CSU Magazine - Spring 2021

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vo lu m e 3 1


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S pr ing 2021

On the cover: A single drop of water symbolizes the endless impact an act of service can have on another. Photo by Richard Esposito

© 2021 Charleston Southern University

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EDITORIAL STAFF: Jan Joslin ’82, Editor, Director of Publications Richard Esposito, Director of Integrated Marketing Jenna Johnson, Assistant Director of Integrated Marketing Tyler Stokes, Graphic Designer INTERNS: Morgan Kirby ’21 Emma Slaven ’21 EDITORIAL ADVISERS: Rev. Tom Clemmons Dr. Jason Peterson Dr. Scott Yarbrough

CONTRIBUTORS: Kevin Banks Metanoia Melissa Claire Photography Lakeland Tiffani Jones Photography Dita Rose ’00 Zoe Soles ’24 CSU Magazine is published three times a year by the office of marketing and communication for alumni and friends of Charleston Southern University. Contact us at magazine@csuniv.edu. Address changes: csudevelopment@csuniv.edu

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contents LEARNING

3 New Education Dean 4 EdD Student Published 4 100% Pass Rate for ATs 4 U.S. News Rankings 5 New Internship Established 5 Teaching Fellows 6 LIFE Scholarship for Online 6 Newest PA Cohort 7 MOU with Hanseo University 7 Chaplaincy Major Launches 8 Shuler Continues Archeology Digs


9 The Cove Opens 9 Summer Camps at CSU 10 8 Things Making Us Happy 12 How Gritty Are You?

SERVING 13 Bucs Changing Lives 14 Bernie Mazyck, SCACED 15 Caroline Grace Saves Child 15 Sydney Kinard Touts Medical IDs 16 Cate Carroll, Delta Community Supports N.J. 17 Cat Nielsen, Creative Art Therapies of the Palm Beaches 18 Derek Brown, Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries 19 Paul Gombwer, Alice Gombwer Foundation 20 Stacy Brown, Metanoia 21 Taylor Urby, East of These 2 2 Interwoven, Williams Finding Commonalities 26 Local Churches Help Isolated 27 CSU Breaks OCC National Record 28 Rose Family on Music City Mission SCHOOL TIES 32 Class Notes

Design and layout by: Bob Durand Design facebook.com/bobduranddesign

Christmas at CSU, a Sweet 16 event, took place around the Reflection Pond and featured the lighting of the trees around the pond and music from multiple campus groups. Photo by Richard Esposito

Printed by: Knight Printing and Graphics knightpandg.com

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34 Alumni Awards 35 Mizell New Director

3 5 Alumni Mentoring Opportunity 3 6 Baby Bucs 3 8 In Memory FOREVER CSU

4 0 Hamrick Marker Installed 40 Giving Day

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n the category of potentially useful trivia, it might come in handy sometime to know the one essential factor that badminton, ping-pong, racquetball, tennis, and volleyball all have in common: the importance of the serve. Enthusiasts across the board describe how the server has a tremendous advantage over the returner, because the one who serves can target the opponent’s weakness in order to score. The better you serve, the more you score. The more you score, the more you win. Serving well may be the single most important element of the game. The key to victory is in holding serve—winning every time you serve, while breaking your opponent’s serve every chance you get. For the best players on the planet, this statement is nearly always true: You serve, you win.

Dr. Dondi Costin assists with transporting donated Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Photo by Richard Esposito

You can make a difference, or you can make excuses, but you can’t do both at the same time.

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By Dr. Dondi Costin

The Christian life has much in common with sports that rely on the power of the serve, with one fundamental difference. Athletic victories depend on servers who take advantage of others’ weaknesses to score points at others’ expense. But victories on Team Jesus count on servers who advantage others at their own expense, realizing all the while that Christ has already paid the price and that He is keeping score. On the court, serving well means that somebody loses. In the church and in her service to the world, serving well means that everybody wins. Scripture makes this point on almost every page. Joseph served others for decades at great expense to himself, but when God settled accounts, everybody won (Gen. 50:1921). Moses left his comfort zone and held serve for 40 years to deliver God’s people to the Promised Land just before he died, sporting this official duty title as a result: “the servant of the Lord” (Deut. 34:5). His replacement, Joshua, earned the same moniker (Josh. 24:29) after a lifetime of serving God, serving others, and encouraging his family, friends, and followers to do the same: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). The end game? The whole nation “served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done” (Josh. 24:31). The actions of these believers, along with hundreds more just like them in the Bible, show that they knew then what we know now: You serve, you win. It is no surprise that when Jesus was asked to summarize the entire Bible in a single command, He did so—and then did one better. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:34-40). In God’s economy, love and service are two sides of the same coin. Heads or tails, everybody wins. A testy lawyer learned this truth the hard way in the 10th chapter of Luke as he posed a tricky question for one self-serving purpose—“to justify himself” (Luke 10:29). Trying to narrow the scope of his service

to the limits of personal convenience, this smart aleck asked Jesus to clarify with precision what He meant by “neighbor.” Like me, he probably hoped the right answer was “those who are easy for me to love.” But as every saved sinner can attest, Jesus loves the unlovable, and His service to them is the only way anyone ever makes it onto God’s family tree (Rom. 5:6-8). His brand of loving service is exactly what He expects from us. Instead of a lecture, Jesus tells a story, one that ends with an unlikely hero. When the topic is “Serving as God wants us to serve,” everyone in the audience would have cast either the priest or the Levite in the lead role. Two goody two shoes doing good. An exciting plot twist might have been these two recognizably religious leaders coming to blows over who got the chance to help the unlucky fella who had been stripped of his clothes, beaten, and left for dead (Luke 10:30). My script would include a viral video of this fight of the faithful. Somewhere between the priest’s “I got here first” to the Levite’s “That’s not fair, you always help the helpless,” the ditched victim musters enough strength to call 911 so the authorities can pull them apart. But that’s not how Jesus’ script reads. Sadly, both of these do-gooders proved themselves to be ne’er-do-wells. They had their reasons, I’m sure, even religious reasons that sounded good as they looked the other way and walked on by. Whatever. The dude was still dying in the ditch. Sounding good is not doing good. Selfrighteousness seldom ends in sacrificial service. Christ’s righteousness, in contrast, runs to the sound of the guns. You can make a difference, or you can make excuses, but you can’t do both at the same time. Just ask the dude in the ditch. Maybe the priest and the Levite both lost their nerve. They certainly lost their serve. Double fault. One thing is for sure. Nobody in that audience could have imagined a plot so thick that a Samaritan of all people would have been good. Polite folk didn’t say such things about half-breeds who worshipped the continued on page 3

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right God in the wrong place. But when the Samaritan lifted him up, bandaged him up, loaded him up, settled him down, and wrote a blank check to settle up with his caretakers, the robbery victim didn’t seem to mind (Luke 10:33-35). More importantly, the lawyer got the point. “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?,” Jesus asked. The lawyer’s reply? “The one who had mercy on him” (Luke 10:36-37). As the Good Shepherd might have said about the Good Samaritan, “I rest my case.” Like us sometimes, the lawyer assumed that his neighbor was defined by proximity to himself. Jesus insisted instead that our neighbor is defined by proximity to Himself. The question is not, “Who is blessed enough to be close enough to be my neighbor?” The right question is this: “To whom does God want me to be a neighbor?” When we go there, it’s always a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Loving God necessarily means serving others, even those we might classify as enemies. “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matt. 5:46-47). In case you missed it, loving others in ways that cost you nothing is nothing to write home about. Any of us can love the loveable and serve those who look like us, act like us, and think like us, but this narrow-hearted approach limits our love and stalls our service. We are called to so much more than that. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people” (Gal. 6:9-10). Pagans will never have that payday. You serve, you win. So do those you serve. If Jesus were your coach, He might tell you to direct your serve to the weaknesses of others—not for your advantage but for theirs. Like He told the lawyer before they called it a day, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). Game. Set. Match. That’s the way The Good Buccaneerean was meant to play. Now, it’s your serve.

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Dr. Julie Fernandez Photo provided


r. Julie Fernandez is the new dean of the College of Education. Fernandez was dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at Houston Baptist University from 2018 to 2020. Her research interests include school culture and climate, teacher leadership development, and organizational health-based leadership. She is co-author of the book Influencing Student High Achievement through School Climate: A Quantitative Approach to Organizational Health-based Leadership. “Dr. Fernandez has a heart and conviction for our mission; her success in other leadership roles has established her ability to lead us forward as the College of Education continues to grow,” said Dr. Jackie Fish, vice president for academic affairs. At HBU, Fernandez taught undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses in education. She served as an assistant professor before being appointed program coordinator of the education administration program and then department chair of leadership and counseling before being named dean. Her desire to incorporate a Christian worldview into school leaders’ development led to her joining the HBU faculty in 2015. “One look at Dr. Fernandez’s education, experiences, expertise, and calling demonstrates that the Lord has used her entire

career to prepare her to lead the College of Education,” said President Dr. Dondi Costin. “Even better, one minute of conversation with her reveals a heart for God, a deep love for students, a strong desire to serve educational leaders throughout our community, and a passion to lead her faculty colleagues in all of the above. After four decades of being geographically separated from her Lowcountry roots, it’s a high privilege to welcome her home.” Fernandez has been an educator for 36 years. Upon graduation from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, she taught elementary and junior high school for 11 years. After earning a master’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in reading and postgraduate work in education administration, she was an elementary school assistant principal and principal. Fernandez earned her doctorate from the University of Houston in executive leadership in 2012, where her research focused on transformational leadership in public school principals. After graduating from UH, she became a full-time faculty member in their Educational Leadership program. She taught graduate and doctoral students in educational leadership and served as a chair of numerous dissertations.

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mily Enloe, a dance instructor and a student in the Doctor of Education in leadership program, is the first student in the program to have an article published in a scholarly journal. Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators has published “Social and Emotional Learning Through Creative Movement in the Physical Education Classroom.” Enloe explains how to integrate social and emotional learning, SEL, into the physical education classroom of middle school students. Enloe chose to write about this topic due to a recent push for schools and teachers to incorporate more social and emotional learning into their daily lessons. “This is often difficult to do as an educator when so many other things are also piled into a lesson plan or our focus is on a specific idea or skill,” she said. “My goal was to help inspire or show other teachers–whether



he Master of Athletic Training program announced a 100% pass rate for 20192020 students taking the Board of Certification Inc. Examination for Athletic Training. In addition, all of the 2020 graduates are currently employed as athletic trainers. CSU’s rigorous didactic and clinical education program spans 22 months with a strong emphasis in evidence-based clinical examination and diagnosis of injuries and illness sustained by physically active patients. In addition, the coursework and clinical experiences provide future athletic trainers with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to function as an integral member of the healthcare team. CSU also offers a 3+2 dual degree program for students who want to complete their bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and Master of Athletic Training in five years.

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Emily Enloe, Photo provided

in physical education, dance or other areas– that we can focus on our own standards and skills while also incorporating small bits of SEL as well.”

The EdD candidate entered the program with the goal to emerge a doctor in three years while learning and improving in her role as an educator and leader. “In general, I want to influence teaching practices and improve the state of public education in some way. How that may happen, I am not entirely sure yet, but I am open to whatever opportunities and possibilities may come my way to make public education better for students and teachers,” Enloe added. Charleston Southern University’s first Doctor of Education cohort began studies in January 2019. The program, with an emphasis in leadership, is designed to provide current and aspiring leaders with the opportunity to pursue a professional doctoral degree. It extends into all types of administrative leadership roles, including education, healthcare, and business. Learn more at charlestonsouthern.edu/edd.



.S. News and World Report once again lists Charleston Southern University in its top 25 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, coming in at No. 21. CSU also ranks No. 13 in the nation for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. CSU is also listed in the top 100 Best Online Master’s in Business Programs (No. 88) as well as Best Online MBA Degree Programs lists. Dr. Dondi E. Costin, president, said, “These impressive national rankings showcase the extraordinary value of the Charleston Southern experience. By equipping our graduates at the highest levels in the midst of a pandemic, we demonstrate the grit of a CSU Buccaneer—trailblazers who conquer unprecedented challenges to make a world-changing difference in their own spheres of influence.” In compiling these lists, U.S. News evaluated 1,600 online degree programs.

To name schools to the best online programs for veterans’ listings, U.S. News studies programs that provide an online education that is affordable, accessible and reputable to veterans and active-duty service members. For a full list of online degrees offered by CSU, go to charlestonsouthern.edu/online.

“These impressive national rankings showcase the extraordinary value of the Charleston Southern experience.” — Dr. Dondi E. Costin

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new Spanish and Education Student Internship program between Charleston Southern University’s College of Education and Charleston Bilingual Academy/ Clapham Education Group will benefit students at both institutions.

The Memorandum of Understanding offers: • Classroom observation and internship opportunities for Charleston Southern students. • Professional development activities for Charleston Bilingual Academy teachers and other educational personnel. • Cross-curricular internship opportunities with the CSU Spanish department to provide improvement, service learning, and curricu-

lum development and other reform efforts. • Research and inquiry possibilities in a myriad of ways for Charleston Southern faculty, students, teachers, and educational personnel. “Charleston Bilingual Academy is thrilled to formalize its relationship with CSU as both Christ-centered missions project students to be world changers,” said Dr. Nathan Johnson, headmaster of Charleston Bilingual Academy. “This MOU ensures that CBA will continue to open its doors to education and Spanish interns and to any students who want to observe and support Christcentered, intercultural, language-immersion education. The MOU also allows CBA to


sponsor visas for international teachers who come and teach at CBA. And as head of the school, I am honored to be a part of the CSU EdD faculty!” Dr. Robert Doan, director of graduate programs of the CSU College of Education, will coordinate the internship for CSU students. He said, “The College of Education is happy to partner with Charleston Bilingual Academy. Dr. Johnson and his staff have always welcomed our students and faculty at their school. College of Education and Spanish interns can work closely with students at Charleston Bilingual Academy applying the material they are learning from the faculty members at CSU.”


SU Teaching Fellows receive a scholarship funded by the S.C. General Assembly while they complete a degree leading to teacher licensure. Upon graduation, they must teach in a S.C. public school for every year they received the Fellowship. The South Carolina Teaching Fellows Program recruits high school seniors into the teaching profession and helps them develop leadership qualities in addition to their education major. Learn more at cerra.org.

Photo by Richard Esposito

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outh Carolina residents who qualify for the LIFE Scholarship are now able to apply the scholarship to full-time online undergraduate programs at Charleston Southern. The LIFE Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship program for South Carolina residents administered by the financial aid office at each eligible public and independent institution in South Carolina. The LIFE Scholarship may be used toward the costof-attendance for up to eight terms based on the students’ initial college enrollment date. Students must be enrolled in their first bac-

calaureate degree program and may have to submit residency documentation. The scholarship, worth $5,000 a year ($2,500 semester), is available to eligible students. “Students will need to complete the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, to aid the financial aid office in determining eligibility,” said Teri Karges, CSU director of financial aid. To learn more about the LIFE scholarship requirements and continued eligibility, visit www.charlestonsouthern.edu/scholarships.


The newest Physician Assistant cohort, the Class of 2022, matriculated 34 students from all across the United States. The cohort includes a CSU graduate, two veterans, and first generation college students make up 26% of the cohort. The Class of 2022 had an undergraduate average 3.6 cumulative and overall science GPAs. Photo by Richard Esposito

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harleston Southern and Hanseo University of South Korea signed an agreement in January which will allow them to find and pursue areas of cooperation which will benefit both universities. While on campus, representatives from

Hanseo University toured CSU nursing and health science programs and received a detailed presentation of CSU’s aeronautics program from C.J. Will, program director. Hanseo University has the largest aeronautics program in South Korea.

President Dondi Costin and Dr. Joo Hyun Ham, vice president of academic affairs at Hanseo University, sign the MOU. In addition to being VPAA, she is the daughter of the president of Habseo, Dr. Kee Sun Ham. Photo by Richard Esposito



he College of Christian Studies launched the first class toward a chaplaincy major or minor in spring semester. Dr. Ron Harvell, director of the Dewey Center for Chaplaincy, said, “Introduction to Crisis Ministry explores ministry in hospital, first

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responder’s facility, military base, prison, campus, and corporate settings.” The Bachelor of Arts in chaplaincy ministry (42 hours) and the chaplaincy ministry minor (18 hours) will build on the Christian Studies core.

Alex Duncan, a sophomore, is the first student to declare chaplaincy ministry as a major and hopes to become a Navy Chaplain. charlestonsouthern.edu/chaplaincy.

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hen senior history major Ethan Shuler conducted an archeological dig at Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site in Summerville in 2019, he never dreamed that internship would lead to conducting an archeological dig on Charleston Southern’s campus. While at Colonial Dorchester, Shuler examined an already completed excavation of a house foundation belonging to the Izard family. Park officials told him the Izard family previously owned the land where Charleston Southern University now sits. Shuler said, “I made it my mission to find a creative way to pursue archeological research.” He approached Dr. Mark Williams, chair of the history department, about a dig. Williams reached out to Larry James at Brockington and Associates, and James became the supervisor of Shuler’s dig. Shuler and James eventually decided to dig at a site where three bricks were sticking up out of the ground. At the time, they believed the bricks were part of a collapsed chimney, because there were piles of brick nearby. First, they mapped out the site and thought it might be slave quarters. Instead, they made the rare find of an intact brick floor. They believe the area, located between 50 and 75 yards from the main house, could be a carriage house or an overseer’s house. Other items uncovered in the dig include slate tile, the top of a glass bottle and bits of pottery. As part of his internship, Shuler researched the history of the Izards. The Izard family

Shuler cataloged his findings during the dig.

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Ethan Shuler presents his findings to history professors and others.

acquired land where CSU is today in 1682. Ralph Izard III joined the Revolutionary cause in 1775 and was sent to France to assist in raising funds for the American cause. Izard and Benjamin Franklin developed a

Three bricks sticking out of the ground led to an intact brick floor, a rare archeological find.

tumultuous relationship during that time. “Ethan’s senior thesis will tie in the archeological work with Izard’s diplomatic situation with Ben Franklin,” said Williams. Shuler’s dig is not the first at the site. In 1974, the late Paul Reitzer, then chair of the history department, conducted an archeological dig at the Izard’s house site in the woods behind the campus. That dig uncovered the entire foundation of the house. In recent years a field study was done of the area by Brockington and Associates when the university was researching relocating some athletic fields. The Izard family owned the land until the mid-1800s. The City of Charleston eventually acquired the land and sold it to the university in the early 1960s.

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By Jenna Johnson

Students are enjoying the new student lounge space, The Cove. Photo by Richard Esposito

The Buc Stop, a grill operated by Aramark, features cooked to order burgers and more.


new student lounge opened—just in time for the start of the spring semester. Located on the second floor of the Student Center, the recently renovated former Gold Room meeting space features booths, high top tables, couches, large screen TVs and a short-order grill. Students have named the space The Cove. Run by Aramark, The Buc Stop grill, nestled in The Cove, is open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Menu items are cooked to order and feature

Booths and gathering spaces are available in The Cove, the new student lounge. Photos by Richard Esposito

foods such as burgers, sandwiches, fries and more. Students may use cash, dining dollars, or gold swipes from their all-access meal plan at the grill. Anyone with an all-access plan will have five gold swipes per week (one swipe per day) to use at Java City or The Buc Stop for a selection of entrees and meals. The Cove is open 24/7 and follows campus holidays and closures. “We are excited to offer a space where

residents and commuters can enjoy a meal or snack with friends, stay up late and watch TV, or have a small study group,” Rev. Clark Carter, vice president for student life and dean of students, said. Per the university’s strategic plan, the Student Center has undergone several renovations in the last year. Students are also enjoying a new meeting space on the second floor, replacing the President’s Dining Room. The flex space is available by reservation.



SU is the new home for SummerSalt and KidSalt summer camps. The camps are run by the Generation Group of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

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Dependent on COVID-19, SummerSalt will run weekly camps for youth from June 7 through July 9, 2021, and KidSalt will run two sessions of camp for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders July 12-15 and July 19-22, 2021.

For more information: SummerSalt.org KidSalt.org

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There’s no doubt that 2020 was stressful, so we set out to find some of the things that made us happy in 2020 and into 2021. What would you add to the list? Photos by Richard Esposito

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Costinton CSU Prez’s welcome back video for students in August generated more than 61,000 views on Facebook alone. “Costinton” was Dr. Dondi Costin’s take on the Broadway sensation, “Hamilton.”

Bye 2020, Hello 2021! Jaynae Jefferson, senior, and Hannah Gurley, freshman, ring in the New Year with high hopes that 2021 is better than 2020. They serve as brand ambassadors for the CSU Marketing & Communication office.


Christmas Around the Pond A new tradition and a Sweet 16 event, Christmas Around the Pond, featured socially distanced music performances and the lighting of the trees around the Reflection Pond.

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Although the shutdown for COVID-19 could be stressful, most enjoyed the extra time with family. Pandemic puppies became a thing – meet Luke Skywalker Esposito.

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Densonville A Sweet 16 event, Densonville is a chance to spend the night on the football field before the Homecoming game. Named for head football coach, Autry Denson, Densonville pivoted in 2020 to a masked, socially distanced event, but students were happy to attend even without football.

National Record CSU broke the national record for the most Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes packed by a U.S. college for the second year in a row. This year’s count – 7,135.


Prayer Walk Students and employees participated in Together Forward/We Choose Love Prayer Walk, hosted by the Office of Diversity and CSU Athletics on National Diversity Day, Oct. 2, 2020.

8 New Student Lounge – The Cove The former Gold Room has been converted into a long-awaited 24/7 lounge for students featuring the late-night Buc Stop grill. Even when the grill is closed, the area is a great study spot.

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By Jan Joslin


he university’s strategic plan for 20202025 outlines the plan for preparing servant leaders to pursue significant lives. By equipping students with a biblical worldview, competencies to perform at the highest levels, godly character, and experiences to grow their grit, CSU’s mission includes guiding them to find their sweet spot in life.

COVID-19 lockdowns, isolation, financial worries, constant screen time, and more, amplified the need for all of us, whether students or not, to grow our grit.

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COVID-19 lockdowns, isolation, financial worries, constant screen time, and more, amplified the need for all of us, whether students or not, to grow our grit. Another way to think of growing your grit is strengthening your perseverance, resilience, passion, resolve, and plain old stickto-it-iveness. Growing your grit will produce far-reaching results whether you are sticking to a study plan, maintaining social distance, or preparing work projects. Writing in Forbes, Margaret M. Perlis asked readers, “5 Characteristics of Grit -- How Many Do you Have?” She wrote, “In general, gritty people don’t seek perfection, but instead strive for excellence.” For some people, it means they never start the project. Today, focus on excellence by completing class assignments on time, meeting your work deadline, eating better, and exercising instead of coming up with an unrealistic plan that is doomed from the start. The Bible has much to say about grit also. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under

trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). As Christians we are called to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Growing your grit is making sure you have the tools you need for whatever task or experience is before you. “What Would Peary Do?” in Down East Magazine describes how explorer Admiral Robert E. Peary survived in the Arctic. In the early 1900s, Josephine Peary, Peary’s wife, helped him prepare for his long excursions by sewing pockets into his long johns. Why? Those pockets provided a place to store his navigational instruments and keep them from freezing. We might not be setting out to explore the Arctic, but we need to add tools that will help us succeed now and in the long-term. What are two ways you can grow your grit right now? Share your ideas on social media and tag #BUCgrit.

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BUCS CHANGING LIVES “Every movement of water begins with a drop. Every stampede begins with a single animal. Every social movement begins with an individual.” The late Dr. Chester Russell, one of the founders of the university and former pastor of Remount Baptist Church in Charleston, wrote the above as a call to action about starting a Christian university in the Lowcountry. Just as one drop of water can become a mighty torrent, one act of kindness or service can change one life, change a community, change the world. “Serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13). Read on to learn how Buccaneers are serving.

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WORK ROOTED IN CALL TO HELP LOW-INCOME Bernie Mazyck. Photo provided


ernie Mazyck ’81 helped found the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development in 1994. He is currently the president and CEO of SCACED. Previously, he worked with a number of local grassroots nonprofit organizations who were working in low-income communities trying to help them develop affordable housing, create jobs, start businesses and attract capital to create economic opportunities for the residents. These organizations recognized there needed to be a statewide organization that could assist them in succeeding in their work, and the result was the creation of SCACED. Mazyck is a native of Summerville where he currently lives and worships at Murray United Methodist Church. He is an ordained deacon in the S.C. Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, serving as the Convener of the Advocacy Work Area at the state level as well as the Charleston District level and is currently helping roll out a Response to Racism effort.

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Calling to Help Low-Income My work with SCACED is rooted in a calling to help the poor. My guiding and calling Scriptures are Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:16. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…” Even before the formation of SCACED, I worked for Coastal Community Foundation, leading a program called The NEW Fund. This program was established to work with and help empower low-income and African American neighborhood leaders to improve the conditions of their community. Our tools were leadership development, small grants, and connecting them to decision makers and funders. The most important and hardest efforts were to convince residents in low-income communities that they were worthy of a better life, and that they could play a significant role in changing the systems that keep them oppressed. This is “The Good News to the Poor…” SCACED grew out of our work at CCF and spread throughout the state. No Typical Days My average workday is very unpredictable and diverse. Some days I could be on the phone with members of the S.C. General Assembly and/or staff of the S.C. Congressional delegation discussing state policies and funding needed to help organizations serving low-income/low-wealthcommunities improve the conditions in the community. Some days I am meeting with banks, foundations, and corporations seeking support for programs that improve the conditions of our poorest communities. Some days, I am facilitating webinars for member nonprofits to help build their capacity to initiate and fund programs for their communities. Some days I am fulfilling my responsibilities as a board member of the Center for Heirs Property Preservation, Coastal Community Foundation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s Charlotte Board, The Community Steering Committee of Washington-based Prosperity Now. In short, there are no typical days.

Coordinating Partners Although our network is broad and diverse, we recognize at some level we possess similar values: integrity, diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice. With these values established, we can agree on programs, strategies, and initiatives. All of our partners are seeking to make South Carolina better for all of her citizens, including low-wealth and marginalized residents. We constantly work on trust, inclusion, mutual respect, relationship building and efforts to walk in our partners’ shoes (empathy). Importance of Nonprofits The work of nonprofits is needed now more than ever, because most nonprofits (especially 501©3 organizations) are mission based. Most nonprofits are working to improve the conditions of people, places, or causes that will help move humanity to a more just, equitable, and inclusive society. Nonprofits are uniquely suited to helping to build God’s Kingdom here on earth. Evidence of the importance of nonprofits can be seen in the design of the federally funded Paycheck Protection Program and the CARES Act programs, which made nonprofits eligible to receive funding. I believe the designers of these programs and many others recognized the vital role nonprofits play in addressing the challenges of our communities and changing systems to become fairer and more equitable. The events of the past four years, and especially the past 4 months, have proven how unjust, uncaring, and frankly evil elements of our society can be. But a few good people, working with the right nonprofits who are fighting for justice, can make all the difference in the world. What I’m Optimistic About The things that make me optimistic are my faith, the youth, and the people in our communities. I am from a faith tradition, forged in the crucible of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, lynching, and all manner of oppression. This is a faith that has proven to me that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. We have persevered. The young people who have marched for freedom, justice, and equality give me hope. And our communities are hopeful, gifted, and resilient.

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Caroline Grace. Photo provided


aroline Grace is a freshman majoring in instrumental music education; she is also a courageous local hero. Over the summer, Grace had a job at a local pool as an attendant, monitoring and keeping the facility clean.

However, if it weren’t for Grace, a 3-yearold girl named Madelyn would not still be alive. Madelyn’s mother, Nicole, started to get all of her kids ready to go home. In that process, she took Madelyn’s floaties off. One of the older children asked a question, and

when Nicole had her back turned, Madelyn got back in the pool. She was drowning, and Nicole jumped in after her child. Madelyn was gasping for air, and Nicole screamed for help from Grace who rushed over and took the child from Nicole. With no CPR certification class and only recollection of a fifth-grade gym class practicing on a tennis ball to the song “Staying Alive,” Grace then performed CPR. Emergency Medical Services took Madelyn to the hospital to ensure she was all right and eventually returned home in good health. Grace said that all of this attention she has received for the heroic action was a lot, and she didn’t like it. However, Grace has used the attention for the better by encouraging people to take CPR classes and be aware because something like this could happen to anyone. She also strongly believes that God guided her through it all to save that little girl’s life.

GRADUATE SHARES IMPORTANCE OF PHONE MEDICAL IDS Stacy Kinard, far left, and Parker Robinson, far right, enjoyed some cousin time at Christmas. Photo provided


ecent grad Sydney Kinard has made it her mission to get the word out about completing the Medical ID function on smart phones. When her cousin, Parker Robinson, was in a terrible car accident last summer, it was hours before his family was notified that he was in the hospital because he had not completed the Medical ID function. Kinard said, “Prior to Parker’s accident, I was not aware of the impact and convenience of the Medical ID function, but I had set it up on my iPhone during the typical phone set-up process. Parker’s accident definitely

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opened my eyes to how useful this feature is, not only for the individual and first responders, but also for the individual’s loved ones.” Social media is a great way to keep in touch with loved ones and meet new people. It can also be a great marketing and education tool as well. “Immediately following Parker’s accident, practically everyone in our family as well as some of his friends shared a graphic to their Instagram stories that explained the importance of this feature as well as some simple steps to set it up on an iPhone,” said Kinard. “Personally, I got a lot of responses from

friends that thanked me for sharing those steps because now that is something that they don’t have to worry about if they were to end up in a situation like Parker’s.” A December 2020 graduate, Kinard is working as a social media coordinator for a digital agency based in Sydney, London, and Los Angeles that helps artists navigate the online landscape and tell their stories in the most effective and creative ways. She interned with the company during the summer of 2020.

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Cate Carroll and her family celebrate her son’s Eagle Scout rank. Photo provided.

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ate Kirkley Carroll ’91 is the State Director of Intellectual/Developmental Disability Services for Delta Community Supports for New Jersey services. She is responsible for ensuring 36 group homes provide safe and healthy environments for individuals to live meaningful lives and become as independent as they are able. She and her husband, Kevin, have been married for 29 years and met while students at CSU, and have four children: Benjamen, 26, Skye, 23, Jesse, 16, and Norah, 5. Carroll said, “Needless to say we are busy! I love to cook, camp, and spend time with my family. I am very active with the Boy Scouts. My son, Jesse, has been in Boy Scouts since he was 5 and earned his Eagle Scout rank when he was 14. He and I are preparing for a 12 day hiking/camping/ backpacking trip this summer at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. As a family we are always looking for a new place to see. Now that we are living in the Northeast, our options of new places have greatly expanded.”

how to assist some students with eating and some school work. This experience taught me that all children need friends and opportunities. After graduating college, I applied to many human service organizations and got a job as a case manager coordinating service for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This led to several other jobs in this field in training, quality assurance, and then management. I love what I do. I feel that I am called to do this and it gives me the opportunity to marry my faith with my vocation.

Called to My Vocation When I was in 6th grade we started having study hall. During study hall we could choose to help in the office or the library. I really didn’t want to do any of these. At that time the children with special needs were kept separate from the rest of the school. They came to school after the rest of the children and never ate lunch with us. Their classroom was right across the hall from my homeroom, and there was always paper covering the windows. There were strange noises and laughing from their classroom all day. The teachers called these the “special” children which really confused me because I thought we were all special. I told my teacher that I wanted to help in that class. The first response I received was a firm “No” as this had never been done. I did not give up. I told my grandmother what I wanted to do. She became my secret weapon as she had a little notoriety as the first female Sheriff in Chesterfield County (S.C.), and one of only a handful in the state, so she could sometimes get people to listen to crazy ideas. In the end I was allowed to help in this class. I was able to play games, color, and sing with the students. I also learned

The Best Medicine Every day is different so I am never bored. When I feel overwhelmed or stressed, a hug from one of the individuals in one of our homes is the best medicine. Since the start of the pandemic, hugs have been a little hard to get, so calls from individuals have to suffice.

It’s a Lifestyle I have had so many wonderful experiences and been a part of the lives of some great people, many that are still my friends. The individuals I work with don’t have needs only Monday-Friday from 8 to 5. The advice I give anyone thinking about this career is that this is not a job, it is a lifestyle.

The Road to Case Management My journey to my present position was quite interesting. In high school I was a telemarketer for a portrait company. I also worked as a cashier and door greeter at WalMart. I was a waitress at Denny’s, and wasn’t that fun! During my senior year in college I did an internship with a juvenile restitution agency which is what led me to case management. After getting married and moving to Louisiana, I processed insurance claims and then got a job working in a group home for youth that had been removed from their homes and were wards of the state. This then led me to Case Management for people with intellectual disabilities. I have now been in this field for 30 years and cannot imagine doing anything that makes me happier.

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To me, music is medicine. It is something that connects people. The first time I heard about music therapy as a profession was at CSU. I was taking a tour of the campus and shared with the admissions counselor that I had interest in psychology, teaching, music, and the medical field. That day, the admissions counselor let me know there was an entire degree program for music therapy. My time studying music therapy at CSU was life changing for me. Connecting Through Music and Creative Arts One of the deepest needs of each one of us is connection. As the brain develops, there are critical neurological pathways that develop due to connection through interaction with others. Music is something that can reach people. It is a “universal language.” Music therapy is based on a connection that is made with people through music.

Catherine Nielsen leads a drum circle for students of all abilities in a school setting. Photo provided.


atherine Compton Nielsen, MT-BC ’03 and her entrepreneurial husband, Chris Nielsen, started The Palm Beach Music Therapy Institute, LLC in 2007. In 2019, they changed the name to Creative Arts Therapies of the Palm Beaches. Cat and Chris and their three children, Penelope, Grover, and Heidi, live in Palm Beach County, Fla. She said, “I am so grateful that CSU introduced me to the field that I love. My hope is that Creative Arts Therapies of the Palm Beaches can continue the legacy of serving others that CSU so faithfully still teaches today.” Music Is Medicine I grew up in a small town in the mountains, Berea, Kentucky. There was always music in our home. My mom was a music education major, mother of five, and played the piano and organ at church ever since I can remember. My dad was a family practice doctor, who besides caring for most of the families who lived in the town, saving lives, would sing to his patients.

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Faith and Purpose One of the greatest privileges is to find something to give your life to that has purpose - something that matters. For each person that may be something different. I think faith can help you find that purpose. For me, my faith is about loving and serving others. That is what creative arts therapies are about. Opening a Business I graduated from CSU in 2003 after my music therapy internship in Palm Beach, Florida, at Hospice of Palm Beach County. In my time at hospice, I developed a love of bringing comfort to people at the end of life. The hospice philosophy of palliative care (comfort care), caring for the whole person, not just their medical needs, was exactly where I wanted to be. I worked in a program that offered music therapy, art therapy, spiritual support, compassionate medical staff, and even pet therapy. This made a lasting impact on me. It was incredible to see what was possible when a creative team works with the medical team to provide such comprehensive and compassionate care for the patient and their families. After my internship with hospice, I decided to stay in Palm Beach County. At the time there weren’t any full-time music therapy positions available in the area. Since one of my other interests is working with children, for two years, I worked as a preschool teacher at a private preschool.

My love of working in both educational and medical settings is what made me decide to start my own practice. Touching the Community Through Creative Arts For me, private practice in music therapy started with a program at a preschool, and at hospice, offering music therapy to the patients, the staff, and their families. With the support of my family, friends and community, the creative arts therapies professionals that joined me began to grow. Thanks to creative arts therapists who began working with me, soon we were working not only in hospice and schools, but using music for team building at corporations, community groups, recovery programs for substance abuse, mental health facilities, special needs organizations, hospitals, cancer centers, trauma groups, and senior centers. Bringing Health and Wellness to Others The most rewarding part of music therapy for me is to be able to use music to bring health and wellness to people. This work is also rewarding because you meet so many incredible people. I have been working as a music therapist for 14 years now. I am amazed at how much there is to learn from others. It is such an honor to meet people from birth to age 100 and be able to learn something from each of them. Something I love about music therapy is that no matter the age, race, abilities, level of health and wellness, or background of a person, music can meet them where they are. Music is able to bring out creativity, connection, motivation, and comfort to both people who are healthy and those with physical, medical, emotional, or mental health challenges. At CATPB I have seen people who have been through a brain injury and have lost speech learn to sing. I have worked with Alzheimers or dementia patients who may not be able to remember names or faces, but during music therapy they are able to sing every word to a familiar song. Children who have lost a loved one may not be able to talk about their grief, but if you give them a paint brush, or a drum, or write a song with them, they express their thoughts and feelings about the loss. There are more stories every day about how music can reach someone.

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Ministering to Children and Families When I was a senior in high school, I went on a mission trip where I was shocked to meet children who had never heard the name of Jesus. After that trip, I committed my life to make Him known. When I was a freshman at CSU, I began leading devotions for the youth at my church. The following year, I officially became their youth pastor. As I invested in their lives, I encountered deep pain in the voids formed by broken families. That experience fueled a personal mission to find ways to share Gospel-centered hope and healing in exchange for the pain and loss that so many children are carrying. Growing Desire to Help Others The week after I graduated from CSU, I traveled to the Middle East to spend the summer doing ministry with teenagers before going to New Orleans for seminary. The following year, just after Ariel and I were married, Hurricane Katrina turned our training ground into a giant mission field of loss and devastation. As we lived the next seven years of our lives in a post-Katrina environment, our hearts continued to grow for those in need of hope, healing, and connection.

Derek Brown. Photos provided


erek A. Brown, PhD, LPC ’04 is executive director of the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries. He holds a Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, and a Doctor of Philosophy, all specializing in psychology and counseling. He is thankful to CSU for spiritual and academic growth, and because it is where he met the beautiful girl who became his wife. He and Ariel Meyer Brown have been married for 15 years and have three children: Leila, 12, Gavin, 8, and Jonas, 6. He said, “Though South Carolina will always be in our hearts, we have made our home in Arkansas, where we love to go camping, boating, and swimming in the Natural State.”

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Studying as an Avenue to Love At CSU, I majored in youth ministry and psychology and continued on a similar trajectory throughout my academic career. I wasn’t motivated by professional goals or aspirations, but simply wanted to fulfill the Great Commandment by loving God and loving others. Studying theology and psychology seemed to be a good place to start. I wrapped up my years of formal education with a dissertation focused on the relationship between human emotions and our mental constructs of God. Daily Ministry I get to spend my days building, strengthening, and restoring Arkansas families for God’s glory. As executive director for Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries, my aim is to advance the cause of our five distinct ministries: Connected Foster Care, Living Well Counseling, Desired Haven Family Care, Arkansas Baptist Ranch, and Arkansas Baptist Homes for Children. I am honored and humbled to be able to encourage and empower those on the frontlines of ministry to vulnerable children and families.

Derek and Ariel Brown and their children.

Hope Changes Lives The ministry to children from hard places takes all of us working together. In this difficult world, many families are spiraling deeper into brokenness, with a need for intervention at every level. Intergenerational patterns are tenuous, but hope changes lives, particularly in the context of trusting relationships. Though we are all imperfect, we have the capacity to offer hope and connection to a child or family in need. Everyone Can Help Mentor, foster, coach, teach, adopt, babysit – however it looks, make an investment in connection. The world needs more caring adults intentionally investing in children and young families. Find ways to support and encourage those on the frontlines who are doing these things.

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Paul, Kayla, and Brandon Gombwer. Photos provided


aul Gombwer ’15 is an assistant store manager for Home Depot and runs The Alice Gombwer Foundation. He and his wife, Kayla, have a son, Braxton. His parents are deceased, and he has five siblings in his native Nigeria, four brothers and one sister. He said, “Most of the money to help run the foundation activities actually comes from my paycheck.” Of his wife and son, he says, “God blessed me with these two amazing people who came into my life and have been very supportive of what I do.”

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Starting His Foundation My foundational work actually started in 2010 while at Montrose Christian High School. After waking up one morning, I heard the call to reach out to orphans. I called my sister, Abigail, back in Nigeria and told her this was what I heard and would like to do. She started looking for an orphanage that I can partner with and found one, but we didn’t get any response back from the owner. I called her again and said I do not think that is the one God wants us to work with. Then we found another one called Adonai in the city of Kaduna where I grew up. While in high school I was collecting shoes, toothpaste, books, and more and sending them to Nigeria for the kids. My mom was a huge part of this movement as well. But while I was at CSU in 2013, my mom, Alice Paul Gombwer, went home to be with the Lord and that was what actually gave birth to the Alice Gombwer Foundation which is to honor the memory of my beloved mom. Another reason behind the start of my foundation is my experience growing up in the northern part of Nigeria, Kaduna to be precise. I experienced a lot of religious crisis, one of them almost took my life in 2001 when I happened to find myself among my Muslim friends who were carrying all sorts of weapons and machetes. The crisis is one that spread around the whole state, and if you are a Muslim who happens to be in the Christian-dominated area, you will get killed, and if you are a Christian who happens to be in the Muslim-dominated area, you will also get killed. So at the end of the day, you just have to pray to God to be in the right place at the right time when the crisis occurs regardless of your religious affiliation or beliefs. Improving Lives of Children in Nigeria The Alice Gombwer Foundation is working to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats orphans and to help protect their human rights as well as working to promote peace. Our goals are to work to improve the lives of orphans and at-risk children in Nigeria and around the world by promoting peaceful coexistence, conflict resolution, and peaceful conditions. We are doing this through the unifying power of sports, education, and evangelism, thus

Paul Gombwer, a former member of the CSU men’s basketball team, speaks to a team in Nigeria.

meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the orphans. We have been doing events yearly since 2017, but due to the virus in 2020 we were not able to carry out the normal athletic activities, but we were able to help provide foodstuff/groceries to 83 widows in the city of Kaduna and also sponsored half of a surgery bill for a kid who was about to face amputation due to an accident he sustained in March 2020. How Can Others Be Involved? The foundation is open to everyone who is led to help or partner with us at gombwer. foundation. The foundation is a 501c3 and is registered both in South Carolina and Nigeria. We collect shoes, clothing, and books to help the orphans and also sporting equipment to help with our sporting events such as our annual international soccer/basketball for peace tournament and basketball camp. We are also open to volunteers in the local area or international level. We are actually working on our 2021 event which is coming up in July and will also soon start doing something in the Lowcountry.

The Alice Gombwer Foundation provides for orphans and widows in Nigeria.

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Stacy Brown leads a group of children to the Children’s Museum. Photo by Metanoia


tacy Brown ‘09 is director of operations at Metanoia CDC, a nonprofit in North Charleston. She holds an MBA from The Citadel and is completing a course on Diversity and Inclusion through Cornell University. She is a Riley Fellow following her participation in Furman University’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership program, and has received numerous awards in the community. She is a devoted wife and mother to husband, Shamel Hardy, and daughter, Zoey Hardy. Her hobbies include reading thought-provoking books and pieces of literature from authors like Manly P. Hall and Ghandi. She enjoys hiking, white water rafting and weightlifting, activities that release energy and endorphins. She and her family enjoy Charleston’s restaurants, although she admits she loves Restaurant Week more than they do. Future goals include continuing to make a difference in education, health care and politics, including making a run for office in the near future. She is an appointee on the Patient and Family Advisory Council’s Diversity and Inclusion taskforce at the Medical University of South Carolina. Brown said, “This brings me a level of rigor and joy at the same time. As one of the only women of color serving in this capacity, I know it is imperative to hold space for every

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marginalized person and have a voice for the voiceless. I live by these two quotes, ‘you must be the change you wish to see in the world,’ a modification of Ghandi’s quote, and ‘Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are,’ Benjamin Franklin.” Mentoring at Metanoia I began at Metanoia as a volunteer in 2005, when I was also a student at Charleston Southern. I stayed at the organization because of my encounter with one student in particular who stated that she did not want to attend college. When I saw her potential, this was not an option for me. With her capabilities and the guidance of the program and mentorship she was able to skip a grade and then attend a high performing middle and high school and go onto college and then graduate school. I then realized the power of mentorship. When you are mentoring youth, you expose them to new experiences while sharing positive values to help them avoid negative behavior and achieve success. Role of Nonprofits in Communities Nonprofits play a vital role in building healthy communities by providing critical services that contribute to economic stability and mobility. At Metanoia, we have shifted the paradigm by doing with and not for the residents of the communities we serve. We take an asset-based approach that seeks to build on what is right with people and communities rather than just focusing on their problems. Asset-Based Community Development is an approach to sustainable community driven development. The premise of ABCD is that communities can drive the development process themselves by identifying and mobilizing existing but often unrecognized assets. Metanoia’s mission statement also clearly begins with a faith in God and our community: “Metanoia CDC is a movement of people rooted in faith. We invest in neighborhood assets to build leaders, established quality housing, and generate economic development.” When building community, we utilize the holistic approach. Building Bridges There are so many benefits of different people connecting with each other. Connecting with different people and their cultures is

one of the best ways we can learn from each other. We also learn more about ourselves, which in turn creates a more connected society. When people connect, it cultivates a positive, accepting, and culturally diverse society which allows us to embrace multiculturalism and reevaluate old beliefs. We reflect on what we see as normal or abnormal and challenge ourselves to see the world from new perspectives. That allows society to escape the disadvantages of homogeneity, reduces unnecessary societal fears, and increases creativity and forward thinking. Inspiration I find inspiration from working in communities that most people have counted out as disenfranchised, socially, economically deprived, and victims of systemic practices of racism (i.e., redlining, predatory lending, over policed, and institutionalized racism in education). Contrary to a dominant narrative that presents these communities as deprived, I experience them as having great tenacity, faith, and strength despite all the odds stacked against them. This allows me to stay inspired, and to continue to keep a growth mindset in that most people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. What I’m Optimistic About In the midst of the pandemic, people have found a stronger sense of unity from donating food to food banks, looking out for neighbors, and providing support to the elderly. I hope that this will not subside, and I am very optimistic that people will continue to come together to build stronger and more connected communities. I am hopeful with the creation of the new vaccine, that if we work together, the outcome will produce some level of normalcy back to society, while preserving life. Lastly but not least, I am looking forward to social justice reforms in 2021. Dismantling the cradle to the prison pipeline deserves immediate congressional support. We also need to sustain momentum to have states and cities reform the country’s police and law enforcement system. Finally, I hope we can work for social justice for health disparities that disproportionally affect black communities.

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aylor Irby ’09 runs East of These, a nonprofit; Courtney Taylor Styled, an interior design business; co-founded June Taylor Shop, a home brand, and is mom to 10-year-old Inslee and 8-year-old Anderson. She has lived in Lakeland, Florida, for eight years and uses her creativity to write and style for local publications through Courtney Taylor Styled and works as a commissioned artist through local establishments in the area. She and her family are members of Trinity Presbyterian Church where they enjoy a close-knit community of believers who support and love them. East of These employs chronically homeless women to help them get back on their feet. She said, “I want to thank CSU for investing in my life so that I can pour out to others the way they poured out for me.”

Promotional photo for the East of These headbands. Photo by Melissa Claire Photography Lakeland

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Taylor Irby runs an interior design business, Courtney Taylor Styled, in addition to her nonprofit. Photo by Tiffani Jones Photography

Creation of East of These East of These was born out of an organic need within our community as we made apparel items for families in our church. We donated a portion of the proceeds to the Florida Baptist Children’s Home and quickly realized that we were a fruitful bridge between our community to this organization by making these products. We have always desired for the creation of our products to have a greater purpose that gives back to our community. Our business name is a play on words from the phrase in the bible “the least of these.” The cardinal direction is normally associated with being the home of the outcast, marginalized, or impoverished, and yet we desire to go to those dark places where we find those who are in need of a glorious light - a sunrise! Offering Income Opportunities East Of These employs recovering women who have completed a sewing internship through Repurpose Art Studio in Lakeland’s inner city through Gospel Inc. Ministries. This program offers dignified income opportunities for the women who complete this program as well as a sewing machine of their own and assistance with subsidized living opportunities.

We have been welcomed into this amazing organization to help the women earn a fair wage while utilizing their new skills. We are honored to employ anywhere from 4-8 women every week through Gospel Inc. Being the Bridge We are thrilled that we can bring retailers high quality, custom, sustainable products, that are made by women who are in need within our community. We love that we get to experience God’s goodness as the bridge between these two groups within our community as they now have access to mutually encourage one another through their work. Bringing Beauty to God’s World We believe that God desires to bring beauty to his people and to this world. As partakers in his work, we have seen the therapeutic qualities of making a beautifully crafted product and the fruit of that creation blessing others as well.

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It’s an unlikely story – how a young white man brought the Myrtle Beach Colored School Museum and Educational Center, a project started by the last living people who attended the school, to life.

A close up look at Williams’ “Interwoven” art work.

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ut, maybe not, when you consider that Will Williams, a Charleston Southern junior marketing major, says that God made His presence known throughout the project, weaving together a diverse group of people. “As John 13:34-35 commands us to love one another, we should remember this includes everyone - not just those whose opinions we agree with,” said Williams. “While it is easy to love and communicate with people who are similar to us, the real challenge and test are those who are completely different than us. Through my work, I hope to make a faithful attempt to reach an audience of great diversity with the love and humility that God showed all He encountered. I pray

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I have ears to listen to differing perspectives and a heart that offers empathy to all in which I cross paths.” As a high school student at the Academy for Arts, Science, and Technology in Myrtle Beach, Williams created a piece of art he titled “Interwoven.” He had become interested in the Gullah culture of the South Carolina coast. “I realized that the history I had been fed from an early age was an incomplete and largely inaccurate history that didn’t properly recognize African American contributions. As I began to delve into ideas that I believed the world needs to hear, I furthered my research on the Gullah culture and aimed for my artwork to convey concepts I believe are essential for healing. These scenic

“As John 13:34-35 commands us to love one another, we should remember this includes everyone - not just those whose opinions we agree with.” — Will Williams

Fannie Brown, Roddy Brown, Shirley Goings, Mary “Cookie” Goings, Will Williams, and April Johnson at the dedication of Will Williams’ art piece, “Interwoven.”

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Seeking to raise public involvement, Williams planned collaborative artwork projects.

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“I wrote the following last year as an artist statement for a portrait I painted of my friend Jasmine,” said Williams. “The words are more pertinent now than ever. I pray these words will not just be read, but truly lived out and their power revealed through shifting mindsets and arms opened wide.”

Signage for the museum was one of Williams’ accomplishments during his internship.

landscapes have stirred me to create artwork that juxtaposes the beauty and charm of the South with the often harsh reality of what occurred on the very land.” At an exhibit of the students’ artwork, Amy Wingard, an acquaintance of Williams, purchased “Interwoven” and donated it to the museum. The museum held a reception for the dedication of the artwork in late 2019. Wingard, who had purchased the piece, and Mary “Cookie” Goings, the neighborhood services director for the City of Myrtle Beach, went to school together when the schools integrated in the ’60s. “Their unlikely friendship defied the odds then and remains such an example of what we should strive for in our lives,” said Williams. At the reception, Williams was able to present his work in front of the last living students of the Myrtle Beach Colored School. “The oldest, at 97 years old, led us all in prayer,” said Williams. “I was joined by Mary and Amy, who remain friends to this day and worked together to make all of this possible.” April Johnson, neighborhood services coordinator for Myrtle Beach, in a feature in Grand Strand Magazine titled “History Is as History Does,” said the museum came alive when Williams walked through the door. When Charleston Southern converted to all online classes in March 2020 because of COVID-19, Williams was unexpectedly back in the Myrtle Beach area. The City of Myrtle

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Beach brought him on as an intern to raise awareness of the museum. Williams drew on his marketing studies to raise the museum’s profile. “I was able to increase our engagement on social media and use this to increase the number of visitors, create community partnerships, and expand the museum’s outreach and educational programming,” said Williams. “I was able to create a new logo for the museum, design new exterior signage, as well as collaborative public art installation that helps draw traffic to the museum.” Williams also planned a candlelight service of remembrance at the museum, set up virtual story time for children and expanded that to include virtual educational programming and started a Black-owned business initiative. He said, “My journey at the Historic Myrtle Beach Colored School Museum and Education Center has reaffirmed what I want to pursue as a career. It truly was the perfect intersection of everything I feel called to do. I remain passionate about the intersection of arts, advocacy, and culture; and using this to create spaces that bring people together to foster community.” Williams has questioned his lack of authority and qualifications to speak about racial injustice. “Ultimately, I know the worst thing I could do, the worst thing we all could do, is say and do nothing,” he said.

I see color, but not in the same way my ancestors did. I am not merely defined by the color of my skin, or by the actions of those who came before me. I am of a new generation, working past the great divides that have ripped our country apart. The same ones that are over 200 years old, yet still fresh in our minds. I acknowledge the dark history of the South, one that has left a permanent stain on my state. I won’t pretend it never happened, but I will tackle it head-on. In order to ensure the generations that succeed me don’t have to endure what my people have endured. I will work to not accept hate. To embrace the differences, but seek to find the commonalities that unite us. My eyes are focused on what ties us together, not what tears us apart. Looking past the darkness, to the light that unites us all. I will use our history, although haunting, to move our state forward. In a way that’s not confined by the past, but fueled by the future. The failed attempts won’t stop me. Nor will they break me. Nor will bigotry. Nor will prejudice. Nor will stereotypes. Nor will opposition. I won’t be stopped. While no longer employed by the City of Myrtle Beach, Williams is continuing his marketing studies and is in the CSU Honors Program and serves as a communications assistant for Barefoot Church in North Myrtle Beach.

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By Emma Slaven ’21


earing a mask and staying six feet apart are the norm in these times of COVID-19. In its best efforts, Charleston Southern University continues to maintain safe practices in avoiding the virus by implementing protocols, such as the LiveSafe app, limiting gatherings, and having students wipe down their desks. Any time a resident student finds themselves in quarantine or isolation, the university seeks ways to support them, such as delivering food and special packages. Last fall, staff members partnered with local churches to provide care and connection with students who tested positive for COVID. CSU designated isolation rooms for those who intended to stay on campus while recovering. The required 14-day quarantine period would be brutal for anyone to endure, which is why Spiritual Life sought to support students in seclusion. Jon Davis, associate vice president for spiritual life, played a major role in the birth of what he calls Quarantine Kids. “The first thing we did in the Office of Spiritual Life was offer Zoom sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during lunchtime,” Davis said. “So, if they wanted to talk or needed prayer, they would have someone.” But it wasn’t enough. The school wanted to do more for these students. They knew those in isolation were suffering from not only the virus but from the lack of student life and social contact as well. Davis said Student Life employees met with President Dr. Dondi Costin via Zoom and came up with an idea about care packages that let students know they are loved. That idea was Quarantine Kids. The care packages began with a small bag full of prayer cards for the students in quarantine, but the Church Connection Team ramped up the treats. Led by Pastor Randy Jackson of Northwoods Baptist, local churches were inspired by the idea and assembled bags of snacks, candy, popcorn, and a list of suggested activities to complete during quarantine. Davis and the Spiritual Life team would pick up these bags from the churches

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on Mondays and Fridays, delivering the goodies handsfree to the students in isolation. “The church would leave notes while the team and I encouraged students to text or Zoom with us if they needed anything,” Davis said. Additional churches found out about CSU’s contributions and wanted to participate. Crossroads, Summerville Baptist, Journey, Mount Moriah, Awaken, Summit, and Northwood Church gathered their members to donate their time and compassion for isolated students. According to Davis, the South Carolina Baptist Convention even

A glimpse into a care package for Quarantine Kids.

The Rev. Jon Davis, associate vice president for spiritual life, gathers gift bags to deliver to students in isolation.

donated a large sum of money to help transform the idea. What started as a seed grew into a variety of churches coming together to help students feel loved. To date, local churches have helped CSU distribute about 140 care packages. Davis and his team are giving out more packages during spring semester, continuing the handsfree approach to maintain the school’s safe practices against the virus. Placing the care packages outside of isolation doors, a masked Davis steps back six feet after giving the door a knock. On behalf of the churches and the Spiritual Life team, Davis tells those who feel healthy enough to open the door that each of them are loved and cared for. “You could literally see them light up after being starved from community,” Davis said. “You know, they don’t feel well or they’re in quarantine, and they feel stuck. We want to help them feel a little less stuck.” CSU encourages safe practices to avoid COVID-19, but Spiritual Life and local churches are there to emotionally support those who come in contact with the virus. CSU remains committed to its practice of marching “together forward but six feet apart.”

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CSU BREAKS ANOTHER OCC NATIONAL RECORD By Jenna Johnson | Photos by Richard Esposito


harleston Southern University beat last year’s national record and this year’s campus goal with a whopping 7,135 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. The challenges of the year 2020 did not hold the Charleston Southern University campus back from achieving another record-setting goal. Students, faculty, and staff packed Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes on Nov. 12 until every last stuffed animal, pencil, jump rope, and toothbrush had a home. This year’s goal was set at 7,000 packed boxes. CSU packed 7,135, not only beating last year’s national record when the campus hit 5,249 shoeboxes, but surpassing the new goal by 135 boxes, and once again setting a national record. “God is certainly bigger than any pandemic,” Laurie Diel, executive administrative assistant for the VP of student life, said. Diel helps lead the OCC project for the university. “You just have to have faith in the promise that He will do immeasurably more than we can ever imagine.” More than 3,000 stuffed animals, 10,000 T-shirts, and thousands of other hygiene and school supplies were donated throughout the year. Several opportunities were shared with the campus community and university supporters, including Dental Health Month in February, Squeaky Clean (hygiene) Month in April, School Supplies Month in August, and Socks for the Box in September.

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Operation Christmas Child has delivered shoebox gifts to more than 178 million children in more than 150 countries since 1993. For many, the shoebox is their first gift ever received. According to their website, an OCC shoebox is also a tangible expression of God’s love—a complete stranger clear across the world gave selflessly so that a child could feel joy. It also brings the opportunity to reach every child with the Gospel.

Students and employees competed for top honors with Collection Day on Nov. 4. Top Boxes for Students: 1st place: Zoreim Lara – 90 boxes 2nd place: Lydia Mills – 70 boxes 3rd place: Faith Geraci – 26 boxes + $200 in supplies 4th place: Draye Boyd – 11 boxes Top Box % for Staff Departments: 1st place: Library – averaged 34 boxes per person (33.62%) 2nd place: Marketing and Communication – averaged 33 boxes per person (33%) 3rd place: Business Office – averaged 7 boxes per person (7%) Top Box % for Faculty Departments: 1st place: College of Education– averaged 2 boxes per person 2nd place: Department of Communication and Media Arts – averaged 1.4 boxes per person 3rd place: College of Christian Studies – averaged 1.3 boxes per person Stay involved with CSU’s ongoing OCC efforts year-round by checking out charlestonsouthern.edu/OCC.

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By Dita Rose ’00 | Photos provided

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he sound of the tornado siren was nothing surprising. Every time we get a storm, the sirens go on and off intermittently at the slightest bristle of wind, and most of us living here in North Nashville have gotten used to it. Every few years, I’ll hear about a devastating tornado in another state which will put me on edge for a little while. But most certainly my normal reaction returns and I have to decide between Plan A and Plan B. Plan A: Grab the kids and hide in the hallway with blankets and pillows. Plan B: Go back to sleep and ignore the sirens. The evening of March 2, 2020, was becoming pretty windy and stormy but having been out sick quite a bit in February, I knew I would need a good night of sleep before rising early to teach at my beautiful school of 14 years, Currey Ingram Academy. However, shortly after midnight, I heard the sirens and heard the urgent call from Thomas downstairs. I grabbed my pillow and made the sluggish walk down the stairs when he started barking orders like a drill sergeant. I could barely hear him over the roar of the storm and he was saying “It’s coming!” and pacing between the hallway and the front door all while yelling and demanding that we wake up and get to the basement. Within seconds, the electricity popped and everything went completely dark. I was trying to count heads to be sure the kids were all awake, and Thomas was checking to see if we could safely make it from the front door to the outside entrance of our dirt basement. He opened the front door to see our trampoline being hurled across the sky, never to be seen again. He swiftly slammed the door closed and commanded us to get into the stairwell and hunker down. My first inclination was to argue that it wasn’t the safest place, but there would be no arguing. There was no time. So, we hugged as tightly as we could in the stairwell and prayed for the dear Lord to keep us safe. The sound of the wind was intermingled with the sound of houses coming apart, knocking sounds from trees falling, and pure fear.

Rose Family: Jrew, Thomas, Stella Joy, Dita, and Jazzy. Photo by Kevin Banks Grammy award winning artist Amy Grant leads worship at Barefoot Republic Camp.

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A glimpse at a house after the Nashville tornado – dubbed the Jesus House.

The tornado only lasted a few seconds, and the evening quickly turned into a swirl of sirens, silence, and news updates via a dying cell phone. Sleep would not come easy and no one could predict the exhaustion that was still to come. After we emerged from our shock the next day, several church members, from Church of the City Downtown, asked if they could come over and help us begin the cleanup process. We combed through the yard picking up shredded paper, trash, and insulation from all the houses that had been destroyed. We had some moderate damage to our roof and a few trees were now parked in our yard, but we were so thankful to be safe. The next day, our friend, Brendon, dropped off the first of many chainsaws we would need that week. Our church friends came back as well, bringing with them more volunteers and more supplies. Soon, a community cleanup effort had begun and would grow to include over 100 volunteers coming in and out of our house and looking to Thomas and I for direction. Volunteers arrived from pretty much every nonprofit we work with from former parents, summer camp counselors, church members, friends, and many more. It became apparent God was calling us to step-up in a new way we had never expected. It was quite overwhelming. Supplies were rolling in, and our porch became flooded with canned food, diapers, cleanup supplies, water, styrofoam coolers, chainsaws, generators, gas cans and so much more.

During this time, I had to lean on God for strength to get through the long days. Rachel, one of the leaders from church came early one morning to pick up the kids and take them to school. We circled up in the driveway to pray for the day as we were readying to embark on the rescue mission we had surprisingly been called to. She asked what specifically we could pray for, and I replied, “Clarity.”

“We hugged as tightly as we could in the stairwell and prayed for the dear Lord to keep us safe.” — Dita Rose, ’00

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Thomas and Jrew Rose at Barefoot Camp.

God brought clarity and peace of mind as we continued the task of walking up and down every street talking to neighbors and assessing needs. God slowly began to draw the lines and connect the dots from our many years of networking and ministry in Nashville. Pretty soon we found that if someone had a need, we didn’t have to be the ones to meet it. We just had to be the ones willing to listen and connect those needs to our many partner organizations. Thomas’s full-time employer, Barefoot Re-

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public Camps, partnered with us to provide a pop-up kids activity zone where neighborhood kids could play on the jump castle, get snacks, juice, and distract themselves from the business of our neighborhood cleanup. There were many jobs to be done. Our network of ministry not only grew during the relief efforts but multiplied exponentially. We began to meet more neighbors in our 2-3 block radius than we’ve known the entire 14 years we have lived in this house, let alone the 18 years we’ve been planted

in Nashville. The Nashville Dream Center, a local nonprofit, would soon become an integral part of our Nashville life. The Dream Center set up a temporary storage location in a nearby neighbor’s garage and began filling it with food and supplies for the neighborhood. In the months that followed, Thomas began working part-time with The Dream Center to partner with local food stores in providing food rescue to the community. For the many years we have lived in our home, many neighbors have come and gone. But our neighbor, Cheryl, who was born and raised in her home, has been a sweet friend since the beginning. Her favorite homemade cookie, she never forgets to remind me, is chocolate chip with pecans. The tornado did quite a bit of damage to her home, pulling off sections of the roof, clearing her wooden fence, and destroying a beautiful tree her mother had planted when she was little. God began sending people to speak into Cheryl’s life. Rhonda, from our community group, and Cindy, one of my former parents, both began to invest in Cheryl’s life. Rhonda prayed with Cheryl on a frequent basis and invited Cheryl to come to church. During the tornado cleanup, Cindy came over every single day to help organize and manage cleanup, and she took time every time to visit Cheryl. Not to mention, Cindy also networked with her own connections to bring construction crews to the community to cut down trees, tarp houses, and connect needs to solutions. Shortly after the tornado, members of our church began a GoFund me to raise funds to replace our roof. Thomas and I struggled to accept this gesture of generosity, but we knew right away that we would try to use the funds to help our neighbor Cheryl as well. So, it’s no surprise that God provided enough funds for us to replace both roofs with the money raised. Samaritan’s Purse heard about the dire conditions of Cheryl’s home which had been in want of repair for many years. Volunteers began insulation projects, siding work, and repairs to her home. Women volunteers came and sat with Cheryl on her back porch chatting with her and reading scripture. Cheryl, who had been suffering from depression for some time, began to feel the heaviness in her heart lift and fell in love with scriptures again.

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farm. Through a connection with a former summer camp counselor, ABC’s Nightline heard about the radical way God was using Barefoot and ultimately spotlighted our camp in a recent episode. Connections. That’s how the world moves, right? Many people hope for connections to get a sought after promotion, to become rich and famous, or to be accepted and included. But God uses connections to further His Kingdom. The ways God has connected all of the people in our lives has been mind blowing. He truly uses every step to lead us to the next. Thomas Rose ’96 and Dita Rose ’00 reside in Nashville, Tennessee, with their three children, Jrew, Jazzy, and Stella Joy. Thomas works full-time for Barefoot Republic Camps and The Nashville Dream Center. Thomas has also worked with artists including Casting Crowns, Lecrae, Andy Mineo, NF, Rend Collective and recording with For King and Country, Carmen, Social Club Misfits, Wes King, and Sandra McCracken. Dita teaches at Currey Ingram Academy. They continue to minister through music with their band The Rose Factor, leading worship for summer camps, youth retreats, and sharing songs God has written upon their hearts. Their music can be found on Spotify and iTunes. If you’d like to partner with the Roses, you can reach them by emailing thomasredrose@gmail. com and fajitadita@gmail.com. Watch the ABC Nightline show about Barefoot Republic: https://abcn.ws/3oCNuar Thomas Rose coordinates boxes of groceries to hand out to families impacted by the tornado.

Not long after the tornado week passed, COVID hit the nation hard. Our bimonthly worship service at the Nashville Rescue Mission with our dear friends, Sarah and Jason Ascher, would be cancelled indefinitely. Summer camp, which we’ve been doing for over 20 years, would be canceled. My children and I went directly into virtual learning from our living room and kitchen table. Every human interaction changed at a rapid pace. Although 2020 continued to throw us curve balls, our faith was not shaken. God has been leading us through trials and challenges for many years. Once again, we could clearly see God connecting the pieces of our lives to further His mission in our

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lives. Summer camps of the past such as SuperSummer and SummerSalt led us to Centrifuge. Centrifuge led us to meet Gary and Johni Morgan, who invited us to move to Nashville to join them in ministry. Shortly after our move to Nashville, God connected us to Tommy Rhodes through an old Centrifuge friend. Tommy had founded Barefoot Republic Camps, and we fell in love with the mission of reconciliation and diversity. Barefoot has grown tremendously over the past 18 years. Through a dear connection with Tommy Rhodes, Amy Grant learned about Barefoot and jumped in headfirst to partner with us by hosting Barefoot day camps in the summer on her beautiful

Dita Rose on keyboard and Thomas Rose on the drum lead worship.

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Class notes 1960s

Kevin Brownlee ’94 is the new president and CEO of the TriCounty Rural Electric Cooperative in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. He was previously deputy city manager of the City of Hot Springs, Arkansas. He and his wife, Kathy Dantzler Brownlee ’95, have two children.

Jason Caron ’94 was named the PGA of America’s Professional Player of the Year for 2020. He was also Met Section Player of the Year. He is the head pro at Mill Johney L. Haralson ’69 has been named the Forestry Association of River Club in Oyster Bay, New South Carolina’s 2020 Charles H. York. He and his wife, Liz, have Flory Distinguished Service Award two children. recipient. Haralson is owner of John L. Haralson Insurance 2000s Agency and Double K Farms in Denmark. He served as the Forestry Association of South CaroJoe Debney ’03 is the new chief lina’s 2009 Chairman. The Charles executive officer for the SumH. Flory Distinguished Service merville Family YMCA. He was Award recognizes contributions to formerly the executive director forestry in South Carolina. He is a of the Charleston County Board member of CSU’s Board of Visitors of Elections and Registration. He Scholarship Program. has also been executive director for the Dorchester County Board of Elections and Registration, pro1980s gram manager for the South Carolina State Election Commission and has been a volunteer at the Naomi Broughton ’82 recently retired as deputy chief of the City YMCA and the Dorchester County of Charleston Police Department. Parks and Recreation Commission She served in law enforcement for and as a member of the Dorchester County Comprehensive Plan 38 years. Advisory Committee. He and his wife, Jana, have three children.


Vicki Brown ’92 is the staff writer for The Press and Standard in Walterboro. She taught school for 20 years including teaching journalism at Colleton County High School.

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Barry Audain ’08 is the new administrator of the health center at The Toby & Leon Cooperman Sinai Residences in Boca Raton, Florida. He was formerly with PruittHealth Corporation in Norcross, Georgia. A licensed nursing home administrator, he holds a master’s in healthcare administration from Phoenix University. Dr. Jermaine Whirl ’08 MBA is the new president of Augusta Technical College in Augusta, Georgia. He was previously vice president for learning and workforce development and economic development and corporate training at Greenville Technical College in Greenville, S.C. He has also served at the Parker College of Business Administration of Georgia Southern University, East Georgia State College, Gwinnett Technical College, Savannah Technical College and Winthrop University. Breanne Witzmann and Justin Witzmann ’09 announce the birth of a son, Rhett Andrew Witzmann, born Jan. 22, 2020. He was 7 lb, 4 oz and was 20.5 inches long.


Jennafer Branch Easterlin ’10 is District Teacher of the Year for Dorchester School District 4. She teaches at Harleyville Elementary School in Harleyville. She holds Christine Furrow ’06 MEd + 30 and an MEd in divergent learning from a current student in the Doctor of Columbia College. Education in leadership program was named Assistant Principal of the Year by S.C. Association of School Administrators. She currently works at Goose Creek Elementary in Berkeley County School District.

Karina Arushanyan ’11 MBA, vice president of La Jolla Logic, was named to The San Diego Business Journal’s 40 Next Top Business Leaders Under 40 2020 winners. La Jolla Logic works with DoD, Federal, and commercial sectors. Arushanyan’s background has been in the Defense Contracting industry and on active duty in the U.S. Air Force Dental Corps, where she was honored for her contributions to the Dover AFB Mortuary post 9/11 and the Iraq War. She is also a Certified Scrum Master. Kelsi Whitehorn Carlile ’11 and Chad Carlile announce the birth of a daughter, Alice “June” Carlile, born Nov. 13, 2020. Kathleen Amoruso Dean ’11 and Jonathan Dean announce the birth of a son, Everett James Dean, born Nov. 8, 2020. Kathleen was a cheerleader for CSU. John Paglia III ’11 has been named president of IMG, the parent company of Florida Express Environmental. He previously served as IMG general manager. IMG is located in Ocala, Florida. He and his wife, Kimberly, have three boys: John Paglia IV, Roman and Rocco. Brandon Washington ’11 MBA has been named the senior vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion for EverQuote, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Previously, he was the vice chancellor for equal opportunity at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

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Carla Ferrette-Clark ’13 is a teacher at Military Magnet Academy in Charleston County School District teaching cybersecurity, robotics, and technology and is the Robotics Team Coach. The former high school dropout is determined that her students will be college and career ready. As a young woman, she joined the Air Force Reserves, earned a degree from CSU and then a Master’s degree in human service with a minor in juvenile Cady Nell Keener ’15 MBA is repcriminal justice from Liberty Uni- resenting Charleston Southern as versity. an honorary commander with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Matt Rowley ’13 has joined MayCharleston. She is also a gradunard Cooper and Gale in Birming- ate of the Leadership Discovery ham, Alabama, in corporate law. class of fall 2020, a program of He holds a JD from the University the Charleston Metro Chamber of Michigan School of Law and is of Commerce. Keener is assistant a U.S. Air Force veteran. vice president for development and special gifts for CSU. Chelsey Holloway Dorman ’15 and Corey Dorman announce the birth Stephen Cagle ’16, ’17 MEd is the of a son, Layne Dorman, born in new football program director and November 2019. head varsity football coach at Ben Charlotte Dozier ’13 and Shallah Dozier ’15 announce the birth of a son, Elijah Divine Dozier, born May 6, 2020, 6 lbs 15 oz. Shallah writes, “He is a talker day and night. He enjoys going on walks with mom and dad and loves snuggling! He is our rainbow baby!” Charlotte and Shallah met at CSU as freshmen in 2009.

Lippen School in Columbia. Previously, he was quarterbacks, offensive coordinator, and assistant head coach at White Knoll High School. He and his wife, Alisha Best Cagle ’13, have two sons and are expecting a third child.

Tameika Wideman ’17 MS organizational management is the director of dual enrollment at Piedmont Technical College in Maggie Murphy Johnston ’14 and Greenwood. She formerly worked Zac Johnston ’14 announce the in banking and advertising. Widebirth of a son, Jayce Zac Johnston, man was enrolled in the dual born Sept. 25, 2020. enrollment program at Piedmont Tech in her teens. She and her Mezzo-soprano Lauren Kay ’15 husband have one daughter. sings with the GO Divas, the Gulfshore Opera’s all-female vocal Bobby Ruff ’18 has been named group, located in Southwest Flor- the defensive coordinator at Easley ida. Kay completed an apprentice High School in Easley. He was artist residency with Gulfshore formerly a linebacker coach with Opera and has sung with Gulf The Citadel. Coast Symphony and Opera Fusion. She earned a master’s in mu- Jennifer P. Tillman and Daniel Lee sic from the University of Florida. Tillman IV ’18 MS supply chain management announce the birth of a daughter, Eva Raines Tillman, born Aug. 10, 2020. The Tillmans live in Hartsville.

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STAY CONNECTED! Send us news about family additions, job changes, community involvement, etc. To include a photo, email a high resolution jpg - 800kb or larger. (If you send a professional photograph, please include permission to print from the photographer.)

Class Notes: magazine@csuniv.edu Address change: csudevelopment@csuniv.edu Name change: register@csuniv.edu Follow the Alumni Association on Social Media: alumni_csu


Christian Keeling ’19 is playing basketball for Glasgow Rocks of the British Basketball League. After graduating from CSU, he played for the University of North Carolina.

2020s Haven Davis ’20 is a marketing assistant with Colliers International in Charleston. Her primary duties include marketing materials, social media, graphics, and developing client strategies. Brianna Parris ’20 and Joshua Parris, a candidate for 2021 graduation, announce the birth of a daughter, Emelynn Rose Parris, born Nov. 8, 2020.

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e honor seven men and women who bring tremendous distinction to the university as business, nonprofit, and community leaders and public servants,” said President Dr. Dondi Costin. “Through their career achievements and engagement with the university and the community, these alumni have set a standard to which our students and fellow alumni can aspire. They represent the life-changing impact of a Charleston Southern University education. Thanks to all of you, and especially our honorees, for your support and for helping to make CSU the great university that it is. We hope our current students follow their example as they pursue all God has planned for their lives.” Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Dr. Jermaine Whirl ’08 “The Christian environment was the reason I came for my MBA,” said Whirl. “The MBA propelled me to pursue education as a career. CSU will always have a special place in my heart.” • Recently named President of Augusta Technical College • Previous VP of Greenville Technical College • Serves on CSU’s Board of Visitors Scholarship Program

Military Service Award Major General Arthur J. Rooney Jr. ’74 “I entered the Air Force in 1974 and retired in 2008 after serving 33 years in the world’s finest Air Force,” said Rooney. “The Christian values followed me into my military career, and for that I am thankful.” • Distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Baptist College/CSU • Awarded Distinguished Service Medal • Served in four command assignments

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Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Matthew Alexander ’04 Alexander cited the leadership, ministry, and service of the university and said, “I am proud to be associated with the university.” • Co-Founder and Executive Director at OneWorld Health • Praxis Fellow who has served as a mentor and lecturer at CofC, the USC Moore School of Business and MUSC • Chair of the Supervisory Committee for SC Federal Credit Union Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year Danielle Hensley ’18 Hensley said, “My time at CSU is something I will always cherish. My four years launched me into my career in TV.” • MMJ/Reporter Covering Lowcountry news for WCBD News 2 • Covered sports for CSU, The Citadel, and The SC Stingrays • Reported for Joe Gibbs Racing from Charlotte, N.C.

Alumnus Community Service Award Dr. Danny Johnson ’81 Johnson said the university helped him learn to appreciate the good things in life. • Retired Police Commander from the City of Goose Creek Police Department with 25 years of service • Served in the Charleston area as a peace officer, chaplain & minister • Goose Creek Youth Court Program

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Alumnus Service Award Roger Nielsen ’74 “In 1970, the university took a chance on an 18-year-old catcher from New Jersey. The business acumen I was taught at Baptist College (now CSU) would not have happened without the opportunity to go to CSU,” said Nielsen. Nielsen’s family has established the Community Research Institute in association with the College of Business. He said, “It is one thing to write a check, but it is more important to be present with students today.” • Established Abbey Companies, serving a variety of industries worldwide • CSU advocate and supporter • Passion to see CSU grow • Nielsen Field named in honor of his family in 2017 • Joined the College of Business Board of Advisors in 2019

University Mission Award Eli Byrd ’10 • Associate Pastor of Discipleship at First Baptist Church of Douglasville • Attending Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in the MDiv and EdD programs • Has preached at CSU and SEBTS Chapel services • Ordained and licensed to the Gospel ministry Nominate an alumnus for the 2021 awards charlestonsouthern.edu/alumni/alumnirecognition/

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unter Mizzell ’18 is the new director of alumni relations and annual giving. The former CSU enrollment counselor is using the relationship building skills he learned in enrollment to build relationships with alumni. The chance to connect with the Buccaneer family and help shape the legacy and traditions of CSU led him to apply for the position. Mizell plans to concentrate on alumni engagement and volunteer networking. Just as CSU employees are invested in preparing servant leaders to pursue significant lives, Mizell will work with alumni to join these efforts to see students grow into their callings and to pursue significant lives. He is passionate about helping alumni give back to CSU. He said, “You were once in their shoes.” Education is costly, academic courses are not easy, and learning to be an adult is a huge responsibility. “Giving with your time, talent, and treasure to help students who are following in your footsteps can change these students’ lives forever,” said Mizell. “Every dollar counts, every second counts, and every Buc counts. Don’t waste the opportunity to invest in something that invested in you.” Mizell, his wife, Samantha (aka Sammy), and their baby, Hazel Grace, born Oct. 6, 2020, make up the Mizell party of three. He said Hazel is a sassy little thing. “We have a running debate in our house as to whether or not she got that from her mom or her

Hunter Mizell. Photo by Richard Esposito

dad,” said Mizell. The Mizells met at Awaken Church in Charleston. The Mizells are obsessed with coffee and can be found checking out new coffee shops or trying new cold brew recipes at home. “Overall, our favorite is serving our friends and family with our very own coffee recipes,” he said. He said you also might find them serving at church, his wife coaching pitching lessons (she was a pitcher on the College of Charleston softball team as a student), Hunter racing remote control cars on a dirt supercross track, Hazel playing with her stuffed elephant, or all of them riding bikes downtown. Connect with Mizell on the CSU Alumni Association Twitter and Instagram accounts, by emailing alumni@csuniv.edu or calling 843-863-7517.



he CSU Career Center is partnering with Firsthand, a platform that will allow alumni to mentor current students. The program will connect alumni and students for conversations about careers, academics, business and startups. Here’s your chance to give current students the kind of advice they need to succeed. More information will be available in the monthly alumni enewsletters. If you are not receiving CSU’s monthly alumni enewsletter, email alumni@csuniv.edu and ask to be added to the mailing list, or to update your email.

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Baby Bucs 1




5 7


1. Elijah Divine Dozier, son of Charlotte Dozier ’13 and Shallah Dozier ’15

5. Everett James Dean, son of Kathleen Amoruso Dean ’11 and Jonathan Dean

2. Jayce Zac Johnston, son of Maggie Murphy Johnston ’14 and Zac Johnston ’14

6. Rhett Andrew Witzmann, son of Breanne Witzmann and Justin Witzmann ’09

3. Sage Leadingham, daughter of Nicole Libranda Leadingham and

7. Watson Silas Mock, son of Clary Nigels Mock ’11, ’19 MEd and

Kyle Leadingham ’20

Kevin Mock and grandson of Scott Nigels ’84

4. Alice “June” Carlile, daughter of Kelsi Whitehorn Carlile ’11 and Chad Carlile

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CSU graduates, if you have a child under the age of 2, let us know at alumni@ csuniv.edu, and we will send a CSU onesie for your Baby Buc. The shirt is free; all we ask in return is a photo of your Baby Buc for the magazine.

Email a picture of your Baby Buc wearing the shirt to alumni@csuniv.edu. Pictures should be 800 kb or larger in size, in jpg format.





14 13 12


8. Lydia Meares, daughter of Shannon Meares ’12 and Bryan Meares ’12

12. Kingston Ford Carter, son of Brittany Williams Carter ’11 and Christopher Carter.

9. Eva Raines Tillman, daughter of Jennifer P. Tillman and

13. Kevin O’Driscoll, son of Tricia O’Driscoll ’11 and Kevin O’Driscoll ’11

Daniel Lee Tillman IV ’18 MS supply management

10. Kyndall Grace Shuman, daughter of Jim Shuman ’98

14. Layne Dorman, son of Chelsey Holloway Dorman ’15 and Corey Dorman 15. Maverick Curley, son of Danielle Sox ’16 and Casey Curley ’15

11. Emelynn Rose Parris, daughter of Brianna Parris ’20 and Joshua Parris ’21

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in memory



r. William “Bill” LeRoy Palmer, age 99, died Nov. 25, 2020, in Kingsport, Tennessee. Palmer was one of the original group of Board of Trustees elected in 1964. His son, Dr. David Palmer, and daughterin-law, Betty Palmer, currently work at CSU. He also is survived by his wife of 74 years, Ellen Bourne Palmer, daughters Joy McConnell and Mary Ellen Andrews and their husbands, four granddaughters, and two great-grandchildren. Dr. David Palmer, dean of the CSU College of Business, said, “My father was very proud of Charleston Southern and his service as a founding trustee. He, Dr. John Hamrick, and Dr. Chester Russell were instrumental in moving the South Carolina Baptists to create a college in the Lowcountry. He always had a deep love for Baptist College and Charleston Southern. “On a personal note, I always found my father to be very prayerful, consistent, and prepared. Whatever task he took on he worked to the glory of God and the absolute best of his ability. I believe he was one of those ministers who performed well in all three phases of leading a church. He was an excellent preacher, counselor, and business manager. He was well-recognized for his churchwide leadership ability. However, the best thing about him was his love for God, my mother, my sisters, and me. He was the same man as a father that he was a pastor, providing a great example for all of us.” CSU Associate Athletic Director for Academics, Betty Palmer, said, “PaPa, as he was known by the family, was a man of confident Christian faith, a true believer of the Word. He never met a stranger and showed everyone he met his wonderful smile and great sense of humor. What a blessing to not just have been a member of his family, but to have witnessed how he walked each day of his life with the Lord.” Ordained as a Southern Baptist minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 1948, Palmer served as pastor of Cross Roads Baptist Church, Greenville County, S.C.; Dorchester-Waylyn Baptist Church, Charleston, S.C.;

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Dr. Bill Palmer and Dr. Dondi Costin visit on the CSU campus. Photo provided.

Edwards Road Baptist Church, Greenville, S.C.; First Baptist Church, Morristown, Tenn.; First Baptist Church, Galax, Va.; and Witt Baptist Church, Morristown. Also, he was president of Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy (now the Kings Academy) in Seymour, Tenn. He served as an interim pastor at over 20 Baptist churches across East Tennessee. His love for people and Jesus Christ kept him active in ministry until he was 85 years old. His ministry continued through many activities until his death. Palmer was a lifetime learner and educator. He graduated from La Junta Senior High School and Browns Business College in La Junta, Colo. He attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., while working for the Department of State, and Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) in Stillwater, Okla., during World War II. Following military service, he graduated from Bob Jones University with a Bachelor of Arts and then a Master of Arts. He graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.,

with a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry. He completed the Clinical Pastoral Certification from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem, N.C. He taught New Testament Koine Greek at Bob Jones University and Southeastern Seminary. As president of Harrison-Chilhowee, he studied school administration at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Ind., and pursued doctoral study in school administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. As a learner and educator, Palmer collected a large library. He recently contributed about 1,000 volumes to CSU’s Rivers Library. “The library is honored to receive this gift from the private library of one of our university founders,” said Eric W. Kistler, director, Rivers Library. “Inside the front cover of each of his books Dr. Palmer inserted a plate that reads, ‘My books are my friends. We proceed side by side.’ It is fitting that Dr. Palmer’s beloved books have found a home where they will be available for future generations of CSU faculty and students. We are grateful for his generosity.”

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Across his ministerial career, Palmer served as First Vice President of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and President of the South Carolina Baptist Pastors Conference. He was First Vice President and President of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. He was elected Moderator of the Charleston (S.C.) Baptist Association, the Greenville (S.C.) Baptist Association, the Nolachucky (Tenn.) Baptist Association, and the New River (Va.) Baptist Association. In addition to serving on the board of trustees at CSU, he was also a trustee at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn.; Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.; and East Tennessee Baptist Hospital in Knoxville. He was a Commissioner of the Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Palmer was elected president of the National Alumni of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Southeastern Alumni Associations of South Carolina and Tennessee. While serving as Pastor of Witt Baptist Church, he was recognized by the Tennessee Baptist Convention as “Small Church Pastor of the Year.” Dr. Sonny Holmes, a former CSU trustee, said, “Dr. William L. Palmer was the first pastor of Edwards Road Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C., my home church. He was also a founding leader of Baptist College at Charleston. His spiritual guidance and leadership were profound during my high school and college years. After college and marriage I felt a personal call to pastoral ministry. Dr. Palmer was a key spiritual influence over that decision. He provided counsel and advice for our family transition to pastoral leadership. Now, in retirement after more than 45 years in South Carolina, several terms as an adjunct professor at CSU, and a term as a CSU trustee, I am grateful for his very strong leadership, his belief in CSU, and his legacy of educational excellence.” A veteran of World War II, he was assigned to the 381st Bombardment Group (Heavy) of the 8th Air Force Group in the European Theater of Operations. He served as a Staff Sergeant in Group Headquarters (S-3) at Ridgewell Air Force Base in Essex County, England. In 2019, he shared his story of serving in WWII with CSU students in a Veterans Day message.

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Michael Wayne Crawford ’77, age 64, died Oct. 29, 2020, in Orangeburg. He was a teacher at Whittaker Elementary School and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church Kindergarten School. He also was choir director in several churches and was a member of the Orangeburg Part Time Players. Joseph Henry Fay III ’79, age 68, died Jan. 7 in Syracuse, N.Y. He was a U.S. Navy veteran and was a restaurant manager in New Hampshire and New York. Virgil L. “Bob” Flowers ’77, age 83, died Dec. 9, 2020, in Summerville. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran and retired as a Senior Master Sergeant. He then was the Director of Transportation for Dorchester District 2. He was also a former councilman for the Town of Summerville. Joseph Daniel “Danny” Floyd ’74, age 72, died Nov. 28, 2020, in Charleston. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran and was a certified public accountant with a private practice in Mount Pleasant. Murray Lynn Gipe ’73, age 69, died Jan. 4 in Louisville, Ky. He was a certified public accountant and worked for Public Savings before moving to Louisville and working for Capital Holdings Insurance and then Humana. Jerry Williams Hills ’72, age 73, died Sept. 22, 2020. He received an MDiv degree from Columbia Theological Seminary and was a pastor for five years. He then opened a successful ServiceMaster franchise in Hendersonville, N.C., which served customers for over 20 years.

Dr. Thomas Cleveland Hulsey ’73, age 69, died Dec. 1, 2020, in Bennetts Point. He held higher degrees from the University of South Carolina and Johns Hopkins University. Most recently he was chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and School of Public Health at West Virginia University. Prior to that he worked at the Medical University of South Carolina. Mary Katherine Creal Hurt ’68, age 86, died Nov. 4, 2020, in Sumter. She taught elementary, middle and high school students in Charleston County schools and in Scotland. Doris Luprel McRoberts Inman ’79, age, 92, died Dec. 14, 2020. She had many interests and jobs, including owning and operating a gas station and small store, and serving as executive assistant to the commanding officer of the Polaris Missile Facility. She received her college degree at age 47, majoring in art. Idella Wanda Brown Pelzer ’92, age 51, died Nov. 30, 2020, in Charleston. She worked in several different jobs in Dorchester County, including with the Dorchester County Drug and Alcohol Commission, Dorchester County Public Library, and Dorchester School District Four. Sharon Sheils, ’99, age 70, died Oct. 13, 2020, in Walworth, New York. She worked for the Post and Courier, was an English and reading elementary school teacher and also earned a license in culinary arts. Ellen Ruth Wiley ’71, age 76, died Jan. 10 in Greenwood. She was a substitute teacher for Dorchester District II. John Scott Wilson ’85, age 66, died Dec. 27, 2020, in Walterboro. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran.

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granite marker honoring the term of service of Dr. John Hamrick, the university’s first president, was recently installed in the Reflection Pond’s brick walkway.

Photo by Richard Esposito

Did you know?

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