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Magazine for Alumni & Friends of the University

Helping Hands Lander Students, Faculty and Staff Join Forces to Make a Difference in the Local Community and Far Beyond

2017 Alumni Awards | Celebrating Lander Homecoming | Launching a New College | The Life of an RA

Purple Heart Parking In November, a front-row parking space near Lander University’s Carnell Learning Center was painted purple – the color of the Purple Heart Medal – and permanently reserved for U.S. service members wounded in combat. Joining Lander President Richard Cosentino and First Lady Jessica Cosentino in painting the parking space were members of Lander’s student body, faculty and staff who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. “We’re committed to those who have selflessly served our great nation, and this spot is a visual symbol of the pact we have with them,” said President Cosentino. – photo by Eric Lawson

Magazine for Alumni & Friends of the University


The life of a Resident Assistant is anything but boring, and Lander’s RAs are ready to offer support whenever and wherever it’s needed.



Lander alumni who are continuing their education abroad offer insight into the graduate school experience around the globe.


Each year, Lander students, faculty and staff join forces to make a difference in the local community and beyond.


Lander’s signature exercise science program is producing graduates who are trained and prepared to help others lead healthier lives.


The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences brings together the departments of History and Philosophy, Political and Social Sciences, Psychological Science and Military Science.


IN THE SPOTLIGHT Inspiring Mentors and Teachers: Jim and Jan Shore....................................... 26 Finding His Calling: Jay Esposito..................................................................................28 A Scholar Abroad: Breanna Butler...............................................................................29 Committed to Promoting Literacy: Maria Morales Moreno........................29 Beyond the Stigma: Sydney Wells...............................................................................33 Reaching New Heights: Monica Cleland................................................................39



2017 Alumni Award Winners..........................................................................................52 Profile: Dr. Peggy McClinton Makins..........................................................................55 Profile: Michael Rowe..........................................................................................................56 Alumni Events..........................................................................................................................62

UNIVERSITY IN REVIEW Homecoming...........................................................................................................................8 Commencement...................................................................................................................16 Bearcat Sports Roundup...................................................................................................34 News Briefs................................................................................................................................42 Giving & Scholarship News.............................................................................................48 Class Notes................................................................................................................................54 Life@Lander...............................................................................................................................64



Fundraisers, mission trips, toy and coat drives – Lander students, faculty and staff give back to the community in many ways, and each effort is a piece of a larger concept of community service that is a hallmark of the university.


Magazine for Alumni & Friends of the University

LANDER MAGAZINE STAFF Megan Price, Editor Deb Nygro, Co-Editor, Writer and Photographer L. C. Leach III, Writer Jeff Lagrone, Writer Eric Lawson, Writer Lisa Canada, Writer and Editorial Assistant Mike Blackwell, Photographer and Videographer Maria Scott, Designer Rixon Lane, Sports Writer

LANDER ALUMNI ASSOCIATION Myra Greene ’78, Director of Alumni Affairs & Annual Giving Debbie Lyons Dill ’90, Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs Jim Nichols ’95, President Debrah Hodges Miller ’76, Vice President Zenata Donaldson ’98, Secretary Lamar Scott ’82/’84, Treasurer Rodney Jones ’08, Vice President for Young Alumni

LANDER EXECUTIVE OFFICERS Richard E. Cosentino, President S. David Mash, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Andy J. Benoit Jr., Vice President for Enrollment and Access Management H. Randall Bouknight, Vice President for Student Affairs Kim English, Vice President for University Advancement Gregory M. Lovins, Vice President for Business and Administration Brian P. Reese, Director of Athletics J. Adam Taylor ’87, Vice President for Governmental Relations

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Jack W. Lawrence, Chair Linda L. Dolny ’69, Secretary Robert A. Barber Jr. Bobby M. Bowers Holly Bracknell Cary Corbitt ’74 Catherine Lee Frederick Maurice Holloway ’78 Raymond D. Hunt ’90 Marcia Thrift Hydrick ’81 Donald H. Lloyd II ’83 Peggy M. Makins ’81 Claude Robinson ’79 Robert F. Sabalis DeWitt Stone Jr. Angela G. Strickland ’02 S. Anne Walker ’72 It is the policy of Lander University to prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sex, veteran status and genetic information in regard to the administration of all campus programs, services and activities, including intercollegiate athletics and the admission of students, employment actions or other sponsored activities including obligations of Title IX. Information regarding these policies/procedures and contact information can be found at



A Message from the President Dear Alumni and Friends: Spring on a university campus is something of a contradiction. On one hand, the spring semester is the end of the academic year, so we see the hurried tidying-up of GPAs and, in the near distance, the bittersweet specter of commencement farewells. And yet, like the farmers of South Carolina turning over last year’s spent crop to reveal new soil, it’s the time of year when we enjoy nature’s renewal and, at least in my opinion, a refreshed view of the future and its possibilities. There is a metaphor here, and you’ll see that metaphor in the pages of this issue of Lander Magazine. Two articles in particular remind us that, to everything there is a season. Sadly, in December we said goodbye to our dear friend Margaret Lander Scheibler, the last grandchild of our university’s founder, the Rev. Samuel Lander. There is a beautiful tribute to Mrs. Margaret and her remarkable capacity to challenge and inspire those around her – even those young enough to be her great-great grandchildren. Serving as a Trail Angel on the Appalachian Trail as recently as 2015, Mrs. Margaret gave us all something to strive for: a century of commitment to community, to friendship and to service. And yet, as we bid farewell to Margaret Lander Scheibler, we turn and see the scores of current Lander students who are carrying on that commitment to community that Mrs. Margaret modeled. I hope you will take a moment to read the excellent article about service learning at Lander and the many student organizations that are serving this region – and far beyond – in truly impactful ways. Even if your name doesn’t appear in this issue of Lander Magazine, I hope you will see yourself in these pages – in the lifelong commitment we loved in Mrs. Margaret, in the passionate service of our students to their communities, in the personal achievements of your fellow alumni, and in the Bearcat spirit that makes us all part of the Lander family. All the best,

Richard Cosentino President, Lander University


Get Connected

Homecoming Highlights 2017 From the golf tournament and alumni social, to the soapbox race and hilarious “Survey Says!” game show, all the highlights from Lander Homecoming 2017 are here.

Follow us Top: This campus scene photographed by Deb Crenshaw-Nygro generated quite a buzz! My lovely daughter Hope Chareece Currence just graduated from Lander University. This is a day of days! Gregory T. Currence of Rock Hill Lander University

Check out Lander student Amira Abdelwahab’s incredible story!

Profile of Centennial Hall

We took a group of about 40 students to Lander University for a great tour! Thanks for your hospitality! Woodmont High School counselors in Piedmont

Finally accepted by my top choice, Lander University! Words cannot describe the happiness this brings to me!

2016 Fall Commencement

Gabrielle Ross of Lexington

Lander Student Accepted Into Prestigious Study Program in Nation’s Capital Lander University sophomore and Greenwood native Amira Abdelwahab is one of only 12 students from the state to be accepted into the South Carolina Washington Semester Program this year.

Congrats to Lander University on gaining the best goalie in the world & also my bestie! Elli Winfree of Winter Haven, Fla., on women’s soccer commit Sarah Owen

Lander names Brian Reese as Athletic Director. Congrats Brian! Great selection for Lander!

Installment of Student Artwork

Matthew Finley, senior associate athletic director for Anderson University


‘Prepared forAnything’



By Jeff Lagrone Photos by Deb Nygro and Megan Price

Lander RAs Equal to the Challenge One hundred and nine Lander University upperclassmen have applied to be resident assistants next year. It’s the most applications for RA jobs that the Department of Housing and Residence Life has ever received. With perks like free lodging, a yearly stipend of $2,400 and the opportunity to make friends, influence people and gain valuable job skills, it’s no wonder that Lander RA positions are coveted jobs. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy work. RAs are the first point of contact for between 30 and 50 students who live alongside them in the university’s nine residence halls. RAs are encouraged to have some kind of interaction with all of their residents each week. RAs have other responsibilities, too. They issue and retrieve keys, file damage reports and perform other administrative tasks. They assist with planning, implementing and communicating information about a broad range of educational, social and recreational activities in the interest of building a sense of community. If there are student welfare or roommate problems, or maintenance or safety concerns, an RA is probably not far away. RAs are also students who live with the knowledge that their study time could be cut short – or taken away completely – as the result of some unexpected development on their floor. Because of such a possibility, good time management is essential.

Blair Harmon, right, shows two of her residents, Rebekah Pinkel, center, of Fountain Inn, and Aralyn Townsend, of Port Royal, a feature of her new iPad Pro during a study session in her apartment at University Place.

Enforcing rules in an impartial manner can be difficult. RAs sometimes find themselves in the position of having to write up their friends. “Just because you like someone doesn’t mean you can let them get away with breaking rules,” said Jesse Wheeler, an RA from North Augusta who lives in Bearcat Village. Wheeler added, however, that “another aspect of being an RA is knowing when to be a friend. You will have residents come to your door at 2 a.m. crying, who just need someone to talk to.” According to Zach Helms, a former RA and residence life coordinator (RLC) who now serves as assistant director of Housing and Residence Life, “roommate conflicts are top of the list” of problems an RA is likely to face. “It’s usually something along the lines of, ‘they’re not taking out the trash,’ ‘they’re eating my food,’ ‘they took a drink out of my refrigerator,’ ‘they’re not splitting the grocery bill.’” Roommates “coming in and cutting on lights or banging around” when their other roommates are trying to sleep is another oftenheard complaint. “You name it, we’ve probably seen it,” Helms said. Sometimes, RAs are confronted with situations of a more serious nature. In several instances, RAs have recognized mental health issues on the part of their residents and intervened “to get them the help they needed.”

Haley Histon, left, and Jahleesa Coatie share information about upcoming activities and events on campus with residents of Chipley Hall. – continued on page 6


‘Prepared for Anything’ “Being an RA has made me feel more connected to Lander and broadened my social circle.”

Nathaniel Lagrone, who is working as a student teacher at Greenwood High School this semester, makes out lesson plans for his classes in his room at Centennial Hall.

Ayana Gilliyard, right, enjoys a visit from Gabrielle Gandy, left, of Simpsonville, a resident of Bearcat Village, and Latonya Holman, of Blackville, a Brookside RA.



Seven of Lander’s 43 RAs are Head RAs, second- or third-year resident assistants who receive additional compensation for overseeing the RA staff in their assigned residence hall and reporting back to that area’s RLC. Jahleesa Coatie, a Head RA from Columbia assigned to Chipley Hall, said that one of the keys to being a good RA is being able to “remain calm in stressful and emergency situations.” Another one, she said, is being “prepared for anything.” RAs “need to be able to think quickly on their feet and use common sense in order to make decisions,” said Blair Harmon, a head RA from Saluda who lives at University Place. Being personable, in Harmon’s view, is also important. “You have to be able to talk to different personalities in different situations,” she said. One of the things that housing office staff most want to hear when interviewing candidates for RA jobs is that the student has a desire to help people. Ayana Gilliyard, a head RA from McClellanville and resident of Bearcat Village, fits the mold. She said she enjoys being able to “reach students on a different level and help them with everything that goes on in their lives, not just issues with their housing.” Serving as an RA leads to the development of skills that carry over to other endeavors in life. Coatie said that she “was a very shy and timid freshman who didn’t get involved in anything around campus. The RA position has allowed me to blossom, as I am currently involved with multiple organizations and have gained communication skills that I definitely would not have acquired had I not been an RA. I have learned to deal with confrontation, and I have also acquired skills that will benefit me in office settings.” A common theme in conversations with RAs is how many friends they’ve made. “I have made connections with people that I would have never met without this experience!” said Haley Histon, a Presidential Ambassador and Honors College student from Greenville, who lives at Chipley Hall. “Being an RA has made me feel more connected to Lander and broadened my social circle,” said Nathaniel Lagrone, a Clemson transfer student assigned to Centennial Hall. The fact that 40 of the 43 current RAs have either reapplied to be RAs next year or will graduate points to a high level of satisfaction with the job. Histon called it “one of the best experiences of my life.” RAs serve as a liaison between the housing office and the 1,200-1,250 students who currently live on campus. Helms tells RAs that the office couldn’t function without them, and he means it. “Being in the housing office, you’re not going to see every student, you’re not going to hear from every student,” he said, calling Lander’s RAs his “eyes and ears.” Asked if he was generally pleased with the performance of his RAs, he said, “Absolutely. We’re very proud of our RAs and of the RA program.”

“We’re very proud of our RAs and of the RA program.”

Lander RAs from left: Haley Histon ’19, Ayana Gilliyard ’18, Jesse Wheeler ’19, Nathaniel Lagrone ’17, Jahleesa Coatie ’18 and Blair Harmon ’18.

“I have made connections with people that I would have never met without this experience!”


Welcome to the Emerald City Photos by Deb Nygro, Laura M. Brown ’16, Jeff Lagrone and Eric Lawson

Lander Celebrates Homecoming 2017 Whether it was rallying around a bonfire, cheering on the Bearcats in sporting events, pulling for their favorite soapbox racer or just tailgating on the front lawn, Lander University students and alumni finished another annual Homecoming Week in high spirits and style. Held the week of February 6-11, Homecoming 2017, with the theme “Welcome to the Emerald City,” gave students a chance to get some relief from the intensity of study and classes by participating in friendly competition. The university also welcomed home alumni for a chance to reconnect with former classmates while sharing memories of their alma mater. Wrapping up the weeklong celebration, the student body chose their 2017 Homecoming King and Queen: Brandon Teal, a sophomore nursing major from Cheraw; and Hillary Coursey, of Greenwood, a senior majoring in business administration with an emphasis in health care management. Both sponsored by Phi Mu, Teal and Coursey were crowned during halftime ceremonies at the Homecoming basketball matchups between the Bearcats and the USC Aiken Pacers. Here, we take a look at some of the best moments from this year’s fun lineup of events.




Welcome to the Emerald City

Homecoming Champions Claiming the 2017 Bearcat Cup, the award for the best overall score in the student homecoming competitions, was Zeta Tau Alpha. COMPETITION WINNERS Banner – Phi Mu Bearcat Showcase – Zeta Tau Alpha Medallion Search – Phi Mu Soap Box Race – Zeta Tau Alpha Spirit Night – Zeta Tau Alpha Survey Says – Lander RAs

ALUMNI GOLF OUTING Winning Team: Zach Calhoun, Chris Cabri ’98 Chris Clem ’93, P.J. Poore ‘93




‘It Opened My Eyes’ Graduates Reflect on Studying Abroad

By Jeff Lagrone

Daniel Yeargin ’16, a student at Durham University in England, poses for a photo during a trip to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland.



Diego Zegarra ’15, a native of La Paz, Bolivia, was already a seasoned traveler before beginning work on a master’s degree in international development at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, having come to Lander University on a tennis scholarship, and having also spent the summer before his senior year at Cambridge University in England. Daniel Yeargin ’16 did not participate in Lander’s Study Abroad Program as an undergraduate and had never been out of the country before accepting a scholarship to Durham University in England, where he’s pursuing a master’s in business management and serving as a playing coach for the school’s American football team. While the experiences of Zegarra and Yeargin are different, they share at least one thing in common: they’re among numerous Lander graduates who’ve continued their educations abroad. The dividends associated with studying abroad are many. “The most beneficial thing about studying abroad is that it opened my eyes to what the world has to offer. One can achieve something similar by traveling, but by studying abroad, one can get into other cultures more deeply. Other benefits include learning new languages and having an unforgettable time with people from all over the world,” said Zegarra. For Yeargin, the most valuable part of the experience has been “gaining a world-class education while being able to travel quite easily and play the sport I love.” He expects his time overseas to “have an impact on the rest of my life.” While studying abroad can be rewarding, it isn’t necessarily all smooth sailing.

Paris Institute of Political Studies student Diego Zegarra ’15 visits Big Ben in London, England.

“Studying abroad forces you outside of your comfort zone,” said Lander graduate Stephen Sanders ’15, who has spent time in ten countries and is now working on a master’s in social and cultural psychology at London School of Economics. “If you’re not willing to take a risk or immerse yourself in wherever you’re at, there isn’t much point in leaving home,” he said. Kim Modica ’16, a graduate student pursuing a master’s in politics and international relations at University College of Dublin in Ireland, said that “being a wanderer,” as she puts it, has given her “a sense of endless bravery and an ability to adapt to new surroundings quickly.” She added, however, “it has been extremely trying at times.” Modica said that recent changes in American foreign policy have made the experience of studying international relations abroad “difficult.” She said that she has also had to deny herself many “simple pleasures” so that she could afford to travel. – continued on page 14

Kim Modica ’16, a student at University College of Dublin, in Ireland, takes time out from her studies to visit Giant’s Causeway, on the north coast of Northern Ireland.

– contributed photos


‘It Opened My Eyes’

– continued from page 13

Melissa Lee-Smith ’15 and her husband, Adam, enjoy a visit to the ruins of Corfe Castle, in Dorset, near the south coast of England.

Mel and Adam Lee-Smith pose with Dr. Roger Richardson, professor emeritus of history and director of internationalization for the University of Winchester, where Mel and her husband met.



Melissa Lee-Smith ’15, or “Mel,” as she is known, is another Lander graduate who has overcome numerous obstacles to realize her dream of studying abroad. Despite working two jobs, she was unable to raise the money for her plane fare to England, where she planned to spend the fall 2013 semester at the University of Winchester. She was saved from the disappointment of having to remain stateside by a short-term loan from the Lander Study Abroad Program, directed at that time by Dr. DeWitt Stone Jr., who advanced her the money for her plane fare and passport. “I don’t think he realized it, but he probably saved my life with his generosity. I was due a refund check from Lander the next week. As soon as I got it, I paid the loan back in full,” she said. Two weeks after arriving in Winchester, she met and fell in love with an English classmate, Adam Lee-Smith, whom she later married in August 2015, the same month she graduated with a B.A. in English from Lander. Mel knew she wanted to return to Winchester to pursue a master’s in creative and critical writing, and she did so, graduating with distinction in November 2016. “Despite the fact that I’ve graduated with top honors from a UK university and have lived in England for two and a half years, I was not allowed to apply for a marriage visa,” she said, adding that a change in the income requirement for the visa has put it out of reach for many people in the United Kingdom. For Mel, splitting up with her husband was not an option. The European Union Free Movement Law allows citizens to bring their non-EU spouses with them when they move, so the two relocated to Waterford, Ireland, where Mel is working as a freelance writer and editor. She calls it “doing whatever it takes to stay together.” When asked if his view of the U.S. had changed as a result of studying abroad, Sanders, who has studied at Winchester, Cambridge and Harvard, said, “Yes – studying abroad multiple times, and seeing that every country has its fair share of injustice, poverty, educational disparity, etc., helped me appreciate my homeland more.” Devin Reid ’15, who completed a master’s in social and organizational psychology with merit at the University of Exeter in December, was in full agreement. He said that going abroad leads to “a greater appreciation for what you have, and a greater acceptance for people who live differently from yourself. Speaking in rather general terms, you realize that the American way isn’t the only way.”

The guest list for Mel and Adam’s August 2015 wedding included Lander Trustee and former Study Abroad Director Dr. DeWitt Stone Jr. and his wife, Carolyn.

Preparing for Graduate Schools Abroad Students are likelier to attend graduate school abroad if they studied abroad as undergraduates. Zegarra, Sanders, Modica, Lee-Smith and Reid all did. For that reason, the state of Lander’s Study Abroad Program for undergraduates could be considered part of the larger picture. While pleased with participation in the program, Professor of Spanish Dr. Carlos Mentley, who currently serves as Study Abroad director, said he would like to double the number of undergraduates studying overseas to 16-20 per semester. He also wants to sign study abroad agreements with partner institutions that can provide the range of coursework needed by Lander students majoring in biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, mathematics, computing, exercise science and teacher education. “I want Lander students in any major to be able to study abroad and do coursework in their major, so as not to fall behind in their fouryear Lander curriculum,” he said. Associate Professor of English Dr. Lillian Craton, who directs Lander’s Honors College, said that many students are inspired to study abroad by seeing so many international students attending classes at Lander. The requirement that Honors College students spend a semester or summer “going beyond the traditional classroom experience” is another incentive. Craton, in her role as Honors College director, has persuaded numerous students to take the plunge, but she said that Dr. DeWitt Stone, who directed the Study Abroad Program from 2004 until 2014, “has done some heroic things to get our students abroad.”

Stone’s first experience with studying abroad, he likes to joke, came in 1964, when he left his home in East Tennessee to do graduate work in Louisiana, where the culture is based upon French customs and Catholicism is the dominant religion. That, and experiences like the year he spent doing chemical research at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, “changed my life because they greatly widened my perception of the world,” he said. Stone, who now serves on Lander’s Board of Trustees, said that the primary motivation for his work as director of the Study Abroad Program was his wish for Lander students to “have the same opportunities that I had enjoyed.” He believes that students who study abroad return with more self-confidence, self-reliance and maturity, with more interest in their studies and a broader understanding of the world. He called the experience of helping 148 Lander students to spend a semester abroad “the single-most rewarding thing that I did in my 50 years in higher education.” Craton said that many Lander faculty members have also helped both undergraduate and graduate students make travel plans and encouraged them along the way. “Despite being a small school in a small town, Lander does a really good job of helping students feel connected to the larger world that’s out there. It doesn’t surprise me that we have a fairly large number of students who go straight from commencement to the airport to go see some of that world, and it makes us really proud,” she said. Above: Devin Reid ’15 is all smiles after receiving his master’s degree from the University of Exeter in England.


Fall 2016 Commencement

‘Push Yourself Beyond Your Limits’ By L. C. Leach III, Photos by Laura M. Brown ’16

Nearly 2,000 people packed Finis Horne Arena on Dec. 14, 2016, to see 222 graduates receive degrees at Lander University’s 154th commencement. Among the fall class were students from China, Germany, Canada, South Korea and the British Virgin Islands, and nine U.S. states, including Florida, Illinois and Ohio. “My experience here at Lander has been like nothing else,” said senior Chelsea Hall, who came from her hometown of Canton, Ohio, in 2011 to see the campus. She returned to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Lander’s nursing program. “After all the hard work, it just feels so rewarding to finally graduate.” Delivering the commencement address was world rodeo champion and motivational speaker Amberley Snyder, who urged the new graduates to “keep going – no matter what.” Snyder, who was introduced by Lander equestrian team member Mackenzie Reuss, was paralyzed from the waist down at age 18 in a tragic automobile accident. But, she found a way to continue to ride horses and compete in rodeos by using a special saddle and belt. Now at age 25, Snyder uses her story to inspire others and help them overcome daily obstacles, speaking across the country and addressing a Facebook fan base of 200,000 in a video series called “Wheelchair Wednesdays.” “There is going to be a time in your life when the odds are against you – when you won’t know what you’re capable of,” she told the graduates near the end of her address. “Those are the times you have to trust in God … and in yourself. So don’t be afraid to push yourself beyond your limits.” Following Snyder’s address, Lander President Dr. Richard Cosentino recognized undergraduate academic honors recipients, student veterans, student athletes and the five finalists for the Thayer Award, Lander’s highest academic honor.



Finalists included Myeongseok Simon Sim of Seoul, South Korea; Kay Wright Davis of Clinton, S.C.; and Dara Alexandra Neal, Jennifer Caroline Mull and Melissa Williams Moore, all of Greenwood, S.C. Following grade tabulations in late December, Moore, who earned a bachelor’s in elementary education, was announced as the recipient of the prestigious award. “Having five finalists for this honor shows the high academic caliber of this graduating class,” Cosentino said, adding, “I hope all 222 of our fall graduates will distinguish themselves in their chosen fields.” Hall, for one, began her nursing career in January 2017 in the Intensive Care Unit at Greenville Memorial Hospital in Greenville, S.C. “I really liked the idea of becoming a nurse,” Hall said. “Because we were able to get individual attention and work one-on-one with our professors, I think it prepared us to be better nurses.” Tripp Guinn, of Elberton, Ga., landed a job just before graduation when he joined Bay Island Sportswear, Inc., in Greenwood, as the company’s first in-house web developer. “I’m going to miss being at Lander,” said Guinn, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer information systems. “But it’s also exciting to be able to move on to something new and go into the adult world.” Once all 222 degrees were in hand and the ceremony ended, the graduates and their parents and friends erupted in celebration with shouts, smiles, hugs, tears, picture taking – and above all, excitement that this part of their journey was successfully completed. “It’s difficult to leave, but I’m ready to move on,” said Kristin Hess, a mathematics major from Tega Cay, S.C. “I know my dad was ready for me to graduate – because now he gets a raise!” Above: Commencement speaker Amberley Snyder addresses the crowd at Lander’s fall graduation ceremony in December.

Bearcat Medalists

University Medalists Above: In a new tradition at commencement, graduates who achieved a 4.0 Lander GPA were awarded with a special ceremonial medal, struck with the university seal. Fall 2016 University Medalists pictured, from left, are: Kay Wright Davis, business administration; Dara Alexandra Neal, visual arts; Melissa Williams Moore, elementary education; Jennifer Caroline Mull, business administration; and Myeongseok Simon Sim, chemistry. Moore was also the recipient of the Thayer Award, Lander’s highest honor for academic achievement.

Above: A large number of Lander student athletes, adorned with Bearcat medals, crossed the stage to receive degrees at the fall commencement ceremony. Pictured, from left, are: Kaitlyn Marie Harrison, volleyball, elementary education; Kendall Morgan Korte, volleyball, exercise science; Puria Masoumi Far, men’s soccer, business administration; Anthony Gonzalez, men’s soccer, business administration; Steven Gonzalez, men’s soccer, business administration; Kioki R. Hutchings, men’s soccer, business administration; past interim Director of Athletics Les Robinson; President Richard Cosentino; Cody Ryan Brooks, men’s soccer, business administration; Tarryn Janett Angermeier, volleyball, business administration; Sara Anne Ballante, women’s soccer, mass communications; Breairra Denay Crum, women’s basketball, psychology; Taylor Nichole Piorkowski, women’s soccer, mass communications; Women’s Basketball Head Coach Kevin Pederson; and Women’s Soccer Head Coach Chris Ayer.

U.S. Veteran Honorees Above: Graduates who were U.S. veterans were honored with a special stole in recognition of their service. Pictured, from left, are: Anthony Lucas Roach, emergency management; Joi Erika Jordan Thomas, exercise science; Deidra Shary Williams, psychology; Casey Michelle Realmuto, psychology; John Stanley Penman, business administration; and Chris Giles, director of Military and Veteran Services at Lander.

Left: Pictured at the fall commencement brunch are speaker Amberley Snyder and President Richard Cosentino, seated, with (back row, from left): Maurice Holloway ’78, Lander University Board of Trustees; Mackenzie Reuss, a member of the Lander University Equestrian Team who introduced Snyder at the commencement ceremony; Linda Dolny ’69, Board of Trustees secretary; the Bearcat; Lander First Lady Jessica Cosentino; and Jack Lawrence, Board of Trustees chair. – photo by Deb Nygro


Fall 2016 Commencement Gallery




Helping Hands Bearcats Join Forces to Give Back to the Community and Make a Difference for Those in Need



United by an Enduring Spirit of Goodwill By L. C. Leach III

Shortly after noon on Sept. 10, 2016, Lander education lecturer Rebecca Fernandez and her family settled in their home to watch an early-season football game on TV. An hour or so later, they were running for their lives. A porch fire had suddenly ignited – and while firefighters fought the blaze, Fernandez watched as “40 years of our life were reduced to ashes, then scooped up and carried away.” But in the next 24 hours, Fernandez, known affectionately as “Fern,” learned that faculty, staff and 24 Lander student-teachers, whom she taught, had hurriedly met and started a GoFundMe account in her name. Within four weeks of the fire, more than 60 people had donated to the fund, raising enough money to help the Fernandez family buy new clothes and start to recover. “It was something we all wanted to do, because Fern is a super person and a super teacher,” said senior Alex Belue, who led the fundraising effort. While Fernandez is now looking at starting over in a new home, what she remembers most about the fire is how her students came through for her at a critical time. “Until something like that happens, you don’t really know what you mean to people,” said Fernandez, tearing up at the memory. “The outpouring of love they showed … was their way of trying to do something in return – to give something back to me.” But this kind of “giving back” is not unusual among Lander students, nor evident only in a crisis. During the past 70 years, Lander’s spirit of goodwill toward individuals, the Greenwood community and the world beyond South Carolina has grown to become a signature hallmark throughout the university. “We think giving back to others is vital to the personal development of our students,” said Randy Bouknight, vice president for Student Affairs. “Currently, we have nearly 60 registered student groups on campus that give our students an opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-life situations and to feel a sense of accomplishment by helping others in need.”

“The outpouring of love they showed was their way of trying to do something in return – to give something back to me.”

Of the many individuals and organizations that these student groups support, what follows are five recent efforts that embody the Lander spirit of giving:

Mission to Honduras Habitat House CrossFit for Cancer Tommy Claus Winter Coat Drive

Contributed photo - Greenwood Index-Journal


Mission to Honduras Caring Across Barriers

“There are a lot of people beyond our own community who need their care.” Contributed photos



When Assistant Professor Ashley Lee took 12-13 of her Lander nursing students to Honduras for one week last June, she intended to do more than hone their nursing skills – she wanted them to experience a sense of community giving that would transcend their approach to becoming nurses. “This mission started in 2011 to serve the Lenca Indians,” Lee said. “These people have nothing, and I want my student-nurses to see that there are a lot of people beyond our own community who need their care.” Once in Honduras, Lee and her nursing team journey for more than four hours by bus from the city of San Pedro Sula into the mountains where the Lencas live. Assisting them are missionaries, pastors, translators and other Hondurans. Each day, the team visits one of five different villages – one of them more than two hours away by bus – to care for the Lencas with medical and dental treatment, and to provide them with sunglasses, toys, shoes, smiles and hugs. “We see 300 to 500 patients each day,” Lee said. “Many of them are like our extended Honduran family. They pray for us, and usually when we get to the villages, they have been lined up for hours waiting for us to come.” Students get to practice their assessment and pharmacology skills, speak Spanish to determine the villagers’ needs, set up and see the limitations of a primitive pharmacy, and perform deworming, because “most of the patients have parasites,” Lee said. “They also extract teeth – something they would never get to do here – and perform sutures on patients at the dental clinic,” Lee said. “They also see how much we take for granted – how these people often wait for months or a year to get something like Advil for a simple headache.” Juniors Tanya Bledsoe and Sara Howe said that, in terms of giving to others, serving the Lencas last summer expanded their approach to nursing. “When I become an RN, I want to make this trip and a medical mission part of my career,” said Bledsoe. “Me, too,” Howe added, “and we both plan to go back to see the Lencas again this summer.”

“When we work around younger people, it brings a whole new sense of excitement to our organization.” Photos by Deb Nygro

Habitat House Realizing the Dream of Home Ownership Since its beginnings in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has built safe, affordable houses for families throughout the world. On Feb. 8, 2017, the Lander campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity began work on a new 1,100-square-foot house, its second Habitat home. More than 100 students volunteered to help in the first phase of construction. Together with Greenwood Area Habitat, they helped build the walls, floors and roof of what will later this year become home to Kathy Ouzts, in the Kirksey Park area of southern Greenwood. “I’m a single mom with four kids,” Ouzts said, “and this home is a huge blessing for us.” The Lander Habitat home is an ongoing initiative, begun in 2015 with the support of Lander First Lady Jessie Cosentino, to create a positive impact on both Lander students and the community. Including Lander, Habitat for Humanity boasts more than 500 campus chapters in the U.S. “When we work around younger people, it brings a whole new sense of excitement to our organization,” said Chad Charles, executive director of Greenwood Habitat. Habitat Family Services Coordinator Pattie Fender added that the twoyear partnership with Lander has helped move more families into a home sooner. “We get 20 to 25 applications for homes each year,” Fender said, “and the help from Lander students allows us to build an additional house a year, which in turn allows one more family a year, like Kathy Ouzts’, to realize their dream of home ownership.”


“The money will help people now and maybe one day help lead to a cure.” Photo by Eric Lawson

CrossFit for Cancer Carrying the Weights Lander junior Ananda Cloud loves staying in shape with running, push-ups and weights. But when she picked up a set of barbells last October during a Lander CrossFit competition, she wasn’t trying so much to win as to help someone she didn’t know and would likely never meet. When the competition ended, Cloud and other entrants had helped raise more than $2,400 to benefit Barbells for Boobs (BFB), a national, nonprofit organization headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif., committed to providing cancer screenings and mammograms for low-income and uninsured women and men under 40. “Most of the money was raised during October because it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” said Matthew Gilstrap, director of Campus Recreation. “But, donations came in during the whole course of 2016.” The CrossFit event included more than 20 students who competed while performing pull-ups, push-ups, air squats and cleanand-jerk weightlifting. Money was raised from online donations, T-shirt sales and event entry fees. “I participated because my best friend’s aunt died from breast cancer,” said Cloud, a sociology and criminal justice major. “I wanted to help bring awareness to this cause, so that going forward, the money will help people now and maybe one day help lead to a cure.”



Tommy Claus Making Children’s Dreams Come True Each holiday season, Lander students take time from their academic studies to take part in “Tommy Claus,” a university-wide Christmas toy drive to benefit local underprivileged families. Led by Lander Physical Plant employee Tommy Tumblin, the effort begins right after Halloween, when employees and students start collecting toys and filling drop boxes across campus. The chimney-shaped boxes, originally decorated by students in the Lander Art Alliance, give “Tommy Claus” an extra push by urging all passersby to remember the spirit of giving and to contribute a new or gently used toy. “Christmas 2016 was the best year we’ve ever had,” said Tumblin, who began Tommy Claus out of his garage in 2004. “We helped 240 families this past December – more than ever before – and had 3,000 to 4,000 toys donated by groups all over Greenwood.” The reward, he said, is in “making children’s dreams come true” – and occasionally rescuing children from abusive and drug-riddled environments. In the last 13 years, the program has been supported by state Senator Floyd Nicholson (D-District 10) and has attracted patrons from as far away as Travelers Rest. “But it’s the Lander students who make the difference,” Tumblin said, “and it would be hard to do this without their involvement and spirit.”

“We helped 240 families this past December, more than ever before.” Photo by Jeff Lagrone

“This was the simplest way to impact the community in a timely manner.” Photo by Eric Lawson

Spirit of Giving It Began with the Public

Winter Coat Drive Warmth Just in Time When Lander’s Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society hosted its first winter coat drive last fall to aid disadvantaged citizens, they weren’t sure how it would go over, given their schedules and timeframe. “We were all busy with studies and were coming up on Thanksgiving break,” said senior accounting major Michelle Weeks, “so that left us only six days, spread across two weeks, to do the drive.” However, six days was plenty, as members collected 75 coats for Pathway House, a local homeless shelter. “There were other things we thought of doing,” said society president Shakeema Jackson, “but this was the simplest way to impact the community in a timely manner.” Erica Bradberry, who suggested the coat drive, added, “We accepted all kinds of coats – heavy-duty, lightweight, even socks and scarves. It was amazing that we collected so much in such a short amount of time.” All 75 coats were delivered before Christmas – just in time to give some extra warmth to the men who come through the shelter. “From July to December 2016, we had 107 different men stay at Pathway House, plus an additional 12 who stayed in the cold-weather overnight shelter,” said Ken Kelly, director of Greenwood Pathway House. “When Lander students help us with things like the winter coat drive, it shows us that the community is aware of, and supportive of, our efforts to help citizens in Greenwood who don’t have a place to live and are struggling to survive.”

All these acts of giving back are just a small glimpse of Lander’s spirit of goodwill, and as the university’s enrollment increases, this spirit is almost certain to expand into newer and broader areas, as the needs of the community change. But this generosity didn’t just spring from nowhere, nor from a past presidential decree. Its roots can be traced to the people of Greenwood. Shortly after World War II, as then-Lander College was turning 75, no celebrations marked the occasion because the school was facing challenges, both with finances and with facilities. In 1947, the South Carolina Methodist Conference, which had operated Lander since 1898, ended its support of the college, instead focusing its higher education efforts on several other institutions in the state. In an article published in June 2016 by the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Southern Studies, Lander Professor Emeritus of History Dr. Marvin Cann explains how the Greenwood community came to the rescue when the school’s future seemed uncertain: At the time of the Methodist Conference’s decision, a group of local businessmen convinced the church to donate the school to the Greenwood community, with conditions that the property be used solely for educational purposes and that Lander gain accreditation within 10 years. A public corporation, The Lander Foundation, was chartered in 1948 to operate the college. Over the next 25 years, through the efforts of Foundation leaders and university presidents Boyce M. Grier and E. Don Herd Jr., Lander flourished, receiving initial accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1952, and officially coming under state control in 1973. Now a thriving university with nearly 3,000 students, Lander’s story could have stalled in 1947, if not for that group of Greenwood citizens, according to Cann. “So the spirit of giving to the community that Lander is known for actually began with the community giving back to the school.” University President Richard Cosentino added, “The people at that time came through for Lander at a critical moment, so I personally think we should come through for the community in every way possible, whenever it needs us.”



Inspiring Mentors and Teachers By Dr. Renee Love, Dean, College of Arts and Humanities

Editor’s Note: Renowned artists Jim and Jan Shore visited Lander University in February to attend the Student Art Show, for which Jim served as juror. The inspirational impact of their visit is chronicled in this spotlight editorial by Dr. Renee Love, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and associate professor of English. – Photos by Jon Holloway

I think it was the poet Byron who said that some occasions are “rare in time though frequent in eternity.” This reflection describes how I feel about Jim and Jan Shore’s recent visit with us at Lander. The Shores were attending Lander’s Student Art Show as honored guests so that Jim could jury the Art Show. Weeks earlier, Jim had selected from students’ digital submissions the pieces that would appear in the show. In the College of Arts and Humanities, Jim and Jan are treasured family, but they are also world-class artists and professionals. Jim has been a commercial artist for decades, starting out as an engineer while developing his mastery of drawing, sculpture, gold- and silversmithing, stained glass and furniture making.

2017 Student Juried Exhibit

A self-taught artist, Shore has garnered an international reputation, and his Enesco collections are sold in over 25,000 stores around the world. You have seen Shore’s work more often than you may realize: his pieces are magical, spirited, intertextual and somehow folkart familiar and beautiful. I like to think that each figure is part of a larger archipelago of stories, and each holds a special role in collections like Heartwood Creek, Christmas, Disney Traditions, Peanuts, River’s End or The Wizard of Oz. At times, Shore provides additional glimpses of these wondrous narratives on the figures, so perhaps a winter day scene is delicately imprinted on the belly of a Snowman, a scene that feels like home, like the memory of something that once was or the dream of something yet to be. Jim and Jan have a tireless work ethic, designing and marketing their work, and they are also beloved parents and grandparents, yet they still reserve time to invest in other people, too – including young artists, like Lander art majors. This is not Jim and Jan’s first visit to Lander, because Jim’s daughter, Sandy Singletary, is also an artist and faculty member in the Art Department. During their latest visit, the Shores and I discussed many epic themes in life’s journey: the bravery it takes to follow a dream; the persistence and resilience required to pursue a goal

Lander senior Preston Dunning, center, stands beside his ceramic artwork “Language Theory,” which was awarded Best In Show by artist Jim Shore, left, at Lander’s annual Student Art Show in February. The exhibit was organized by Jim Slagle, right, chair of Lander’s Department of Art, and by Jon Holloway, director of the Monsanto Art Gallery. – Photo by Clark Leach



when the rewards may not be immediately realized; the balance it takes as an artist to create work that is exceptional while also emotional – work that captures the imperfections of the human spirit. I always feel like conversations with the Shores end too soon because there are so many lessons for us to share. For instance, Jim recalled a wonderful experience from long ago, when he was taking a class in doll-making. Thinking that he had created the perfect doll face, Jim was shocked when his teacher thought his work was unmemorable, shallow, cold. Ironically, the doll’s face was too perfect, without flaws or feelings. The creation lacked the emotions that would have made it beautiful and true to life. Although frustrated at the time, Jim later realized his teacher had shared a valuable lesson: the artist pours life and emotions into a work, much like breathing

a spark of life into something formerly inanimate, and often those signs of life are in the small details one might mistake for imperfections. Paradoxically, the imperfections may be the emotions, and even the love, we bring to the work – much in the same way that it is often the differences, not the uniformity, in our loved ones that we cherish. The Shores are generous in sharing their time and experiences with us, investments that help cultivate the success and the dreams of the young artists we are nurturing at Lander. I have often thought that our dreams change over time; we begin to focus not only on our own dreams but on helping other people achieve their dreams, too. That is the spirit of the Shores. They are willing to share the paths they have traveled in achieving their dreams, while also helping others believe that such

journeys are always worth the efforts and the sacrifices. Inspiring mentors and teachers are rare in time but frequent at Lander, and perhaps some of what the Shores learned in their journey as artists is similar to what I learned as an English and philosophy major and as a teacher: do what you love, and put love into what you do. In other words, when facing the most important questions in life, like “what are you going to major in,” “who do you want to be,” or “what dream are you going to follow,” the philosopher Wayne Dyer put it best: “the answer to how is always yes,” and the Shores remind me of this truth. When they embarked upon their journey as artists, they did not know all the answers or all of the “hows,” but they were brave enough to say “yes” anyway and to pursue a dream. Now, they are helping others pursue their dreams, too.



Finding His Calling A Positive Role Model in the Classroom By Eric Lawson; Photo by Megan Price

Jay Esposito ’17 For many, attending college can be a way to hone already established career goals or an opportunity to find new paths to discover their true calling. Lander senior elementary education major Jay Esposito is a perfect example of the latter. Esposito grew up minutes from the Lander campus, but initially enrolled at another university before deciding to move back to Greenwood. “To be honest, I was just homesick. Also, I love mathematics and thought I’d major in business and mathematics at Lander,” he explained. After coming home to Greenwood, Esposito returned to another love of his – helping children in a local after-school program to better understand math. “I’m basically a big kid myself, so I can relate to children.” Gina Dunn, chair of Lander’s Department of Mathematics and Computing, initially served as Esposito’s adviser. “Jay wanted to eventually teach math to high school students, but as he advanced into the areas of abstract math, he began to lose his passion for it.” Aware of Esposito’s enthusiasm for helping children, Dunn sensed the undergraduate may have been overlooking his true passion. “Jay and I talked about how many of those young children, 28


whom he definitely has a heart for, desperately need a positive male role model in their lives.” Those thoughts mirrored a conversation Esposito had with Dr. Lee Vartanian, coordinator of Lander’s Elementary Education Program. “Teaching in an elementary school, you’re often one of the only adult males the kids will see all day, and you can have a huge impact in their lives,” Vartanian said. Energized by his decision to become an elementary education major, Esposito plunged head-first into his studies. There was just one problem – his financial aid was nearly exhausted. “I decided to join the U.S. Army Reserves so that I could earn more money to complete my college degree,” he explained. The decision to join the military meant several months in basic training. Scheduled to graduate in December 2017, any delay would have ordinarily required Esposito to take courses through the summer, which meant additional funds needed for tuition. Thankfully for him, the Lander faculty came through once again. “My education professors went above and beyond by making sure I was able to get into certain classes when I returned from basic training, so that I remained on track to begin my clinical at Lakeview Elementary and am able to graduate in December, as planned.”

Breanna Butler ’19

A Scholar Abroad By Jeff Lagrone

Lander sophomore Breanna Butler, of Bradley, the recipient of a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, is studying this semester at the University of Winchester, in Winchester, England. An Honors College student majoring in secondary English education, Butler was chosen from a pool of more than 2,700 applicants to receive the prestigious scholarship. She is one of only 10 South Carolina college students to receive the award for the spring. “Studying abroad at the University of Winchester has been one of the best decisions I have made. The university is equipped with gifted professors in numerous fields, with diverse courses to suit all interests, and with a fantastic student union to host campus events. Winchester, itself, is a quaint town with a rich literary and historical background,” she said. When Butler isn’t busy with the English linguistics/literature and education studies classes in which she’s enrolled, she spends her time traveling. “I’ve traveled through the main parts of England and Paris, France, already and will be traveling to Ireland in the weeks to come,” she said. After graduating from Lander, Butler will work as a high school English teacher in South Carolina. Her long-term goal, however, is to teach in a third-world country. Dr. Lillian Craton, associate professor of English and director of Lander’s Honors College, said she is “incredibly proud” of Butler, whom she described as one of Lander’s “best and brightest” students.

Committed to Promoting Literacy

Maria Morales Moreno ’18

By Eric Lawson

Lander University junior Maria Morales Moreno is a forceful advocate for the transformative power of reading. It’s a passion that has grown within her since she was a child. When she was just 12, reading became her gateway to adjusting to a then-new life in the U.S., after her family moved to Greenwood from Mexico. “When we arrived in Greenwood, it was difficult for me to communicate with others because I did not speak English,” she recalled. “Reading has always been a big part of my life, and it was through reading that I was able to improve my understanding and use of English more quickly.” Moreno is a teacher education major with the goal of becoming a thirdgrade teacher, and she is an active member of the Piedmont Reading Council. In early January, Moreno was named recipient of the Florence Nelson Undergraduate Scholarship by the South Carolina International Reading Association. The scholarship, made annually to an in-state student majoring in education, was awarded to Moreno specifically because of her commitment to encouraging reading as a lifetime tool for learning, and for inspiring others to make reading a habit. Because literacy is the foundation of learning, it’s imperative that children learn to read as soon as possible. “Children who have developed strong reading skills are more likely to perform better in school and have an overall healthier self-image,” she said.


The Science of Healthier Living Lander Exercise Science Majors Learn to Help Others Stay Active and Fit By Lisa Canada; Photos by Deb Nygro and Megan Price

News coverage lately has revealed the irony that, although Americans are living longer, we are not as healthy as previous generations. We eat more and move less than our greatgrandparents did, and the results can be measured by our waistlines, our blood sugar and our heart rate. The good news is that we know how to combat these health conditions: improved diet and exercise can undo much of the damage our bad habits have brought on. The even better news is that Lander University is turning out exercise science graduates who are armed with knowledge and skills to help people regain their health. Lander’s signature exercise science program is one of the university’s largest degree programs, and it is also one of the fastest growing, according to Dr. Gina Barton, professor of physical education and exercise science and chair of the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Studies.



She can think of several reasons why. “Exercise is something that every person needs to do to stay healthy and happy,” Barton says. But in addition, exercise and physical activity nurture a sense of community – and that’s something students are drawn to. “Exercise can bring groups of people together in an inclusive environment,” she explains. A community is exactly what has developed among Lander’s program. As more students choose to study exercise science, the program has become more selective – now requiring a 2.75 grade point average to even be considered – and has brought on more faculty to meet the student demand. The program, its expanded faculty and their expertise attract students who want to study a variety of exercise- and healthrelated fields, including physical or occupational therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, fitness and conditioning and other concentrations. In addition to these subjects, Lander’s exercise science degree

“By providing all these different opportunities for hands-on learning, we ensure that our students grow into competent and caring professionals.”

incorporates courses in human physiology and biochemistry, fitness assessment and original research. In fact, Lander’s exercise science students study it all. “In exercise science, it is really important to develop a diverse skill set and understand how exercise works for everyone, from an elite athlete to a geriatric patient with chronic heart failure,” explains Dr. Jenny Bond, associate professor of physical education and exercise studies, and director of internships. For this reason, Lander’s exercise science program is built upon a broad foundational structure of coursework that incorporates experiential learning along the way, and one that nurtures community among faculty and students through small class sizes and faculty-student research. “I enjoy the practicals and the research. There’s a lot of different areas of study within the degree,” such as anatomy, health and nutrition, says Ross Catley-Davies, a senior from Kenilworth,

England. A member of the men’s soccer team, Catley-Davies plans to go on to medical school after Lander, and the exercise science program has provided “a background for everything in medicine.” While they are building their foundation in diverse subjects, students also progress through the program’s observational courses, service-learning and internships. Their professors, Catley-Davies and his classmates explain, are “dedicated, energetic and knowledgeable.” With the faculty’s input and supportive guidance, the students specialize their studies to point them in the direction of their career. “The faculty are not only experts in the field but are passionate about teaching and working with students,” Bond says. “We have developed a family atmosphere that students are drawn to, which makes for a productive work environment, for both students and faculty.” – continued on page 32


The Science of Healthier Living

“With this degree, you can go into research, health care, teaching or working with athletes out on the field – there’s just so much versatility.” – continued from page 31

In the final year of studies, Lander University’s exercise science program kicks into high gear, and students complete 200 hours of supervised internships in areas of the students’ particular interest, from cardiac rehabilitation to physical therapy to sports teams. In fact, service-learning is an important aspect of the program, with students serving at Self Regional Hospital and Sports Medicine Clinic, the Wofford Strength and Conditioning program and the YMCA, among other clinics farther afield. Haley Robertson, of Greenwood, is one of the seniors completing an internship this spring in cardiac rehab. “The program definitely prepares you for your career. We get to do a lot of hands-on work, and I recognize and use a lot of the content from clinicals and physiology lab in my internship,” she explains. “It makes me feel more comfortable.” “Hands-on experiential learning is so important in exercise science,” Bond says. “Our students need to be great at working with people in the real world and develop excellent exercise testing and training skills. By providing all these different opportunities for hands-on learning,” she continues, “we ensure that our students grow into competent and caring professionals.” And, of course, becoming a competent and caring professional is the whole point of it all. With their degree in hand, Lander students can enter directly into research-driven graduate programs and onward into health care, biomechanics, sports nutrition and sports medicine. If they’re ready to launch their professional careers, Lander’s



exercise physiology graduates will be prepared to work in corporate environments as wellness coordinators, for example; for public and nonprofit entities, such as hospitals; and in the private sector as personal trainers and healthy lifestyle advisers. That flexibility is what attracted senior Kristen Ollison, of Columbia. “With this degree, you can go into research, health care, teaching or working with athletes out on the field – there’s just so much versatility.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job outlook in exercise- and physiology-related careers is strong and will continue to grow at about 11 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than average. Health care management of the aging Baby Boom generation is already ramping up, with insurance companies and health care providers offering exercise programs, nutrition counseling, personal training and health coaching to Baby Boomers who are entering their 60s and 70s. Whether they are directing their own fitness centers, attending clients as personal trainers or working in higher education as strength and conditioning coaches or faculty, Lander’s exercise science grads are putting their degrees to work and making Lander proud.


Sydney Wells ’17

Beyond the Stigma A Personal Journey Through Mental Health Struggles By Eric Lawson; Photo by Mike Blackwell

In October, Sydney Wells received word that an audio documentary she produced about her own struggles with mental health had been nominated for the 2016 College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI) National Student Production Award for Short Audio Documentary.

In what is perhaps becoming a Lander tradition, the category is the same that Ann Scott O’Brian ’15 was nominated for, and eventually won, last year. While Wells placed third in the category, being just one of five mass communications students nationwide to be nominated marked quite a turnaround for the senior from Greenwood. Before transferring to Lander from one of the largest colleges in the region, Wells had switched majors several times, seemingly unable to find her true self. She has since hit her stride, sending her confidence level soaring. Titled Beyond The Stigma, Wells’ documentary features her own thoughts and experiences, as well as interviews with her mother and boyfriend. While she initially intended to talk about a generic

topic for her documentary, she eventually decided to focus on her struggles with mental health. “It was definitely a difficult decision to make the documentary about such a personal topic, but I’m glad I did,” she said. “Interviewing my mother was tough because she felt so guilty, saying she felt she ‘should have seen it (my illness) coming.’ My boyfriend talked about the difficulties of dealing with my changing emotions. Their perspectives are critical to the overall story because my mental illness affects everyone around me,” Wells explained. While Wells admits she was primarily after a good grade for her documentary rather than an award, her instructor instantly knew he had a potential winner in his classroom. “What I liked best about Sydney’s documentary was the honesty in which she told her story and the principles we had learned in class, which she executed very well,” explained Paul Crutcher, broadcast and emerging media specialist. “When you listen to her story, you are actually in the doctor’s office waiting area with her. It is visual.”


Becoming a Bearcat Brian Reese Joins Lander as Director of Athletics By Megan Price

In January, Lander University welcomed aboard Brian P. Reese to

lead the Bearcats as the university’s next Director of Athletics. Reese, who has more than 25 years of experience in athletics management and leadership at Division I universities in South Carolina and Tennessee, came to Lander from Presbyterian College, where he served as the school’s executive director of athletics. His appointment came at the conclusion of a nationwide search for the university’s third athletic director, following the retirement last summer of longtime director Jeff May. Collegiate coaching and athletics administration veteran Les Robinson served as interim director during the search. “Among an impressive candidate pool, Brian Reese stood out for his extensive experience in intercollegiate athletics, as well as for his deep commitment to students. His desire to see students succeed, both academically and athletically, is undeniable,” said Lander President Richard Cosentino. “He shares Lander University’s core values, and I am confident he will provide excellent leadership for our student-athletes, coaches and staff.” At Presbyterian, where he had been athletic director since 2010, Reese was directly responsible for a 15-sport intercollegiate athletics program. During his tenure, Presbyterian successfully completed its transition to NCAA Division I status, with Reese developing and implementing the policies, procedures and programming needed for the move. He was also directly involved with campus life initiatives, serving on numerous committees related to the improvement of the overall student experience at the college. Prior to joining Presbyterian, Reese spent eight years at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., first serving as director of football operations and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the football department and its support staff. He next served as director of sports operations, then in 2008, he was named Vanderbilt’s associate director of student-athletics. In addition to managing and directing administrative oversight for the football, women’s lacrosse and women’s bowling programs, he served as part of Vanderbilt’s senior



management team that helped develop and implement policy for the university’s 16-sport athletic department. Reese also served as head athletic trainer at Furman University from 1995 to 2002 and as assistant director of sports medicine at The Citadel from 1989 to 1995. “It is an exciting time at Lander University, and I am humbled to serve as athletic director and to play an important role in the university’s future growth,” Reese said. “Lander has a rich tradition in athletics, and it will be my responsibility to continue and build on that great tradition, in the classroom and on the field.” Reese said he was impressed with the caliber of Lander’s student-athletes, coaches and staff, as well as the quality of the university’s facilities. “We have excellent student-athletes who excel in the classroom and in their respective sports. We have a great collection of coaches who have had tremendous success in the Peach Belt and NCAA postseason. We have excellent athletic facilities,” he said. “It is my goal for Lander University to continue to strengthen as a national NCAA Division II power and to have our student-athletes be a part of an overall great campus atmosphere.” He continued, “I would like to thank President Cosentino and the Lander University Board of Trustees for this incredible opportunity for me and my family.” A 1986 graduate of Grand Valley State College in Allendale, Mich., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, Reese holds a master’s degree in athletic administration from the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma.

Women’s Basketball

Another Strong Finish Bearcats’ Mid-Season Rally Secures Return Trip to NCAA Southeast Regional With a roster featuring eight newcomers and seven freshmen, the Lander women’s basketball team entered the 2016-17 season with a bull’s eye on its young back. After being picked to repeat as champions of the Peach Belt Conference in the preseason, the Bearcats began the quest for a third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid with some early bumps in the road. Fifteen games into the season, Lander stood at 10-5 overall and held a modest 4-3 mark in PBC play. “Coming into this year, we had lost four of our top seven scorers, and there were a lot of questions as to how we would fill the void,” head coach Kevin Pederson said. For the second year in a row, however, a run in late January propelled the Bearcats to their third straight Eastern Division title and a spot in the NCAA Southeast Regional. “Last year, we were able to win ten games in a row to secure the best record in the PBC,” Pederson said. “I really thought that experience carried over to this season. When the calendar flipped to 2017, you could feel the focus really narrow on this team to doing what was necessary to win the PBC East and lock up our eighth NCAA Tournament bid in the last ten seasons.” An 86-62 victory over Armstrong State on January 21 sparked the Bearcats, who would end the regular season by winning 12 of their final 13 games. Lander clinched the division title by defeating Augusta, 87-74, on February 18, becoming the first program in PBC history to win three consecutive Eastern Division championships. Entering the PBC Tournament with a 22-6 overall record, the Bearcats earned the right to host Championship Weekend by defeating Georgia College, 93-76, in the quarterfinals. The win brought the conference tournament back to Greenwood for the first time since 2007. “We were very aware that the East Division winner could host the PBC tournament,” said Pederson. “Early in the season, we made it one of our goals to keep the tournament in Greenwood.” After dismantling Clayton State, 97-60, in the semifinals, the Bearcats faced Columbus State in the conference title game for the second straight year. Lander led late in the third quarter, but ultimately fell by a score of 76-61. With a 24-7 record, the Bearcats earned a five-seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional, matching up with fourth-seeded Limestone in the opening round. Lander had been eliminated in the opening round of the tournament in the previous two seasons, but the Bearcats used a 22-9 third-quarter run to pull away from the Saints en route to a 70-50 victory.

By Rixon Lane

The win sent the Bearcats to the Southeast Regional semifinals against host Columbus State. Lander held a 49-48 lead entering the fourth quarter, but the fourth-ranked Cougars rallied, as the Bearcats fell 73-63 to the eventual region champions. Lander garnered multiple postseason honors, as junior forward Breshay Johnson was named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year and Coach Kevin Pederson the D2CCA Southeast Region Player of the Year. The Hopkins, S.C., native averaged 16.8 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, while leading the PBC in offensive rebounds. Junior guard Mylea McKenith earned secondteam all-conference honors and was tabbed as the PBC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Senior guard Ty’hesha Reynolds was named first-team All-PBC and second-team All-Southeast Region. “All year, we felt like we could be good this year, Breshay Johnson but that we would have a chance to be even better next season,” Pederson said. “With ten of our top eleven back, next year has a chance to be special. It was imperative for us to get to the NCAA and win a game, because that experience should really help set the goals a bit higher for next year. We will have our goals set on a return trip to the Elite Eight next year.”

Lander’s Breshay Johnson (35) earned postseason honors as the Peach Belt Conference’s Player of the Year. – photo by Laura M. Brown ‘16


Men’s Soccer

Executing the Big Moments Men’s Soccer Nabs PBC Regular-Season Title After putting together one of the best seasons in recent memory in 2015, the Lander men’s soccer team raised the bar further with a Peach Belt Conference regular-season championship in 2016. The Bearcats became just the third team in league history to go 9-0 in conference play during the regular season and clinched the program’s eighth PBC title en route to a 14-4-1 overall record and a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. “The season was a rollercoaster of emotions,” said head coach Lee Squires. “Our goal was to build on 2015 and ultimately win a championship.” After dropping three of their first four matches, Lander ended the month of September with four consecutive wins, including a

Coach Lee Squires

Junior forward Sam Lofts, pictured, led the Bearcats in game-winning goals in 2016-17. – photos by Laura M. Brown ‘16



Dean Cowdroy

By Rixon Lane

thrilling 2-1 overtime win at home against King. They began October by shutting out their first three opponents of the month. Then, with a seven-match win streak on the line, Lander fell behind Young Harris 2-0 early in the second half, before rallying to earn a 3-2 doubleovertime victory at home. The Bearcats locked up the regular-season title with a 3-1 road victory over Montevallo, then capped off an unbeaten PBC season with an 8-1 thrashing of Georgia Southwestern on Senior Day. “We found out a lot about our character and quality to win 13 straight games and the regular-season championship,” Squires said. With 11 consecutive wins and a regular-season title under its belt, Lander earned the top seed in the PBC Tournament. After a pair of shutout victories over UNC Pembroke and Flagler, the Bearcats faced Young Harris in a rematch of the 2015 conference title match. The two teams played to a 2-2 draw in regulation and, after a pair of scoreless overtime periods, Young Harris prevailed in a shootout. The Bearcats were awarded the fifth-seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional, but fell to fourth-seeded Limestone in overtime, 2-1, to end the season. “Defeats in the conference final and again in the first round of the NCAA Tournament have left a feeling of unfinished business for this group of players,” Squires said of the two postseason losses. “We want to continue pushing and winning PBC championships, but now use our experience to go deeper in the NCAAs.” Squires was tabbed as the PBC Coach of the Year, while seven different Bearcats earned all-conference honors. Goalkeeper Dean Cowdroy was named Freshman of the Year and was joined on the All-PBC first-team by Sam Lofts, Hugo Delhommelle and Jordan Skelton. Richard Bryan, Michael Leach and Jamie North earned second-team All-PBC accolades. “Our spring season has been great preparation for what we hope to achieve next year,” said Squires. “We hope to bring more memorable moments to Van Taylor Stadium this fall. We have the right environment, personnel and support, we just have to execute in the big moments.”


Roundtrip to the Tournament Coming off the best season in school history, the Lander volleyball program continued to put its mark on the region with a second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Bearcats’ 21-12 record on the year gave Lander its third straight season with at least 20 wins and earned the team a six-seed in the NCAA Southeast Regional. Lander had made just one appearance in the NCAA Tournament from 1998 to 2014. “We have been very blessed to go back to the tournament two years in a row,” head coach Ashley Stathas said. “The hard work and dedication that these athletes put into practices – in season and off – has really shown, and it is a big contributor to our appearances in the NCAA tournament.” The Bearcats began the season with 10 consecutive victories, tying the record for the best start in program history. A five-match win streak highlighted the month of October, and Stathas earned her 100th career win at Lander on November 5, as the Bearcats defeated Columbus State, 3-1. The regular season ended in thrilling fashion, as Lander rallied from late deficits in the opening two sets to earn a 3-0 sweep of Georgia College on Senior Day at Horne Arena. The Bearcats posted a winning record at home for the third straight season, winning six of 10 matches in Greenwood. Lander advanced to the Peach Belt Conference Tournament for the 19th consecutive year, entering as the No. 5 seed, but fell to Francis Marion in the opening round before dropping a 3-0 decision to Flagler in the NCAA Southeast Regional.

By Rixon Lane

“This was a great year for Lander volleyball,” said Stathas. “We continued down the path that has been set from previous seasons and we just elevated the bar for next year’s team. One of our players said it in our press conference after the last match: it is no longer a goal for Lander volleyball to go to the NCAA tournament, it’s an expectation.” Coach Ashley Stathas Senior outside hitter Halle Dotson garnered multiple postseason honors, becoming a firstteam All-Peach Belt selection, along with being named first-team D2CCA All-Southeast Region and first-team AVCA Division II All-Southeast Region. Dotson was the fifth player in program history to earn All-Region honors from the AVCA. The Titusville, Fla., native hit a team-high .237 with 426 kills and 89 total blocks, while leading the PBC with 1,248 total attacks. Halle Dotson “We are very excited to see where our program goes next year,” Stathas said. “We have a great group of returners that have been working hard this spring. We also have a large recruiting class coming in with quite a bit of talent. We are very hopeful that we will make another NCAA trip next year.” Below: The Lander Volleyball team marked its third straight season with 20-plus wins. – photos by Laura M. Brown ‘16


In Other Sports

Scola Named Cross Country Coach Kevin Scola, a New Jersey native with nearly a decade of coaching experience at the collegiate level, has been named the new cross country head coach at Lander University. Lander will be fielding a men’s cross country team for the first time since 1999 and a women’s team for the first time since 2008. “Lander is a wonderful school and it’s a wonderful opportunity. I cannot wait to get involved in the community and help get the program started and moving forward,” Scola said. “We’re excited to bring cross country back on the men’s and women’s sides at Lander University,” senior associate athletic director Kevin Pederson said upon Scola’s hire in December. “We feel that Kevin will build our programs the right way, attract the right type of student-athletes and provide those student-athletes with a wellrounded experience at Lander University.” Scola spent the past three seasons as an assistant men’s and women’s cross country and track and field coach at Frostburg State University. Prior to Frostburg State, he spent three years as a teacher/counselor for Academy Programs in Fairmont, W.Va. Scola began his collegiate coaching career at Rutgers-Newark, where he helped start the men’s and women’s cross country programs, serving as an assistant coach for four seasons. A USATF Level I certified coach, Scola earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management from High Point University and holds a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rutgers-Newark. As a member of the cross country team at High Point, Scola led the Panthers to three consecutive Big South Conference championships.

FOLLOW THE BEARCATS For full schedules, results and the latest information on all Lander sports, visit:


Men’s Basketball Returns to PBC Tournament The Lander men’s basketball team returned to the Peach Belt Conference Tournament in 2017, finishing the year with a 12-18 record and an 8-11 mark in PBC play. Lander appeared in the conference tournament for the fourth consecutive season and made the semifinals in back-to-back seasons for the first time in eight years. The Bearcats entered the final week of January with an overall mark of 5-12 and a 2-6 conference record. However, Lander ended the month with wins over USC Aiken and Francis Marion, and then won three of its first four games in February, including a doubleovertime victory at Armstrong State. With a berth in the conference tournament on the line on Senior Day, the Bearcats toppled Georgia College, 80-71, to advance to the postseason. Lander then made history, becoming the first four-seed from the Eastern Division to ever beat the Western Division champion in the tournament’s opening round, as the Bearcats upset Clayton State, 89-86, on the road in double-overtime. Senior guard JR Washington finished his remarkable career with 1,816 points, the third most in program history. Washington was named first-team All-Peach Belt, becoming the first Bearcat to earn first-team honors since 2012. JR Washington

Women’s Soccer Sees Stellar Performances The Lander women’s soccer team struggled during the 2016 season, finishing with a 4-11-1 overall record and a 3-8-1 mark in the Peach Belt. But, the Bearcats’ campaign featured some stellar individual performances. On Senior Day against Georgia Southwestern, Taylor Piorkowski, a Lexington, S.C., native playing in her final collegiate match, netted four goals against the Hurricanes to set the school record for goals in a single match. Piorkowski, Sara Ballante and Kayla Combs all ended their Bearcat careers in 2016. Kari George Brianna Taylor, a freshman from Delran, N.J., recorded a hat trick in the first match of her career, leading Lander to a 3-1 win over Emmanuel in the season opener. Junior Kari George, of Tullahoma, Tenn., led the team with five goals, while Sara Flores, a junior from Kingston, N.Y., finished the year with a teamhigh five assists. Sara Flores




Monica Cleland ’17

Reaching New Heights By Jeff Lagrone; Photos by Megan Price

Monica Cleland climbs a 30-foot ladder to perform as a trapeze artist, but she calls winning the Miss Lander University 2016-17 Pageant “a moment that I felt the highest in my whole life.” When she was announced as the winner of the pageant – the first that she had ever entered – she “was completely shocked. I never thought that I would win,” she said. She is a different person because of it, describing herself as “happier, more powerful, more outgoing and more confident in myself.” She said she is “very excited and cannot wait” for the Miss South Carolina Pageant in June, and she is working hard to perfect her static trapeze act in preparation for the event. Cleland, a senior mass communications major from Greenville, was introduced to the flying trapeze 12 years ago during a stay with her mother at Club Med in Sandpiper, Fla. She quickly fell in love with the sport and excelled at learning new skills, such as flips and jumps. She has performed in numerous shows at Club Med in the years since then, on the flying trapeze and also on static, double and triple trapeze. As a contestant in the Miss South Carolina Pageant, Cleland, who has a 4.0 grade point average, will be judged by her ability to speak in front of a large audience. She has been getting ready for that part of the competition by speaking at Lander open houses, Saturday tours and daily tours, as well as at Lander’s Greenville County Accepted Student Reception. She said such events provide an opportunity for her to “share my love for the university.” After graduating, Cleland hopes to become a video editor and work as a wedding videographer on the side.


LU Launching a New College Lander University is taking a step toward the future with a restructuring that has led to the formation of a new College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. The move comes after a year-long strategic planning process led by Lander President Richard Cosentino that identified ways to enhance student learning, signature academic programs and plans for enrollment growth. The new college consists of four current academic departments: History and Philosophy, Political and Social Sciences, Psychological Science and Military Science/Army ROTC. “Everyone in all four departments was on board with the creation of this new college,” said Dr. David Mash, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Lander. “We wanted to bring the subject areas and new curriculum enhancements in these departments into relationship with one another, which is common across higher education.” This new college will enable Lander to better recruit students with similar academic and career interests, strengthen efforts in external fundraising and create more connections in fields related to social services, government and public service, and nonprofit organizations.

College of Behavioral & Social Sciences Areas of Study


Criminology, B.S.* History, B.S. and B.A. History, Teacher Certification, B.S. Political Science, B.S. Political Science, Public Administration, B.S.* Psychology, B.S.* Sociology, B.S. Sociology, Criminal Justice, B.S.* Emergency Management, M.S.*

African American Studies Child and Family Studies Criminal Justice* Homeland Security* Human Services International Studies Military Science and Leadership Nonprofit Management Philosophy Pre-Law* Public Administration* Religion

*Signature Programs



Dr. Lucas McMillan, chair of the Department of Political and Social Sciences and associate professor of political science, was appointed as the new college’s dean. McMillan joined Lander’s faculty in 2008 and is the recipient of Lander’s 2011 Young Faculty Scholar Award. He held Lander’s Stranch Endowed Professorship for excellence in teaching from 2012 to 2014. His book, The Involvement of State Governments in U.S. Foreign Relations, is accompanied by many journal articles, book reviews, teaching essays, op-ed essays and conference presentations. His research has led to “We wanted interviews with media outlets both local and national, such as to bring the subject The Washington Post. “I am very honored by this appointment as dean,” areas and new curriculum McMillan said, “and I am excited about how we can enhancements in these departments enhance students’ ability to be critical thinkers and to into relationship with one another, see connections across academic disciplines.” which is common across Signature programs in the new college include: criminal justice and criminology, government administration, homeland higher education.” security and emergency management, and psychology. McMillan is confident in the preparation Lander students receive because of the award-winning teachers and scholars in the faculty. The college’s professors are past presidents of state-level professional associations in history, political science, psychology and sociology; have secured over $1 million in external grants; have published research in books and journal articles; and have provided analysis to such outlets as the BBC and CNN. “The new college has much success to report and more to come,” McMillan said. “Recently, a student won a nationally competitive research grant, several students presented papers at regional conferences, and many build career skills at meaningful internships.” As a former president of the S.C. Political Science Association, McMillan has twice taken students to Europe and led civic education efforts on campus, as well as efforts to re-establish academic convocations. He contributed to the building of Lander’s Honors College and has coordinated the program that has sent 15 students to spend a semester studying in Washington, D.C. He added that alumni have been successful at graduate schools and have excelled in careers within the law, government service, social services, nonprofit management, education and military service. “Not only will the college continue to offer successful academic programs, but recent curricular innovations keep students at the forefront of the disciplines,” McMillan said. McMillan received his B.A. in government and economics from Wofford College and spent a semester studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. As a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, he earned a master’s in international relations from the University of Warwick in England before completing a Ph.D. in political science from the University of South Carolina. Although setting up the new college will be a lot of work, McMillan said that going forward, the effort will be worth the rewards. “I believe the new college will look for ways to enhance civic engagement and interest in public policy, strengthen community relationships and provide more avenues for undergraduate research,” McMillan said. “In the next few months, I will be working to make linkages with alumni, and I plan to build an advisory board for the new college.”



Samuel Lander Inducted into Hall of Fame n In a November ceremony, Lander University founder the Rev.

Samuel Lander was inducted into the Anderson County Museum Hall of Fame. The museum’s Hall of Fame committee selected Lander from a list of 28 nominees in recognition of his contributions to Anderson County and South Carolina. Lander, a Methodist clergyman, founded Williamston Female College in Williamston in 1872 and served as its president until his death. He is buried in Williamston Town Cemetery. Prior to his death, he agreed to move Williamston Female College to Greenwood. Renamed in his honor, it opened in September 1904, two months after he was laid to rest. It remained a women’s college until 1943, when men were first admitted. Anderson County Museum Executive Director Beverly Childs, one of several speakers at the induction ceremony, called Lander a “pioneer” for education, particularly women’s education. Other speakers included two great-grandsons of Lander: Dr. David Lander Henderson, who delivered the invocation; and Dr. DeWitt Stone Jr., who spoke on the topic of Lander University’s history, from the time of his great-grandfather’s death to the present day. “He was a true Renaissance man, with interests in mathematics, science, languages and religion. His life was one of service to his church and to the education of young women. He made a difference in this portion of South Carolina,” Stone said.

A portrait of Lander founder Samuel Lander as a young man is one of several exhibits at the Anderson County Museum, which has voted him into its Hall of Fame. – photo by Megan Price

Laura Lander, a great-granddaughter of Samuel Lander, also spoke at the induction ceremony. She said that “the whole family is delighted that this is happening. We have all felt that Dr. Sam’s contributions to Anderson County and the state were worth noting.” The Lander founder is the second member of his family to join the Hall of Fame. His grandson, Samuel Lander Prince, a prominent attorney who served as dean of the University of South Carolina School of Law, was inducted in 2009.

Lander Brings Higher Education Presence to WPEC n The Western Piedmont Education Consortium (WPEC) took a step up the educational ladder in the fall of 2016 with its addition of Lander University as a member. Lander’s inclusion, along with Piedmont Technical College, marked the beginning of the presence of higher education with WPEC. “Now more than ever, we want students to see that K-12 in today’s world is only the beginning of their education,” said WPEC president Billy Strickland. “We had to have higher-ed schools, such as Lander, involved in this effort.” Lander President Richard Cosentino added that the university ’s immediate responsibility is to show K-12 students “what we can do for them.” “I believe it’s our responsibility to prepare our students for life beyond high school,” Cosentino said. “We have to let them know as early as possible about our requirements to enter Lander, coming changes that could affect them in



college, and how their current efforts in school will help or hinder them in their educational pursuit.” While WPEC has worked with higher education institutions previously, the addition of colleges and universities as members is a new and important step for the organization. Since its founding in 1997 by 10 superintendents in upper western South Carolina, WPEC has worked toward excellence in education through member collaboration and through a sharing of resources and expertise. In the years to come, Cosentino expects Lander’s partnership with WPEC to grow along with the school. “We’re up significantly in applications from 2015 and it’s not by accident,” he said. “We have invested in enrollment and in our initiatives, such as WPEC, and when you have great things happening at an institution like Lander, more students want to come.”

Crutcher Becoming Nationally Known for College Radio Expertise

Lander University Broadcast and Emerging Media Specialist Paul Crutcher played a crucial role in College Radio Day and has been named to the board of College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI). – photo by Randy Pace

n Lander University Broadcast and Emerging Media Specialist Paul

Crutcher is on a roll. Crutcher’s audio documentary was aired in a one-hour nationwide simulcast celebration of College Radio Day in November, and in early January, he was officially named interim secretary to the board for College Broadcasters Inc. (CBI). For his documentary, The Soul of College Radio, Crutcher focused on people who, much like himself, had worked in the broadcast industry before returning to manage the college radio stations they had previously worked for as students. “His work was so good and so well produced that we borrowed from the title and called our celebration ‘Igniting the Soul of College Radio,’” said Rob Quicke, founder of College Radio Day. Being named as a CBI board voting member is a culmination of sorts for Crutcher since forging a relationship between the organization and Lander during their 2013 conference in Seattle. “I nominated Paul because of his enthusiasm,” said CBI board member Jessica Clary. “After his first convention, he returned with students and presenters. He really jumped in 100 percent right from the start, and that really impressed me.” Regarding his accomplishments, Crutcher places all emphasis on his students and the college radio genre. “I feel very passionate about protecting college media as a safe place for students to go live, expressing creative freedom and developing career-building skills. It is beyond novelty, in my book,” he said.

Professor’s Compassion Goes Viral n An endearing photograph that perfectly captured the bond between a Lander University professor and one of her students spread like wildfire on social media last fall, drawing notes of praise from many throughout the country. Sarah Thompson gave birth shortly after transferring to Lander to major in mathematics and computer science. Anticipating that Thompson would have many challenges with the responsibilities of motherhood combined with the requirements of college courses, mathematics professor Dr. Josie Ryan encouraged her to stay in school. “Dr. Ryan knew I’d be overwhelmed, so she literally begged me to bring my son (Isaiah) to class. She even showed me where the breastfeeding room in the Health Center was,” explained Thompson, who took Ryan up on the offer and brought Isaiah to class. In October, as Ryan held Isaiah in one arm while leading the class, Thompson snapped a photograph from her desk and later posted it to her Facebook account. “I came home one night and found that I had over 25 notifications from Facebook that it had been shared,” recalled Ryan. “Sarah offered to take it down because she had no idea it would go viral. But I didn’t have a problem with it because it was just for fun and, at the time, it was mostly our friends who were sharing the photograph.” That changed quickly when the photo was picked up and shared by the Love What Matters website, where it’s since been liked over 130,000 times, with shares just shy of 12,000. The photograph quickly merged into a touching story of one professor’s care and dedication to her student, and was published in media outlets throughout the country and beyond, including CBS News, Fox News and The Daily Mail (UK). Of the entire experience, and about Ryan in particular, Thompson said, “It’s so reassuring to know that there are professors like Dr. Ryan. I am in a perfect world when I am learning math at Lander with my baby right next to me…or in my professor’s arms.”

Lander Mathematics Professor Dr. Josie Ryan (left), Sarah Thompson and Isaiah. – photo by Eric Lawson



S.C. STUDENT LEADERSHIP ON CAMPUS n Arriving by busloads, nearly 100 high schoolers stepped onto

Lander’s campus the morning of September 28 to attend the South Carolina Student Leadership Conference. Coordinated by the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, the program provides local students with an opportunity to develop leadership skills, which are crucial in a business environment. Nationally acclaimed speaker and best-selling author Chad Foster led sessions on essential 21st-century skills that employers have deemed necessary for workplace success. Making a case for students to enter the world of employment with marketable skills, the entrepreneur shared his knowledge and expertise

with the teens. The students walked away with a healthy dose of financial wisdom after an interactive workshop that included credit card debt, needs vs. wants, secrets to saving, internet scams and insurance essentials. Each school selected juniors and seniors in the student body who exemplified leadership skills by actively participating in the school’s activities and reaching out into the community. Students represented Greenwood High School, Emerald High School, Ware Shoals High School, Palmetto Christian, Greenwood Christian and Cambridge Academy.

Lander in the Path of Rare Solar Eclipse

Nationally acclaimed speaker and best-selling author Chad Foster leads a session during the South Carolina Student Leadership Conference at Lander.

Greenwood High School’s student delegation at the South Carolina Student Leadership Conference. – photos by Deb Nygro



n Lander University is one of five official sites in South Carolina to be selected as an observation point for the next solar eclipse, which will occur across the continental U.S. on Aug. 21, 2017. Through a national research experiment known as Citizen CATE (Continental America Telescopic Eclipse), Lander will receive a set of observation/photography equipment valued at around $2,500. “I think it’s a great thing to happen for the Lander community,” said Kelly Hughes, technical services manager with Lander’s Information Technology Services and chair of the Solar Eclipse Planning Committee. “I’ve never experienced a total solar eclipse before, and I think that will be true for most of our students and faculty.” Based on data and charts from the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Washington, D.C., the eclipse will touch over land at approximately 10:15 a.m. just north of Newport, Ore., and end its land sweep around 2:50 p.m. in McClellanville, S.C. During that time, it will cross 14 states, including Idaho, Missouri, Kentucky and other parts of South Carolina. Greenwood’s time to witness the eclipse will come around 2:39 p.m. and last about 2.5 minutes. Dr. Rick Fienberg, press officer with AAS, estimates that more than 10 million people are in the 65-mile-wide path of the total eclipse – the first one to cross the U.S. coast-tocoast since June 1918. “But unlike that one, which was witnessed by relatively few people, this one will likely be the most-viewed solar eclipse in history,” Fienberg said. For more information, visit

Montessori Partnership Thrives n In October, excited preschoolers at Lakeview Elementary showed off their

classrooms to Superintendent Dr. Darrell Johnson, of Greenwood District 50, and became acquainted with Lander President Dr. Richard Cosentino and members of his cabinet. Since the fall of 2015, when District 50 moved its Montessori program to Lakeview Elementary, the curriculum has flourished under the support of Lander’s Montessori teacher education program. “Lander is excited to support Montessori in Greenwood District 50,” said Barbara Ervin, director of the Lander Montessori program. “We think that having a high-quality Montessori program in our local public schools provides a great place for our students to observe Montessori in action and complete clinical teaching. We see it as a mutually beneficial relationship.” An alternative to test-driven curriculum, Montessori was developed over 100 years ago by Italian physician and educator Dr. Maria Montessori. The educational approach places emphasis on each child’s uniqueness with respect to their natural psychological, physical and social development. Rapidly becoming a popular choice in many school districts, the demand for nationally certified Montessori teachers is growing. Lander University is one of the few institutions of higher education in the nation, and the only one in South Carolina, to offer a master’s-level Montessori teacher education program leading to national certification from the American Montessori Society. The university also offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education with Montessori emphasis.

Lander President Dr. Richard Cosentino and Greenwood School District 50 Superintendent Dr. Darrell Johnson get acquainted with preschoolers in the Montessori program at Lakeview Elementary School during a classroom visit in October. The university partners with Greenwood District 50 to provide exemplary educational opportunities for children and an enhanced learning environment for college students in the Montessori teacher education program at Lander. – photo by Megan Price

Wharton Appointed as Nursing Dean n After serving more than four months as interim nursing dean at Lander University, Dr. Holisa Wharton was named in January as the new permanent dean of the William Preston Turner School of Nursing. The announcement came following the conclusion of the university’s nationwide search to find a successor to Dr. Robbie South, who retired in 2016. “We were thrilled to find we already had the most qualified individual within our ranks,” said President Richard Cosentino. Dr. David Mash, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said that despite the lengthy search, “Holisa was far and away our top choice.” “There have been real challenges that have proven her mettle to be the kind of dean we were looking for,” said Mash, “including initiatives with enrollment, future strategy, and with Self Regional in Greenwood.” Before coming to Lander in 2010, Wharton served in several health care positions, including medical surgical nurse with Self Regional Medical Center and assistant director of nursing at the Abbeville Nursing Home. She also spent seven years in nursing education at Piedmont Technical College. Wharton completed her master’s in nursing education at Clemson University and was one of the first two graduates to come through Clemson’s health care genetics program. She intends to use her new knowledge, as well as a considerable portion of her original nursing training, to advance Lander’s nursing program. “One of my goals is to increase the number of students admitted to the nursing major in response to demands from state and local health care agencies,” Wharton said. “Another is to continue to build on a long legacy of excellent nursing education at Lander, and I am very excited about it.” – photo by Megan Price



Students Inducted into Alpha Chi n An academic ritual that has taken place for nearly 60 years, the

annual Alpha Chi induction ceremony, held in late November, recognized Lander’s most accomplished achievers. During a formal gathering, deans from each academic college, garbed in regalia, signaled the procession of 54 undergraduates into a room filled with friends and family members. Headed by Dr. John Moore, professor of philosophy and faculty adviser to Alpha Chi, the ceremony included reciting the organization’s pledge and a presentation of medallions to each inductee by the deans representing the colleges of their academic disciplines. “The building of tomorrow’s leaders in science, medicine, education, humanities, the arts and the law never stops,” said Dr. David Mash, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Lander is very proud to have played a part in helping these students lay the groundwork for their future careers.” Alpha Chi is an academic honor society admitting students in the top 10 percent of their class from all academic disciplines.

Lander University recognized its highest academic achieving students during an induction ceremony for the Alpha Chi Honor Society. To qualify, students must be juniors or seniors who rank in the top 10 percent of their class. – photo by Deb Nygro

Retention Gets Big Focus with New Hire n With applications and admission continuing to gain momentum, Lander recently announced the appointment of Brian Hamm to the position of assistant vice president for Enrollment and Student Success. His duties include spearheading the university’s initiatives for student retention – the percentage of students who persist in their efforts to earn a degree. A native of Mint Hill, N.C. Hamm joins Lander after serving as director of Student Success and Retention at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., and assistant director of Recruitment and Retention for Arizona State University in Mesa, Ariz. Hamm earned a Bachelor of Science in science education and a Master of Education in higher education administration from North Carolina State University. He is working toward a Master of Business Administration in entrepreneurship from Lenoir-Rhyne. While at Lenoir-Rhyne, Hamm collaborated with departments to improve retention of first-year students by 10 percent and worked with at-risk students to decrease the number on academic probation. He also established communication plans to assist parents and families in supporting students, and taught introductory courses for freshmen and transfer students. Hamm began his tenure at Arizona State as assistant director of University Housing, providing him with a ground-level view of concerns and issues faced by students. After taking on his recruitment and retention responsibilities, he organized and led initiatives that focused on students from underrepresented populations. Hamm’s arrival coincides with Lander’s continued positive enrollment trend. “By March, applications were up 58 percent and the number of admitted students had grown by 50 percent over the same time last year,” said Andy Benoit, vice president for Enrollment and Access Management at Lander.

President Cosentino Appointed to Workforce Development Committee n South Carolina’s efforts to grow and maintain a ready workforce received a boost in late 2016 when Lander University President Richard Cosentino was appointed to the state’s Coordinating Council for Workforce Development (CCWD). Created in 2016 through state legislation, the CCWD is tasked with crafting a comprehensive, collaborative workforce development strategy to meet current and future workforce needs. “A strong workforce is critical in attracting business investment, as well as in facilitating an environment for existing business to grow,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, who will serve as the council’s first chair. “Dr. Cosentino will strengthen our collaboration with many workforce partners and allies across this state.”



Legislation on the Council’s creation called for one representative from the state’s three research universities, one from Columbia representing the state’s technical colleges, and one representing the state’s 10 four-year undergraduate comprehensive universities, which includes Lander. Cosentino said his priority is to be a “strong voice for higher education” to help balance the needs of the state’s workforce. “In addition to the demand for people with strong technical skills, you also need people in the workforce with disciplines beyond a two-year degree – such as lawyers, accountants, managers and communications specialists,” Cosentino said, “and they’re the ones we strive to provide through our system at Lander.”

House Honored with Military Coin n This semester, Brig. Gen. Darrell

J. Guthrie, incoming commander of the 104th Division, recognized Lander Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) freshman Jordan House as an outstanding cadet by presenting her with a challenge coin. House was recognized in part for earning a prestigious Army Reserve Minuteman Scholarship and a silver-medal finish in the grueling German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge competition, testing agility, endurance, strength and mental toughness. Already a member of the South Carolina National Guard, House plans to be commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation. “I’m only one cadet in a program of thousands, quite literally an army, so I never expect to be singled out for what I have done,” said House, an exercise science major. “It was an incredible honor that I will use as motivation for the next three years of my journey in Lander’s ROTC program.” Challenge coins are specially minted for military units and carry unique symbols and mottos. The coin presented to House features the timber wolf mascot of the 104th Division, based in Fort Lewis, Wash. Service men and women carry the coins to symbolize unit identity, loyalty and camaraderie, and commanders use them as on-the-spot awards and gifts when visiting with respected organizations and leaders. Guthrie’s 31-year career with the U.S. Army began when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 1985. He has successfully held command and staff positions at both the company and brigade levels, at joint and combined headquarters, and in support of the U.S. Department of State.

Music Faculty and Students Attend State Conference n In February, Lander’s music faculty and 19 music majors attended the 2017 South Carolina Music Educators Association (SCMEA) Professional Development Conference in Columbia. The three-day conference included more than 100 sessions, with clinics and symposiums presented within the band, choral, elementary, orchestra, piano, collegiate and higher education divisions. Attendees also enjoyed performances by piano students; elementary and high school concert choirs; middle and high school concert bands, jazz ensembles and orchestras; high school jazz vocal ensembles; and collegiate ensembles. Lander students and faculty attend the conference each year, and it serves as a valuable networking and development opportunity. “Our students are always excited about networking with other music professionals at the conference and about coming away with new perspectives on teaching music at all levels,” said Dr. Lila Noonkester, associate professor of music and chair of Lander’s Department of Music. This year, music alumni were invited to join students and faculty for a meet-and-greet during the conference, and Noonkester said 20 alumni, ranging in class years from 1977 to 2016, were in attendance. She said the department worked with the Alumni Association to coordinate the gathering.

Pictured at the SCMEA conference are Lander music education majors, from left: Clare Henry, Brittany Gionakis, Absalon Richardson, Lindsey Webb, Daisy Horne and Lizz Klump. Left: Lander Emeritus Professor of Music and SCMEA Piano Division Chair Anthony Lenti, left, with Chuck Daellenbach, tuba player and founding member of the world-renowned quintet Canadian Brass. Classmates at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., Lenti and Daellenbach reconnected at the annual SCMEA Professional Development Conference in Columbia. – contributed photos

Brig. Gen. Darrell Guthrie, left, and Lander ROTC student Jordan House. – photo by Eric Lawson


A Steward for Philanthropy Lander Welcomes Kim English as Vice President for University Advancement By L. C. Leach III

Kim English, a Florida native and veteran of higher education advancement, alumni relations and marketing, has joined the Lander University family as the next vice president for University Advancement and executive director of The Lander Foundation. The announcement of her appointment came in March, following an extensive nationwide search and consideration of candidates. “University Advancement is a crucial component of our strategic initiatives, and our Advancement team plays a significant role in the success of our university,” said Lander President Richard Cosentino. “Kim English brings considerable knowledge and experience to the role as vice president, and we are excited about the future of Lander’s advancement efforts under her dynamic leadership.” English holds an M.B.A. from North“I am looking forward to western University’s prestigious Kellogg meeting the generous donors, School of Management, as well as a partners and thousands of bachelor’s degree in business adminvalued alumni who have istration from the University of Florida. supported Lander University She has more than 30 years of experience in a broad range of advancement, throughout the years.” marketing and public relations roles with professional and higher education organizations, using her skills to develop strategy, secure donor bases, and support capital campaigns to aid fundraising initiatives. Prior to joining Lander, she served as executive director of development for the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Robert Stempel School of Public Health and Social Work, both at Florida International University (FIU), a public, top-tier research institution in Miami with a student body of nearly 54,000. In that role, English was responsible for securing principal, major and annual gifts supporting initiatives of both colleges. From 2008-2016, she served as director of development for the Wertheim College of Nursing, cultivating and maintaining a base of more



than 150 donors. She was recognized as FIU’s top fundraiser for 2015, after three consecutive years of surpassing fundraising goals. During her nine-year tenure with FIU, she secured and stewarded more than $23 million in gifts. Her other professional roles have included serving as manager of fund development, marketing and community outreach for cancer services at North Broward Hospital District, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. There, she directed fundraising for cancer programs and created and managed 75 community marketing and outreach programs to increase awareness and prevention of cancer risk, impacting thousands of area residents. As executive director of the Broward Education Foundation Inc., also in Fort Lauderdale, she initiated the BRACE scholarship gala, which raised funds for talented collegebound students and created multiple teacher mini-grants. English began her duties at Lander in April, and one of her first priorities has been to engage the Greenwood-area business community to analyze their needs and discover how Lander can “create valuable internships and produce talented graduates for their workforce,” she said. Along with this endeavor, she intends to increase the number of funded and endowed scholarships by expanding The Lander Foundation’s donor base, and in turn, increase the number of students who are helped each year to finish their degrees through the aid of scholarship money. “I am looking forward to meeting the generous donors, partners and thousands of valued alumni who have supported Lander University throughout the years,” English said. “These individuals, companies and foundations have invested in the future of Lander University and have helped create a beautiful campus, outstanding academic programs, increased access and student success, all of which have advanced the university to where it is today.” She added, “I also look forward to discovering the great successes and stories of our alumni – our torchbearers, who have moved the needle in their professions, risen to leadership roles in industry, and made a meaningful impact on society and throughout the world.” – Contributed photo

Giving & Scholarship News

An Everlasting Tribute New Endowment for Future Lander Students By L. C. Leach III

On Aug. 1, 2016, as her mother was on the verge of passing away, Myra Greene sat by her bed thinking that it didn’t seem fitting to just say goodbye and bury her mother with some flowers and kind words. So at that moment, she decided to remember her mom in the best way she could think of – by creating the Mildred W. Greene Early Childhood Education Scholarship at Lander University. “Mother taught at a church-sponsored kindergarten for many, many years and loved teaching the children who became ‘her children,’” said Myra Greene, ’78, Alumni Affairs director for Lander. “It occurred to me that by establishing a scholarship for a student studying early childhood education, my mother would live on through children for decades to come.” Established as an endowment through The Lander Foundation, the new scholarship took effect on August 2, the day her mother died. Greene and other family members requested that memorials be made to the new scholarship fund. Anyone can create a scholarship at Lander, said Van Taylor, Director of Development, and gifts to scholarships may be made by family, friends and the public at any time. Funded scholarships can be started with any amount, while endowments require a minimum of $10,000 before awarding. “Establishing a scholarship in honor or memory of a loved one is a beautiful way to recognize someone who has had a positive impact on your life,” Taylor said. “And that scholarship will impact another’s life by helping a deserving student graduate and be career-ready.” The Mildred Greene Scholarship is the newest to be added to The Lander Foundation, and the first recipient will be a student

from Greenville or Spartanburg County majoring in early childhood education. “We hope to have the scholarship fully endowed in time for the 2018-19 school year,” Greene said. Currently, The Lander Foundation has hundreds of scholarships under its stewardship, all of which help hundreds of students finish school each year. Scholarships include charitable lead trusts, real estate, donor-advised funds, and memorial and tribute gifts. To establish a scholarship through any of these means, please contact the Foundation at 864-388-8350 for more information. Each scholarship, whether funded or endowed, has the potential to be a lifechanger for students, Greene said. “Establishing a “If these scholarships were to suddenly go away, many students would scholarship in honor be facing a difficult financial burden or or memory of a loved may even have to consider dropping one is a beautiful way out of school,” Greene said. “So I hope to recognize someone other alumni will consider honoring their who has had a positive parents by naming scholarships in honor impact on your life.” or memory of them. I am sure my mom would be pleased that we are working toward helping a future teacher who will someday also be able to call her or his students ‘my children.’” During the preparation of this article, Myra Greene’s father, Nelson Greene, also passed away. The family is requesting that memorials be sent to support the scholarship named for his wife, to whom he was married for more than 68 years. – Contributed photo


2016 Eleanor Shiflet Teal Scholarship Banquet Photos by Laura M. Brown ’16

In the fall, more than 300 of Lander University’s scholarship donors and recipients gathered for a wonderful evening together, enjoying the opportunity to meet and learn more about each other at the annual Eleanor Shiflet Teal Scholarship Banquet. Held in November at Finis Horne Arena, the banquet featured keynote speaker, event sponsor and scholarship donor George R. Starnes III, a 1981 Lander alum who works as a wealth management adviser for Northwestern Mutual. Starnes, who retired from Lander’s Board of Trustees last June after 24 years of service, spoke on the importance of scholarships, both for Lander’s students and for the future of the university. Scholarships are essential to making up the difference between the cost of tuition and what a student can afford to pay, he said, adding that Lander students who receive scholarships are grateful for the support shown by the university’s generous donors. “That’s why we give, and that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

George R. Starnes III ’ 81

Myra Greene ’ 78, left, and Eleanor Shiflet Teal ’ 93




2017 Alumni Awards

By Eric Lawson

Lander University’s Young Alumni Award acknowledges recent graduates who not only have excelled in their careers, but who have also given back to their communities and to their alma mater. The Alumni Association reserves the Grace Iler Norman Award for a Lander graduate who has made significant achievements within the Alumni Association and the university. The Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award honors Lander graduates for earning distinction in their careers and for participation in civic, cultural, educational and church activities.

Cameron Dorn ’10 Young Alumnus of the Year Cameron Dorn is a man who likes challenges – physical and mental. “I have an insatiable hunger to push the limits, and I always want to stay hungry,” he once said to a local reporter. That drive to succeed in practically everything he does, coupled with his devotion to helping others, has helped to establish him as a record-setting endurance athlete, distance runner, and creator and president of his own corporate wellness organization. It’s also why he has been named recipient of the Lander Alumni Association’s Young Alumni of the Year Award. “Cameron has accomplished a great deal in his young life and has not forgotten the school that gave him the background to do what he loves. He understands the power of ‘paying it forward,’ which is, in part, one of the reasons he was chosen for this award,” said Myra Greene, director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving. For Dorn, this is the latest of his many recognitions. He has been listed as one of Men’s Health magazine’s “15 Ultimate Guys” and has been featured on ESPN, Fox News, CBS News, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post. After earning his business degree with a marketing/management emphasis from Lander in 2010, Dorn received a master’s in international business from the University of Winchester in the United Kingdom. Since founding Suitcase of Courage LLC in 2012, Dorn has consulted with companies nationwide to build custom corporate wellness programs with a focus on eliminating musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace. Today, the Suitcase of Courage has operations in seven states and includes three Lander graduates among its employees. It was in 2014, however, when Dorn’s name became synonymous with achievement. While shattering the world records for burpees (the most difficult exercise known to man) in 24-hour and 12-hour sessions, he raised $17,000 to be shared equally between Ware Shoals High School (his other alma mater) and Seeds of Hope in Peru, a program offering a wide range of support for Peruvian children in extreme poverty. In 2015, Dorn and three other Lander graduates created The



Suitcase of Courage Scholarship at Lander. Joining Dorn in endowing the $10,000 scholarship for business students were Dylan Potts ’10, Piers DeGruchy ’11 and Jarrod Moody ’12. No matter his age, Cameron Dorn is an outstanding example of an alumnus tuned in to others around him, and one who works to improve their lives, as well as support his alma mater. – photo by Randy Pace

Kat Finkbeiner ’71 Grace Iler Norman Award This year’s Grace Iler Norman Award recognizes the unwavering dedication to Lander University shown by alumna Kat Laye Finkbeiner. “I am in awe and humbled by this award, but there are others more deserving,” Finkbeiner said, after being told she was this year’s recipient. It was a response distinctive of Finkbeiner, one meant to point away from herself and toward the efforts of others. A member of the Lander Class of 1971, Finkbeiner retired from Greenwood County schools after more than 40 years of service as a physical educator and guidance counselor. Today, she expresses her commitment to her alma mater in a host of ways. A staunch believer in athletics, Finkbeiner actively supports the Lander Athletics Bearcat Club and has established the Finkbeiner

Athletic Scholarship. She has also served on the Alumni Association Board and is currently serving as co-president of the Greenwood Tower Club, which is designed to build camaraderie among local Lander alumni, current students and prospective students. Beyond her financial and leadership support of Lander, Finkbeiner is not shy about pitching in and providing a bit of elbow grease to get things done where she can. “Whenever someone needs help on campus for an event, Kat Finkbeiner is the go-to person,” said Myra Greene, director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving. “Her passion for Lander is obvious, and that’s what makes her such a great ambassador for the university.” A strong believer in the Lander experience, Kat and her husband, Erwin Finkbeiner, were instrumental in steering

their two daughters, Katie Finkbeiner Engram and Anna Finkbeiner Gowan, to enroll at Lander. And, in keeping with family tradition, their daughters’ husbands, Joseph Engram and Will Gowan, also attended Lander. Today, they are all Lander graduates.

Frank Ridlehoover ’67 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Requirements for Lander University’s Distinguished Alumni award include the recipient distinguishing themselves in their chosen field and having an unmistakable passion for their alma mater. By practically anyone’s standards, Frank Ridlehoover was an obvious selection for this honor. Awarded the Bronze Star for his military service in Vietnam, Ridlehoover graduated from Lander in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science in biology, with minors in chemistry and physical education. He continued his education by earning his Master of Science from Converse College. While Ridlehoover would go on to teach science at high schools in North and South Carolina, he is best known for his legendary four-decade career coaching soccer. Along with leading his teams to more than 25 state and division high school championships, he was named Coach of the Year more than a dozen times and has been inducted into the South Carolina High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Soccer Hall of

Fame, and Eastside High School’s Hall of Fame. Ridlehoover led Eastside High School’s soccer team to three South Carolina state championships, in 1983, 1985 and 1986; and Polk County High School’s team to a North Carolina state championship in 2001. In 2003 he served as coach for the McDonald’s All-American Match, and later coached in the 1st Annual North-South Soccer Classic for North and South Carolina in 2007. “Frank is truly one of the pioneers of high school soccer in the Palmetto State,” Brookland-Cayce High School coach Kevin Heise said. “His contributions have touched not only the schools that have been fortunate enough to have him lead their soccer programs, but the entire state of South Carolina through his unselfish contributions to the promotion of prep soccer for the last four decades.” Ridlehoover’s continued loyalty to his alma mater includes a tenure on the Lander Alumni Association board that

began in 2010, with stints as board president and vice president; service as a board member for The Lander Foundation; and active membership in the Upstate Lander Tower Club, which is designed to bring alumni from the Upstate region together for fellowship with current and prospective students. Frank is married to Debi Ridlehoover. The couple has one daughter, Ashlyn Rizzo, and a son-in-law, Brian.



Class Notes Class Notes are compiled by Debbie Dill, assistant director of Alumni Affairs. Please mail items for Class Notes to Alumni Affairs, CPO Box 6004, Lander University, 320 Stanley Ave., Greenwood, SC 29649, or email items to


Ronald D. Smith ’71 was honored by the West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute for outstanding service to the West Texas agriculture industry. Since 1999, Ron has been the editor of Southwest Farm Press, which provides news and information for farmers and ranchers across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico. He has spent more than 30 years covering Sunbelt agriculture; receiving awards for writing and photography in agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. Smith has also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. S. Anne Walker ’72 was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Correctional Association (ACA). A member and past chair of Lander’s Board of Trustees, Anne is the executive director of the Alston Wilkes Society, a multistate, nonprofit agency working with criminal justice, homelessness, veterans and children’s issues. Anne has been involved extensively in the Sumter and Columbia communities, as well as at the state and national levels. She previously served as chair of the State Ethics Commission and the Palmetto Project Board of Directors. She is a past president and founding member of the S.C. Probation & Parole Association and the S.C. Association of Non-Profit Organizations, and is past district governor for Rotary District 7770. Nationally, she is a past president of the International Community Corrections 54


Association, and is a member of Phi Mu Fraternity and the National Speakers Association. She has received many local, state and national awards, including Lander’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the National Phi Mu Alumna Award for Community Service and the ACA’s E.R. Cass Lifetime Achievement Award. Jeff May ’73 was named executive director of the Burton Center Foundation. Jeff retired as Lander University’s director of Athletics in 2016, after serving the university for 28 years. Roy L. Pryor ’73 was inducted into the Saluda County School District Hall of Fame, Class of 2015. Pamela Richardson Cromer ’76 received the 2016 AANP Nurse Practitioner Award for Excellence for the state of Georgia and was named the Augusta University College of Nursing Distinguished Alumna for 2017. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the award is given annually to an individual nurse practitioner in each state who has demonstrated excellence in clinical practice. It was presented in June at the AANP National Conference in San Antonio, Texas. A professor and APRN clinical coordinator with Augusta University’s College of Nursing, Pamela was also recently inducted into the Pi Kappa Phi International Academic Society-Augusta University Chapter. She was a member of the Lander nursing faculty from 1989-1994.


Wally Hall ’82 was nominated to be inducted into the S.C. Shaggers Hall of Fame. John Cash ’83 was named vice president of sales and marketing with Cresent Fine Furniture. John was formerly a national sales manager with the company. Vivian Watson Morris ’85 was named recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Excellence in Service, presented by Clemson University’s Office of Inclusion and Equity and the President’s Office. According to the university, recipients of the award

are chosen based on their service to Clemson and the surrounding community, their advocacy for social and environmental justice, and their service above and beyond their direct employment. The award was presented in January during the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service at Clemson’s Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. Vivian is a staff member with Clemson’s Office of Human Resources and heads the university’s employee onboarding program. Kim Arp ’89 received the Thomas Green Clemson Award for Excellence. The award recognizes Clemson University faculty and staff who have made a sustained and significant contribution to academic life through teaching, research and/or service. Kim is the director of development for the College of Agriculture, Forestry & Life Sciences. Lori Anne Tunstall Hagood ’89 is the new head of school for Cambridge Academy.


Elizabeth Holcombe Reynolds ’92 & ’94 has a new position as the early intervention coordinator for Greenville County for the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind. Stacey Washburn Bevill ’95 was awarded the 50/50 Scholarship to the Newfield Network Ontological Coach Training program. The Newfield Network is an internationally acclaimed ontological coaching school and is accredited by the International Coach Federation. Angel Davis Skinner ’95 was named 201617 Teacher of the Year for Swansea High Freshman Academy. Marcia Lollis Womble ’95 was named 2016-17 Teacher of the Year for Gray Court Owings School. Julie Meacham Miner ’96 is the new director of communication and brand management at Connie Maxwell Children’s Home in Greenwood. Dr. Christine Jeanette Lawrence ’98 has joined the Cannon Family Practice in Pickens, S.C.



Casey Turner Tompkins ’00 is the talent resource manager at Davis & Floyd, Inc. Jonathan Ergle ’03 was named 2016-17 Teacher of the Year at Saluda High School. Shandra Williams Hodge ’07 is a child care licensing specialist with the Department of Social Services. Kim Tomlinson ’08 was hired in June by Georgetown YMCA as their membership & marketing director.


James A. Chapman ’10 is the box office and house manager for Pride Films and Plays. Cherise Williams ’11 joined Wilkes-Barre General Hospital as a cardiothoracic surgery nurse practitioner. Kristen Booher Jay ’12 and her husband Andrew are the new owner/operators of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Wyoming, Mich. Nate Kirkland ’12 has a new position with Velux as a material resource specialist production planner. Matthew Miller ’13 was elected to the Greenwood City Council for Ward 5. Ashley Vertefeuille ’13 has a new position as senior strategic sales development, digital marketing for ChannelAdvisor. Mary Katherine Pegram ’14 received her Master of Business Administration from Averett University on December 10. She is employed by the N.C. Department of Labor as a public information officer. Brian Sherrod ’16 was recently hired as a news content specialist at WCSC-TV Live 5 News in Charleston.

Loyalty and Passion for Lander Dr. Peggy McClinton Makins ’81 was recently introduced as the newest member of the Lander University Board of Trustees. Makins was appointed in late 2016 by then-S.C. Governor Nikki Haley to fill the seat vacated by Mamie Nicholson, who joined the Self Regional Healthcare Board of Trustees. She is well-known to the Lander family, having earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1981 and serving for many years on Lander’s Alumni Board. In 2002, she was honored with Lander’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Makins has had a long career as an educator. From 1987 until 2002, she worked as Dr. Peggy McClinton Makins ’81 a special education teacher for Richland School District One, then spent three years as a teacher specialist for the South Carolina Department of Education’s On-Site Program. From 2005 until 2011, she served as a teacher specialist and special education teacher at Alcorn Middle School in Columbia. In 2015, Makins retired from her position as instructional coach and special education administrator at W.A. Perry Middle School in Columbia, but she continues to provide support for the Early Childhood Education Department for Richland School District One, saying that her “work as an educator, and as a learner, is never-ending.” A past president of the Palmetto State Teachers Association, Makins is a National Board Certified Teacher in early childhood education and a winner of the prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. While teaching at Alcorn Middle School, she was named teacher of the year and was a finalist for district teacher of the year. She called serving on Lander’s Board of Trustees “a way to give back to a university that gave so much to me.” She is honored, she said, to “have a voice in the decision-making process that will ensure that the university continues to offer a well-rounded, rigorous academic program for its students.” She said she looks forward to working with and learning from other board members who share her “love, loyalty and desire for the university to grow and prosper.” – photo by Laura M. Brown ’16

Weddings Brandi Elizabeth Martin ’02 and Gregory P. Moon, Greenwood, Oct. 15. Brandi is employed by Piedmont Rural Telephone Cooperative Inc. as a financial analyst. They live in Gray Court. Lisa Marie Mack ’03 and Douglas Stokes Koon, Columbia, Oct. 1. They live in Chapin. David Ryan Wiley ’11 and Lauren Kreidler Cuddy, Orlando, Fla., Oct. 4. David is employed by Walt Disney Company. They live in Orlando.

Kerry L. Woods ’12 and Austin Gambrell, Gray Court, Sept. 3. They live in Greenwood. Kristie Lyn Taylor ’15 and Steven Gary Sawyer Jr., West Columbia, Oct. 8. Kristie is a kindergarten teacher at Batesburg-Leesville Primary. They live in Cayce. William H. Gowan III ’14 and Anna C. Finkbeiner ’13, Greenwood, Nov. 5. Will is a sales executive with City Wide Maintenance and Anna is employed with Velux as a customer service representative.

Stephen S. Lloyd Jr. ’16 and Chelsea Nicole Schmieding ’14, Greenwood, July 23. Stephen is employed by Lloyd Roofing and Chelsea is a teacher for Greenwood District 50. They live in Greenwood. – Class Notes continued on page 58



Town at a Crossroads Michael Rowe ’13, Mayor of Ninety Six, S.C.

Lander Alum Hoping to Bring Big Changes to Small Town as Mayor By L. C. Leach III In the first hundred days of 2016, Lander University graduate Michael Rowe stepped down from a managerial position with Piggly Wiggly, a company he had been with for 22 years. Rowe’s choice came because of another decision: he had just been elected mayor of his hometown of Ninety Six, and beyond handling regular duties of his new office, Rowe intended to take the first steps to transform Ninety Six from an ordinary small town into a thriving historic destination. “Our town has so much potential,” said Rowe, 42, who took office Jan. 1, 2016. “I took a step back from management when I became mayor because the time has come for us to begin to make that potential happen.” Rowe’s vision for Ninety Six is partly rooted from his time at Lander, which almost didn’t happen because of “my own resistance to change.”



“I was a non-traditional student. I was 24 when I first came to Lander in 1999, starting out as a part-time student,” he said. “Until then, my approach to schooling had never been serious, because I came from a mill family dating back to my grandparents.” Because of his mom and a friend who pressed him to go back to school, Rowe became the first one in his family to graduate both high school and college, eventually earning his bachelor’s in history from Lander in 2013. By then, he was involved in civic organizations and had been elected president of the Ninety Six Chamber of Commerce, and he was thinking about the future course of the town. He saw that political office was key to making some of the progressive changes he and other townspeople favored. “With our population just over 2,000, you not only get to know many of the people, you get to know their concerns,” he said. “I wanted to use elected office to address some of those concerns and start making what I think are vital, long-term changes.”

New Park on the Old 96 Mill Site Rather than letting it remain a ruin of the town’s past, Rowe sees the long-closed mill as an ideal site to build a park and amphitheater to preserve Ninety Six’s mill history and boost its growth. “The Parks Commission estimates $1.4 million to renovate the mill site,” Rowe said. “But this cost could be much lower if we receive some expected help from local organizations and donors.” For example, town leaders are working with the Saluda National Guard Armory to provide initial grading and clearing of the Mill Park as a community service project. This partnering would save $200,000 on park renovation, and the town would receive an additional savings of $484,000 from the 1-percent capital sales tax for Greenwood County, passed by voters in November 2016. Rowe said the resulting park would be a key step to creating new jobs and a new outlook for Ninety Six. “In 2015, we had 85,000 visitors to our National Historic Site,” he said. “This kind of tourism created 51 jobs in the community, and to me, that’s just an inkling of what this town can become.”

“The association’s mission is to create a better business and tourist environment while preserving and promoting the town’s rich history,” Rowe said. Actions taken so far with respect to the comprehensive plan include the construction of a central downtown fountain, renovations to the downtown train depot, converting the town’s old EMS building into a Welcome Center, adding sidewalks and landscaping, and soliciting ideas for improving the downtown. “It’s time for us to choose the course we want, with a vision of moving this town forward,” Rowe said, “and I think people here are ready for that kind of change and growth.” Shane Bradford, who moved to Ninety Six in August 2016, said he intends to pitch in wherever needed. “I’m all for the mayor’s vision,” Bradford said. “People have to recognize what this town has to offer and help make it happen.”

Downtown Revitalization Preliminary efforts to renew the Ninety Six downtown area are underway, with a listing inventory of downtown vacant spaces, and studies into the cost of new streetscaping and building façades. State grant money is also being considered. The town received a $10,000 Palmetto Pride grant in December 2016 to renovate the clock square, gazebo, fountain and other downtown sites. “We’re trying to gather all the estimates for revitalization together before applying for other grants,” Rowe said. “This is the easiest stage of the process.” The challenge, however, would come from convincing potential business owners to buy into Rowe’s vision of the town, because “they would have to be willing to pay their portion of the grants.” “Usually, façade grants cover the first $5,000 of each project, and they require business owners to occupy the building for a minimum of three years,” Rowe said. “So, we have to show prospective owners the value and potential return on their investment by moving to our downtown.”

Investing in Ninety Six In the fall of 2016, Rowe and several town leaders contacted the Small Business Development Center at Lander to seek out aspiring business owners to invest in Ninety Six and its future. “I offered to run a retail gap analysis of the town,” said Matt Wiggins, area manager and business consultant with the center. “This would identify potential retail opportunities that could do well in Ninety Six. Mayor Rowe agreed to also make readily available the types of buildings and locations in the town to potentially drive business owners in their direction.” Also underway is a preliminary comprehensive revitalization plan, which originated in 1994 through the Historic Ninety Six Development Association. Before-and-after renderings of proposed revitalization for downtown Ninety Six. – renderings by Clemson Institute for Economic Development



In Memoriam

Justin Bradley ’00 and Ashley Bradley, Sevierville, Tenn., a son, Braxton Lyle, July 20, 2016.

Sara Nickles Pruitt ’34, Decatur, Ga., Jan. 12. She was 103 and a retired school teacher. Surviving are two sons, six grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Aimee Lamkin Simmons ’00 and Davis Simmons, Waxhaw, N.C., a son, James Cullen, Dec. 10, 2015. James joins big brother Greyson Patrick. Cara Clawson Sutherland ’04 and George Sutherland, Greenville, a son, Joseph Collier, Dec. 12. He joins big brother Ryan James, who is 7. Melissa Tellin Greenlee ’05 and Tyler Greenlee, Columbia, a daughter, AnnTellin Adele, Feb. 16. David Scott ’05 and Melissa Noble Scott ’06, Greenwood, a son, Easton Noble, July 5. Easton joins big sisters Addilyn and Emma Grace. Caroline Gunter Marullo ’06 and Jerry Marullo, a daughter, Olivia Mae, Sept. 16. Sym Singh ’07 and Nina Bonetti Singh ’14, a son, Jackson Sher, Dec. 26. Jackson joins older brother Bryce, who is 4. Rachel Dixon Coats ’09 and David Coats, a son, James Avery, May 3, 2016. Lindsey Sammons Wilson ’09 and Thomas Wilson, a daughter, Brinkely Elle, Oct 6. Shelly Turnburke Hlavka ’10 and Ryan Hlavka, a son, Craig Michael, Sept. 20. Craig joins big sisters Karis and Keslee. Stephanie Adams Smith ’10 and Granger Smith ’10, a daughter, Finley Elizabeth, Oct. 24. She joins big brother Campbell, who is almost two. Hannah Gray Thompson ’12 and Bailey Thompson, Greenwood, a son, Walker, Jan. 29, 2016. Anna Rowland ’14, a son, Michael Avery, Oct. 7.

Alumni News & Events Join the Lander University Alumni Affairs fan page on Facebook®. To view the page or become a fan, visit For more on upcoming events, visit



Dorothy Putnam Turnley ’45, Greenwood, Dec. 17. She was a retired school teacher and member of Main Street United Methodist Church. Surviving are a son, daughter, four grandsons and a brother. Doshia Duffie Smith ’46, Saluda, Aug. 31. She was a retired school teacher and member of Good Hope Baptist Church. Surviving are four sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and a sister.

Kathy Bolt Sterling ’72, Pendleton, Oct. 20. Surviving are her husband, two sons and a granddaughter. Patricia Kelley Brazell ’75, Whitmire, Jan. 24. She was a retired school teacher and member of Masters Baptist Church. Surviving are two daughters, two grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren. Anne Poore McAlister ’75, Anderson, Oct. 23. She was employed with Lowe’s and of the Baptist faith. Surviving are her husband, three daughters, seven grandchildren and two brothers.

Helen Norris Springs ’46, Mt. Holly, N.C., Oct. 18. She was a school teacher, homemaker and member of First Presbyterian Church. Surviving are two daughters, three grandchildren and two great-grandsons.

Sybil Fuller Hall ’77, West Columbia, Nov. 12. She was a retired school teacher and member of Antioch United Methodist Church. Surviving are her husband, a daughter, three grandchildren and a brother.

Nancy Hyatt Greene ’50, Spartanburg, Oct. 25. She was a member of Roebuck Baptist Church. Surviving are a son, three daughters, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Barbara “Bobbie” McClinton Miller ’82, Abbeville, Nov. 17. She was a retired nurse and member of Cedar Springs ARP Church. Surviving are a son, two daughters, five grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

Rosalyn Weigle Barton ’60, Aiken, Oct. 2. She was a retired chemistry school teacher and member of Shilo Baptist Church. Surviving are two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren, one great-grandchild and three brothers.

Richard “Dick” W. Stowe ’84, Greenwood, Sept. 30. He was a WWII veteran and retired from Parke Davis. Surviving are his son, daughter, nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Ira T. Bostic ’62, Matthews, N.C., Feb. 2. He was a retired industry leader and member of Stallings United Methodist Church. Surviving are three sisters and many nieces and nephews. Sandra Blackwell Bryson ’66, Taylors, Aug. 11. She was a retired teacher and member of Disciples Methodist Church. Surviving are her husband and two sons. Judy Caldwell Hahn ’66, Columbia, Nov. 18. She was a retired psychiatric nurse and member of Shandon Baptist Church. Surviving are two daughters, six grandchildren and two brothers. Ann Brooks Urquhart ’66, Greenwood, Sept. 24. She was a retired teacher and enjoyed volunteering for many community nonprofit organizations. Surviving are her husband, son, daughter, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Arlene Reed Dysart ’70, Greenwood, Nov. 11. She was a retired nurse and member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Surviving are four sons, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Master Sgt. Ronetta M. Martin ’85, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 12. She was retired from the military and a member of Holy Springs Baptist Church. Surviving are a son, grandson, three brothers and three sisters. Amanda Jennings Welch ’04, Gaffney, Dec. 5. She was a kindergarten teacher at Lone Oak Elementary and member of Trinity Fellowship Church. Surviving are a stepson, stepdaughter, a brother, a niece and a nephew. George O. Simmons ’05, Columbia, Nov. 13. He was a member of Haskell Heights First Baptist Church. Surviving are his wife, two sons and his mother. Thomas E. Burgess ’10, Hopkins, Oct. 28. He enjoyed snowboarding and wakeboarding and spending time with family and friends. Surviving are his parents, sister and girlfriend. Sebastian Palecki ’15, Orlando, Fla., Oct. 4. Sebastian was attending the University of Central Florida to receive his master’s degree. He was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Surviving are his mother and father and a brother.

IN SYMPATHY Ella Claire Lee Mays ’48 on the passing of her husband, Calhoun A. Mays Jr., Nov. 10. Frances Smith Patton ’54 on the passing of her husband, Bobby Patton Sr., Nov. 15, 2015. Virginia Agee Dean ’67 on the passing of her husband, Ronnie Dean, July 31. Linda McKinney Goldman ’70 on the passing of her mother; Jerrel Goldman ’69 on the passing of his mother-in-law; and Jennifer Goldman Byrd ’99 on the passing of her grandmother, Nora Jester McKinney, Aug. 9. Jeff May ’73 on the passing of his brotherin-law, Richard “Dicky” Shivener, Jan. 16. Mike McWhorter ’76 on the passing of his aunt, Lucille Findley Freeman, Sept. 9.

DR. GLENN J. LAWHON JR. Lander University Board of Trustees longtime member Glenn J. Lawhon Jr. died Feb. 16, at the age of 91. Dr. Lawhon was well-known for his kind spirit and big heart, and he cared deeply for his family, friends and community. A resident of Hartsville, Lawhon graduated from Clemson University in 1946 and went on to receive his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. He served in the U.S. Army prior to graduating, and in 1947 he returned to Hartsville to join his father in practice. He continued to practice until May of 2012, when he sold his business and retired. In addition to serving on the Lander University Board of Trustees from 1988 to 2010, chairing from 1993 to 1997, Lawhon was active with many civic organizations. He served as mayor of Hartsville for 12 years and was a founder of the Hartsville Museum. He also served on the IPTAY Board of Directors at Clemson for many years and was a past president of the organization.

Jean Holland Price ’76 on the passing of her father-in-law, and Kenny R. Price ’00 on the passing of his grandfather, Lloyd “Rudy” Price, Jan. 28. Myra D. Greene ’78 on the passing of her mother, and Freddie Wactor ’78 on the passing of his mother-in-law, Mildred Waddell Greene, Aug. 2.

Julie Combs Hunt ’91 on the passing of her father, and Ray Hunt ’90 on the passing of his father-in-law, Jack E. Combs, Jan. 31.

Janet Dobinski Wall ’81 on the passing of her brother-in-law, Ronald L. Bell, Feb. 13.

Vanessa Ankuta Taylor ’92 on the passing of her mother-in-law, Martha Kinard Taylor, Jan. 6.

Jane Bledsoe Burnett ’83 on the passing of her husband, Dr. Roger D. Burnette Sr., Jan. 2. The Rev. Gloria Lightsey-Lewis ’83 on the passing of her mother, Margery Smith Lightsey, Jan. 12. Olgethia Harris Louden ’83 on the passing of her brother-in-law, Henderson Louden Jr., Oct. 11. Mark Moore ’83 on the passing of his father-in-law, T. Dewey Goin, Sept. 23. Kevin Prater ’84 on the passing of his mother, and Andrea Juergens Prater ’89 on the passing of her mother-in-law, Barbara W. Prater, Dec. 21. Theodore Rapp ’85 on the passing of his brother, and Jackie Arnold Rapp ’90 on the passing of her brother-in-law, Darryl O. Rapp, Feb. 2. Elise Turnley ’86 on the passing of her mother, Dorothy Putnam Turnley ’45, Dec. 17. Carol Sellars Ridgeway ’85 on the passing of her father, and Kirkley Sellars ’07 on the passing of his uncle, John Norman Sellars, Feb. 11.

Kathy Wood Ligon ’98 on the passing of her brother, William “Billy” Wood, Jan. 14. Stephanie Roe ’02 on the passing of her aunt, Rosalyn Weigle Barton ’60, Oct. 2.

Faculty/Staff Dr. Roger D. Burnette Sr. passed away on January 2. He served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Teacher Education from January 1996 until December 2004. Sympathy to Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Josie Ryan on the passing of her mother, Judith A. Johnson, Jan. 2.

Anna Plowden ’05 on the passing of her father, Stuart Plowden, Feb. 12.

Sympathy to Ray Price on the passing of his father, and Megan Varner Price on the passing of her grandfather-in-law, Lloyd “Rudy” Price, Jan. 28. Ray is a master craftsman and painter with Lander’s Physical Plant, and Megan is director of University Relations and Publications.

Sarah Crosby Dukes ’07 on the passing of her father, and Ben Dukes ’09 on the passing of his father-in-law, J. Michael Crosby, Aug. 15.

Sympathy to Kathy Willis on the passing of her husband, Christopher E. Willis, Nov. 17. Kathy is the office manager with Lander’s Physical Plant.

Katie Bryant Whatley ’09 on the passing of her father, Carroll Bryant, Feb. 2.

Sympathy to Coris Louden on the passing of his brother, Henderson Louden, Oct. 11. Coris is a painter with Lander’s Physical Plant.

Dana Schultz Kennemore ’02 on the passing of her father, L. Michael Schultz, Sept 18.

Zack Freeman ’10 on the passing of his aunt, Dora Freeman Wideman, Jan 9. Stacey Dysart Huguenin ’11 on the passing of her grandmother, and Cynthia Johnson Dysart ’97 on the passing of her mother-in-law, Arlene Reed Dysart ’70, Nov. 11.

Sympathy to Matt Goldman on the passing of his grandmother, Nora Jester McKinney, Aug. 9. Matt is a technician with Lander’s Physical Plant.

Hailey D. Leissner ’13 and Kegan M. Leissner ’15 on the passing of their grandfather, Glenn Argo, Oct. 30.


In Memoriam

Margaret Lander Scheibler May 14, 1912 - Dec. 5, 2016

Mrs. Margaret– A Gentle, Roaring Spirit The Last Granddaughter of Lander University’s Founder Leaves a Large Legacy By L. C. Leach III

In May of 2015, professional mountaineer Daniel Windham was making his way along the first leg of the Appalachian Trail near the town of Helen, Ga. In 37 years on the Trail, he had experienced nearly everything it could offer, but as he reached a spot called Unicoi Gap, he saw something that captured his curiosity. Just ahead at a care stop were two Trail Angels ready to offer food, water and encouragement to hikers to keep going. “And one was a little woman who was 103 years old,” Windham said. “I found out it was her birthday, and that she had decided to celebrate it by being a Trail Angel.” By the time Windham was ready to renew his journey, he had exchanged phone numbers and addresses with the birthday angel, promised to keep in touch through letters and departed with a slightly different take on life. He had just met Margaret Lander Scheibler ’33, known by friends and strangers alike as Mrs. Margaret – the last granddaughter of Lander University founder the Rev. Samuel Lander.



Windham said that if he, too, lives to be 100, it’s not likely he will ever forget “the lady with so much wisdom and spirit.” “I’ve met a lot of Trail Angels, but never one like her,” Windham said. “She put a smile on the face of every hiker that came by and gave me a better outlook on getting older.” Windham isn’t the only one to feel the effect of the “Mrs. Margaret” treatment. For more than 10 decades, right up until her death at age 104 on Dec. 5, 2016, an encounter with Mrs. Margaret was like coming into contact with a spirit that made you want to jump, laugh, ponder or just simply wonder with curiosity. “She was sharp and engaged until the very end,” said her niece Elizabeth Purcell, who lives in Clemson. “There was just so much about her that left you shaking your head in deep admiration.” Born and raised in Calhoun Falls, S.C., Mrs. Margaret was one of 42 members of Lander’s Class of 1933. When asked if her classmates knew that she was the granddaughter of the school’s founder, she glibly replied, “I suppose they did – but I didn’t feel any pressure.” From graduation through the next several decades, she held Above: Susan Jackson and Mrs. Margaret serving as Trail Angels on the Appalachian Trail. – photo by Paul Jackson

“Everyone who knew her, loved her.” a number of different jobs – payroll clerk in a local textile mill, commercial teaching in Florence, S.C., and two secretarial positions with both Westinghouse and Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. But as she got older, old age had a hard time catching her. “She never owned a wheelchair, didn’t get married until she was in her 60s, and didn’t stop driving until she was 100 – despite having to sit on a pillow to see, and despite having rheumatoid arthritis that left her hand deformed in a way that she had to use a pair of pliers to turn the key in the ignition,” Purcell said. “But that was typical Margaret. She didn’t let much stop her.” She finally settled in a few years ago at The Renaissance retirement home in Due West, not far from Lander University’s campus in Greenwood. “She was a real firecracker,” said Susan Jackson, part-owner of The Renaissance, “and she was always ready with a comment – usually the kind that would floor you into thinking, ‘Is this lady really 100 years old?’” Upon meeting Paul Crutcher of Lander University in 2009, when he was filming a documentary about her grandfather, Mrs. Margaret told him, “You know, I shouldn’t say this, but I’m going to. We’re sort of proud of being Landers.” “Great sense of humor, a lot of youthful energy,” said Crutcher, a broadcast and emerging media specialist at the university. “I have a picture of her on my office wall from the filming of that documentary. She made a huge impact on this school. Everyone who knew her, loved her.” The Lander Alumni Association threw her a surprise birthday party when she turned 104, complete with rousing applause, 104 yellow roses and a four-layer cake with 11 candles, each candle signifying one decade of her life. “When we told her it was all for her, she said, ‘This is for me? I don’t deserve it! Thank you, thank you, thank you,’” said Myra Greene, Alumni Affairs director for Lander. “Then she blew out all 11 candles on her cake.” Retired Lander President Larry Jackson and his wife, Barbara, presented a check to the university in honor of Margaret’s birthday in the amount of $104. The check was used as starter money to establish the Margaret Lander Scheibler Scholarship for a student majoring in exercise science. “Anyone wanting to contribute to this fund in memory of Margaret can make an online donation at scheiblerscholarship,” Greene said. Memorial contributions can also be mailed to The Lander Foundation, 320 Stanley Ave., Campus Box Office 6004, Greenwood, SC, 29649. Checks should be earmarked for the Margaret Scheibler Scholarship. “I think Margaret would have been pleased that the fund is growing and will help students for a long time to come,” Greene said. “She certainly would’ve had something clever and endearing to say about that.”

But since Mrs. Margaret wasn’t around to have the last word, she graciously passed the honor to Windham, who still half-expects to receive a letter from her in the mail – or to meet up with her again on the Appalachian Trail. “I’ve been on the trail regularly since I was a kid, and she was quite a memory,” he said. “And if even half the population in this country could be as happy as she was that day, we would all be better off.”

Appalachian Trail hikers Patrick Seibt, Libby Thomas and Scott Thomas with Margaret Lander Scheibler on the Appalachian Trail. – photo by Susan Jackson





3 The fall and winter were busy seasons for Lander’s Alumni Association, as events throughout the Carolinas and Tennessee brought together alumni of all generations for fellowship. In this gallery, we take a look at highlights from some of those gatherings. 1. Italian Night at the Alumni Center: Hosted by the Greenwood Tower Club, everyone enjoyed an Italian themed meal and entertainment during Italian Night on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Foundation and Alumni Center. 2. Alumni Brunch in Charleston: Alumni from the Charleston area gathered on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Stars Rooftop and Grill Room, where delicious fare and great conversations were on the menu. 3. Grand Strand Fall Social: What a fun gathering for alumni in the Grand Strand and Myrtle Beach areas at Eggs Up Grill on Pawley’s Island on Saturday, Sept. 24. Many class years were represented at the social and everyone enjoyed sharing fond memories of Lander. 4. Columbia Tower Club Fall Social: Villa Tronco Italian Restaurant was the perfect locale for a great night of reconnecting at the Annual Fall Social on October 4. Attendees had the opportunity to socialize before and during the event, which served as a membership drive and featured a silent auction to raise funds for the Columbia Tower Club Scholarship. – Contributed photos



4 5. Lander Lily Scholarship Luncheon: The 4th Annual Lander Lily Scholarship Luncheon was held on Thursday, Dec. 15, at The Lander Foundation and Alumni Center. The program featured Meg Lacombe, the recipient of the 2016-17 Lander Lily Honors Scholarship. Lander’s Amy Blackwood, Myra Greene and Laura Riddle provided entertainment, and proceeds supported the Lander Lily Funded Scholarship. 6. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill Area Alumni Social: This annual event for alumni from the Charlotte and Rock Hill areas was another fun evening. The opportunity to reconnect and reminisce over fond memories paired well with a wonderful meal at Blue Restaurant. 7. Mike Goodwin’s Bowtie Comedy: Lander alumnus Mike Goodwin ‘01 presented his Bowtie Comedy Show on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Greenwood Community Theatre. Goodwin delivered a family friendly show that featured hilarious discussions about everyday life and had the audience laughing and engaged the entire night! The event was a benefit supporting Lander University scholarships. 8. Nashville Area Alumni Social: An intimate crowd gathered for the 2nd Annual Nashville Area Alumni Social at the L. A. Jackson Rooftop on Saturday, Feb. 4. Everyone enjoyed reconnecting while viewing the beautiful cityscape. Pictured, Laurie Kerhoulas-Brown ‘91, left, stands with Alumni Director Myra Greene ‘78.


Alumni Events Calendar April – July 2017 April 10

Greenwood Tower Club Quarterly Meeting

April 17-21 Alumni Week April 22 Alumni Reunion and Awards Luncheon


May 6

Lander University Commencement

June 27

Samuel Lander Golf Classic

July 24

Greenwood Tower Club Quarterly Meeting

* Events/dates subject to change. Visit for details.



For Tower Club information, visit or contact Alumni Affairs Director Myra Greene at or 864-388-8351.


Life@Lander By Deb Nygro

Life at the university is never dull. The fall gave students a chance to reconnect with loved ones during Family Day and to celebrate the season with a Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony. We honored our military on Veterans Day, planted tree saplings on Arbor Day, and crowned a new Miss Lander. Some shared their talents performing on stage, while others carved pumpkin masterpieces. Many sprinted across campus for an evening Moonshine Run, and a late-night breakfast fed 900 during exam week. As spring arrived, the smell of fresh lumber and the sound of hammers filled the air, as volunteers helped build a new Habitat for Humanity house. Bearcats held spirited competitions during Homecoming Week, dashed off to an early morning Hustle for Habitat 5k, rolled up their sleeves to give blood, and enjoyed the international sounds and flavors of a Global Rec Fest. – photos by Deb Nygro, Mike Blackwell and Megan Price




320 Stanley Ave., Greenwood, SC 29649-2099 Change Service Requested


Record-Setting Run

The Lady Bearcats’ impressive 2016-17 season included 25 wins and a trip to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional semifinals, held in March in Columbus, Ga. Led by juniors Breshay Johnson, Jessica Harris, Mylea McKenith and senior Ty’hesha Reynolds, the Lady Bearcats earned their chance for postseason play by claiming their third consecutive Peach Belt Conference East Division title, becoming the first program in PBC history to win the East Division three years in a row. Pictured, Lander’s Mylea McKenith and head coach Kevin Pederson celebrate a home-court win over UNC Pembroke in February. Read more about the team’s record-setting run on page 35 of this issue of Lander Magazine. – photo by Laura M. Brown ’16

Lander Magazine Spring 2017  
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