boy, per se, but his childhood and upbringing were humble and sometimes hard. Beyond his family’s lack of money, he missed the influence of his biological father and suffered from deafness in one ear, although this diagnosis was not made until he was an adult. These deficiencies did not stop Ramjohn from becoming a top student with big dreams. Ramjohn learned from an early age that opportunity was available in life so long as he was bold and determined enough to seize it. Sometimes, he learned, opportunity beckoned from faraway places, and one had to be patient for it to arrive. SUMMER 2014 |
Entangled in Red Tape David Ramjohn was not born a Ramjohn, but with the simpler surname of John. Ram was a middle name given to him by his aunt, in honor of a Hindu deity (about 40 percent of Trinidad and Tobago’s population is of Indian descent). Due to a clerical error, these names were combined upon the registration of his birth in 1968, leaving David the only person in his family with the surname of Ramjohn. Ramjohn did not discover the mistake until he was 11 years old. By then it was too late, or too troublesome and tedious, to do anything about it. In any case, this moniker mix-up was only a taste of things to come, serving to steel Ramjohn for other disappointments to come his way courtesy of government bureaucracy and plain bad luck. Ramjohn grew up in the seaside town of Carenage, just outside Trinidad and Tobago’s capital of Port of Spain, his family of nine squeezing into a rented three-room house. Each evening the living room was transformed into a dormitory, the furniture pushed aside and a mattress stuffed with coconut husks spread upon the floor. Ramjohn describes his bed as “the most uncomfortable thing you could ever imagine.” He was an acolyte in the local Catholic church and was counting on securing a scholarship to one of Trinidad’s finest secondary schools, St. Mary’s College, in Port of Spain. Because of administrative policy changes, the scholarship was discontinued. Ramjohn was, however, at least accepted to the school. Yet at about the same time, his family moved inland to the town of Arima. Though only 20 miles from the capital, horrible traffic on Trinidad’s roads forced Ramjohn to leave home before 5:30 each morning to try and make it to school on time. He often missed his first class entirely. The commute was not Ramjohn���s only impediment to success at St. Mary’s. The family’s new three-bedroom home in Arima, owned by a brother, was unfinished. The house lacked electricity, which made it difficult to study at night. By virtue of the traffic, Ramjohn would not return home from school until darkness was near. Should he want to read or do homework, he would need to use a hurricane lantern. Beyond giving off light, the lantern hissed loudly as it operated, disturbing others in the small house, especially when they were trying to sleep. Ramjohn, who had hoped to study medicine after high school, saw his dreams of a top-notch university education slipping away. His grades were suffering, and he feared he would not perform well on upcoming exams should his circumstances not change. At Christmastime, the 17-year-old sat down with his mother and stepfather and explained that he needed to be closer to school and to better concentrate on his studies. In others words, he was moving out. “It was quite a bold move,” remembers Ramjohn. So bold, in fact, that his mother threatened to break both his legs should he follow through on this idea. She suspected that he was going to live with his girlfriend. In fact, Ramjohn had appealed to the priest at his former church in Carenage for help finding housing and had been offered a room in the home of an elderly parishioner. Carrying two garbage bags packed with all his possessions, and seeing through his mother’s bluff, Ramjohn moved. His new home had strict rules: no parties, no girlfriend, study three hours a day and attend church once a week. |
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The new arrangement was a perfect but short-lived match. Three weeks later, Ramjohn’s mother complained to the priest and threatened to call the police. Ramjohn moved out of the parishioner’s house and landed in the only other place he knew to go – the home of his girlfriend’s aunt, also in Carenage. “My parents literally drove me into what they thought I was doing in the first place,” says Ramjohn. In this new home, Ramjohn enjoyed many parties and many visits from his girlfriend. He also did poorly on his exams. Shortly after he graduated from secondary school in 1986 – his hope of attending medical school dashed – a St. Mary’s teacher helped Ramjohn find a job within Trinidad and Tobago’s agricultural ministry researching commercial fisheries. Ramjohn found the work captivating. Each week he would accompany commercial fishing crews to monitor their catches and inspect the seas surrounding Trinidad and Tobago. Due to his enthusiasm, in short order Ramjohn became an expert on sharks and general fish taxonomy. In 1991, approximately five years into his career, the fisheries division nominated Ramjohn for a college scholarship. He was initially ecstatic for the chance to finally earn his degree. That elation quickly turned to disappointment when the agricultural ministry decided the scholarship’s selection process needed to be more inclusive and postponed the decision. A year later he was again nominated for the scholarship and this time received it. A week after beginning classes, however, the ministry suddenly revoked the scholarship. What’s more, these scholarship disappointments followed an attempt by Ramjohn to become an air traffic controller that faltered after he failed a physical exam on account of his deafness in one ear. That’s not to mention Ramjohn’s attempt in 1990 to earn his boat captain’s license. Halfway through that three-month course, Trinidad experienced an attempted coup, ending the certification process. Ramjohn could not catch a break. Having no place else to go following the revocation of the scholarship, he returned meekly to his job with the fisheries division. “I threw myself back into my work. There was nothing else I could do,” he says. Coworkers and friends told Ramjohn he was exceptionally strong for weathering these setbacks. Should such indignity have occurred to them, they said, they surely would have quit. Yet Ramjohn refused to be crestfallen by events he could not control. “I have no regrets. Absolutely none,” he says. “Not for the choices I made, not for the choices made for me.”
Coming to America As Ramjohn’s expertise on local marine life increased, his mentor within the fisheries division encouraged him to write a book. In 1999, Checklist of Coastal and Marine Fishes of Trinidad and Tobago was published, listing 1,200 species. The book cemented Ramjohn’s reputation as an expert for identifying, classifying and determining the age of local aquatic species. “I was pretty good at what I did,” says Ramjohn. “I just didn’t have the piece of paper that said so.” About the same time, Ramjohn was assigned to host a visiting team of researchers from South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources. Ramjohn struck up a friendship with the researchers and, as a gift of gratitude, the researchers sent Ramjohn a T-shirt
when they returned home. Weeks later Ramjohn was attending a fisheries conference in Belize, wearing the T-shirt, when a man named George Sedberry, now an adjunct professor at the College, tapped him on the shoulder and introduced himself as a colleague of the researchers from South Carolina. Sedberry couldn’t believe Ramjohn did not have a college degree. Hoping to rectify this, he offered Ramjohn the chance to enroll at the College of Charleston while working as a graduate assistant at the natural resources department. Of course, a graduate assistant with no undergraduate degree posed some problems for those pushing the paperwork in South Carolina. “Always so near, but so far,” says Ramjohn. “That had been the story of my life.” A solution was found, however, and Ramjohn said farewell to his wife and family in Trinidad to begin, at age 32, his ever-elusive college education. It was not an entirely smooth transition. His assistantship would only cover the tuition the College charged for in-state students, not the amount charged to those students who hailed from out-of-state homes, let alone out of the country. As classes began in the autumn of 2000, Ramjohn was in debt almost $7,000. He appealed for help to Jack Parson, the College’s director of the Office of International Education and a professor of political science. Parson obliged the man from Trinidad, granting him a scholarship normally reserved for students who had completed at least one semester and established a 3.0 grade point average. Looking Ramjohn over, Parson said he was willing to grant the scholarship on a “leap of faith.” “What impressed me about David was his commitment to the program and his desire to excel in the process. This was his one chance to widen his horizons and gain the means to open new opportunities for him back home in Trinidad. I thought I saw in him an intensity of commitment and perseverance that deserved a chance,” says Parson.
Four months later, following the close of the fall semester, Ramjohn triumphantly returned to Parson’s office with his grades. Ramjohn had earned a 4.0. “David,” said Parson, “I had no doubt.”
Back to School Ramjohn’s remaining years at the College were similarly successful. Beyond excelling in the classroom, he was a copyeditor for the George Street Observer and served on the College’s Honor Board, becoming its chairman for two years. Among his favorite professors at the College was Nan Morrison. Given Morrison’s tough and demanding reputation on campus, fellow students – and even professors – had warned him not to enroll in her English courses. He did so anyway and treasured the experience. In Morrison’s class, students were asked to write one-page expositions, “to put their thoughts together with clarity and continuity.” “I will never forget her. That training, I could not get anywhere else,” says Ramjohn, explaining that on Trinidad, most higher education is technical. Based on his experience at the College, Ramjohn is a champion of a liberal arts and sciences curriculum. “Give me enough time and I can do any person’s job,” he says of the practicality of a liberal arts education. “I was taught how to think. I was taught how to learn. You can’t beat that.” SUMMER 2014 |
Another favorite professor was Herb Silverman. The mathematics professor even once gave Ramjohn some money to help him pay his tuition and bills. “He, unlike many of my other students, had a long-term plan and knew how to execute it. He knew what he wanted,” says Silverman, recalling Ramjohn a decade after he taught him in class. “He seemed like an imposing figure, and I could envision him being successful in life due to the combination of his academic skills, motivation and drive.” Ramjohn is exceedingly grateful to many others at the College, too. For him, it is the humanity evident in campus life that defines the College of Charleston. “It’s not the buildings, it’s not the reputation – it’s the people who work and teach there,” says Ramjohn. “It’s the people who get students interested and to believe in themselves. For me, it was |
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Jeri Cabot, Hollis France, Ijuana Gadsden, Suzette Stille, Charles Biernbaum, Reid Wiseman and many others.” While Ramjohn was excelling at the College, his long-distance marriage suffered. Ramjohn would divorce while attending the College, and he does not shy away from describing the emotional devastation he experienced over that incident. It was the lowest point in his life, though it ultimately helped define him as a man. “When you’re tested like this, all the chaff gets burned away. You find out who you really are,” says Ramjohn. “What I was left with was pure me. As painful as it was, I discovered myself.” As one of Ramjohn’s favorite poems, “If,” by Rudyard Kipling, reads in part: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss … Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
A Hero’s Homecoming Upon graduation, Ramjohn was awarded the Bishop Robert Smith Award – the highest honor an undergraduate student can receive at the College, recognizing exceptional leadership and scholarship. As flattering as such an award is, Ramjohn says its importance pales in comparison to the value of his education. “I wasn’t at the College to pass exams, I wasn’t there to get a 4.0, I was there to learn,” he says. “The As came because I spent my time in the classroom, absorbing everything I could.” Due to the poor health of his stepfather, Ramjohn returned home to Trinidad after graduation. Beyond wanting to reunite with his family, Ramjohn wanted to help his country. Trinidad and Tobago, he says, suffers from “brain drain,” with many of its brightest minds leaving the country to find opportunity elsewhere. Ramjohn felt an obligation to stem this outflowing tide, to help his nation experience “brain gain.” When he returned home, his friends and family gave him a hero’s welcome. His stepfather’s health even improved. And within his own life, he’s come to experience joy from remarrying and buying his own home, one devoid of coconut husk mattresses. He found work in the government again, this time within the Environmental Management Authority. In six years he became an expert on the country’s environmental regulations and was promoted to executive technical assistant to the authority’s CEO. In 2013 he left the government to become CEO of green energy company Synergy Resources Limited Trinidad and Tobago. Though green energy is a growing industry in many parts of the world, in Trinidad and Tobago it has faced a tougher sell. The nation, the richest in the Caribbean, benefits from substantial oil and natural gas reserves. These resources – and related government subsidies – mean fuel and electricity are cheap for its residents. There is little incentive to embrace renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, though Ramjohn notes that in neighboring Caribbean countries, where his company also does business, the situation is much different. “Trinidad and Tobago is the most hostile environment for trying
to do what this company does,” says Ramjohn. “But it is something we need to do.” Should we not collectively alter our energy production and consumption habits, says Ramjohn, “we will run out of food, air, water and energy. It’s very anthropocentric of us to think that we can save the planet, or even that the planet needs us to save it. It would be more honest and accurate to say that we are trying to save our place on this planet.” If such change seems a tall order, Ramjohn is at least uniquely suited to tackle this challenge. No stranger to setbacks, Ramjohn possesses a determination and optimism many would judge critical to changing minds and habits. He proved as much a decade ago when he earned his degree and was recognized as one of the College’s most impressive and tenacious students. “I was proud of David at graduation,” says Parson, “since I knew the whole circumstance of his time at the College.” Parson recalls the diplomatic finesse Ramjohn displayed when he participated with other students in a simulation of a meeting of the African Union, representing the country of Botswana. He remembers, too, Ramjohn’s professionalism when serving on the College’s Honor Board. In Parson’s eyes, Ramjohn is most obviously a gentleman and a scholar, yet Parson also takes pains to recognize Ramjohn’s resilience and persistence. Perhaps surprisingly, the professor emeritus of political science chooses to characterize his well-mannered former student as a bruising running back, charging fearlessly upfield for a score. Says Parson of the unstoppable man from Trinidad and Tobago: “David Ramjohn grasped the opportunity that was present, ran with it and spiked the ball over the goal line.”
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You are Me The Education of the Precocious, Creatively Ferocious Orlando Jones Hollywood is a lot like the Lost City of Gold â€“ a legendary place that many seek, but only a few find (and far fewer actually get to stay for any length of time). One of those lucky few is Orlando Jones, who studied at the College from 1985 to 1990. Jones saw that gleaming city hiding in plain sight and did what he always did: rolled up his sleeves, got serious and just went for it.
by Mark Berry photography by Brownie Harris
on’t let the beautiful weather deceive you on this mild Wednesday in April 1968. You don’t know it, but this is the season of assassinations. Just that previous Thursday, what seems like both a lifetime and a split second ago, the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. shook the nation, sending shockwaves of dismay, fear and anger all the way to Mobile, Ala., where you’re being born right now. Fortunately, your newborn cries lift the oppressive shadow of the moment. Your family sees hope, a ray of light in your large, bright eyes. But like most new parents, the Joneses are a little overwhelmed – and rightly so. In their quiet moments, they question what they’re doing bringing you, Orlando Jones, into a world – or a state, at least – that has been a battleground for the civil rights movement for more than a decade. What is your world going to look like? Better? Worse? It can’t be more Bull Connors, governors standing in schoolhouse doors, marathon marches, Bloody Sundays with fire hoses, teargas, police dogs and nightsticks. Aren’t we supposed to be sitting down together at the table of brotherhood, to be judged not by the color of our skin, but the content of our character? However, now, with the murder of King, who knows? It’s in this period of unrest and struggle that you arrive. But where others might turn bitter and resentful, your family doesn’t. They focus on carving out lives of meaning in an imperfect world, and you see that early on. They teach you to endure and to make the most of any opportunity. Unlike many kids, you see a lot of the South and move frequently as your father climbs up the coaching ranks. From Mobile to Columbus, Ga., where your father is a basketball coach for an all-black high school, he lands an assistant coaching position at Furman University and later moves with the head coach to Tallahassee. From Florida State University, your father is hired to be the head coach at S.C. State, and you begin high school in Orangeburg. Without having to say it, he teaches you by his own example to do what you love. It’s not about finding a job. Jobs are for those without imagination, without purpose. It’s about finding your passion. His are sports and teaching. That way, as he shows you, you’re never locked into a dead-end nine-to-fiver. You never get burned out. Rather, you’re always thinking about and doing what you love. That’s not working, that’s living. And the moving around doesn’t bother you. You’ve always been outgoing, confident. You like meeting new people. You have a smile, everyone says, that rivals the sun and a natural way to make people laugh. Your family tells you that you remind them of your great-grandfather, The Mayor of Mobile. You know Great-Granddaddy wasn’t actually the mayor, but his personality was such that he never met a stranger. You enjoyed the times you got to spend with him, watching him make his rounds through the community, always jawing with somebody. You also learned, through him, to appreciate what the older generation had to go through. He was a bootleg taxi driver, because, by Alabama law, he could not hold a business license, and therefore, he could never charge a fare. When asked what was owed, he simply told his passenger, “Whatever you can give me.” Mobile wasn’t exactly New York City. He knew he was going to get paid something or that person would never get a ride again. More important, you sense that he is fulfilled, and his fulfillment doesn’t strike you as odd until you understand, many years later, how incredible that is for someone living in the Jim Crow era. Basically, during the seventies, you’re an average American kid living an average American life. And perhaps that’s the truest realization of Dr. King’s dream. At 11, you see Star Wars for the first time. Your mom makes you go. You hear the title, and think, Wow, that’s lame. But once the movie starts and those large yellow words drift off into space, you get caught up in the story. When you walk out of the theater, like every other kid in America, you desperately need to own a light saber. You also start thinking about the Force and this idea that we are all connected and that we can be purveyors of good or evil. That’s a pretty big concept for an 11-year-old and one you can’t stop thinking about. You start reading comic books – Batman, Superman, Spiderman. You’re not a collector. Keep that pristine copy and plastic sleeve to yourself, thank you very much. You’re a reader, someone who wants to absorb the over-the-top plots and colorful characters. You pass along everything you get, and your friends pass along whatever they have.
You've always been outgoing, confident. You like meeting new people. You have a smile, everyone says, that rivals the sun and a natural way to make people laugh.
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You do the same thing with your parents’ comedy albums. They are community property among your friends. You treat them like girly magazines. You hide away in a room where you’re not supposed to be, listen to the routines of Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor and laugh yourself silly. Your dad lands a job in Greenville, and you transfer to Mauldin High School. No sweat off your back. You play basketball, and you’re pretty good. An All-American kind of talent, if you say so yourself, but a knee injury slows you down and dampens your prospects. So, you also get involved with the speech and debate team, which is run by a small white lady with tall brown hair. You think the world of her – the first teacher you hear cuss. And not just a little, a lot. You see how some people play by the rules, play it safe. Not Gladys Robertson. Each day when you meet in sixth period, she’s there pushing you and everyone on that debate team to think on your feet and perform. She sees your potential and tells you that you can do great things with your mind. You start to understand how everything you are learning in school connects on some level as you prepare your arguments on unemployment and poverty – that year’s topics. Your team travels to debates in New York, Philadelphia and New Orleans, and you win the state championship your senior year and place in nationals. You’re an athlete and a scholar. You’re voted best dressed and serve as the voice of the Mauldin High Mavericks during homecoming (everyone’s always said you have a voice that can’t be ignored). In many ways, you are the complete package. And colleges take notice. Even Yale offers you a scholarship. But Yale is still expensive – scholarship or not. Where was that money going to come from? Plus, on some level, you feel like going there would be cheating. You’ve now been around enough, traveled enough to see what the Ivy League types (or at least those destined for Harvard or Yale) are like. That’s not you. Not your game. You even tell a yearbook staff reporter, “They say the high school years are ‘the best years of their life’ because they never accomplish anything in college. I’d like to be an individual in college instead of just a number.” And where can you go and not be just another number?
The College of Knowledge
You meet admissions counselor Otto German ’73 when he comes to your high school. He tells you about the College and its desire to attract more minority students. He tells you how he was one of the first blacks to integrate campus more than 15 years before and that if he could survive it, man, than anybody can survive it. That honesty impresses you. Plus, Charleston seems like a cool city, the campus is beautiful with those old buildings and Spanish moss that sparkles in the sun like tinsel, but, really, you just want to get out of the house, and the College is a good-enough fit. What you don’t tell anyone is that college doesn’t really matter to you. You’ve been learning so much on your own – outside of your regular coursework – you can’t think that another classroom setting is going to be the difference in your success. You don’t want to sit through lectures and then regurgitate some facts and figures on a test. No, you think that the information you need is primarily in libraries and not sitting behind some pay wall. And last time you checked, the library was free. However, to make your parents happy, you’ll give it the old, college try (and you’re smart enough to get the irony, by the way). You come to the College in the fall of 1985 at age 17. You realize that Mr. German was right. There aren’t a whole lot of people who look like you going to school here. But that’s OK. It’s cool. It’s not that you’re a chameleon, because you’re not. You don’t change colors to fit in – you’re always you – no matter the crowd. You discover that most people like that. And you figure out that you don’t want to claim one clique, because that means you “unclaim” another, and that’s not your style because you don’t want to miss out on anyone, anything. You move seamlessly – it seems to most everyone on campus – from the basketball players, to the nerds, to the theatre rats, to the frat brothers. You take to heart the story the Mayor of Mobile told you about how to carry yourself. The story goes something like this: Sir Winston Churchill is walking down the street with one of his trusted advisers. Coming
It's not that
you're a chameleon, because you're not.
You don't change colors to fit in you're always you no matter the crowd.
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toward them is a lady of ill repute. As she walks by, Churchill tips his hat to her. After she passes, his adviser, incredulous at this display of civility to a prostitute, questions the prime minister on his intentions. Churchill replies: “I tip my hat because of who I am, not because of who she is.” This becomes your point of view – and how you can take control of any situation. You act and don’t react. You’re going to tip your hat. Despite your general affability to everyone, you do, however, carry a slight chip on your shoulder. You declare yourself a chemistry major, but you hate taking the introductory courses. You feel like you’re just repeating your senior year of high school. But the department has its requirements and you have to take them. So, you don’t put in the work, and your grades show it. You also get ticked off at the cost of books. When asked about the bookstore by the staff of The Meteor (the student newspaper), you reply (in all sincerity): “I think that is one of the most ridiculous misappropriation of funds in the state.” You’re fuming that you have to pay $300 that first semester in books. You aren’t actually against the bookstore, but you feel it’s a little too much about commerce and not about education – especially in light of some of the books being out-of-date and out-of-touch with current knowledge. But you do love your political science classes. And you really enjoy Professors Doug Friedman and Jack Parson. These cats know a thing or two about international relations, Cuba and Botswana, respectively. You get picked to participate in Parson’s Model African Union and you partner with Jackson Davis ’90 and Jamie Moon ’90. You guys are the “Unholy Triumvirate” as you prepare like mad in representing South Africa’s African National Congress. You study the country’s many challenges, go beyond the headlines because you want to be genuine and accurate in your case against apartheid. In your afternoon workshops, Parson and the rest of the students in Applied International Diplomacy tear apart your language and arguments. It’s not fun being questioned on your ideas and interpretation of the ANC, having to defend every line of text, but you see how taking their criticisms can better the final product. It’s nothing personal. And you observe that not everyone can take that kind of critique without feeling defeated. You leave for Washington, D.C., packed tight in a van, you sitting up front, tasked with keeping Parson awake as he drives through the night. You arrive at Howard University, where the students have barricaded themselves in the main administration building in an effort to get Lee Atwater, then chairman of the Republican National Committee and a South Carolina native, to resign from their Board of Trustees. It’s a politically charged environment and one that makes the model union seem even more relevant in preparing students for the world. You, Davis and Moon impress the other delegations with your thoughtful resolutions and discussions, so much so that you are elected secretary general for the next year. You enjoy the political scene. You even like learning the nuances of parliamentary procedure while preparing for next year’s model union. If you listen to the whispers of others, you might be tempted a little to think about a life in politics, but you dismiss it because it takes away from your real goal, your real purpose, your true passion: storytelling.
Your freshman year you wander over to the fine arts department (a precursor of today’s theatre department). In tryouts, everyone seems to take note of you. You get cast as a guard in Tina Howe’s Museum, a farcical play critiquing the art world. Several people take you aside and tell you that you stole the show, that you had a physical understanding of the stage and rapport with the audience beyond your years. Even a future Emmy Award–winning actress thinks you’re good. Carrie Preston (later of True Blood and The Good Wife fame), one of the leads in this ensemble cast, can’t believe that she hasn’t seen you before. She thinks you’re hilarious and questions the other actors why they don’t know you. You take the compliments in stride, but you want something with more meat. Well, you get a lot more meat with the College’s production of Home, in which you are cast as the lead along with Alanna Johnson Steaple ’89. You have great chemistry on stage, and you help her find herself in the role. You love the immediacy of live performance. The rush. The daredevil act without a net. And you love how the stage creates this transformative moment in time – with its ability to inspire, to entertain, to communicate emotion. But while you were jazzed about this opportunity, you also take note that a bunch of other people in the department have done multiple performances – and as a black male in a predominantly white school, you know your chances and choices are going to be limited. Sure, you can do Othello (and you will), but what else? You want to be a bigger fish in a bigger pond. That opportunity to be a bigger fish comes to you in an unlikely place. One of your favorite professors is Shirley Moore, who teaches communication. Like Mrs. Robertson, Moore just gets you. You are taking her COMM 211 Oral Interpretation, in which you write a monologue and perform it in public. Moore has heard that a Hollywood director is in town and invites him to teach a master class on auditioning and to give some pointers about the business side of entertainment. She tells you that you’re going to con this guy and get your ticket to Hollywood. And she’s going to make it happen. You agree and promptly forget about it. In fact, a few days later, you’re on your way to the gym to play basketball and cut class when she reminds you that this director is coming today. You walk in and you see Paul Aaron sitting there. He has this booming voice – a voice that sounds like Rolexes, infinity pools and sports cars. This guy has directed Glenn Close, Mandy Patinkin and Chuck Norris. Moore asks if any of the students are interested in being critiqued by this Hollywood director, and you, alone, raise your hand. You turn to Aaron and say that before you do your audition, you need to share something, and you tell him about Chad: I had a neighbor named Chad, and we used to play in this creek in my backyard. We used to swim through there and catch tadpoles and minnows with breadcrumbs wound up in little balls that we put on a string. I came down to play one day, and I was looking for Chad, and he wasn’t there. I went up to his house and knocked on the door and asked his mom where he was. He wasn’t in the house, but he was outside, she said. So, I got on my bike and rode around the neighborhood to see where he was so we could go in the backyard and play. I couldn’t find
SUMMER 2014 |
him anywhere, and when I went back down to the backyard, I thought I saw a body floating in the water – trapped underneath this tree. When I got down close to it, I realized it was Chad. Something had happened and he had drowned in the water. He was dead. The hardest thing to do at that moment was … how do you tell somebody’s mother that their kid, you know, is dead in the backyard? It was a long, surreal walk to get to his mom’s house – it was a hard thing to deal with. Tears stream down both cheeks and you choke back quiet sobs. Aaron is smiling. For the first two minutes, he’s been wrapped in the story, nodding his head along, and then he realizes that this is your monologue. You don’t need a handshake – you have the power of story going for you. And he is impressed. He sees that you have talent and tells you that if you want to talk, you can meet him for breakfast the next day at the Francis Marion Hotel. At breakfast the next day, as you’re eating grits and biscuits, you listen intently to his advice. He tells you about the differences between actors and personalities. And more important, he tells you to look him up if you come out to Los Angeles. During this time, you have a lot of irons in the fire. After having consulted with a Columbia, S.C., ad agency your freshman year (they were working on a youth minority campaign for the state and needed an African American perspective), you actually start your own ad agency (Homeboy Productions) and successfully pitch commercial work with Food Lion, a local Mazda dealership and the S.C. Credit Union. You also do political ads for the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign in South Carolina. While working as a doorman at the Omni Hotel at Charleston Place, you pick up the trade papers – Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. You answer different ads in the back, sending jokes to the late-night shows. The catch is that your submissions have to come from an agent or lawyer. You ask a local attorney for help, but he will only do it for $250. You don’t have $250, so you create your own letterhead and sign it, “Herman P. Stinklemeyer, Esquire” – an homage to a Johnny Carson character. You get a lot of rejection letters, but you remain undeterred. When you audition for The Return of Swamp Thing (which is being filmed in Hilton Head and Savannah), the casting directors tell you that you aren’t a good fit, but they may have another role in mind for you – playing Barry Sobel’s roommate on 227. You get flown out to L.A., and while you are there, you call your most recent acquaintance, Paul Aaron. He then introduces you to one of his colleagues, Erwin Stoff (who will later be executive producer of The Matrix and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me), and he asks you to send him a spec script for the short-lived show Homeroom, starring Darryl Sivad. That show is cancelled after only airing 10 episodes, but your spec script is sent over to the writers of Bill Cosby’s A Different World, and they like it. Next thing you know, you are back on an airplane, trading East Coast sunrises for West Coast sunsets.
What happens next for you is the insane, explosive ride that is hollywood. There are many highs, many lows. Many starts, many stops.
A Star Rising
You get picked up at the airport. You’ve only brought clothes and a bike. You crash at a guy’s apartment for a little while and sleep in his chair. (The couch isn’t available.) Then you stay at another guy’s apartment and sleep on his living room floor. (He doesn’t have furniture.) You finally get an apartment of your own across from the studio and walk to work every day. Paul Aaron had warned you about the sitcom writing room. If you thought you were hot stuff before, forget about it. You are not going to impress anybody in the room. These people are funny for a living – all day, every day. You best sit there and listen. This is when you come to understand the longstanding tradition of master and apprentice. You watch and study how the other writers pitch jokes and scenarios. You don’t take it personally – when someone slaps down one of your ideas. You remember that feeling in Parson’s model union afternoon workshops, so you’re good with it. You learn that what’s funny coming out of your mouth isn’t funny coming out of someone else’s. You learn that you’re not writing for your own ear. And you’re actually not writing for a particular actor, either. Rather, you’re writing for the show runner and how that person
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Must-See Work would write it. Your job is to become part of the show runner’s brain. Show runners don’t have time to write. They only have time to polish. Plain and simple, no one is giving you a road map. In fact, the road map is different for everyone in the room. You have to study tape and watch back episodes and figure it out. And there is no time to be overwhelmed. It’s like in basketball: When you step up to the free throw line with the game hanging in the balance, you don’t think about missing the shot. You just go up there and do it. If you miss, you do everything in your power to make sure you don’t mess up again – and no one cares how long it takes for you to rehearse, how long you have to work on your own time – you do what you have to do. Or, you better pack up those few belongings and head back home. Once you acclimate and absorb some of these tough lessons in your apprenticeship, you find that you actually get the hang of it. You like it. You get the main writing credit for two shows that air in spring 1991. In “Never Can Say Goodbye,” Sinbad’s final episode on the show, you pen the memorable closing line spoken by Sinbad’s character, Walter Oaks, who is imploring another character not to drop out of college: “When you get your degree, it’s a different world out there.” Although you don’t believe it for yourself, you know that’s a line the show runner would have loved to have written. You are an apprentice no longer. What happens next for you is the insane, explosive ride that is Hollywood. There are many highs, many lows. Many starts, many stops. You write successful pilots, become the executive writer on different shows, are handpicked by Quincy Jones to be on MadTV (both as a writer and original cast member), break into film as an actor and help pen one of the most amazing and well-received soft drink campaigns in television history (Make 7-Up Yours). But you also work on shows that never see the light of day or are cancelled, you find yourself on the cutting room floor when a film comes out, you get bad reviews as well as being in movies that tank at the box office. You realize that you work just as hard on stuff that people hate as you do on stuff that people love. There is no formula. Some things just resonate. Go figure. Yet, through it all, you’re still not satisfied. Not one bit. You like some of your work, but you don’t feel like you’ve hit your mark yet. And that’s OK. It pushes you to be better. Always better. Perfecting the smallest nuance of a character, like you do on Fox’s hit show Sleepy Hollow. That drive to be better also inspires you to create a character that you can fully possess, which you do in Tainted Love, one of your latest and perhaps most innovative projects to date. It’s a graphic novel–style, live-action drama that you wrote and star in, which you’re releasing free online in five-minute episodes. In that vein, you embrace new technology, whether it’s social media or online video, because even if the medium changes, the basic premise of entertainment does not. People want story. And that’s what you love. And you realize that it’s all really just the same thing you did standing there with Paul Aaron in Shirley Moore’s class. You knew then – and know even better now – that when you get up in front of an audience and ask for their attention, you better deliver something worth their time. You don’t complicate it. You need to be compelling. You need to evoke emotion and just tell a good story. Lucky for everyone, you always do.
If you’re looking for something to binge on this summer, check out some of Orlando Jones’ work. It ’s a rare combination of comedy and drama.
Liberty Heights Office Space Drum Line Evolution The Replacements
MadTV Sleepy Hollow
And follow him on Twitter at @TheOrlandoJones – his 21st-century version of the great comedy albums of old (albeit in 140-character snippets).
| Photo by Logan Cyrus |
Banking on Opportunity She should never have gone into banking. She knew even before she set out on her career path that she wasn’t following her passion. She knew she had a higher calling, a greater purpose. But, when Chanele Jackson ’87 first got into the business, it was for one purpose and one purpose only: to provide for her family. Twenty-seven years later, she’s still working for the bank, and can honestly say she has no regret. “I always chose what I thought would provide for me and my family the best. And my career has done that. It has provided for all of us,” says the consultant with Wells Fargo’s Corporate Finance, Shared Service Accounting organization in Charlotte. “I chose my career path by default, not because it was my passion.” |
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Besides, when she first started on this path, her passion was her children, and she was determined to become the first college graduate in her family and to set an example for her girls. And that meant sacrifices. Especially after separating from her husband shortly after she’d enrolled at the College at age 31, and having to learn how to survive as a single parent to her three daughters, ages 3 months to 10 years. It was a complete game changer. She had no idea how she was going to make ends meet – much less stay in school. But, at the same time, being a single parent meant providing for her children was all on her – and that made her education even more important. She had to make it happen. And the N.E. Miles Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC), where her 2-year-old was enrolled, helped make it happen: They
waived her daughter’s tuition. It bought her some time, to be sure – but, after a while, she just couldn’t keep up. “I wanted this education so badly, but there was just no way I could do it.” She felt defeated, hopeless. “I have to take care of my family first,” she told one of her professors, who’d found her crying outside of a classroom in Maybank Hall. Her voice breaks and her eyes tear up again when she recalls what happened next: “I got a note saying that I’d been selected for a scholarship that paid for tuition and books. It was life changing.” Between the scholarship and her parttime job with a real estate appraisal firm, Jackson was going to be able to finish school. She took her children to live with her mother and brother in Georgetown, S.C., for the remainder of her final year at
the College, rented a room in a woman’s home on Broad Street and hunkered down. She did what she needed to do to make her sacrifices worthwhile for her kids. As graduation approached, she kept her eye on the prize: a well-paying job with potential for growth opportunities. She still hadn’t found one, though, when Perry Woodside, now a professor emeritus in the School of Business and a member of its Board of Governors, asked the students in his commercial real estate class if they were interested in interviewing for some openings with the North Carolina National Bank Corporation (NCNB) in Charlotte. “I wasn’t interested in banking, but I needed a job, so I raised my hand,” says Jackson, who landed an interview and was then offered a position in the credit management program on the spot. “So, the College directly shaped my career, my development and my opportunities.” She’d been with NCNB, which became Bank of America in 1998, for around six years when she started looking for more opportunities. “I needed more income to truly provide for my kids. I said a prayer: ‘I really need to go to graduate school, but I can’t afford it.’ The next day, I was in commercial loans, and I got called into a senior executive’s office, and they told me I’d been selected to go get my master’s degree! Isn’t that amazing? Out of the whole company, only two people got to do that,” recalls Jackson. Upon completing the executive M.B.A. program at Queens University, Jackson was offered a leadership position, giving her the financial stability and increased responsibility she wanted. Having moved to Wells Fargo in 2008, Jackson has made a lifelong career out of the opportunity in banking she got at the College – and it has served her well. But, really, the career is just a footnote in everything Jackson gleaned from the College. “I’m able to do so much more because I got that liberal arts education. I learned to learn. I know how to think. I know how to research, to explore. I learned to ask questions. I learned to never give up,” says Jackson, who maintains that it is the responsibility of all alumni to give back to their alma mater. “The College has given so much to all of us. It touches every part of life, and shapes us into who we are
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| top: Right Moves for Youth; bottom: Chanele Jackson ’87 with her daughters (l to r) Christina, Cheryl and Chantale |
today. Everything that we touched there has stayed with us. We wouldn’t be who we are today if it weren’t for the College of Charleston. It’s important to sustain the excellence that we all benefit from. We have to realize that the College exists because of us. It is so much a part of our story, we need to help tell its story.” That is why Jackson has given to the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance, the College of Charleston Fund and ECDC on an annual basis for some 15 years. And, most recently, she has made a planned gift toward ECDC tuition for a child of a single mother who is also a first-generation college student. “I wanted to help someone like me, so that they may have a wonderful, safe environment for their children,” says Jackson. “The Early Childhood Development Center gives children a foundation of knowledge, of love. It gives them great self-esteem because they are ahead of the curve. They are learning how to learn so early on so that by the time they get to school, they already have that foundation. They have the building blocks to succeed. I wanted to provide educational opportunities for the child and the mom, too.” Living by the motto “Much is given,
much is expected,” Jackson enjoys giving back – creating opportunities for people, just as she has been given opportunities along the way. “I give back because I want to do that for someone else. I want to create opportunities for other people to find their purpose,” she says. “There is a purpose to everyone’s life, and you don’t always know what it is. But there’s a guiding force creating opportunities for you to find it.” And Jackson, for one, has found hers: service. “I feel I was created to give back. I have a heart of service and compassion and social justice, and I am called to service” says Jackson, who is active in a variety of education, financial literacy, community and faith-based organizations and is especially involved with Right Moves for Youth – a nonprofit that targets first-generation college students and their families. “I want the youth to know what opportunities exist. I want them to have access to things they don’t even know about. So, I give my time, talent and treasure: That’s how I fulfill my greater purpose.” And, in the meantime, her career in banking has served its purpose, too.
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Committed Cougars Two years ago, Joe Busch ’14 had an abstract idea about creating a greater sense of community at the College. Today, that idea has materialized into the largest student group on campus. Bringing more than 600 Cougars together to share their passion for the College, Committed to Charleston (C2C) has shaped that abstract idea into an actual, visible sense of community. Busch wasn’t always so crazy about the College. As a freshman, he had trouble adjusting to his new home and finding his place. He even considered
passion, but to achieve a vision associated with that passion. The result: He devised a strategy for unifying the student body to give back. In November 2013, C2C was officially chartered, with 200 members dedicated to making the College a better place through philanthropy – giving a minimum gift of $17.70. Six months later, its ranks tripled and the organization had raised more than $13,000, which triggered a matching donation of $10,000 from Johnnie Baxley III ’92 – who’s since pledged four more years of matching $10,000
being “a part of something bigger than yourself,” as C2C’s outgoing secretary Caroline Turpin ’14 puts it. Having studied abroad in England, Turpin – a graduate of the Honors College with degrees in psychology and religious studies – appreciates the College community for making her “even more open-minded” and giving her a better sense of how the world works. And she credits the C2C, too, with giving her a better sense of how important the support of alumni is to the College. She now knows she, Busch
| (l to r) Denzell Moton ’14, Arvaughnna Postema ’14, Kara Cronin ’14, Joe Busch ’14, Caroline Turpin ’14 and Alex Henderson ’14 | transferring out. But, upon returning to campus his sophomore year, Busch made an effort to become more involved with his classmates. He joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, became a more active member of the Charleston 40 Tour Guide Association and signed up with the Student Alumni Associates. Things started looking up. Then, at the end of the academic year, Busch participated in LeaderShape, a weeklong retreat organized by the Higdon Student Leadership Center. There, Busch accepted the challenge not just to find his |
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gifts. The money will go to the College of Charleston Fund, which, among other things, helps provide scholarships. “It’s students helping students, and students helping the College be the best it can be,” says Busch, C2C’s founding president and a double major in economics and finance, noting that this summer the club will welcome new students to campus to jumpstart their sense of belonging to the College of Charleston community. Because that’s what it boils down to: “a sense of connectedness to people” and
and the other outgoing C2C officers (Alex Henderson ’14, Kara Cronin ’14 and Denzell Moton ’14) will continue to support the College community now that they are alumni themselves. They’ve come a long way together, and Busch appreciates these classmates for helping him execute his vision of C2C: “They were with me since I said, ‘I have an idea, but I need some help.’” The results they’ve achieved together are a testament to the power of community. And to the power of finding your passion and acting upon it.
Lesson Plan Azikiwe Chandler ’14 (M.A.T.) has long had a three-part plan for his life. First, develop personally into a respectable man through travel and volunteering. Second, obtain a formal education and begin a family. Third, start a school that caters specifically to the needs and challenges of black males. At 43, the well-traveled, globe-hopping Chandler has matured into a respectable, worldly man. He’s also obtained his formal education, having earned an architecture degree at Notre Dame and a master’s in teaching from the College. Married and now the father of a daughter, born in May, Chandler’s got his family life settled, too. Soon it will be time to begin Phase Three: The School. This part of the plan is in response to struggles Chandler has seen firsthand. Many of his high school classmates in Charleston, for example, have not found the kind of success he has. Some have been imprisoned, some killed. He attributes this in large part to a problem with the general education of black males – a problem that he wants to help solve. His plan, in the long term, is to open a public charter school that will nurture young black men, allowing them to thrive. Chandler envisions a boarding school with a multicultural focus that offers parents and students an alternative to negative home or community environments, surrounds them with positive role models, loving discipline and high expectations, gives them healthy meals and encourages community service. “People rise and fall according to expectations,” explains Chandler, who – with the support of a Jeremy Warren Vann Scholarship – last semester completed his clinical practice interning in a third-grade classroom at the public charter Charleston Development Academy. He found the experience incredibly rewarding and instructional, despite the literacy and poverty issues that complicate the school’s educational mission. “What I love about this school is that failure is not an option,” says Chandler, who knows all too well that, when it comes to education, failure cannot be an option. He’s seen what happens when schools fail their students. He knows what’s at stake. And you can count on him to do everything in his power to turn things around. After all, so far, everything has gone according to plan.
S PRI N G 2 0 1 4 |
CLASS NOTES 1966 Robert Ball received the Educator of
the Year Award from the S.C. Medical Association.
1968were Lee and Rebecca Shackelford named the Senior Volunteers of Sigmon the Year by the Exchange Club of Charleston. They volunteer with Mt. Pleasant Habitat for Humanity, Crisis Ministries, as well as work with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
1972 Bud Ferillo directed When the Bough
1985 Megan Hartley and Bill Turbeville
1974 Sherwood Miler is president-elect
1987 Noel Schweers received his
were married in April 2013 and live in Mt. Pleasant. Elise Rivers Kennedy is a Realtor with Carolina One Real Estate. She and her husband, Sean Kennedy ’86, have two children and live in Mt. Pleasant.
1986 Sean Kennedy (see Elise Rivers Kennedy ’85)
executive M.B.A. and doctorate from Georgia State University. He is the in-house counsel at Morris Communication in Augusta, Ga.
1975 Jack Griffith is a senior vice
1988 Ben Glass is the managing
1976 Fritz Missel is an account manager
1989 Scott Myers (Rhonda Puckhaber
president with the investment firm Janney Montgomery Scott in Columbia. at Southeastern Freight Lines in Charleston.
1978 Bill Eisele is a business manager at
SCANA in Columbia. Paul Runey was inducted into the S.C. Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Paul has spent 30 years at Bishop England High School, where his girls’ teams have won 590 games and played in three consecutive state title games. Colin Smoak is a top-five national finalist for the 2014 Broker of the Year by Benefits Selling. He is a principal consultant at McLaughlin Smoak & Clarke Benefits in Charleston. Billy Stevens is a cardiovascular surgeon in Springfield, Ill. He is also an accomplished sailor. He participated in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (1,200 participants in 250 boats), which begins in Gran Canaria and finishes 2,700 nautical miles in St. Lucia and lasted 19 days, with Billy finishing second in his class and 11th overall.
1980 Greg West is the founding pastor of Saint Clare of Assisi, a new Catholic parish on Daniel Island, S.C.
1981 Leigh Jones Handal manages the
Preservation Society of Charleston’s annual fall tours program, as well as its communications, events and donor cultivation.
1982 Joni Harvey McLeod directed
Cario Middle School’s production of Willy Wonka Junior.
S.C. Workers’ Compensation Educational Association for 2014. A founding partner of the law firm Trask & Howell in Mt. Pleasant, Roy specializes in workers’ compensation and federal longshore and harbor workers’ compensation law. Sharon Weeks Sellers was named the 2014 director for the state council of the S.C. Society of Human Resource Management. She is the president of SLS Consulting in Summerville.
Breaks, a documentary commissioned by the S.C. Education Oversight Committee about South Carolina’s low literacy rates. Bud is a communications specialist for the University of South Carolina’s Children’s Law Center. Dan Ravenel, past president of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, was awarded the L’Esprit Huguenot Award. Dan was also elected president of the College’s Alumni Association at the annual meeting in May. Dan is the owner of Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty. of the College’s Alumni Association. Sherwood is the owner of Sherwood Miler Real Estate in Summerville, S.C. Sherwood’s third child, Chandler, graduated from the College in May.
1984 Roy Howell is the president of the
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shareholder of the Charleston office of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart. Ben received his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
1990 Rhonda Puckhaber Myers is the
conference center administrative assistant for St. Christopher’s on Johns Island. Rhonda and Scott Myers ’89 have a son, Noah. Steven Niketas is the president and owner of Mosaic Edibles. Steven has returned to Charleston and is restoring a historic building near the College’s campus for his company. Liz Harris Nimmich is an agent in AgentOwned Realty’s Isle of Palms office.
1991 Krista Ellis Bannister is a member of the College’s Alumni Association’s board of directors. Krista lives in Greenville, S.C., with her husband, Jim, and three daughters: Adair, Rebekah and Winna Beth.
1992 Ernie Blevins is a structural
historian for the State Historic Preservation Office in Charleston, W.V. Lee Merry is an inventory coordinator with Nucor Steel in Normangee, Texas. Angela O’Neill is a national accounts manager at Harper Engraving and Printing in Atlanta.
1993 Carl Blackstone is the president
and CEO of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Carl and his wife, Mary Addison Heckard Blackstone ’96, live in Columbia with their four daughters. Christiane Magann Farrell (M.P.A. ’09) was
selected by the Moultrie News as one of their Women to Watch. Christiane is the director of planning and development for the Town of Mt. Pleasant. She and her husband, Bobby, have two sons, John and Luke. Georgia Lucas (G.L.) Giles has written a new book, Imagination Reimagined (Not Your Children’s Fairy Tales), along with her novella, Water Vamps: A Young Adult Adventure Story. JJ Lamberson earned his certified retail property executive designation from the International Council of Shopping Centers. He is the president of Twin Rivers Capital and serves on the College’s Alumni Association’s board of directors as well as the Cougar Club board. La Guardia Smith Myers is an attorney and chief ethics officer for General Dynamics. La Guardia is a member of the College’s Alumni Association’s board of directors. Will and Kathryn Edwards Sherrod live in Mt. Pleasant with their two daughters. The director of advancement at Porter-Gaud School, Kathryn is also a member of the College’s Alumni Association’s board of directors.
1995 Joe Hinske (M.S.) is a partner with
the accounting firm Legare, Bailey & Hinske in Mt. Pleasant. He and his wife, Nikki Vashina Hinske ’99, live on Daniel Island, S.C. Tyler Moore was inducted into the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame. After graduation, Tyler, a former College Sailor of the Year and threetime All-American, won the 505 East Coast Championships six times and the 505 North American Championships four times. Tyler was featured on the cover of Sailing World magazine in 2012. Ward Perry is an agent in Carolina One Real Estate’s Longpoint Road office in Mt. Pleasant.
1996 Mary Addison Heckard Blackstone Carl Blackstone ’93)
(see Tina Cundari, an attorney with Sowell Gray Stepp & Laffitte, is the president of the John O’Neill American Inn of the Court, an organization dedicated to fostering excellence in professionalism, ethics and legal skills. Scott Hellman earned his M.B.A. from the University of Miami and is the owner of Hellman Financial in Charleston, which assists businesses and individuals with insurancerelated benefits. Scott is an active member of the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program’s advisory board at the College.
1997 Ben and Christina Mitchell English
announce the birth of their son, Clay, born in May 2013. DaNine Jenkins Fleming (M.Ed.) is the director of training and intercultural education at the Medical University of South Carolina. DaNine was the recipient of MUSC’s Humanitarian Award during the Black History Intercollegiate Consortium’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Observance. Brent and Jessica Gonzales Gibadlo live in Charleston with their two sons. Jessica is a vice president of the College’s Alumni Association and is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business.
[ alumni profile ]
| Photo by Adam Daniels |
He’s always had strong opinions, a passion for writing and a penchant for doing things his own way. As editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture and president of the publication’s parent organization, The Rockford Institute, Thomas Fleming ’67 has spent most of his career sounding off on immigration, race, religion, politics and just about every other topic that is illadvised at the dinner table. And he doesn’t much care if you disagree with his conservative Christian views. After 30 years at the helm of the magazine, he’s used to criticism. In fact, it seems to motivate him. Be warned, though: If you do challenge him, you’d better know your history and be on your toes. A Classicist who is fluent in ancient Greek and Latin, who has lectured around the world and who has authored several books, Fleming has an intelligence that’s just as sharp as his independent streak. Both of these traits revealed themselves early in Fleming’s life. When, for example, he found the curriculum at
Mt. Pleasant’s Moultrie High School (now a middle school) dull, he simply dropped out. Yet Harvard still offered to accept him if he’d just finish high school. Fleming would have none of it. Besides, the College of Charleston – then a private school of about 500 students – was less rigid on the diploma requirement. And it offered Greek and Latin. So across the Cooper River Fleming went. And there he thrived. “Going to the College, it was like being reborn,” says Fleming. “It was like living in a village. Everybody knew everybody.” The College was everything Harvard was not. Harvard, says Fleming, would likely have molded him into a carbon copy of “too many Harvard grads with literary and intellectual interests – an unoriginal compendium of fashionable platitudes.” Fortunately, he escaped that fate. Instead, he completed his B.A. in Classics and, bypassing a graduate degree, took the fast track to a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He taught and did research at UNC
and, later, at Miami of Ohio. But he soon grew tired of academia’s rules. Fleming longed to return to Charleston. And he got pretty close when, in 1976, he became headmaster of Archibald Rutledge Academy in McClellanville, S.C. He enjoyed the five years he spent at the private school, in no small part because the job afforded him plenty of time for writing and other interests related to his growing dissatisfaction with American culture. During this time, he became a founding member of the League of the South as well as the founding editor of Southern Partisan, a conservative political magazine devoted to Southern culture and history, and further honed his writing skills by doing book reviews for Charleston’s The Evening Post and by contributing articles to various publications, including Chronicles, which, in 1984, asked him to join its staff as managing editor. Within six months of Fleming’s move to Illinois for the job, the magazine’s editor died. Fleming was named his successor. Fleming revamped the magazine, established an online version and began publishing younger writers. Over the years, the magazine has gained a reputation as a driving force behind the political philosophy known as paleoconservatism (think former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan and nationally syndicated columnist Robert Novak), and The Rockford Institute has become known as a conservative “think tank,” though – because the organization doesn’t lobby and only rarely issues position papers – Fleming prefers to call it a “study center.” “Our organization is built on the principle that if there are fundamental questions to settle and problems to solve, it won’t be done by politics and legal changes,” explains Fleming. “When either the left or the right tries to ram their policies down the throats of unwilling people, it really doesn’t work. It has to be done through cultural change, through a change in peoples’ attitudes.” It’s what Fleming has spent his career doing: Changing cultural opinions and attitudes through his writing – and, of course, always doing it his way. – Ron Menchaca ’98
SUMMER 2014 |
Rewriting the Theatre Scene It’d been a long time since he had stage fright. In fact, Evan Linder ’04 couldn’t really remember feeling this sensation at all, not even when he was an 11-year-old kid playing Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He’d had a lot of roles since then, and this had never been a problem. And yet here he was, peeking out at the audience as it filled the Brandenburg Room on the second floor of Chicago’s DANK Haus German American Cultural Center for a play he wasn’t even in – a play, mind you, that he wrote and that would later be named the Best Overall Production at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival, then transferred off Broadway to the Soho Playhouse in 2012 and published by Samuel French in 2013. But, right now, he was wishing he could just curl up and make it stop. What was I thinking? Linder fretted. Of all the plays, why on earth did I invite my theatre history professor – the one who knows all the great plays – to this play? It’s the silliest thing ever! She’s going to hate it! |
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But Susan Kattwinkel didn’t hate it. In fact, the associate professor of theatre loved it. “When I saw her laughing and smiling and really getting into it: That was amazing,” says Linder, who wrote 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche as something of a palate cleanser after his theatre company, The New Colony, finished a run of Linder’s The Warriors, about the Jonesboro, Ark., school shooting of 1998. “Susan’s theatre history class was the first time I really felt the importance of theatre. She’d always said that if you’re going to do this, you have the responsibility to do it well. I took that seriously.” And – at 8 a.m. the day after he crossed the Cistern stage – he took that responsibility with him to the Playhouse on the Square in his hometown of Memphis, where he stayed for 14 months and nine shows, until he moved to the theatre mecca of Chicago. Nine months later, he was finally cast in a show – and then another and another and another. “After a while, I realized that I only liked one of the shows that I was in over
the course of a year. They just weren’t the kinds of works I wanted to make – or the kind of shows I wanted to see,” says Linder. “So eventually I did a postmortem on my work. I decided that if you were consistently going to be happy with what you were doing, you had to make your own work.” In 2007, Linder and five other disillusioned actors and comedians began envisioning a different kind of theatre – one that is all original, all collaborative, all encompassing, all their own. And thus The New Colony was born. “We’re not trying to find ourselves in someone else’s work. We’re telling our own stories,” says Linder, now co-artistic director of TNC. “Basically, we ask ourselves: Is it something we want to see? In a lot of ways, I feel like we’re our own audience.” And that means changing the way theatre works – changing the way it’s experienced. “When people walk into one of our shows, they know they’re about to experience something different,” says
[ alumni profile ] Linder. “The perception of what going to theatre is, is that you go in, someone hands you a program, you sit down and ruffle the pages until the lights go down. We reject that experience. Here, you don’t even get a program. It’s communal. You shouldn’t be sitting there looking at a program, you should get to talk to everyone around you. This isn’t something that exists outside of the theatre space, it can’t be written up on a piece of paper – it’s an experience that exists only here, and now. When you leave, it’s over.” That, says Linder, is what keeps it fresh. One way TNC accomplishes this is through unconventional staging. Take, for example, the company’s second show, FRAT, which Linder wrote loosely from his own experiences as a Pi Kappa Phi at the College.
get together for two weeks of workshops before the writing even begins. “In our workshops, we have a general idea of what roles we need to fill, and the actors come in and blow up the characters, they take ownership. This way, the character plays directly into the actors’ strengths. So, if one guy can play the accordion, that might be something that gets written into the script. It also lets them come in and say, ‘I’ve never been cast as whatever.’ So, that way they get to play something that’s off-type for them. It’s really cool because it allows them to try something new and challenging,” says Linder. “Once the actors are cast, the writers go away and come back four to six months later with a script.” The collaborative creative process at TNC does not fit well into the traditional
writing year for him, while this year he’s been acting, most recently in reWILDing Genius, part of Steppenwolf Garage Rep 2014 and the recipient of some complimentary tweets from The Office’s B.J. Novak. In addition to developing new plays, Linder teaches playwriting classes at the University of Chicago, a job that allowed him to quit his day job, freeing up more time for TNC and his own personal playwriting projects. “I get to do something I love, and I learn so much about being a better writer in those classes,” says Linder, whom Chicago Magazine listed in its 2013 Power List of Theater Scene Stealers. “But it was The New Colony that gave me a career. It’s been the most impactful part of my career so far because it’s put me out there. And
“We’re not trying to find ourselves in someone else’s work. We’re telling our own stories.” Lasting 90 minutes with no intermission, FRAT is staged to allow the audience to drift through the environment – wandering from the bar to the frat house basement, and observing the fraternity subculture in all its pomp, all its filth. The play definitely got some attention, receiving rave reviews and being named one of the Best of 2009 in the Chicago Tribune, Windy City Times and New City. “I was very lucky. It was the first experimental play I’d done, and I had no idea how it was going to go over,” says Linder. “It really got our name out there, establishing us as a theatre company.” FRAT also established the TNC style, which Linder describes as “very naturalistic and hyper-real, with that documentary feeling. “People say, ‘It felt like you were making it up as you went along,’ and that’s what we strive for,” he continues. “We go by the premise that audiences know when they are lied to – when they’re being fed lines. We recognize our audiences as human beings and give them very real dialogue.” How that dialogue comes about marks another way TNC is different: The writing process comes after the casting. In fact, at TNC, the writers, directors and actors all
theatre hierarchy, where the director calls all the shots. Instead, the company has three areas of creative expertise: The writers are in charge of the story, the actors are in charge of the character and the directors are in charge of the audience experience. The key, of course, is finding the right people, or colonists, to fit the bill – and Linder found the perfect talent in fellow alumni Ashley Wolfe ’06, Will Cavedo ’06 and Henry Riggs ’08, all of whom joined TNC’s ensemble in 2009 and have continued to thrive there in various capacities – with Riggs even landing TNC’s That Sordid Little Story a Non-Equity Jeff Award for Best Original Music. All told, TNC is now made up of 100 colonists (including its ensemble, freelancers, board members, etc.), many of whom have the freedom to slip into whatever role suits them best for each individual production. “I moved here as an actor and discovered I was a writer, and I try to keep those two things at the forefront. I like to call myself a ‘new play developer,’ because I think it better describes the different hats all of us wear,” says Linder, adding that last year was more of a
it’s a huge privilege that, now that I’m out there, people want to come in and hear my stories.” Even more huge: People want to reproduce them. And be in them. And not just anyone. Six months after Susan Kattwinkel sat in the audience of Linder’s 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, she was standing in line to audition for that very same play’s East Coast premier. She got the part of Veronica “Vern” Schultz, and – when Charleston’s What If? Productions mounted the show at Threshold Repertory Theatre in 2012 – the roles had reversed. This time, it was Linder sitting in the audience, beaming with pride. And if his former theatre history professor was feeling any stage fright, he certainly couldn’t tell. “She was great!” he says. “It was enormously special to me.” It was, after all, recognition of the responsibility he’s taken on, validation that he’s honoring the tradition of theatre well and reassurance that he needn’t doubt his work again. Especially when it’s his own story he’s telling. – Alicia Lutz ’98
SUMMER 2014 |
Siri Mittet was inducted into the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame. She was the first tennis player at the College to be selected All-Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC) all four years. She played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles all four years for the Cougars and led the College to its first-ever conference title in any women’s sport in its NCAA Division I history. She is a former Norwegian women’s singles champion and represented Norway in Federation Cup play. Ryan Nelson is the owner of Nelwater Consulting. She and her husband, Darren Goldwater, live in Mt. Pleasant with their two children.
1998 Marc Himes was awarded the Eddie
Ganaway Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2014 ExCEL Awards. He is the founder and president of Uplifting Enterprises in Columbia. Scott Johnson is the branch manager of the Berkeley County Library on Daniel Island, S.C. Dennis Turner of the Hanahan Police Department graduated from the FBI National Academy. This executive leadership program is an invitationonly training school, and only 1 percent of the law enforcement personnel in the world have attended. Dennis also earned a graduate certificate from the University of Virginia.
1999 John Douglass is a commercial
underwriter and vice president for First Citizens in Charleston. He and his wife, Kelly, announce the birth of their son, John Hyatt Deemer, born in November 2012. Peter Lemanjic and Andrea Grabman announce the birth of their son, Milan Henry. The Grabman-Lemanjic family lives in Charleston, where Andrea works for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Nikki Vashina Hinske (see Joe Hinske ’95 [M.S.]) Stephanie Rice Jones is the supervisor of corporate philanthropy and community affairs for SCANA Corporation. She and her husband, Neil, announce the birth of a second daughter, Merritt Dubose, born in August 2013. Susan McKellar is the chief of museum operations for The Charleston Museum. Kelly Moorhead is the director of business development for Young Office in Greenville, S.C. She is a member of the College’s Alumni Association’s board of directors. Marie Majarais Smith was a speaker at the 2014 TEDx in Greenville, S.C. She is a bilingual victim advocate for immigrant victims. Sedric Webber was inducted into the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He is one of only two Division I men’s basketball players to have won conference player of the year in two different Division I conferences in back-to-back seasons. After graduating, he was a two-time All-NBA Development League team selection. Sedric is an insurance risk adviser in North Charleston. Derrick Williams earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina and is a partner with Mickle & Bass in Columbia. He and his wife, Alana, have two daughters, Regan and Deanna. Derrick is a member of the College’s Alumni Association’s board of directors. Ellen Wuori is the marketing manager in Dewberry’s Denver office.
2000 Britney Cooke set out with a team
of 26 running enthusiasts on a 1,075-mile relay to Boston in an effort to support two charities that raise funds for children with prosthetics as a result of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Britney was a member of the College’s cross country team. JR English is the director of finance with Crisis Ministries in Charleston. |
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Rob and Julie Bennett Kunes have three children: Robert, Lillian Grace and Samuel. The assistant rector of Christ St. Paul on Yonges Island, S.C., Rob is also the chaplain of the Prayer Center at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center. Stephanie Thomas is the chief of education and interpretation for The Charleston Museum. Stephanie oversees education programs and the museum’s two National Historic Landmark properties – the Heyward-Washington House and Joseph Manigault House.
2001 Keisha Boyd Hawes is one of the
national spokeswomen for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. Keisha is a customer service representative for S.C. Electric and Gas. Alex Mozingo, a real estate broker with Keller Williams in Wilmington, is the conservation chairman with N.C. Ducks Unlimited. Richard Pierce is a vice president and manager of Harbor National Bank’s West Ashley branch. Mary and Ellis Roberts announce the birth of a son, James Carrick, born in May. Ellis is an attorney with the McLeod Law Group in Charleston and serves on the College’s Alumni Association’s board of directors. Phil and Allie Phelps Zaubi (M.Ed. ’09) announce the birth of a son, Carson Phelps, born in September. The Zaubi family lives in Charleston.
2002 Erin Forsberg is employed by M.A.A.
Properties. Erin and James Easterling were married in January and live in Charleston. Misty LeClerc was a top-five finalist for Charleston County’s Teacher of the Year. She teaches AP microeconomics and AP U.S. government at Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant. Jamie Perillo is the general manager of Home Team BBQ’s West Ashley location. Steward Pharr finished his residency in dental prosthodontics at the University of Texas. Dedrick Siddall has a program management role with T. Rowe Price. Over the past several years, Dedrick has developed a client registry that stretches from BlackRock and Morgan Stanley in New York to Sberbank in Moscow. Dedrick and Erin Rand-Giovannetti were married and live in Baltimore. Erin Vance-Brown is the CEO of Erin’s E.N.I.G.M.A. in Columbia. Patrick Yoe is the area director in revenue managment for the Procaccianti Group, a hospitality company in Atlanta.
2003 Laura Ball is a musician and
arts activist as well as the organizer of the UNEDITED series at the Charleston Library Society. A frequent performer at The Mezz on King Street, Laura is also the music director at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Johns Island. Maggi Murray Bryant is a vice president in the Summerville, S.C., office of BB&T. Ben Byrd (see Tia Williams Byrd ’05) Ashley Vaughan Dennig is the director of forward planning for Lennar’s Charleston and Myrtle Beach markets. Leigh Szteiter Garrett is the special events and marketing manager for The Center for Women in Charleston. Rebecca Suarez Guthrie is the director of operations for BoomTown in Charleston. Trey Jameson spent five years working on Wall Street and has returned to Charleston, where he opened his own law practice specializing in corporate and intellectual property law and working with start-ups. Jessica Jones and Kiah Stone ’05 were married in October 2013. Jessica, who earned her M.Ed. with a concentration in college counseling and
student affairs from The Citadel, is the student services coordinator in the College’s Center for International Education. Kiah is an account executive with 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty. Kevin and Bridget Bettelli Price announce the birth of their son, Elijah, born in February. The Price family lives on Sullivan’s Island. Dianne Turgeon Richardson earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Central Florida in May. Dianne and her husband live in Orlando. Julie Shackett is the human resources manager with the five-star, five-diamond Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, N.C. Crystal Smith-Connelly’s play ’Til Death Do Us Part was performed in Los Angeles as part of 2Cents Theatre’s Acting Out Ink Fest in April. Travis and Amy Wheeler Warren announce the birth of their second daughter, Charlotte Lane Kanamuonalani, born in March. The Warren family lives in Milton, Ga. Taylor Wood, a partner and supervisor at GroupM in New York City, is a broadcast negotiator for network radio.
2004 J. Drayton Calmes is a principal at
Norvell Real Estate Group in Charleston. Ryan Cleary earned his J.D. from Touro Law School in May and will be a public defender with Brooklyn Defender Services after passing the state bar exam this summer. Travis Clem is the project manager at American Tennis Courts in Baltimore. Stephanie Felder, a lieutenant in the U.S. Public Health Services, was selected to receive the Joint Services, Health Service Junior Officer Award of Excellence in recognition of her noteworthy contributions to disaster response and services to homeless veterans. Ebony Hilton is an anesthesiologist at MUSC in Charleston. John Howkins (see Natalie Vannoy Howkins ’07) Rachel Lowder and Adam Boyd were married in May 2012 and live in Charleston. Meike McDonald is a math teacher at MC School in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Erica Callaway Roberts (M.Ed. ’11) is a performance management officer with the Charleston County School District. Erica was recognized as the 2014 Employee of the Year for CCSD’s Department of Human Capital Development. Hall Sprout West is a research coordinator for the College’s teacher education department. She is a Ph.D. student in the University of South Carolina’s educational psychology program. She and her husband, Raleigh, announce the birth of their second child, Hugh, born in October. Keith Wiggans is an assistant coach for the College’s men’s soccer team. Phillip and Karey Sanders Wilson announce the birth of their second child, Evelyn Alice “Allie,” born in February. The Wilson family lives in Summerville, S.C.
2005 Zachry Bennett is the owner of
Bennett Communities and Resorts. Zachry and Julia Winkler were married in February and live in Mt. Pleasant. Ben ’03 and Tia Williams Byrd announce the birth of their second child, Ada Marie Gunn, born in December. Ben Comer is a published fiction writer and the senior editor at NYC-based Pharmaceutical Executive magazine. The Comer family recently moved to Carrboro, N.C. Carnes Eiserhardt and Wesley Campbell were married in February and live in Charleston, where Carnes is employed by SAIC.
[ alumni profile ]
Trending Now B. That’s what Nikki Williams ’09 inadvertently typed into her search engine one evening last year as she sat at home. The words bow tie immediately popped up in the search bar, almost as if the phrase were beckoning – begging, practically – for her to click on it. An aspiring fashion stylist, Williams enjoyed seeing other people in bow ties. But not once had she searched for bow ties on her own computer. Before she knew it, Williams was hunched over her sewing machine – a recently purchased birthday gift to herself – her eyes furiously shifting between YouTube tutorial videos and the thrifted fabric moving in and out of the machine. She hadn’t the faintest idea what she was doing. But whatever it was, she was determined to make it work. If it looks crazy, then it just looks crazy, she thought. But I’m going to try it out. Her heart nervously skipped a beat as she posted her finished product on Instagram: a leather bow tie with gold zippers designed for a friend. The response on social media was nearly instantaneous. Everyone loved it. Barely a year later, Williams has designed dozens of items for Foreign Öbject, her rapidly growing fashion line, now complete with T-shirts, hats, jackets, jerseys and leggings. “It all happened really fast,” she says, her voice betraying a sense of disbelief. “This wasn’t something that I planned.” Her designs, which have been solely promoted on social media, have been worn by rappers Bow Wow, B.O.B. and ASAP Ferg as well as singer/actress Teyana Taylor. Stephen Hill, president of music programming and specials for BET Network, requested pieces from her fall/ winter 2013 line, and fashion designer Angela Simmons, daughter of Run DMC’s Rev. Run, has included Williams’ creations for sale on her website. Her clothes have gone a long way in a short amount of time – and they’ve taken her far from her tiny hometown of North, S.C. (with one stoplight and a little more than 700 residents). North’s main claim to fame is a comedic exchange between Bill Cosby and a contestant on the early ’90s game show, You Bet Your Life, that caused
Cosby utter, ongoing confusion. (“You have me someplace I have no idea where I am. I’m in the town of North, south of Due West,” stammered Cosby. “I’m in the state of South Carolina … but I’m in a city called North? …”) It’s a town that Williams will always love, but that has felt foreign to her since she left for college. At the College of Charleston, Williams majored in business administration, proved herself a star on the basketball court and developed an eye for fashion. She was known to stop people in the street to ask them what they were wearing: “Is that Gucci and Urban Outfitters?” she’d ask. Fashion, like sports, was a thread that kept pulling her along, even after she graduated and moved to Charlotte, where she works in the client accounts department for Vanguard, a mutual fund investment company. Encouraged by the reception of her bow ties last year, she first emulated clothes that she enjoyed seeing on others. Soon, she was challenging herself to design clothing that she loved, that she wanted to see. What has resulted is a hip-hop– inspired, edgy, thought-provoking and sometimes controversial fashion line: a breath of fresh air to those who’ve grown tired of the preppy, almost dainty fashions often worn by Southerners.
“People kind of overkill trying to be different,” she observes. “So what I design is what I feel like creating that day. It’s just me. It’s Nikki.” And her spring/summer 2014 line is undeniably Nikki – vibrant and bright, mixing bold patterns, foreign flags and vivid colors that practically dance off the fabric. Her favorite items from her fashion line thus far are plain shirts with very telling, yet simple messages: “Menace II Mediocrity” and “The Proof.” In those phrases, Williams is pushing herself and her brand away from the expected. Her goal, like her messaging, is direct and unequivocal: “I’m going to new heights, and that means being a household name in fashion.” And with her drive and talent, that goal doesn’t seem so far-fetched. “Sure, the odds are against me,” Williams says. “But they were stacked against me before, being from a singleparent home, from a very small town. But I make the most of my opportunities. And now, I have an opportunity to do something that I’m really passionate about. So, yes, I am ‘The Proof.’” Indeed, Williams is proof that success can be found wherever you are, wherever you’re from, whoever you are – and, in fact, whatever it is you’re searching for. – Ashley Lewis Ford ’07 SUMMER 2014 |
Sarah and Taylor Kemp announce the birth of their son, Wyatt Curry, born in April. Taylor works in sales for Probuild in Charleston. Christina Alvanos Moore is a manager and CPA with Baldwin & Associates in Charleston. Jenny Peterson is the associate editor of special projects for SCBiz News and lives in Charleston. Kiah Stone (see Jessica Jones ’03)
2006 Matt Fehsenfeld is the director
of business development at Midwest Printed Circuit Services in Chicago. Stephen and Renee Bodie Goldfinch announce the birth of their daughter, Hadlee Edwards, born in January. Renee serves on the College’s Board of Trustees. Travis Larimer earned his J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law in December. He is a veterans’ program specialist for the U.S. Department of Labor. Travis and Brianna Mannion were married in August and live in Oakland, Calif. Griffin Morrow is a mortgage loan officer in CresCom Bank’s West Ashley branch. Owen and Courtney Guider Pope announce the birth of their daughter, Margot Maeve, born in February. The Pope family lives in New York. Paige Stephenson is the executive director of Hunter’s Hotline in Huntsville, Ala. The confidential hotline is for students to report bullying, abuse or anything deemed harmful. Elliott Strott and Betsy Poindexter ’07 were married in June 2013 and live in Charleston. Lauren Vaden is an executive administrative assistant at the Department of Human Resources in Nashville. Jason and Katherine Wolfe Wallace announce the birth of their first child, Katherine Charlotte, born in February. Katherine is employed by Southeastern Freight Lines in Charlotte, and Jason is a property manager/broker at Wallace Realty in Salisbury. Ali Whitten earned her master’s in physician assistants studies from MUSC and lives in Greenville, S.C.
Don Willis is the business manager for pharmacy services at MUSC.
2007 Katie Beach and Joe Benson were
married in October and live in Baltimore. Megan Hunt Dell earned her J.D. from the Charleston School of Law in 2010 and is the owner of Dell Family Law in Charleston. Jessica Edwards is a graduate student in Vanderbilt University’s international education policy and management program. Sarah Exell is a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch in Charleston. Mike Ferrentino is the owner of Charles Towne Chiropractic in downtown Charleston. Elizabeth Gibbes is the social media coordinator for the Children’s Trust of South Carolina. Jenny Gilson is the assistant director of annual leadership giving for the College’s annual giving office. John ’04 and Natalie Vannoy Howkins were married in December 2012 and live in Atlanta. They announce the birth of their son, Jack, born in February. Betsy Poindexter (see Elliott Strott ’06) Kristin Robinson is the director of human resources at Island Realty on Isle of Palms. Kristin McCall Smith is the corporate sales manager at Crown Plaza Charleston, North Charleston’s only four-diamond boutique hotel.
2008 Sarah and Justin Ayers were
married in February 2013. Justin is a credit analyst with Tidelands Bank in Charleston. Jerry Casselano earned his master’s in sports industry management from Georgetown University and is the vice president of corporate hospitality at ProVentures in Alexandria, Va. Jaime Cunningham was named Charleston County Teacher of the Year. A special education teacher at Liberty Hill Academy, Jaime works with students in grades 6–8 with emotional and intellectual disabilities. Billy and Melissa Kelley Forrester announce the birth of their son, John William, born
in February. The Forrester family lives in Greenville, S.C. Joey Froneberger is an agent in AgentOwned Realty’s West Ashley office. Patrick Gazley lives in Chicago and is fundraising for RIPPLE Africa, a charity he worked with while on a five-month volunteer mission. To raise money, Patrick swam in Lake Michigan once a week between November and May. Kyle Ginty is a fund financial analyst at Vanguard in Philadelphia. Neil Goodson and Elisabeth Miller ’09 were married in October and live in Washington, D.C. Ashley Levy Grow earned her dental hygiene degree from Florence-Darlington Technical College and is a licensed dental hygienist in Florida. Kourtney Jones is the sales and catering manager for the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Charleston. Becca Kutcher sells medical devices to hospitals for Beckman Coulter. Becca and Nathan Bortnick are married and live in Rockville, Md. Kaitland Hinson McCutcheon is a broker and leasing agent with Carolina Retail Property in Charleston. Kim Merrow is an account executive for Blackbaud on Daniel Island, S.C. Ginny Perkins is an account executive with the public relations firm Lou Hammond & Associates in Charleston. Brady Quirk-Garvan is the chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party. Noelle Radcliffe and Chip Price were married in June 2013. She earned her J.D. from the Charleston School of Law and is an attorney with Godfrey Law Firm in Greenville, S.C. Madeline Rahe is a third-grade teacher’s assistant at Park Day School and lives in San Francisco. Scott Schlau (M.S.) is a manager and CPA with Baldwin & Associates in Charleston. Noreen Watson is completing her doctorate in clinical psychology and is interning at the University of Washington Medical School.
[ passages ] Bernice Coleman Berry ’41
Sara Zehe Darby ’53
Stacey Stullenbarger ’98
Ellen Lewis Belcher ’42
Jeannette Foster Lyons ’54
William Hudson ’04
Jean Matthews Freeman ’45
Donald Barkowitz ’56
Sarah Jones ’09
Laurence Bolchoz ’47
Sally Ross Murray ’59
Clinton Wade ’09
Alice Fischer Ector ’48
Paul Pittard Jr. ’73
Hannah Albenesius ’13
Elizabeth Ravenel Harrigan ’49
Loris Baumgarner Crocker ’75
Grant Eney (student)
Earl Aldinger ’50
Joseph Sankey ’80
Michael McLaughlin (student)
Quinton Florence Jr. ’50
Nancy Chambers Port ’88
Lindsey Ranz (student)
Eleanor Pannal ’51
Geneva Askins Seward ’91
James Abbott (former faculty)
Richard Seignious ’51
Laurie Hutchinson ’95
John Seyfert Jr. ’51
Glenn Goodwin Jr. ’97
May 2, 2013; Columbia, S.C.
December 10, 2013; Stone Mountain, Ga. April 7; Kiawah Island, S.C. April 2; Charleston, S.C.
February 8; Charleston, S.C. April 19; Charlottesville, Va. May 8; Charleston, S.C. November 21, 2013; Charlotte, N.C. June 29, 2013; Columbia, S.C. July 19, 2013; Spartanburg, S.C. February 26; Deerfield Beach, Fla.
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June 29, 2013; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. March 6; Desert Hot Springs, Calif. February 27; Sullivan’s Island, S.C. February 28; Hanahan, S.C. March 4; Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
January 10; Winchester, Ky.
July 20, 2012; Uniontown, Pa. May 2; Charleston, S.C.
September 26, 2012; North Charleston, S.C. March 4; Raleigh, N.C.
January 4; North Charleston, S.C.
April 14; Waycross, Ga.
April 22, 2012; Albemarle, N.C. February 20; Atlanta, Ga. June 21, 2013; Mt. Pleasant, S.C. March 4; Charleston, S.C. March 9; Annapolis, Md. February 13; Charleston, S.C. January 14; Charleston, S.C. April 1; Summerville, S.C.
Anthony Csavas (faculty) April 25; Charleston, S.C.
2009 Mike and Laura Gibson Able were
married in June 2013 and live in Charleston. Loren Dupuis (see Victor Dupuis ’11) Logan and Caroline Starr Edwards announce the birth of their son, Liam, born in May 2012. Caroline runs a food blog called chocolateandcarrots.com, where she shares healthier dessert recipes (with a side of food for the family). She also does recipe development, food styling and photography for companies such as McCormick, Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Stonyfield Organics. The Edwards family lives in Mt. Pleasant. Ryan Graudin’s first book, All That Glows, was published by HarperTeen this year. Jason Humphrey is an editor with Arcadia Publishing in Mt. Pleasant. Casey Joiner and Brandon Buczkowski were married in April and live in Columbia. Gillian Love is an account executive with Lou Hammond & Associates in Charleston. Gillian earned her master’s in special education from George Washington University. Rudy Matzner is a sales associate in AgentOwned Realty’s Mt. Pleasant office. Rudy retired from the U.S. Navy and has a master’s in business and management. Elisabeth Miller (see Neil Goodson ’08) Tiffany Islas Norton is an events and media coordinator for the Town of Summerville, S.C. Kali Oberholtzer is a graduate student in West Chester University’s exercise physiology program. She is also a graduate assistant at Haverford College. Trey Pringle created a new social media app for the iPhone in which local businesses and event promoters can post or market their events to the local community. Emily Randisi is an account manager in Brandon Agency’s Charleston office.
2010 Emma Rittenbaum Armstrong was
among the top-five finalists for the Teacher of the Year competition for Charleston County. She is a first-grade teacher at St. James–Santee Elementary School. Mary Ann Atkins is a school counselor at Lexington School District 1 in Columbia. Lily Barkin is a graduate student at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Cheryl Braxton is a graduate student in The Citadel’s secondary education in teaching program. Dan Callahan passed the level-one chartered financial analyst exam. He is a client service manager with Morris Financial Concepts in Charleston. Lauren Cemate earned her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law. She passed the Illinois bar exam in October and is working in health care compliance for Advocate Health Care in the Chicago area. Erica Furman and Alexander Cohen were married in September and live in Boston. Kyra Robinson Garofolo earned her master’s in biostatistics from MUSC in 2012 and is a statistics lead with Smarthinking, a subsidiary company of Pearson Education. Kyra and her husband, Michael, live in Colorado Springs. Rachel Hubbard is the marketing and special events coordinator at the Ronald McDonald House of Charleston. Brittany Murphy is a high school math teacher for the Berkeley County (S.C.) School District. Brittany and Jeremy Colley were married in March and live in Moncks Corner. Amber Panos is a physician assistant in Mount Sinai’s surgery department in New York City. Kathryn Pollock is a senior account executive at ACTIVE Network in San Diego.
Liz Poore is an administrative assistant with Dunes Properties in downtown Charleston. Nick Shahid is an agent in Carolina One Real Estate’s Mt. Pleasant office. Rebecca Shirer is a senior accountant with Baldwin & Associates in Charleston.
2011 Austin Abel (see Alyssa Albertson ’12) Elizabeth Beasley earned her master’s in reading education from the University of Florida in 2012 and is a pre-kindergarten teacher at the School for Little Children. Elizabeth and Chesterfield Smith III were married in April and live in Edmond, Okla. Robert Blank is an associate environmental specialist at QEP Resources in Denver, Colo. Charles Carmody is the manager of the Charleston Music Hall, where he oversees booking and presenting, ticket sales, stage preparation and more. Colin Coletti is a uniform sales representative at Cintas in Cincinnati. Victor and Loren Dupuis ’09 are the owners of Lowcountry Scuba on Mt. Pleasant’s Shem Creek. Their shop offers the only spearfishing charters in Charleston, dive classes of all levels, top-notch dive gear and gear servicing. Additionally, they hold unique birthday parties, summer camps, dive club meetings and have a women’s dive club. Aileen Mancini is the Pit Cru and On the Go director for Cru Catering in Charleston. Joanne Richardson is the guest relations manager and executive assistant to the general manager at the five-star, five-diamond Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, N.C. Heidi Wilson is the operations manager for Silk Road Teas in San Rafael, Calif.
2012 Alyssa Albertson and Austin Abel ’11 were married in May 2013. The wedding party included Eric Abel ’09, Kyle Clayton ’12, Seth Abel ’15, Adriana Colon ’12 and Kaylan Vanderlip ’13. Evan Berke is an assistant at the pubic relations and communications firm Brunswick Group in New York City. Tori Burris and Lee Hill were married in April 2013 and live in Charleston. Tim Buske is a project analyst with the records and document management consulting firm Jordan Lawrence in St. Louis. Angel Cartagena works in sales and operations for Hagemeyer North America in Atlanta. Pate Clarson works in the corporate partnerships division for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Adam Dexter was a French-English translator for the Middle East–North Africa region and is now a graduate student in Tulane University’s French literature program. Chase Greiser is an enterprise support specialist for Raiser’s Edge software at Blackbaud on Daniel Island, S.C. Erika Johnson is a customer service representative at CAB Business Development Center in Charleston. Robert Marzullo is an associate at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors in Phildelphia. Edward Muren earned an accounting degree from Wake Forest Graduate School in May and is an accountant in Charlotte. Andrew Rosen is an associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Philadelphia. Andrew works in the asset management group and deals with mutual funds. Brandon Sizemore was honored on the College’s Baseball Wall of Fame in May. Brandon played in the Milwaukee Brewers minor league system. He is a volunteer assistant coach for the College’s baseball team.
Allyson Townsend is a nursing student at MUSC. Allyson and Christopher McGuiness were married in December. Thomas Zierenberg is a staffing specialist at MAU Workforce Solutions in Charleston.
2013 Olivia Ahern is an assistant
environmental analyst at Narragansett Bay Estuary Program in Newport, R.I. Mary Kathryn Archie is an assistant at the wedding planning and consulting firm Winship Productions in Mt. Pleasant. Courtney Browne is a secondary science teacher at Teach for America in Chicago. Arielle Catalano works in the sales department of Burt’s Bees Baby in Stamford, Conn. Seth Clare is a government fellow in the Israel Government Fellows program. Hannah Corri is the executive assistant and office manager for Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate. Josh Coward is a financial representative in Carolina Capital Management’s office on Daniel Island, S.C. Andrew Duggan (M.S.) is a staff accountant with Moore Beauston & Woodham in Charleston. Stefan Graff works for Liberty National Life Insurance, is the assisant manager at TOR and lives in Charleston, W.V. Nicole Greig is a middle school English teacher for the Berkeley County (S.C.) School District. Brett Harker was honored on the College of Charleston Baseball Wall of Fame in May. Brett was the best relief pitcher in the College’s history and played in the Philadelphia Phillies and Florida Marlins organizations. He is an assistant coach at Newberry College (S.C.). Dani Hermann is the recreation coordinator for the Daniel Island Property Owners Association. Haily Jones is a client services representative for the Lowcountry Executive Center in Charleston. Brittany Knox is an associate broker with the Norvell Real Estate Group in Charleston. Michael LaBrasca is the front office supervisor at Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms. Alison Massari is the art coordinator at The Vendue Inn in Charleston. Jennifer McCormick is the collections manager for The Charleston Museum. Kevin McLean rebuilt the leopard sculpture that was destroyed two years ago at the Peoples Building at Broad and East Bay streets in Charleston. Kelsey Murphy is an administrative assistant at Black Duck Software in Somerville, Mass. She is also a graduate student in Southern New Hampshire University’s marketing program. Alex Pappas is the student engagement and development assistant for the College’s School of Business. Taylor Phillips-Brown is an applied behavior analysis instructor at Continuum Autism Spectrum Alliance in Washington, D.C. Henry Sherrill is an account executive for Moksa in Branford, Conn. Stephanie Trezise is a human resources information systems specialist at Sonepar USA in Charleston. Jessica Van Wart works at the front reception for Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, N.C.
2014 Reid Heimkreiter is a senior media planner/media strategist at Broad Street Interactive in Austin, Texas.
Check out College of Charleston Magazine’s website at magazine.cofc.edu.
SUMMER 2014 |
[ faces and places ]
A lot goes on at the College. Here are a few highlight s: 1 In the Mix (ar t s management speaker series): Darius Rucker, C ar y Ann Hear s t ’01 and Mark Br yan (ar t s management) 2 Steppenwolf ’s Garage Theatre in Chicago: Evan Linder ’04 and Will C avedo ’06 3 Fun Home per formance at Memminger Auditorium: Alison Bechdel (author of Fun Home) and Lisa Kron (book /lyric s for the musical adaption) 4 Fun Home cas t for a special concer t-s t yle per formance at Memminger Auditorium 5 Tommy Fox ’14 painting the Folly Boat for A Charles ton Af fair 6 Education Day at Joe Riley Park: C ass Runyon (geology) 7 C an’t Hide the Pride Day: Student Alumni A ssociates (winner s of the larges t group pic ture) 8 Press conference for C andice M. Jack son, new women’s head basketball coach 9 Undergraduate commencement: Marie Land (honorary degree recipient) 10 Yes! I’m a Feminis t event: George Hynd (academic af fair s), President P. George Benson, Alison Piepmeier (women’s and gender s tudies) and Brian Mc Gee (president ’s of fice) 11 Pi Kappa Alpha fire truck pull race |
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on George Street 12 Gr aduate School commencement: Edwin Pearlstine (honorar y degree recipient) 13 Recognition ceremony for Cof C EMS earning the 2013–14 Collegiate EMS Sys tem of the Year: Rick Krant z (fire and EMS), Logan Herber t ’14 (Cof C EMS), Greg Padget t ’79 (Board of Trus tees), Lisa Petruncio ’14 (Cof C EMS) and Greig Samuelson ’13 (Cof C EMS) 14 U.S. Senator Bernie Sander s ( Vermont) speaking in Wells Fargo Auditorium on academic freedom 15 U ndergraduate commencement: Marlene Addlestone-Bursten ’64 (honorar y degree recipient) 16 School of Business homecoming tailgate: Doug Wojcik (men’s basketball), Darr yl Fyall ’01, Alan Shao (School of Business) and Jim Kindley (M.B.A. program) 17 Graduate School commencement: Jim Newsome (commencement speaker and honorar y degree recipient) 18 Annual presentation of Hawaiian shir t s to geology graduates: Leslie Saut ter (geology), Seema Shah ’14, Sonja Tyson ’14, Izzy Kratchman ’14, Kristine Rollings ’14 and Steve Jaumé (geology) 19 Education Day at Joe Riley Park: Jaap Hillenius (biology) SUMMER 2014 |
Printmaking Studio, Simons Center for the Arts There are many spaces at the College that are meaningful and memorable to me. There’s the Cistern Yard, with the serenity of all of those beautiful live oaks. There are the painting studios on top of the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, as well as the independent painting studios, where I spent many hours. However, what really felt the most like “my space” was the printmaking studio in room 111 of the Albert Simons Center for the Arts. I first learned about the print studio through a painting classmate – she was in a printmaking class and suggested that I try it. So, as a junior, I registered for ARTS 218: Printmaking I. |
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I immediately liked the look of the studio, with the graphic print on the outside of its door and the printing presses, wooden tables and various tools, inks and cleaning agents on the inside. All of these items became very important in my own printmaking process. I felt comfortable and open to this new experience. The energy in the room ranged from relaxed, with the calm and satisfied faces of classmates finishing up their work, to impassioned, with the anxious and focused faces of students working all hours to get their visions for their prints just right. Soon, the walls inside of the studio would become prime real estate for
students’ work hanging to dry, and my classmates and I would hang around, patiently waiting to hear studio arts professor Barbara Duval tell us, “That’s a good print.” I will never forget Professor Duval, who gave constant support, encouragement and knowledge, or her assistant Kate MacNeil ’11, who was always helpful and mindful of our work. –Lori Leist ’13 Leist, a 2013 December graduate, was recognized during the 2014 spring commencement weekend with the Seltzer Prize in Studio Art and was named a School of the Arts Scholar.
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