Tri-County Technical College 50th Anniversary

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Tri-County Technical College Five Decades of Distinction

Tri-County Technical College Five Decades of Distinction

Written and Compiled by Lisa Garrett, Public Relations Associate, Tri-County Technical College Designed by Denise Day, Graphic Designer, Tri-County Technical College


Tri-County Technical College is a public, two-year community college dedicated to serving as a catalyst for the economic and lifelong development of the citizens of Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties through outstanding programs and unparalleled service. An open admissions institution with primary focus on teaching and learning, the College serves approximately 6,000 to 7,000 credit students through both on-campus and distance learning courses. The College grants certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees in technical, career, and transfer programs. The College also offers certificates in continuing education programs.


Tri-County Technical College will be the role model for community college education through dedication to high standards, a nurturing environment, community alliances, and innovative leadership.

© 2011 by Tri-County Technical College. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Tri-County Technical College.

First printing, December 2011 Printed in the U.S.A.

ISBN 978-0-615-55551-5

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At Tri-County Technical College, we value Integrity—respect for the dignity, equality, and potential of self and others in personal and professional interactions Responsibility—accountability in personal, community, professional, and fiscal affairs Accessibility—equal opportunity to advance professionally and personally in a clean, safe, stimulating, and aesthetically pleasing environment Collaboration—partnerships among students, faculty, staff, and community to promote open and effective communication, decision-making, and implementation of ideas and processes Learning—facilitation of intellectual and technical growth through commitment to continuous improvement and innovation

Table of Contents The History of Tri-County Technical College................... 5 Governor Ernest Hollings Recalls Early Days............14-15 The Presidents

Mr. W. T. (Bill) Yarborough.................................. 16

Dr. Don C. Garrison............................................. 18

Dr. Ronnie L. Booth.............................................. 22

The Decades 1960s.................................................................... 26 1970s.................................................................... 34 1980s.................................................................... 48 1990s.................................................................... 60 2000s.................................................................... 70

Five Decades of Distinction | 3



hen I think back on my childhood in South Carolina during the fifties and sixties, rich images and memories fill my mind — acres of farmland shimmering in the hazy heat of summer as far as the eye can see; a small country store selling ice-cold bottles of soda for a nickel; and a sense of wonder that comes from endless hours spent outdoors discovering the marvels of nature.

I also remember the poverty. Across a nearby sweet potato field, my childhood friend lived in a small shack covered with tar paper. I was fortunate to live in a brick house, a visible sign of modest prosperity in those days. I never had to wonder where my next meal would come from, but looking back, I am quite sure that my friend did. His family wasn’t alone in their struggles. In those days, most of South Carolina’s economy was still heavily dependent on farming. Textiles were the backbone of what little industry we had, and small mill villages were scattered across the map in all directions. While nearby states had already made significant progress in attracting industrial jobs and wealth, South Carolina didn’t have much to offer to the outside world, and young men and women were leaving the State in droves in search of a better life. Education beyond high school was limited to those who could afford to attend the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, or one of the few private colleges. The “rank and file” had little opportunity to pursue higher education or training. It was in this environment that then-governor Ernest Frederick “Fritz” Hollings and a group of legislators determined that if South Carolina were ever to prosper, they needed to find a way to lure industry to our State. They determined the best way to accomplish this was to provide a ready, trained workforce to fill jobs in manufacturing. In 1961, the General Assembly passed legislation that created an 4 | Tri-County Technical College

Advisory Committee for Technical Training, which eventually led to the formation of the South Carolina Technical Education System, now called the South Carolina Technical College System. Legislation creating the Tri-County Technical Education Center, now Tri-County Technical College, was passed one year later. While we started as part of a State system to fuel economic development and continue in that role today, the real key to our success is our close connection with the local communities we serve in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties. This success translates to having our feet on the ground in businesses, industries, healthcare facilities, schools, community agencies, and every organization where we can make a difference through higher education and training. By forming unique partnerships, leveraging common resources, and committing to excellence in all we undertake, we have become the role model in community college education. However, our true power lies not in our ability to create effective partnerships and teach relevant skills; it is in the power we have to change lives. Let me say that again — we change lives, many times over, in profound and unprecedented ways. Some of our students come to us from secure homes where they are encouraged and supported. But many do not. I can tell countless stories about people who never dreamed they could further their education, yet somehow overcame adversity and gained the courage needed to take this important step in their lives. Their first steps across the threshold of this institution mark the beginning of greater opportunities, a better future, and a productive and fulfilling life. Anniversaries are recognized for a reason. They prompt us to pause and reflect upon what is past, how the past shapes who we are today, and how our history can influence who we become in the future. I hope this compilation of the history of our first five decades of service to the community will give you a sense of this great journey.

Ronnie L. Booth, Ph.D. President

Tri-County Technical College Celebrates its 50th Anniversary


ifty years ago Tri-County Technical College made South Carolina history by becoming the first multi-county technical institute in the State. Never before had several counties pooled their resources to create a postsecondary educational facility in South Carolina.

In the last five decades, the College has grown from a technical education center in 1962 offering seven technical courses to today’s comprehensive two-year college featuring 25 associate degree, seven diploma, and 54 certificate programs. In fall 2010, a record-breaking 6,941 students enrolled at Tri-County, making it among the fastest-growing technical colleges in the System. South Carolina’s 16 technical colleges were created as tools for economic development. In 1961 South Carolina faced a bleak future. During the early 60s, young people were leaving the State in droves because there were few jobs for them. Former U.S. Senator Ernest Hollings, who was then governor, commissioned a group of legislators and representatives of the State Development Board to look at the State’s depressed economy at that time. The committee traveled around the United States viewing technical education systems in other states. After a year-long study, they filed a report that said the only way for South Carolina to improve its economy would be to develop its most valuable resource — its people.

The founders of Tri-County Technical College: Senator Earle Morris, Pickens County; Senator J.B. Lawton, Anderson County; Senator Marshall Parker, Oconee County; Senator Donald Russell; Senator John West; and founding Chairman Aubrey Marshall

Less than a year after the committee filed its report, tri-county leaders talked about working together to become a part of the movement to improve the economy in the region and State. Political leaders and economic developers believed that an investment in improving the knowledge and skills of all South Carolinians would be recouped through an expanded economy.

Tri-County was founded in 1962 when the tri-county leaders pooled their resources to plan the College after Act 323, Section 23, of the South Carolina General Assembly established the State Committee for Technical Education and provided for the establishment of regional centers. Governor Hollings signed Act 905 of the General Assembly on April 7, 1962, creating what would eventually become Tri-County Technical College.

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Senators J.B. Lawton of Anderson County, Marshall Parker of Oconee County, and Earle Morris of Pickens County, joined Senator John C. West of Kershaw County, representative of the State committee, to request funds from the General Assembly for the original funding of $500,000 for Tri-County. Their efforts were successful, and construction began on a hilltop donated by Clemson University approximately two miles south of Clemson on Highway 76 in Pendleton. Pickens Hall was the first building on site.

Stan Smith, chairman of the South Carolina Technical College Commission when the Technical College System was formed, on establishing the Technical College System:

“We spent several months designing criteria that would an enable any South Carolini to commute within 28 miles of a tech center. That enabled us to pinpoint 14 te locations throughout the Sta y tor geographically. In the his of the State, no county had into ever appropriated money to ory another county’s territ ing. build anything or do anyth e to Tri-County was the first on establish it.” 3 Excerpt from May 6, 200 interview

The late R.C. Edwards, president of Clemson University (1959-1979)

“There are two important days in all my years in education: January 1962 (creation of the Tech System) and the integration of Clemson University.” Excerpt from speech given October 17, 2002, at the 40th Anniversary Founders Day Event at Tri-County Technical College.

Representatives from the counties met and formed the Tri-County Area Commission for Technical Training with Aubrey Marshall as chairman. Other members of the Area Commission were J.A. Gallimore, vice chairman; Everett Laitala, secretary-treasurer; Ellison S. McKissick, Jr., building committee chairman; John Boland; T.V. Derrick; C.M. Forrest; Alex Gettys; F.W. Mohney; and Floyd Wyman. Tri-County Technical Education Center opened its doors September 10, 1963, and attracted 919 students during its first year of operation. W.T. (Bill) Yarborough was hired as the first Executive Director. The curricula included Electronics Technology, Machine Shop, Welding, Air Conditioning, Automotive Mechanics, Drafting and Design, Chemical Technology, Industrial W.T. (Bill) Yarborough Technology, Textile Technology, Industrial Electricity, and other engineering technologies. The facility housed a canteen, a library, machine shop, electronics lab, and auto mechanics shop. Over the next eight years, Mr. Yarborough would lead the institution’s growth from one building and 919 students to three structures and more than 1,600 students. In 1971 TriCounty exceeded all other technical colleges in South Carolina in total enrollment growth during the fiscal year 1970 – 71. Under the leadership of Mr. Yarborough, the College added two buildings, Anderson Hall in 1968 and Miller Hall in 1970.

Governor John West was a member of the State Senate and served on the study committee assigned to examine the needs of the State Development Board on the subject of vocational training. The creation of the State Technical System rests on that study.

Early 1960s Industrial Electronics class taught by Guy York, who led the Industrial Electronics Technology department from the day the College opened its doors until his retirement in 1989

Tri-County’s first commencement exercise was held on the lawn in front of Pickens Hall on Sunday, August 15, 1965, at 7 p.m. Forty-five graduates received their degrees. Bonner Manly, of Dearing-Milliken, delivered the commencement speech. In the early years, enrollment continued to grow, making Tri-County the fourth largest technical college in the State’s system of 16 institutions. Many students came directly out of high school and others fulfilled a dream of a two-year degree or continuing education. Their goals were as varied as their ages and socioeconomic backgrounds — hence the mission — a comprehensive community college which provides equal educational opportunities with doors that are open and accessible to students who desire to further their education.

“The technical

education program allow ed us to make that major leap from an agricultural to an industrial economy, to ov ercome that terrible educat ional deficit that existed an d sparked a tremendous ec onomic growth .” Excerpt from M

ay 6, 2003 interview

A central element in the new Technical Education System was Special Schools, a program of customized training for all of the new and diverse manufacturing jobs that leaders envisioned would be attracted to the State. The first Special Schools program was held in 1961 for Jacobs Chuck Manufacturing in Clemson.

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In October of 1971, Don C. Garrison of Easley was appointed Executive Director following the resignation (in September of 1971) of Mr. Yarborough. John W. Manly was named associate director in November. The College achieved a milestone the next month when it was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Upon the recommendation of the Commission on Colleges, delegates to the annual SACS convention in Miami unanimously voted December 1, 1971, to grant the College a 10-year accreditation. Through the years, Tri-County expanded its offerings with courses in allied health, human services, and college transfer courses (Associate in Arts and Sciences, now University Transfer). Tri-County was the second technical institution in the State to gain approval to offer college parallel courses after the South Carolina General Assembly enacted Act 1268 on May 25, 1972, making it possible for technical education centers to add Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees to their programs of study. The name of the institution was changed by an act of the State Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education on April 10, 1973. Now Tri-County Technical College, the name change more clearly identified the institution as a postsecondary educational facility emphasizing technical training but offering freshman and sophomore transfer courses.

Dr. Don C. Garrison

In 1975 Clemson University’s administration approved Tri-County’s request to transfer 34.66 acres of land to the College. The land transfer gave 30.52 acres of woodlands along the northwest crescent of the 22-acre campus. It added more than 800 feet of frontage along Highway 76 toward Clemson and 4.14 acres in front of the campus in a triangle formed by Woodburn Road, Highway 76, and the subdivision southeast of the campus. This allowed for a permanent road encircling the campus, improving ingress and egress and allowing a second entrance and exit to Highway 76.

Dr. Jim Wood, who was a physics instructor and later named Industrial and Engineering Technology Division chair, left, teaches a class.

Advances continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s in facilities development, curriculum refinement, planning, enrollment, fiscal affairs, and services to the community. The College also added credit programs in business technology, human services, engineering technologies, and allied health.

“Jobs for People, People for Jobs.” ~ Dr. Don C. Garrison 8 | Tri-County Technical College

Dr. Garrison’s mantra throughout the 1970s and 80s was “Jobs for People, People for Jobs.” The College accomplished this through Special Schools training, comprehensive manpower training programs, one- and two-year technical programs, and continuing education courses. Being a “people’s college” meant striving to provide equality in higher education and removing the financial barriers that prohibit individuals from attending college. Another way to achieve equality in 1987-88 SGA O fficers Suzette higher education was to Moon, John W Stan Vandiver isham, and offer programs to those who had less than a high school diploma through the adult education division which prepared some students to pass the GED and others to enter degree programs.

Seven Buildings Named After Justices Seven buildings on the Pendleton Campus are named to honor seven of the eight original rulers, or justices, of the Old Pendleton District in 1790. Those justices are Andrew Pickens (Pickens Hall), John Miller (Miller Hall), John Wilson (Wilson Hall), Benjamin Cleveland (Cleveland Hall), William Halbert (Halbert Hall), Robert Anderson (Anderson Hall), and Henry Clarke (Clarke Hall). A building is not named after Justice John Moffett.

Senator Marshall Parker, one of the founding fathers of the S.C. Technical College System:

“Education and economic development are inseparable. Education without job opportunity is folly; a good job without education is impossible.” Excerpt from Senator Parker’s remarks to spring 1991 graduates

Governor Robert (Bob) McNair recalls the beginning of the Special Schools program:

“We developed what was the Technical Training Program. One phase was called Special Schools, which would train workers if industry would locate a plant here and by the time you finish building your plant, we would have a trained workforce for you. You will be able to open your doors and make a profit the first 30 days.” Excerpt from May 5, 2002 interview

Since 1990, the World Class Training Center, housed in the Corporate and Community Education Division, has provided the additional training resources that companies need to stay in business and thrive in today’s fiercely competitive global economy. Instructors deliver classes on site or anywhere needed. In 2010-11, the Division served 12,025 students — 9,265 from Anderson County, 821 from Oconee County, 1,360 from Pickens County, and 579 outside the three-county area. In 1984, the College established the Tri-County Technical College Foundation, Inc., to raise money to supplement appropriations, thereby helping the College to meet the educational needs of the citizens of the tri-county area. At its first meeting on June 7, 1985, the TriCounty Technical College Foundation Board elected officers and adopted a fundraising goal of $4,575,000 to go toward an Industrial and Business Development Center, a Child Care Center, books and audio-visuals for the library, equipment, scholarships, and faculty/staff development. They also adopted a one-year goal

CCE Business and Industry Training Direc right, and Joe tor Richard Pa Johnson, of O rker, w en s C orning, in an Troubleshooti Electrical ng Techniques class

of $850,000 to support capital improvements, programs, and services. Today, the Foundation’s endowment, totaling more than $18 million in June, 2011, ranks number one among the 16 technical colleges. Dr. Garrison placed Tri-County at the forefront of two-year colleges in the United States. His dynamic leadership had a profound impact on the College’s direction during his three-plus decades of service and resulted in financial stability, outstanding facilities, enrollment growth, and strong community service.

Then Commission Vice Chair Helen Rosemond-Saunders talks with incoming President Ronnie L. Booth at a welcome reception attended by faculty, staff, and community members. He told the crowd that accepting this position is “a lifelong dream” for him. 10 | Tri-County Technical College

“The very heart and soul of the S.C. Technical Education System mandate is simple. We were founded to be a catalyst for economic development and to attract diverse manufacturing industries to our State. Our mission, as envisioned by the Tech founders in 1960, is even more crucial to the State and community today. The essence of our heritage is what truly separates us and makes us unique

from the majority of our nation’s 1,200-plus two-year colleges,” Dr. Garrison said in 2003 when he ended a 32-year tenure at the helm of one of South Carolina’s largest technical colleges. He retired as president of Tri-County Technical College June 30, 2003. Dr. Ronnie L. Booth, vice president for external programs at Gainesville College in Gainesville, GA, succeeded Dr. Garrison as Tri-County Technical College’s third president. The College’s Commission voted unanimously in favor of Dr. Booth following an executive session meeting Friday, May 2, 2003. “Dr. Booth stands out in his breadth of experience across all areas of the campus in terms of administrative responsibilities,” said Dr. Mendel Stewart, who, at the time, chaired the College’s Commission. “His experience in key administrative areas will serve him well at Tri-County. His combination of experience and his professional and personal integrity are central to everything that he has done. Consistently, he is a person of great capability and devotion to doing things right and to doing the right thing.” Dr. Booth says it is his goal that when constituents and other colleges consider the best in community college education, they immediately think of TriCounty Technical College. “TriCounty has the foundation for being the best in its class,” he added. Tri-County’s vision statement focuses on becoming a role model for community college education through dedication to high standards, a nurturing The College opened its first community campus in Anderson in 2007. environment, community alliances, and innovative leadership, said Dr. Booth. “Achieving this status takes collaboration and teamwork with the business and industry community,” he added. The College has grown in size and reputation over the last decade with fall 2010 enrollment reaching 6,941 credit students — the largest in Tri-County’s history. The record-breaking numbers of students who are making Tri-County their college of choice are making a wise and marketable investment in their futures and themselves. In today’s unsettled economic times, the associate degree has become more valuable than ever and often is the first, not alternate, choice for students seeking higher education. A two-year degree at Tri-County costs roughly less than one semester at a four-year college or university. The availability of Lottery Tuition Assistance and other means Tri-County’s vision statement of financial aid make education more affordable for many. focuses on becoming a role model As of fall 2011, Tri-County is among the fastest-growing of the 16 technical colleges in the State, according to data for community college education compiled over the last decade. During his eight years at Tri-County, Dr. Booth has opened the College’s first three community campuses — the Anderson Campus located at 511 Michelin Boulevard, the Oconee Campus at the Hamilton Career Center in Seneca, and the Easley Campus on Powdersville Road in Easley.

through dedication to high standards, a nurturing environment, community alliances, and innovative leadership. Five Decades of Distinction | 11

The College is governed by the Tri-County Commission, a nine-member board comprised of three representatives from each county. Currently serving on the Commission are W. H. “Ham” Hudson, chair, Oconee County, seated middle; Leon “Butch” Harris, vice chair, Anderson County, seated second from left; and D. Pruitt Martin, secretary/treasurer, Anderson County; seated fourth from left. Also pictured, seated, Thomas F. Strange, Pickens County, and Helen P. Rosemond-Saunders, Oconee County; and standing, J. Allard “Al” Young, Anderson County; W. Milton Ponder, III, Pickens County; George N. Acker, Pickens County; and John M. Powell, Oconee County. Also pictured is President Ronnie L. Booth.

Within two years of his arrival, Dr. Booth found another way to meet the needs of local industry through the Economic Development Center funded by Anderson, Oconee and Pickens county councils, the Center for Accelerated Technology Training (CATT) and the College. The Center, which opened in 2005, is used to provide training for new and expanding industries through the readySC™ program. Attached to Cleveland Hall on the Pendleton Campus, this 7,500-square foot-facility has a large multi-purpose training room and two classrooms. In addition, Dr. Booth launched the Gateway to College program for high school dropouts and the Bridge to Clemson program with Clemson University.

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readySC™ conducted pre-hire training for Tri-Tech USA, Inc., when the Vermont-based company relocated to Pickens County in 2008.

Currently, the funds to operate Tri-County come from five sources — 61.5 percent from tuition and fees; 7.0 percent from county appropriations; 15.1 percent from State appropriations, 13.9 percent from auxiliary enterprises; and 2.5 percent from miscellaneous. State funding, however, has diminished from 54 percent in 2001 to 15.1 percent in FY 2012. “The demand for community colleges never has been greater,” said Dr. Booth. “Conversely, the cuts in our traditional sources of funding have never been more significant. Therefore, we must look beyond these traditional sources of funding to remain viable. We owe it to this community to find alternative ways to thrive. For this reason, we have embarked upon a journey to seek private funding through the Foundation’s Golden Opportunities Campaign,” he said.

A $100,000 gift from Oconee Medical Center was announced during the kick-off of the Foundation’s first-ever Major Gifts Campaign. Oconee Medical Center designated its funds to create an endowment for nursing excellence, which will support nursing faculty professional development activities, lab equipment for the program, and other priority needs. Pictured with Jeanne Ward, president and CEO of Oconee Medical Center, second from left, are Hunter Kome, chief operating officer at Oconee Medical Center; Dr. Ronnie L. Booth; and John Lummus, vice president for Economic and Institutional Advancement.

In 2009, the Foundation kicked off its firstever major gifts campaign aimed at moving the College toward achieving role-model status among community colleges in the United States. The Foundation is working toward a goal of $7-9 million to support four initiatives that address community demands. They include: expanding educational opportunities, improving technology and equipment, enhancing opportunities for student success, and promoting economic and community development. The campaign will end in 2012 with the College’s celebration of its 50th anniversary. Enrollment reached 6,941, the largest in the College’s history, in fall 2010.

“The demand for community colleges never has been greater.” ~ Dr. Ronnie L. Booth Five Decades of Distinction | 13

Governor Ernest Hollings Recalls Creation of South Carolina’s Technical College System Governor Hollings recalls the early days of Tri-County at his May 27, 1977, speech at the dedication of Wilson, Halbert, and Cleveland halls.


t always gives me pleasure to come home to South Carolina and to visit the campus of one of our technical education colleges. I guess this is so because of my intimate knowledge of the efforts that went into creating our system of technical education and our realization today that what we dreamed of years ago has succeeded beyond our wildest imaginations.

TEC is an unrivaled success story, and this is so mainly because of people. I emphasize the human aspect of our technical education system because to my certain knowledge, no state in the Republic can claim to have made the kind of human commitment that South Carolina has made in recent years — commitments of money, effort, and public leadership to the task of bettering the lives of its citizens. We weren’t at all sure of success back in the late 1950s when we began to really study the educational and financial conditions of the State. The picture was dark. Our brightest young people were leaving South Carolina as soon as they had a high school diploma or a college degree because the opportunities were simply better elsewhere. The workers we managed to keep struggled on through low wages and high unemployment. We ranked at the bottom of every national indicator of progress. We were 50th in per capita income. We were 50th in educational attainment. I came to the Governor’s Office in 1958 with the determination to realize during my term some real economic growth for the people of my State. And very quickly I realized that the only way to raise the income level of a single South Carolinian was to raise the educational level of all South Carolinians. If you educate the man or woman, you give him or her the tools to get a better job and if he or she gets a better job, they make better money and the economy of the entire State benefits. We had, simply, to go “from fiftieth to first.”

The out-of-state industrialist’s main concern — if he was going to relocate — was to get his new plant operating and in the black. He could only get that kind of guarantee if he had a skilled workforce at hand when he arrived. Every survey of South Carolina and the South showed limited skills. So we made the kind of guarantee you can only make when you have nothing to lose: We told the industrialists to come on and South Carolina would shoulder the burden of training the workers and getting them ready. I’ll never forget how we created the TEC System. The 1961 General Assembly was about to adjourn, and the only major bill that could provide for technical training was a deficiency appropriations bill, which was in conference committee at the time. Completely departing from tradition, as Governor I entered the meeting to push for technical education. I told the legislators that the ox was just about in the ditch. Two programs were underway using Clemson facilities, and I had promised three other industrialists that the State would train their workers if they moved here. We had to have the money. We had to have the facilities. We had to have a program. The conference committee agreed to a limited budget for technical education, and the State’s technical education program was written out that afternoon. We went to North Carolina and wooed A. Wade Martin to Columbia to put the program together and make it work. He was a humanist who believed in human beings, and he had the ability to take the cold, hard statistics, the industrial charts, and graphs and translate them into human needs and achievements. Within eight months of its creation, the original State Advisory Committee for Technical Education had established 30 special schools around the state to meet the needs of the plants coming into these communities. When I left the Governor’s Office, I could point to $1 billion in industrial expansion in my State and say, with all candor, that it would have been less than half that had we not had the Technical Education System. We promised, and South Carolinians of all walks of life delivered. Five Decades of Distinction | 15

W. T. (Bill) Yarborough Executive Director 1962-1971


alhalla native W.T. (Bill) Yarborough served as the first Executive Director, beginning in September 1963 when the College opened its doors until his resignation in 1971.

Under his eight-year leadership, the College grew from one building and 919 students to three structures and more than 1,600 students. Tri-County exceeded all other technical colleges in South Carolina in total enrollment growth during the fiscal year 1970 – 71. During Mr. Yarborough’s tenure, the College added two buildings, Anderson Hall in 1968 and Miller Hall in 1970. He laid the groundwork for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which was granted in 1971. Mr. Yarborough was a pioneer in the technical education system, having helped to establish Greenville Technical Education Center and serving as its Associate Director before coming to Tri-County. He graduated from Walhalla High School where he lettered in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He earned his degree in Education in 1957 from Clemson University, where he is remembered as a tremendous athlete who set 37 basketball records. He still holds eight of those today. He began his career as a teacher at Hasting School in Florida and at schools in Rock Hill and Aiken. He joined Dunlap Rubber Company later as personnel manager.

Mr. Yarborough said he became interested in the technical education program through his experience as a teacher and in industry. He was quoted as saying, “Our constant objective is to project an image complimentary to the three counties. I saw in the technical education program an opportunity to develop the people and the potential of the area by tying industry and education together. All of our programs are designed to assist the existing industry here with hopes of attracting new industry. This would make jobs available that would retain our youth in this geographic area.” Mr. Yarborough, who died July 27, 1996, at his home in Leesville after a brief illness, is survived by his widow, Carolyn Few Yarborough, and their four adult children.

Executive Director Bill Yarborough, left, is pictured with Guy York, third from left, and Norman Hindman, right, who were the second and third technical education leaders in the State to be awarded the Associate of Science Degree. York led the Industrial Electronics department, and Hindman was head of the Air Conditioning department. Pictured with them is Mrs. Jackie York. Five Decades of Distinction | 17

Dr. Don C. Garrison President 1971-2003


ver the 32 years he served as president, Dr. Don C. Garrison’s name became synonymous with Tri-County Technical College and with providing outstanding educational opportunities for the people of Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties.

His entire professional life — more than four decades — was devoted to education in South Carolina. Upon his death in 2010, Dr. Garrison still had a profound impact on the lives of countless people both within the College and the community. (Dr. Garrison suffered a fatal massive stroke and passed away February 28, 2010.)

the College expanded from three buildings to 14 buildings. Enrollment increased from 919 during its first year to more than 6,000 students annually in degree, diploma, and certificate programs and nearly 13,000 continuing education students at his retirement. He led the College from a technical education center offering seven technical courses to a comprehensive two-year college featuring 20 associate degree, eight diploma, and 37 certificate programs at the time of his retirement.

From the time he assumed the presidency at Tri-County in 1971 until his retirement on July 31, 2003, he was known as a tireless advocate for technical education, and he placed TriCounty at the forefront of two-year colleges in the Nation. He was a dynamic leader whose profound impact on the College’s direction during these three-plus decades resulted in financial stability, outstanding facilities, enrollment growth, and maximum community service. When Dr. Garrison announced his retirement plans to an assembly of the faculty and staff in 2002, he said, “It will be hard to leave Tri-County, where I’ve given my all for the last 32 years, but the time has come. I leave Tri-County knowing that the College is in good shape in pursuit of its primary mission to be a tool for economic development by providing unexcelled educational opportunities for the people of Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties. Tri-County couldn’t have risen to its prominence in higher education, locally and nationally, without total community involvement and support. And I am grateful to everyone for that kind of support.” The Tri-County Technical College Commission saluted Dr. Garrison in 2002 by naming the Pendleton Campus in his honor. Dr. Garrison began his career at Tri-County as its second president on November 1, 1971. During his leadership,

The College, under Dr. Garrison’s leadership, was often recognized for its contributions to economic development and for attracting international industry to the tri-county area. When Plastic Omnium announced plans in December, 1993, to locate a plant in Anderson County to manufacture BMW components, the president of the French company praised Dr. Garrison as “an important influence on our decision to locate here.” When Venture Packaging announced plans in December, 1994, to locate a plant in Anderson County to employ 400 people making plastic food packages, the president of the company said, “Our final decision to locate in Anderson was based on South Carolina’s pro-business environment, Anderson’s proximity to I-85, and to the guidance and Five Decades of Distinction | 19

Known for his great patriotism to both State and country, Dr. Garrison established on campus the first memorial in the State to honor those who served and died in the Vietnam War. He was among the 250 community college presidents nationally in 1989 who received a leadership medallion at the Leadership 2000 Conference of the League for Innovation in Community Colleges. He also served as president of the Aerospace Education Foundation which named him a Jimmy Doolittle Fellow, as well as an Ira Eaker Fellow.

One of Dr. Garrison’s most coveted awards came in 1983 when he received the Marie Y. Martin Administrator Award in 1983 from the American Association of Community College Trustees (the premier association representing more than 1,200 community and technical colleges).

professionalism of Dr. Don Garrison, whose influence proved vital to our commitment.” His leadership in community college and technical education was recognized numerous times with local, state, and national honors. One of his most coveted awards came in 1983 when he was named Administrator of the Year by the American Association of Community College Trustees (the premier association representing more than 1,200 community and technical colleges).

He chaired the National Council on Occupational Education and was a member of the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). He chaired the National Tech Prep/School to Work Awards Committee of the AACC. He served as a Fulbright Fellow in China in 1986. In 1994, he received the Barbara H. James Technical College President of the Year Award for his outstanding contributions to the Tech Prep initiative in South Carolina. Tri-County’s leadership in Tech Prep resulted in the College receiving one of the first BellSouth Foundation grants ever to go to a twoyear college. In 1988, in respect for his dedicated service, co-workers, friends, and family endowed a perpetual scholarship in his name that is given annually to a student who exemplifies his standards of excellence.

Other honors in his career include the Air Force Association’s Medal of Merit in 1984 and in 1988 the Order of the Palmetto, the highest award presented by the State and its governor. He was recognized in 1995 by his technical college peers for outstanding leadership through the prestigious A. Wade Martin Innovator of the Year Award, the highest honor bestowed upon staff or faculty members in technical education by the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education. For his dedication to attracting minority faculty and staff and to creating and maintaining an institutional environment that values racial and cultural diversity, he was awarded the access and equity award from the S.C. Professional Association for Access and Equity in 1999. 20 | Tri-County Technical College

Dr. Garrison talks with student leaders.

“It’s not about how much you amass, the awards you receive, or the diplomas on the wall. It’s about how many people you help. Don Garrison truly helped people,” said Dr. Mendel Stewart, former Tri-County Commission chair, in his remarks at a campus memorial service in honor of Dr. Garrison after his death in 2010. “I’ve never known a leader more committed to what he did,” said TriCounty’s Director of Career Services Glenn Hellenga, whom Dr. Garrison hired in 1973. “His commitment came from the heart. Where the good guys go, Don Garrison is telling the Tri-County story.” In his final commencement speech in 2003, Dr. Garrison told the graduates, “The key to success in life is attaching yourself to a cause that is greater than yourself.”

Dr. Don C. Garrison and his wife, Carol

“That’s exactly what Dr. Garrison did — he ‘walked the talk’ and devoted his life and career to the cause of providing accessible, affordable, relevant, and quality educational options for the residents of Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties,” said President Ronnie L. Booth. “When Dr. Garrison retired, he said, ‘I truly believe that Tri-County Technical College’s best days are yet to come.’ That may be true, but it never would have been possible without the solid foundation he laid for us,” said Dr. Booth.

At the end of the 2002 Annual Report Luncheon, Dr. Garrison asked his wife, Carol, son, Donnie, and daughter-in-law, Cheryl, to come forward to publicly thank them for their support over 32 years. He also expressed sincere gratitude to the Commission for unanimously voting to name the Pendleton Campus in his honor. “I don’t know what more you can do for me. I truly appreciate this,” he said, adding, “the best days of Tri-County Technical College are yet to come.”

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Dr. Ronnie L. Booth 2003 - Present


n one of the first speeches he gave when he assumed the presidency of Tri-County Technical College in 2003, Dr. Ronnie L. Booth talked about his plans for moving the College towards fulfilling its mission, in terms of long-term accomplishments. There were three pathways to consider — maintenance, monuments, and movement. Instead of remaining static, or working on the infrastructure, Dr. Booth says he chose the latter. “Movement is purposeful and strategic. It’s about preparing students for success, meeting their needs, and positioning the College to meet future needs,” he said.

“I asked myself, ‘How do we get to where we need to be? What are the needs of the future, and how do we hitch up and remain relevant?’”

accomplishments at his previous job as Vice President for External Programs at Gainesville College in Georgia. “Data showed that we were under serving a key area of the tri-county region. Tri-County is a long distance to drive for many of our citizens and the time had come for the College to develop community campuses,” he said. In 2005 the College was authorized by the Commission to pursue negotiations to acquire a piece of property in Anderson near 28 Bypass and Michelin Boulevard for the first campus. The premier community campus was made possible by the commitment of Dr. Booth, the College Commission, and the Foundation Board to find alternative sources of funding for the purchase of this land and for the construction

“My vision, from the beginning, was for TriCounty Technical College to be viewed as the role model in community college education — a model that others strive to emulate. Achieving such an ambitious vision takes time and work, but achieving it is definitely possible,” he said. Over the last eight years, since accepting the job as the third president, Dr. Booth has led the College to such noteworthy accomplishments as being named one of the fastest-growing technical colleges among the 16 in the State; establishing the extremely Dr. Booth is joined by community members and College officials at the ribbon successful Bridge to Clemson program, a first cutting for the Anderson Campus in 2007. of its kind in the State; and envisioning and opening three community campuses in just four years. of the first building. Once the approval process began, the College Foundation Finance Committee voted to establish a From the beginning, making college accessible, available, and limited liability corporation (LLC) to purchase, develop, and affordable to residents across the tri-county region was a top lease property to the College. priority for him and the Commission. “The Foundation formed an LLC — this was not typical — it “One of the first questions I was asked in my interview wasn’t something a two-year college in South Carolina had with the Commission was had I developed and/or opened done. That was very rewarding for me,” said Dr. Booth. “We new campuses, and I had,” he said. It was among his final got the Foundation engaged in a different way of meeting the Five Decades of Distinction | 23

needs of the College. I had seen that model work in Georgia and knew we could do it here. It was a home run, in my opinion.” A campus in Oconee followed in 2008, and in 2011, the Easley Campus opened its doors. In addition, the Oconee and Easley Campuses have QuickJobs Development Centers for workforce and industry training funded by grants from the State Department of Commerce. These campuses, along with the classrooms at the Watkins Community Center in Honea Path, serve several of the College’s goals by bringing its services closer to residents, increasing community involvement, and expanding educational opportunities.

is a selling point for us when working with industry prospects. Now, instead of just touring our campus to get a feel for the types of technician training programs we have, they also can see first hand where their entry-level associates will be trained.” In February 2005 the College announced funding for the LPNto-Professor Initiative. For the first time ever, four area hospitals (AnMed Health, Cannon Memorial Hospital, Oconee Medical Center, and Baptist Easley Hospital) joined forces with Clemson University and Tri-County to address the future shortage of nurses in the workplace and nursing faculty within Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties. The Duke Endowment and area hospitals funded “LPN to Professor,” a three-year, innovative national model that has been mutually beneficial for all partners. More partnerships later were unveiled as the College began to work with four-year colleges and universities to expand the educational opportunities for graduates.

In his first year, Dr. Booth, left, visited each industry in the three counties. He is seen here with Gary Justice, (now retired) manager at Richmond Gear.

Another goal was to meet the needs of business and industry training, which was achieved in 2005 with the opening of the Economic Development Center on the Pendleton Campus. It was funded by Anderson, Oconee and Pickens county councils, readySC™, and the College. The Center is used to provide training for new and expanding industries through the readySC™ program. “The 7,500-square-foot-facility is versatile enough to handle training for a complex assembly operation or any other type of entry-level training that is needed for other readySC™ projects in the tri-county area,” said Dr. Booth. “This facility 24 | Tri-County Technical College

In 2005, the Bridge to Clemson program was created. It is designed for recent high school graduates who narrowly missed admission to Clemson because of limited space and high demand. The program enrolled 560 students in the fall of 2011 — its largest class to date. In addition to the Bridge to Clemson program, the College has articulation agreements in place that allow graduates from several Tri-County career programs to be accepted with junior standing in specific majors at Clemson. Tri-County also has transfer agreements with Anderson University, Erskine College, Lander University, Limestone College, USC College of Engineering, and USC Upstate. The College has grown in size and reputation over the years with fall 2010 enrollment reaching 6,941 students — the largest in Tri-County’s history. The record-breaking numbers of students who are making Tri-County their college of choice are making a wise and marketable investment in their futures and themselves.

“Attending Tri-County is a smart investment of time and money,” said Dr. Booth. “People understand our value proposition. The availability of lottery and other means of financial aid makes education more affordable for many,” he said.

to see more improvement academically with students’ success and graduation rates. We want to strengthen the relationships with the towns where our campuses are located. I have a vision for a folk art center that will more closely tie us to the Town of Pendleton, serve as a destination, and enable us to appropriately recognize and celebrate the life and history of the Pendleton District. I want to see us expand our presence in Oconee County and significantly update our facilities in Pendleton. Also, I want Tri-County Technical College to become the college of choice for our area because we provide value, excellent instruction, superb service, and a clear path to success for our students.”

“Our profile has increased and the community has a definite appreciation for the quality of education here. Bridge to Clemson was a stamp of approval. It was significant. Two years at our College lays an incredible foundation for work or the next level of education.” One of the most recent and powerful campus initiatives to move the College forward is the Learning through Community and Connections (LC2) initiative that provides students opportunities to become part of focused learning communities within the College. “This translates into great student success. We believe LC2 will help more students to successfully complete their coursework, persist to the second semester, and to continue on and graduate,” he said. In 2010 Tri-County was among the 48 institutions nationwide and the only applicant from South Carolina to receive Title III funding for the proposed fiveyear plan to more powerfully focus on student learning and success for first-time postsecondary students.

Looking back to his 2003 interview, he remembers telling the Commission, “If you are looking for someone to maintain the status quo, it’s not me. I like to get things done.”

“This initiative moves us in the direction we need to go — giving students a transformative first-year experience. We’re making progress in becoming what we want to be. We’re helping students to accomplish their goals and their highest potential. Title III helps us to get there faster. It’s moving us in the right direction. We’re on a mission. The College is growing and developing, and the learning continues for everyone,” he said. Although he’s checked off 80 percent of his goals on the list he made in 2003, Dr. Booth says, “We have a way to go.” He’s already compiled another list for the next eight years. “I want

Dr. Ronnie L. Booth and his wife, Sara, in 2003 when he accepted the job as Tri-County’s third president

Five Decades of Distinction | 25


26 | Tri-County Technical College

Fifty years ago (April 7, 1962), Tri-County Technical College made South Carolina history by becoming the first multi-county technical institute in the State. The College has grown from a Technical Education Center offering seven technical programs to today’s comprehensive two-year college featuring 25 associate degree, seven diploma, and 54 certificate programs. Pictured here in 1964 with James Allen, former evening director at the College, left, and Charlie Gibson, retired dean of Continuing Education, right, are Pendleton High School students (from left) Larry Patterson, Arnie Welmaker, Lane Wilson, Herman Miller, and Lane Hicks.

Maudie Gaines was Executive Assistant to the President from July 8, 1963, until her retirement on June 16, 1997. Even before the first building was completed, Mrs. Gaines began her 34 years of service to the College in a temporary office on the square in the Town of Pendleton. She served, often simultaneously, as the President’s secretary, business manager, purchaser, personnel manager, special schools assistant, and work-study coordinator. She became secretary to the Area Commission in 1971.

The late William T. (Bill) Yarborough, the founding president of this College, seated, is pictured with the late Earle Rochester, Industrial Services and Special Schools Manager from 1964 - 91, left, and Charlie Gibson, retired dean of Continuing Education. Yarborough helped to establish Greenville Technical College before coming to TriCounty in 1962 and serving as Tri-County Technical Education Center’s Executive Director until 1971.

Five Decades of Distinction | 27

From left, Everett Laitala, second chairman of the Area Commission, Bill Yarborough, Tri-County’s first executive director, Senator Harris Page Smith, a Technical Education Center founder from Pickens County, and Dean P. Breazeale, Area Commission member

60s 1961

The first Special Schools program was held for Jacobs Chuck Manufacturing in Clemson.


The Rambling Tec was TEC’s (Tri-County Education Center’s) traveling information center from 1969 - 71. Students served as hostesses and traveled on the mobile trailer to promote the Center at various community events. The Rambling Tech was constructed and equipped by students of the carpentry and electronics classes.


The College was founded when tri-county leaders pooled resources to plan the college shortly after Act 323, Section 23, of the S.C. General Assembly established the State Committee for Technical Education and provided for the establishment of regional centers. The legislative act was prompted by Governor Ernest Hollings and efforts made locally by Senators J.B. Lawton of Anderson County, Marshall Parker of Oconee County, and Earle Morris, Jr., of Pickens County.


1963 Tri-County Technical Education Center (TEC) opened September 10, 1963, with Bill Yarborough as Executive Director. It attracted 919 students during its first year of operation. The curricula included Electronics Technology, Machine Shop, Welding, and other Engineering Technologies.

Governor Hollings signed Act 905 on April 7, creating what would eventually become Tri-County Technical College.

Tri-County was the first of the State’s 16 technical colleges designed to serve multiple counties.

Senators Lawson, Parker, and Morris joined Senator John C. West of Kershaw County, representative of the State Committee, to request funds from the General Assembly. Construction began on the first 23 acres of land donated by Clemson University.

Hughie Dewitt Collins, of Mountain Rest, was the first student to enroll.

28 | Tri-County Technical College



Bruce Cannon joined the Tri-County Technical Education Center’s small staff in 1968. He was hired to direct the Public Relations Office and to establish the Radio and Television Broadcasting Department. Bruce set up his office in the College’s only building, Pickens Hall, and began working as the second public relations director in the State Technical College System. Here, he is pictured with one of the many annual report publications, which he wrote and edited from 1975 until his retirement in 1999.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Learning Resources Center was held in 1969. Participating in the ceremony were, from left, Professor Everett Laitala, chair of the Area Commission; Executive Director Bill Yarborough; Ralph R. Widner, executive director of the Appalachian Regional Commission; Dr. Marshall W. Brown of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education; and Nick Theodore, who served as chairman of the Appalachian Advisory Commission. The Learning Resource Center housed the library, adult education lab, lecture room, and labs for the Medical Assistant and Industrial Engineering Technology programs.

1965 The first commencement exercise was held on the lawn in front of Pickens Hall on Sunday, August 15, 1965, at 7 p.m. Forty-five graduates received their degrees.




1967 Funding was approved for a $700,000 addition to the existing physical plant.


1968 Anderson Hall opened to students. A new wing was dedicated October 14, 1968.

Governor Robert McNair, center, with now retired Greenville Technical College President Tom Barton, left, and President Bill Yarborough at the October 1968 Anderson Hall groundbreaking.


1969 A groundbreaking for a $350,000 Learning Resources Center was held.

Aubrey Marshall, right, founding chairman of the Area Commission, welcomes Hughie Dewitt Collins, of Mountain Rest, the first student to enroll at Tri-County.


A Proud Moment For First Student

t has been 50 years since Hughie Dewitt Collins stood in front of Pickens Hall to pose for an Anderson Independent Mail photo with Board Chairman Aubrey Marshall, welcoming him as the first student to enroll at the new Tri-County Education Center.

“I had just graduated from Walhalla High School (Class of 1962), and it was a big deal to get to come to Tri-County,” said the Mountain Rest native. “It was exciting to attend the first two-year college in the area,” said Collins, who enrolled in Electronics classes. “Looking back, being the first to enroll is a proud moment for me, to be part of Tri-County’s history,” he added. “I’m glad I’ve lived long enough to see it help all of the people it has through the years. When I returned to celebrate the College’s 40th anniversary in 2001, it was like a different world, with the expansions and additions. When I was a student here, there 30 | Tri-County Technical College

Hughie Dewitt Collins visited the College in the summer of 2011.

was a room for the Electronics classes and another room for the math classes in Pickens Hall.” After earning an Electronics certificate during the first year of classes, he planned to begin the second year, “but I volunteered for the service before I was drafted,” he said. Collins enlisted in the Army in 1963 and spent four years in the service. He was stationed in the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and served in Vietnam. After getting out of the service, he went to work in the Adjutant General’s office in Columbia as a maintenance supervisor. He stayed there 15 years. He moved back to Oconee County in 1988 when he took a job as transportation supervisor with the School District of Oconee County. After 20 years, he retired, but not for long. He now is the camp host for a campground in Cherry Hill. Hughie and Sandy, his wife of 16 years, still reside in Mountain Rest.

1960s Several of the first graduates of the College are pictured here holding their diplomas: Present for the photo were (standing from left) Executive Director Bill Yarborough; Tommy R. Smith, of Liberty; Luke S. Bauknight, Jr., of Starr; Thomas F. Petty, of Seneca; Aubrey Marshall, chairman of the College Commission; and Frank Guerren, manager of Jacobs Chuck Manufacturing; and (seated) Kenneth R. Holladay, of Central; and John L. Williams, of Belton.

Marcia Berry, of Clemson, third from left, a Radio and Television Broadcasting major, was crowned Miss TEC 1969 by Executive Director Bill Yarborough. Chosen as attendants that year were Cleta Cannon, of Seneca, left, and Hattie Simpson, of Pendleton, right. Not pictured was Betty Wilson, of Highlands.

Five Decades of Distinction | 31

Students who worked on the annual staff in 1969 were, seated, Roger Duncan, layouts; Jane Watson, assistant business manager; Kitty Alexander, assistant editor; and Gene Barr, pictorial manager; and standing, Cheryl Nalley, editor; Jerry Manley, business manager; and Norman Harper, layouts.

Sue Ellen McCall, honor graduate, at 1968 commencement

The Messenger insert Sept. 1963

In 1969, alumni had a two-fold mission: to assist the graduates and to promote Tri-County. Pictured from left to right are (seated) Jerry Bolt, Paul Pettit, James Vassey, and Harry Craft and (standing) faculty advisors Tom Reid, left, and Major William Hemingway.

32 | Tri-County Technical College

When Tri-County opened its doors September 10, 1963, the registration fee was $2. The tuition fee for part-time students was $22.50 per quarter or $7.50 per month. Tuition for full-time students was $36 per quarter or $12.50 per month. Additional fees were added for out-of-county and out-of-state students.

1960s Student Government officers from 1968 are pictured from left: Judy Posey, secretary; Laurie Woodson, treasurer; and Barry Bobo, president. Not pictured is Richard Myers, vice president.

Students gathered in the canteen in this November 1968 photo.

Drafting was one of the early programs at the College. Students learned how to translate ideas, sketches, specifications, and calculations of engineers and architects into working plans which were used to make products. Now called Engineering Graphics Technology, the two-year degree prepares students to translate product ideas into engineering drawings and documentation using computer software. In addition, students learn how to draw mechanical parts in three dimensions and use CAD/CAM software and equipment.

Machine tool and die making was among the first majors offered during the early years of Tri-County Technical College. Automation changed the profession dramatically in the 1980s, but the need for precision, problem-solving proficiency, and critical thinking skills still prevails as they did in the 60s. Five Decades of Distinction | 33


34 | Tri-County Technical College

History of The Trilon


une 1963: John Linley, Jr., architect with Linley & Watkins Architects, Anderson, wrote F. W. Armstrong, district engineer with the State Highway Department, requesting permission to erect the Trilon on S.C. Highway 76 right-of-way in front of campus. June 1963: Permission granted. July 8, 1963: A model of the Trilon was presented to the Area Commission, who decided it wasn’t necessary to place it on State highway right-of-way. Instead, it was erected at the top of the embankment in front of the campus. The trilon, the three-column structure placed at the front of the campus, became symbolic of the united efforts of Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties to provide for Tri-County Technical College. The upward direction of the columns symbolizes the College’s continuously advancing programs and services, and the band around the trilon represents the unified approach of the College toward providing programs and services to all the counties as though they are one community. A modernistic sign, made of concrete and metal, read on each side, Tri-County TEC. The sign stood 15 feet in height.

Five Decades of Distinction | 35

History of the Textile Program


n the early 1970’s, textile leaders representing all three counties were the first to voice the need for the Textile Management Technology program. In an effort to attract more young people to the industry and to provide education and training for current personnel, textile leaders formed an Advisory Committee. During its first year, the committee met and developed the curriculum.

Monday – Thursday. Instructors taught the same courses at night, making it possible for students on swing shifts to come to class day and night without interrupting the continuation of training. Students received extensive lab training; although initially, there were no labs on the campus. The plants where most of the students worked served as labs. The curriculum included 15 hours of planned and varied work experience each week, giving the student a broad base of supervisory experience.

In an unprecedented display of support, the textile industries of Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties contributed $18,900 to finance full two-year scholarships for textile management majors at Tri-County. The first banquet was held November 30, 1973, and Senator Ernest Hollings was the speaker. The scholarships provided tuition and books for 28 students that year.

The support of the area textile firms helped to make Tri-County’s Textile Management scholarship program the strongest in the State. From the program’s inception in 1973 until 2005, companies donated 1,107 textile scholarships, valued at $1,645,784.

Paralleling of the classes was a unique feature of the program. Students attended classes four days a week,

70s 1970

Secretarial Science became available for the first time. Miss Brenda Carolyn Freeman, of Easley, was the first student to graduate with a perfect grade point average. Tri-County graduated 154 students.


1971 Tri-County exceeded all other System schools in enrollment growth (for 1970 – 71 school year); had second highest enrollment in State.


1972 Management Development Department added to College. Area Commission planned $2 million expansion for College.

The first certified Medical Laboratory Assistants graduated from Tri-County’s program at Anderson Memorial Hospital.

Advisory Committee laid plans for Textile Management Department.

The Medical Assistant program was approved by Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association.

College achieved highest enrollment to date: 1,981 students; 60 percent increase over previous academic year.

Don C. Garrison was appointed executive director.

The University of South Carolina and Clemson University agreed to accept transfer credits earned at Tri-County (to apply toward bachelor’s degrees).

Tri-County was accredited by Southern Association of College and Schools.

R. D. Maddox, of Easley, was first veteran to enroll at Tri-County.

In 2005, the Textile Management Technology Department underwent a name change and made additions to the curriculum that offered flexibility to match students’ technical specialties and individual career paths. Titled Industrial Supervision Technology, this revised curriculum allows the College to continue to serve the textile industry as it had since 1973 and offers other industries based in the service area a program to call their own.

1973 College parallel (Associate in Arts, Associate in Science), law enforcement, textile management studies added. 2,204 enrolled during fall quarter.


1974 April 10, 1974 — Named changed from Tri-County Technical Education Center to Tri-County Technical College. First Veterinary Assistant program in State was approved for Tri-County.

New Student Center opened. Student financial aid grew to $84,272. Textile Management Technology Department added; first awards banquet held with Senator Ernest Hollings as the speaker.

Tri-County had the highest concentration of students of any technical college/center in the State System. Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) accredited, received initial two-year accreditation.


1975 Construction began on Cleveland Hall; groundbreaking held October 17, 1975. College chosen to lead national project (Instructional ACCtion Center) to develop instruction for two-year colleges with $229,000 grant from U.S. Department of Education. Largest single construction program ($1,754,000) got underway (Cleveland, Halbert, and Wilson halls). A new educational unit, the Business and Human Services Division, established. Department of Comprehensive Studies established. The largest class to date — 591 — graduated at summer commencement. Five Decades of Distinction | 37


r. James Byrnes (J. B.) Ouzts, who served as chairman of the Area Commission for 18 years (1971 – 89), was one of those rare educators who shaped the lives of the students he taught and the hundreds of educators who served under his leadership in Anderson School District 4 and Tri-County Technical College. He was named superintendent of Anderson County School District Four in 1943 and remained there until his retirement in 1973. He joined Tri-County Technical College’s board just two years before ending his 30-year career as superintendent. He was a major designer of Tri-County Technical College and of our entire System in South Carolina. He led the College through some of its most formative years and helped to shape a college and a system that are known nationally for innovation and excellence. He was founding vice chairman of the S.C. Association of Technical College Commissioners in 1980 - 81 and became chairman of the State organization in 1982.

70s 1976

Mr. Ouzts, who passed away April 12, 2001, at the age of 90, was a man who led decisively and with authority, and foremost in his every action was compassion for students and what was best for the community.


1977 Cleveland, Halbert, and Wilson halls dedicated in May. Electronics Engineering Technology accredited by Engineers Council for Professional Development. The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) program helped 530 people.

Record enrollment of 12,911 credit and noncredit students. MLT program was second in S.C. to earn full accreditation by the American Medical Association.

38 | Tri-County Technical College

Tri-County’s longest standing Commissioner, Dr. Mendel Stewart, joined the Commission in 1977 as Pickens County’s representative. He remained on the Commission until 2009. Everett Laitala, a member of the governing board beginning in 1962, retired in April 1977.


1978 Career Center opened in fall. Construction began on Oconee Hall. Tri-County was one of only two colleges in the State, and the only technical college, which provided all three TRiO programs. Tri-County’s TRiO programs are funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and are designed to help students to overcome class, social, and cultural barriers to higher education.


1979 Oconee Hall, the first multi-level building on campus, opened. It housed the first auditorium and every student in every program received training in general education courses in the building. 978 students received $579,007 in financial aid.

Dallas Jones, standing, is pictured here in 1970 during her first year as a teacher for the certified Laboratory Assistant Program at Anderson Memorial Hospital. When she retired in 2006 after 36 years as head of the Medical Laboratory Technology Department, she held the title of the longeststanding employee in the history of the College. Graduates repeatedly rank higher than the State and national figures when comparing National Certification Exam scores (administered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology). Since 2006, five out of six graduating classes have achieved 100 percent pass rates.

In this 1970 photo, Fud Cater, of Seneca, Student Government president, right, is shown with the College’s Founding President, the late Bill Yarborough, left, and the late Harold Breazeale, of Pickens County.

Five Decades of Distinction | 39


Frank Breazeale (pictured in a lab with students in the 1970s) taught biology from 1973 - 2007 and was named Science Department Head in 1989. He received the Presidential Medallion for Instructional Excellence in 1993.

Visit any radio or television station in the area and you’ll find TriCounty grads, working in jobs ranging from disc jockeys to camera operators to photographers. For 41 years, Department Head Charlie Jordan, pictured here, right, and current Department Head John Woodson have helped to shape Upstate media with a program that prepares students for careers in video and audio broadcasting. Today it is still one of the few two-year broadcasting programs in the nation. Throughout the years, the curriculum has remained popular. Students get practice in news writing and camera work by producing community service projects for chambers of commerce, humane societies, colleges and universities, and area hospitals, for example. In 1985 - 86, the Hospital Association of the Carolinas awarded Anderson Memorial Hospital and our Radio and Television Broadcasting (RTV) department a Wally, the association’s highest award for audio/visual presentations. The RTV program received high recognition when the South Carolina Broadcasters Association (SCBA) began its endowment to fund a scholarship in honor of Cleatus Brazzell, a highly respected broadcaster in the State. Each year, the SCBA also funds annual scholarships at Tri-County for students studying broadcasting.

40 | Tri-County Technical College


Mary Katherine Littlejohn, pictured at left with a student, chaired our Adult Education Division from 1972 until her retirement in 1983. After her retirement in the 1980s, she wrote several books about Clemson life, including Twice Told Tales of Tigertown. She graciously donated the proceeds from the sale of the book to the Mary Katherine Littlejohn Scholarship, which supports approximately nine students per year. She established this scholarship in 1992 for Nursing students after being impressed with the kind and caring attitude and skills of a Tri-County Nursing student when she was a patient in a local hospital. Miss Littlejohn’s contributions to the Foundation total $178,412. She died January 18, 2001, at the age of 79.

Jan Murray, of Chester, was crowned Miss Tri-County Tech of 1973 on November 21, 1973, at the College’s beauty pageant held in Miller Hall Auditorium. Jan, a Medical Assisting graduate, received her crown from Dr. Garrison, while Jeanne Allen, the 1972 title holder, looks on. In 1974 Jan transferred to the University of South Carolina where she majored in Nursing. While there she was crowned Miss South Carolina USA in 1976.

For years, Butch Merritt, left, and Glenn Hellenga were mainstays in our Counseling Center. Then and now, both are committed to the College’s philosophy of serving students. Throughout the years, they have been highly respected by students and are known for going beyond the call of duty to ensure student success. They served as recruiters, advisors for SGA, student activities directors, and provided academic, admissions, career, and personal counseling. Glenn joined Tri-County in 1973 and began his career as a counselor in the Comprehensive Manpower Training program. In 1978 he established the College’s Career Center and became its first director. He later became director of the Workforce Investment Act and Special Projects and now leads the Career Services office. Butch joined the College in 1976 as a career counselor where he worked until 1994 when he assumed the position of director of job placement and cooperative education. Today he is an enrollment counselor at our Anderson Campus. Both Butch and Glenn have been honored with the Presidential Medallion for Staff Excellence. Five Decades of Distinction | 41

Today’s typical Tri-County student is 25 years of age. Many live on their own, with financial obligations in addition to college. The Financial Aid department (led by Director Rich Leonard, right, from 1975 - 2001) pictured with longtime Financial Aid Counselor Dot Bradley, helped students to apply for both federal and private aid. The Financial Aid office administers the College’s aid programs, which include Pell grants, S.C. Need-Based grants, LIFE scholarships, VA Education Benefits, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity grants, Federal Work Study, S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation, and alternative loans. In addition, a Lottery Tuition Assistance program began in 2002 to provide a source of financial aid to students whose state and federal grants do not cover the cost of their tuition, as well as students who are not eligible for State or federal grants. Through the efforts of the College’s Foundation Board and the generosity of numerous private donors, approximately 350 restricted and general scholarships are available. The Foundation office administers these scholarships.

42 | Tri-County Technical College

Dr. Garrison, and Clemson President R. C. Edwards at 1972 commencement

Called Secretarial Science when it was established in 1970, the predominantly female students were trained to use manual typewriters, take dictation, answer telephones, and serve coffee. The student here is transcribing minutes via a tape recorder. The times and the technology were beginning to change by the time the 1980s rolled around. The program has undergone several name changes over the years. In the 1990s it became Office Systems Technology, and in 2008 it became Automated Office Technology. The title is more than symbolic — ­ it reflects a change in responsibility and technology. Graduates have new titles and new roles in today’s workforce. They are called administrative assistants and executive assistants, and their duties include operating computers and other high-tech equipment used in the modern office.

Senator Strom Thurmond, speaker for the 1975 Textile Management Technology scholarship awards banquet, middle, is pictured with President Don C. Garrison, and his wife, Carol.

Tri-County Area Commission: seated from left are Clyde Gray, Sam Gillespie, and Chairman Everett Laitala; and standing from left, Charles Forrest, Dan Goolsby, Dean Breazeale, J. B. Ouzts, Roy Adams, and Dr. Don C. Garrison. Not pictured is Alex Gettys. Five Decades of Distinction | 43


Dr. Eddie Anderson, left, who led the Veterinary Technology department from 1978 - 89, displays the department’s framed accreditation certificate. Pictured with him are 1987 alumna Sharon Steed, middle, and Linda Thompson Cain, the department’s first instructor.

The 1976 yearbook was a memorable one — the staff received permission from the magazine, People Weekly, to use its format for the annual publication. More than 2,500 copies were distributed on Annual Day, May 7, 1976. Pictured from left are (top row) Sherrie Johnston and Isaac Scott; (middle row) Virginia Holland and Susan Georgion; and (front row) Jim Parales and James Groman.

Wayne Link, retired program director for Continuing Education, is seen in 1976 with a bicentennial quilt designed and constructed by a class she taught. Each of the seven students created and built a panel, and Wayne and the group got together for an all-day quilting bee and quilted the red, white, and blue creation. The quilt was presented to the Pendleton District Historical and Recreational Commission on August 14, 1976. Congressman Butler Derrick invited the ladies to display the creation in Washington during the salute to South Carolina on September 5, 1975. Wayne retired in 1999 after 25 years with the College.

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Pickens County Sheriff David Stone, center, was elected chair of the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee. Stone, a graduate of the CRJ program, is shown with President Garrison, left, and William N. (Bill) Graham, who led the Criminal Justice department in the 70s. Sheriff C. David Stone still serves on the committee.


Jack Carter was the first member of a First Family in the United States to visit the campus. He is shown addressing students in front of the canteen October 26, 1976 — one week before his father was elected President.

Johnny Purser served as Coordinator of Veterans Affairs at the College from 1974 until his tragic death in an automobile accident in 1978. He assisted approximately 1,450 military veterans at Tri-County in 1977, and in his four years at the College, veterans’ enrollment doubled. The Veterans Administration underwrote these education expenses, valued at $4.3 million, for military veterans to help them improve their career potential and lifetime earning abilities.

In 1973, Jackie Oakley, left, developed and implemented at Tri-County the Technical College System’s first program to prepare child development associates. Oakley, the program’s first Early Childhood Development department head, was honored with an endowed scholarship in her name in 1989. During September of 1981, the College’s Child Development Center opened its doors as the first and only child development center to be located on a college campus in South Carolina. Its operations from 1981 - 1993 provided a dual purpose — to operate as a child care center for faculty, staff and students and to provide a lab school for students in the program. Today, the program offers a certificate, diploma, and associate degree in Early Childhood Development. In 2007 the program received accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Five Decades of Distinction | 45

Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland, middle, a disabled U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War and advocate for veterans’ affairs, visited the College in the 70s while he was serving as a Georgia Senator (1971 – 75). Several years later, President Jimmy Carter appointed him head of the U.S. Veterans Affairs Administration. Senator Cleland is pictured with Dr. Don Garrison, left, and Congressman Butler Derrick.

Members of the College Management Council are pictured from left, standing, R. F. Beveridge, vice president for Business and Finance; Dr. John Manly, executive vice president; Dr. Don Garrison, president; George Chastain, vice president for Development; Al Norris, dean of students; and seated from left, Dr. D. Kent Sharples, dean of instruction; and Charles R. Gibson, dean of the Continuing Education Division.

John Powell, second from left, who in the 1970s was co-owner of Keese-Powell Realty in Seneca, served as chairman of the Business Technology Advisory Committee for years. John is a 1972 Business Technology graduate who served as president of the Student Government Association. Today he owns and operates Powell Real Estate in Oconee County. In 2010 he was appointed to the Tri-County Technical College Commission, the governing board of the College. Pictured with John from left are Darwin Addis of Walhalla, Business Technology instructor; Steven Scott of Liberty, head of Business Technology; and Durell Rochester, Business Technology instructor. 46 | Tri-County Technical College

Since 1973 the College has hosted an annual report luncheon that attracts approximately 300 community, business, industrial, government and political leaders from Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties. Attendees receive a written report which chronicles the year’s events and highlights. Pictured here reading the 1977 – 78 annual report is Anderson County leader, the late Pete Stathakis, left, and Jimmy Stathakis.

Students often gathered in the canteen in Pickens Hall for lunch and to hang out between classes.

Parking wasn’t a problem in this September 1974 photo of the Woodburn parking lot.


In 1977, Virginia Holland, of Seneca, served as editor of The Prism, a monthly student newspaper that was funded and supported by the Student Government Association.


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s a counselor for the Homemakers and Single Parents (HASP) program, Ollie Chappell Smith provided one of the College’s most valuable student services - helping homemakers and single parents to cope with the pressures of continuing their educations while heading a family and raising children. Her students faced extremely difficult pressures that could have threatened their ability to pursue a college education, but Ollie’s door was always open to talk and give good advice to help these students meet their personal and academic needs. Ollie joined the College in 1985 to lead this organization that, until the early 2000s, provided financial and emotional support to around 1,200 men and women who might otherwise not have had the opportunity to pursue an education. The HASP program was approved by the S.C. Department of Education with federal funds provided under the Carl D. Perkins Act. HASP participants also could receive financial assistance with tuition, counseling, developmental education, books, and supplies. The orientation session was one of the most significant services HASP provided and the most effective component in improving retention. Through group counseling they became their own resource group and worked together to help each other. Ollie told the participants the first day this may change their lives and very often it did.

Soon after Clemson University announced it would terminate its Associate Degree Nursing program in 1981, the College initiated the lengthy process of implementing the program here. Mrs. Peggy Deane, then-vice president of nursing at Anderson Memorial Hospital, was elected chair of an 11-member nursing advisory committee. Tri-County began its Associate Degree Nursing program in the fall quarter of 1981. Here, Chair Deane, right, center, presides at a meeting of the committee. The next year classes opened with a capacity enrollment of 24 students.

Five Decades of Distinction | 49

Columbia native Astronaut Major Charles Bolden, middle, is pictured here with Barbara and Bobby Gaines, of Anderson, visited Tri-County in 1982. In addition to delivering a speech to faculty, staff, and students, Major Bolden led a brief ceremony at the College’s Vietnam Memorial, the first memorial in the State to honor veterans of that war. Since July 2009, the retired Marine Corps Major General has served as the twelfth Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As Administrator, he leads the NASA team and manages its resources to advance the agency’s missions and goals.

80s 1980



Enrollment was up 20 percent over prior year; 13,416 students in all credit and non-credit programs.

Child Development Center opened on campus.

State’s Center for Innovative Training in Microelectronics located at Tri-County.

91 percent of 1981 graduates employed or continued education.

Police Reserve Training began.


The late Ellison S. McKissick, president of Alice Manufacturing Company in Easley and former vice president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), promoted the Buy American campaign of the ATMI as he addressed the Textile Scholarship awards banquet. A member of the College’s founding governing board, he was an avid supporter of the Textile program and the College. He was inducted into the Order of the Trilon in 1983.

1982 Foundation chartered by State. Industrial training cited as one of five national models. Child Development program became state model. Title III grant launched extensive program development.

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1983 College had highest Continuing Education enrollment in System — 15,233 and second highest enrollment in State System 19,281. First Nursing class passed State certification exam.

Surrounded by around 150 industrial, development and Tri-County officials, Governor Dick Riley pressed a computer key on April 7, 1984, that signaled the official opening of the S.C. Microelectronics Center for Innovation. When the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education announced that six centers for innovation would be set up in S.C., Tri-County applied for and was declared the location for the center to teach microelectronics.

The Student Government Association was chosen the best of the State’s technical college student organizations participating in a leadership conference at Myrtle Beach in 1982. Showcasing the trophy are, from left, Maureen Crawford, secretary; Beth Byers, vice president; Bobbi Montgomery, president; and SGA faculty sponsor June Wright. Byers also was named one of five outstanding individual participants in the conference.






Automated Manufacturing ’84 became international event.

Foundation Board established and approved $4,575,000 as first goal.

SACS recognized Tri-County as model, extended accreditation.

Dislocated Worker Program selected as best in the State.

Alumni Association established.

Tri-County and school districts initiated 2 + 2 Tech Prep Associate Degree Program.

Student Center opened. Animal Health Technology became Veterinary Technology. Automated Manufacturing and Quality Assurance received State approval.

Textile credits transfer to Clemson. College at the Anderson Mall and Information Center opened. Small Business Resource Center opened in Anderson Mall.

College at the Anderson Mall enrolled 1,729 students. Scholars program initiated with Milliken.

Clarke Hall dedicated. JTPA (Job Training Partnership Act) Programs, administered by the Employment and Training Division, ranked as State leader.

Five Decades of Distinction | 51

One of three original plank owners of the College, Guy York retired on January 3, 1989, after leading the Industrial Electronics Technology department since the day the College opened its doors. Throughout the years, Guy maintained camaraderie with his students. “I love people. Part of my pay comes from helping these youngsters to a better way of life. That doesn’t put anything in my billfold, but it gives me a lot of personal satisfaction,” he said at his retirement. As a testament to his popularity, in 1988 the Alumni Association honored him as Outstanding Department Head of the Year, one of the high points of his tenure at Tri-County.

80s 1987

Tri-County helped to attract 5,824 new jobs to Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties by providing special programs for plants to fit exact training needs. Business Training Center opened in Pickens Hall in May 1987.

The Honorable J. Strom Thurmond became the seventh person inducted into the Order of the Trilon, the highest honor bestowed by the Area Commission. He was presented the honor at the annual report luncheon held October 19, 1983, where he was the speaker that year.


1988 Construction began on $6,635,000 Learning Resources Center in March. Surgical Technology, Practical Nursing, Dental Assisting added to College’s list of diploma programs. AACJC chose the ACCTion Consortium headquarters at Tri-County for National Clearinghouse for 2+2 Tech Prep Associate Degree program. Bosch and College entered metalworking apprenticeship. Seventeen companies gave an average of $2,078 each to the Industrial and Business Development Center. Donors also included individuals, the three counties, and area economic development boards.


1989 Chairman J.B. Ouzts retired from the Area Commission in April 1989, and Bruce A. Norton was voted Chair. Construction began on Industrial and Business Development Center in May. College received $2.5 million Title III Grant, largest in the College’s 28-year history. College’s Access/Equity Advisory Committee makes goal to recruit, retain, graduate, and employ more minorities. The Abney Foundation and the J. E. Sirrine Foundation presented the Foundation with two of the largest gifts ever received by the College. Abney contributed $150,000 toward scholarships, and Sirrine contributed $51,000 for scholarships to promote textile education.

Veteran educator Ron Talley, standing, sets an example of lifelong learning for his students by continuing to take courses and earn degrees himself. He joined the College in 1978 as Director of Manpower Training and later became an instructor and Department Head for the Electronics Engineering Technology program. He currently teaches Industrial Electronics classes. Known as an instructor who is always willing to help students with problems, he is able to take highly technical material and bring it down to common sense applications so students can apply what they are learning instead of memorizing theory. His teaching talents have been recognized over the years — in 1991 he was named one of the top 10 technical educators in the nation by the American Technical Education Association and a Governor’s Professor of the Year candidate and a nominee for SCTEA Educator of the Year in 1990.


At its first meeting on June 7, 1985, the Tri-County Technical College Foundation Board elected officers and adopted fundraising goals. Paul Wilkerson, retired vice president of Allstate Insurance Company, was elected chairman; Al F. Shorkey, vice chairman; The Honorable John T. Gentry, secretary; and James R. Fowler, treasurer. The board adopted a five-year fund-raising goal of $4,575,000 to go toward maintaining quality and excellence in credit and continuing education programs with a focus on the Industrial and Business Development Center; a Child Care Center; books and audio-visuals for the library, equipment, scholarships, and faculty/ staff development. They also adopted a one-year goal of $85,000 to support capital improvements and program services.

Area business and industry leaders attended the opening of the Small Business Resource Center at the College’s Anderson Mall classroom January 21, 1986. The College opened an information center and classroom at the Anderson Mall in 1985. The information center distributed information about onand off-campus curricula and continuing education programs and services of the College. A computer terminal tied the Center in with resources on campus. During that year, 300 – 500 inquiries were processed weekly at the information booth. The four classrooms at the Mall included the Small Business Resource Center. A total of 144 continuing education classes and 17 credit courses enrolling 1,384 students were conducted in the classrooms during 1985 – 86. Five Decades of Distinction | 53

Woody Dillard, director of the Manpower Training Division and later the Job Training Partnership Act office, displays a plaque presented by Governor Richard Riley’s office, designating the Dislocated Worker Program at Tri-County the best in the state for 1984 - 85. The program provided assistance to 432 workers who lost their jobs primarily through factory closings or the discontinuance of jobs within the factories. Woody directed the Employment and Training Department from 1983 – 1994 and was Area Manager for readySC™ (formerly known as Special Schools), for 12 years (1995 - 2007). He passed away December 2, 2008, at Oconee Medical Center.

When Vice President George H.W. Bush visited the campus on February 25, 1988, it marked the first time a President or Vice President of the U.S. had ever visited the College. Accompanied by then Governor Carroll Campbell, he greeted local dignitaries before touring the Industrial Electronics Technology Department, talking to students and reporters, and concluding with a standing-room only address to faculty, staff, students, and residents. The visit was arranged locally by Pickens County Councilman Neil Smith.

SGA officers, from left, Monty McConnell, Donna Fowler Pund, Jeff Patterson, and Gina Coker broke ground on the College’s first Student Center, Mall, and Amphitheater facility. Located at the center of campus, the Student Center at the time housed dining facilities, a counseling center, SGA offices, lounges, and the bookstore.

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Members of the Area Commission, legislative delegations, and county councils symbolically broke ground for the Learning Resources Center, now Hicks Hall, on September 11, 1988. Pictured from left are Sen. T. Ed Garrison, Sen. Alex Macaulay, Commission Chair J.B. Ouzts, Dr. Don Garrison, Commission Vice Chair Bruce Norton, Pickens County Legislative Chair B.L. Hendricks, Pickens County Council Chair Bob Nash, and Oconee County Council Chair Norman Crain.

Since 1987, the Alumni Association’s Annual Golf Tournament has drawn big crowds and has been the main fundraiser for the organization. Proceeds from past tournaments have enabled the Alumni Association to endow two scholarships through the College’s Foundation, to name a room in Fulp Hall and the Student Lounge at the Anderson Campus, and to make professional development opportunities available for faculty and staff. The first scholarship was endowed in 1995, and since 1990 the Alumni Association has contributed more than $50,000 to the College’s Foundation, making it eligible for the College’s Wall of Honor.


James McCoy, Sr., former plant manager for Torrington, now Koyo Bearings, in Walhalla and former Foundation Board member, far right, and his son, James McCoy, Jr., second from left, are longtime supporters of the Annual Alumni Association Golf Tournament. Here, the winning father/son team is congratulated by Russ Cassell, far left, former WFBC announcer and the tournament’s special guest, along with Jimmy Edmonds, who was Alumni Association Vice President at the time.

Everett Laitala, a member of the governing board since its inception in 1962 and chairman until 1965, retired in April 1977. Professor Laitala was a leading contributor to the design and development of the technical education system in S.C. In 1988 Professor Laitala was inducted into the College’s Order of the Trilon, an honorary society which recognizes community and state leaders who have contributed to the development of Tri-County Technical College and the State Technical College System. He is pictured with his wife, Grace. Five Decades of Distinction | 55

Dr. Don C. Garrison, left, proudly displays his Order of the Palmetto plaque, an award he received while visiting Tri-County for its annual report luncheon. Dr. Garrison accepted a job in Texas for several months in 1988 but returned home and was rehired as president with full approval of the Area Commission. The Order of the Palmetto is the highest award a civilian can receive from the State of South Carolina. Tom Lewis, right, who died in 2011, and who served as Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services from 1982 until his retirement in 1999, was the College’s Interim President while Dr. Garrison was in Texas.

Paul Wilkerson, middle, turned over the chairmanship of the Foundation Board to Senator Marshall Parker, right, at a June 1989 meeting. Pictured with them is President Don C. Garrison. 56 | Tri-County Technical College


The Area Commission in 1987 is pictured here from left, (standing) Dr. Mendel Stewart, Ben Childress, Larry Miller, Mary Dusenberry, James Rutledge, Dean Breazeale, and Dr. Don C. Garrison and (seated from left) Jim Fowler, J.B. Ouzts, and Bruce Norton.

In the 1980sw, the Business and Human Services Division, which included Accounting, Business Management, Computer Technology, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Development, and Secretarial Science was the College’s largest division.

Dr. Dale Parnell, the founder of the Tech Prep/Associate Degree movement in the U.S., visited the area in 1987 to launch the Partnership for Academic and Career Education (PACE) and to promote this partnership between the seven school districts of Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties, Tri-County Technical College, the Anderson County Business and Education Partnership, and Clemson University. Five Decades of Distinction | 57

Alumni Association Established in 1985


he Tri-County Technical College Alumni Association was established in May 1985 by graduates and former students committed to furthering the goals of the College through their active support of its programs and activities. The alumni officers were officially inducted into office on May 30, 1985. Dana Robertson (now Griffith), a 1983 graduate of Radio and Television Broadcasting and former news anchor for WFBC Radio, was named President. She also served as editor of The Lynx, the alumni newsletter. She went on to earn a B.S. in Industrial Education from Clemson University and continued with an M.Ed. in Industrial Education Graphic Communications. Dana returned to Tri-County in 2009 as a speech instructor in the Arts and Sciences Division. John M. Powell was Vice President of Special Events. John is a 1972 graduate of the Business/Marketing Department and is owner of Powell Real Estate. He lives in Walhalla and is a supporter of the annual alumni golf tournament and other events. He received the College’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009 and the following year was named to the College’s nine-member Commission to represent Oconee County. He is the second alumnus in the history of the College to serve on its governing board.

The first officers of the Alumni Association are from left, Dana Robertson, president; Scott Webber, treasurer; John Powell, vice president of special events; Bob Chiles, vice president for membership; and Dot Bradley, secretary. The Alumni Association was established in May 1985 by graduates and former students committed to furthering the goals of the College through their active support of its programs and activities.

The late Bob Chiles, of Anderson, was named Vice President for Membership. A 1974 alumnus of the Engineering Graphics Technology department, Bob spent 28 years as a counselor in various capacities on campus. He joined the College in 1983 as a Coordinator/ Counselor in the JTPA office. At the time of his retirement in 2008, he was working with the Admissions Team as a Counselor. Bob passed away in October of that year. Dorothy (Dot) Bradley, of Seneca, was voted the organization’s Secretary. She graduated from the Secretarial Science (now Automated Office Technology) department in 1976 and began working at Tri-County in Student Records, later in the Veteran’s Affairs office, and then Admissions. In 1986, she began as a counselor in the Financial Aid Office. After 33 years of State service, she retired in June 2009.

Eight Tri-County graduates serve on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Pictured from left are John Powell, (Class of 1972); Bethany Wiley, (Class of 2001); Evette Moss, (Class of 2001); Greg Sosebee, (Class of 1975); and Ed Sullivan, (Class of 2008). Not pictured are Lisa Saxon (Class of 2001); Tracy Bowie (Class of 2005); and Sue Rogers.

Scott Webber was the Treasurer. He graduated in 1979 from the Industrial Electronics Technology program and has spent his career in the banking industry. He currently is Wells Fargo’s Senior Vice President/Market President for Anderson County. In 2008, Scott was honored with the College’s Distinguished Alumni Award highlighting his dedication to his alma mater.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial First in State


The first and only memorial to the military veterans in Upstate South Carolina who paid the supreme sacrifice in Vietnam was dedicated May 25, 1980. Here, Dr. Don C. Garrison participates in an annual Memorial Day service.


he first memorial to military veterans from Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties who died in Vietnam is located at the main entrance to Tri-County’s campus and continues to attract visitors each year.

The College dedicated its Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the first in the State, on May 25, 1980, with the honorable William Jennings Bryan Dorn, former commander of the South Carolina American Legion, addressing the crowd. “This is the most inspirational ceremony I’ve ever attended,” said Dorn. President Don C. Garrison conceived the idea of the memorial, which is an impressive lighted flag plaza at the main entrance to the campus. It has three 3’ x 5’ marble markers listing the names of the veterans from the tri-county area who paid the supreme sacrifice in Vietnam. The flags, poles, monuments, and stonework were provided by contributions from students, faculty, staff, the Veterans Club, the American Legion, and the family and friends of the late Johnny Purser. Two other monuments memorialize Purser, former coordinator of Tri-County’s Veteran’s Affairs until his untimely death in an automobile accident on August 4, 1978, and tell the purpose of the plaza. The center monument is engraved with this message: “In Memoriam: This patriotic plaza is dedicated to the memory of the courageous men of Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Vietnam conflict. Their answer to the call of their country distinguishes them as eternal bearers for free people everywhere.”

General William F. Westmoreland, former Army Chief of Staff and commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza at the entrance to the campus.

Five Decades of Distinction | 59



he College’s World Class Training Center (WCTC), the first in South Carolina, was established in March of 1990 and has provided the additional training resources that companies need to survive and to stay in business in today’s fiercely competitive global economy. The first member was Jacobs Chuck Manufacturing in Clemson, also the first industry in the State to participate in our Special Schools programs in 1961. Pictured from left are Bob Asmus, employee relations manager; Brian Romero, third shift set up technician; Joanne Wisham, cell manager; Fred Flynn, business manager of consumer products; Mary McGaha, a 30-year employee; and Morris Keasler, director of WCTC.

Senator Ernest Hollings, pictured with his wife, Peatsy, was the speaker at the 1990 Annual Report luncheon. Prior to the event, he visited the TRiO office, where he received a plaque of appreciation from TRiO Director Bob Randolph, left, for his longtime Congressional support to TRiO’s three federally funded programs at Tri-County.

Five Decades of Distinction | 61

The Industrial and Business Development Center was the College’s first building to be constructed with the investment of money through the marriage of federal, county, and private dollars. Sixty-seven individual companies and foundations gave amounts ranging from $10 to $100,000 to help fund a total construction cost of $2 million. The building, which houses the Corporate and Community Education Division, was designed to provide quality instruction and quick response to technical training needs of employers and has been a great resource for business and industry to learn sophisticated manufacturing techniques, as well as serving the community’s needs for personal interest and career development classes.

Julia Ann Terry, of Seneca, an Office Systems Technology major, third from left, was the first recipient of the James D. Rutledge Memorial Scholarship at the College. The Scholarship Committee raised more than $15,000 to endow the scholarship honoring Mr. Rutledge, who served 16 years as a member of the College’s Area Commission. He died tragically in 1992 from injuries sustained in a collision on Interstate 26. Pictured with Ms. Terry are, from left, Dr. Don C. Garrison; Mrs. Mildred Rutledge, widow of Mr. Rutledge; Dr. Willie Gunn, of Seneca; Helen Rosemond-Saunders, of Seneca, and a member of the College’s Commission; and the Rev. E. Haynes, of Seneca, a founding contributor of the scholarship fund.

90s 1990



U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond honored longtime friend and political associate Marshall Parker by establishing a scholarship endowment in his name. Campus Information Center opened.

Committed to equality and excellence in education, TRiO provided services to 830 high school and college students. Industrial and Business Development Center opened in September.

Bosch Apprentice Program awarded associate degrees in Machine Tool Technology to the first 13 graduates. Tri-County was among the first community colleges ever to be awarded a grant by the BellSouth Foundation. College received $145,000 for Tech Prep, the development of on-the-job skills, and faculty/staff development.

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1992 Special Schools (for new and expanding industries) trained largest number of workers (981) in recent years. Tri-County switched from the quarter calendar to semester beginning with the summer term 1992. At its grand opening, AFCO donated $50,000 to the College to establish the AFCO Process Control and Instrumentation laboratory. Self Foundation approved a $101,079 grant to provide equipment for Medical Laboratory Technology and to increase the number of health care graduates.


1993 In the summer of 1993, On-Campus Teaching Factories opened for students in nine technologies. University Transfer Program enrollment increased 42% in three years. Foundation contributions exceeded $1 million during calendar year 1993.

The executives of the Access and Equity Advisory Committee guided the committee through its first two years when goals were established. Left to right are James Williams, co-chair; Helen RosemondSaunders, secretary; and Carolyn Galloway, co-chair. Mr. Williams served the College in several different capacities and retired in 2006 as vice president of Student Affairs. Mrs. Rosemond-Saunders also serves on the Commission and was its chair from 2008 until 2011.

Veteran businessman and instructor Alvin Fleishman was honored on his 75th birthday with an endowment of a scholarship in his name. In October of 1991, friends, family, current and past students from Tri-County and community members raised money to endow a scholarship. Mr. Fleishman, who died in 2009, was an adjunct instructor in the Business Technology Department and owned Fleishman Store and Fleishman Realty Company in Anderson.

1994 Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens county councils approved $12.5 million in their county appropriations for construction of the Health Sciences Laboratory building, now named Hayden Abney Fulp Hall. In the fall of 1994, Computer Technology students embarked on a project that no twoyear college had ever attempted: to capture radio emissions of the planet Jupiter using an unmanned radio telescope, automatically controlled by student software. Findings were presented by Dr. John Bernard at the national Tech Prep Conference, and students were co-winners of the Most Outstanding Two-Year College Paper at the South Carolina Academy of Science meeting.


1995 For second consecutive year, Foundation gifts topped $1 million.


1996 Ground was broken on October 31, 1996, for Health/Science Laboratory Building, now named Hayden Abney Fulp Hall. Tri-County became a charter member of the South Carolina Professional Association for Access and Equity, a statewide organization of individuals interested in access and equity issues. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmed accreditation for another 10 years. The National Science Foundation (NSF) approved a $4.1 million grant for the State’s 16 technical colleges for curriculum reform, program improvement, and faculty development.

Ruby S. Hicks Library/Administration Building became first building named for a benefactor. Five Decades of Distinction | 63

Paul Wilkerson, the first chair of the College’s Foundation Board, donated C.P. Rose Mari, an Arabian filly, to raise money for the Foundation as part of the 1991 S.C. Horseman’s Celebration. Mr. Wilkerson unselfishly gave his time and talents to the College and left his personal mark on the Foundation. He and his wife, Lucy, gave to almost every campaign drive the Foundation conducted. Their first contribution was a donation to the Industrial and Business Development Center. Mr. Wilkerson died December 30, 2007, at the age of 92.

The Self Foundation approved a $101,079 grant to provide equipment for Medical Laboratory Technology and to increase the number of health care graduates.

90s 1997

Tri-County used Amoco Foundation grant to make advances in Distance Learning. Employers used incentives in Enterprise Zone Act to train employees. Foundation assets for FY 97 exceeded $6 million, placing it among Top 100 for Community Colleges in U.S. The College presented its first Philanthropist of the Year award to Ellison McKissick, a founder and longtime supporter of the College. He died June 27, 1997.

64 | Tri-County Technical College


1998 Special Schools trained near record 1,089 workers. College expanded options for high school seniors to get a head start on their college studies through Technical Advanced Placement (TAP) and by offering numerous Tri-County courses on high school campuses. Foundation is the largest in South Carolina Technical College System.


1999 Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Scholars program introduced in an effort to attract, retain, and graduate a greater number of engineering technicians to meet the needs of industry.

First College website launched in late summer. Health/Science Laboratory building, now named Hayden Abney Fulp Hall, opened fall semester of 1998 with full schedule of classes. A $150,000 gift from Anderson Area Medical Center named the fourth floor of the Health/Science building. Mrs. James R. Fowler, widow of former Commissioner Jim Fowler, named an organic chemistry classroom to remember her husband.

College Foundation awarded a record of 207 scholarships. Enrollment in Cooperative Education quadrupled in four years.

In conjunction with this project, the Foundation launched a campaign to raise money to equip the classrooms and laboratories and to provide for the ongoing development of the faculty who teach in the building. Businesses, corporations, foundations, organizations, associations, hospitals, and individuals contributed to the campaign and gained recognition by having classrooms and labs named after them. Donors supported programs in which they had a special interest and offered gifts as living tributes and lasting memorials to loved ones.

Ernest Gaines, author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Gathering of Old Men, right, visited the campus, read from his works and signed books. Pictured with him is nationally acclaimed author and poet Ron Rash, who taught English at Tri-County from 1986 until 2003, and currently holds the Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University.

Five Decades of Distinction | 65


After five years of planning and preliminary preparation, including an intensive needs analysis, construction began on the Health/ Science Laboratory building (now known as Hayden Abney Fulp Hall). The fivestory, 84,000-square-foot brick structure is located at the hub of the campus and houses laboratories and ancillary facilities, classrooms, and offices for the Health Education Division and the English and Science offices. Construction of this building was fully funded by the taxpayers of Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties upon the approvals of $12.5 million by the three county councils in 1994.

Then-Congressman Lindsey Graham, third from left, addressed the Class of 1995 at the College’s 32nd annual commencement. He is pictured with Fud Cater, a technical specialist at Duke for two decades and a 1971 graduate of the Industrial Electronics Technology department, left, Commissioner Bob Sharpe, and Bruce Norton, who chaired the Commission. The Surgical Technology department, formerly housed at Anderson Memorial Hospital, moved into the new Health/Science Laboratory building, now Hayden Abney Fulp Hall. The site gave the program a more centralized location for students to participate in clinical affiliations in all areas of the three counties and provides an actual operating room at any time when needed for teaching. New teaching equipment was added for groups of students to practice simultaneously, giving students access to practice areas.

Thrift Brothers was among the 25 individuals, companies, and businesses that named rooms in the $12.5 million Health/Science Laboratory building. The company made contributions to name the Dental Assisting Center and support development for dental faculty. Pictured here, from left, are Tom Thrift and his wife, Patsy; Tabatha Wilbanks, then department head; and Joellen and Sam Thrift. 66 | Tri-County Technical College

Al Norris, who retired in 1994 after 22 years as Dean of Students, says the greatest honor bestowed upon him in his lifelong career in education was a scholarship endowed in his name at Tri-County Technical College in 1994. Mr. Norris says he is proud of the scholarship established by friends, faculty, staff, and students in honor of his commitment to helping students. “The scholarship helps students financially, therefore making Tri-County accessible to one student a year. It’s always a pleasure to meet the recipients. I’m always impressed by them,” he said. Known as one “who works by the heart as well as by the book” over the years, his extraordinary commitment to helping students attain their educational goals was at the forefront of his actions. His leadership developed a program of student services that rivals any two-year college. He was often cited as a role model not only by the Student Services Division staff but the entire College community.

Christee Williams, a licensed veterinary technician and an instructor in the Veterinary Technology department since 1988, received the first-ever Technician of the Year award from the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians in 1996. Presenting the award is Dr. James Mullikin, owner of The Veterinary Clinic, P.A., in Easley and chair of the College’s Veterinary Technology Advisory Committee. Later, in 2011, she was awarded the Faculty Medallion for Instructional Excellence, the highest honor awarded to faculty at TriCounty Technical College.

In 1987 he was presented the A. Wade Martin Innovator of the Year award. Five Decades of Distinction | 67


Betsy Brand, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Education, right, presents the top national award for Tech Prep program excellence at the AACJC convention. Accepting the award for PACE are board member and Tri-County President Dr. Don C. Garrison and Diana Walter, thenPACE executive director.

When John Geer, Duke Power district manager, right, assumed the role of chair of the Foundation Board in 1994, the assets of the Foundation were slightly more than $2.5 million. By the time he completed his tenure in 2004 as third chair of the board, assets were approaching $12 million. In 1996, Geer was instrumental in helping to establish the first Tri-County alumni fundraising campaign with Duke Power, designed to raise $15,000 to fund a scholarship endowment to support the education of children and grandchildren of Duke employees. The campaign kicked off with a $4,350 contribution (including Duke’s match). Pictured at the reception with Geer are Michael Tuckman, senior vice president of nuclear generation at Duke, left, and Neil Lark, director of the World Class Training Center and later dean of the Corporate and Community Education Division. Tri-County has trained hundreds of truck drivers with certification leading to long-term, full-time, or part-time employment. The course is quick and affordable, and training can be completed in 90 days or less. Students can obtain their class “A” Commercial Drivers License by completing the 160-hour program, with 50 hours of classroom study and 110 hours in the truck with an instructor.

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The late Jack Mooneyhan, right, a longtime friend and retiree, continued to give to the College long after his retirement in 1992 from the Management Development Department of the Corporate and Community Education (CCE) Division. In 2000 he established the Martha K. Mooneyhan Endowment for Instructional/Staff Excellence for Continuing Education in memory of his wife. (The scholarship now memorializes Mr. and Mrs. Mooneyhan.) Pictured, from left, are Janelle Hicks, Health Care Programs director; Morris Keasler, former director of the World Class Training Center; and Dr. Neil Lark, dean of the CCE Division from 1994 until his retirement in 2008.

Mrs. Ruby Hicks’ Bequest of Nearly $1 Million Establishes Scholarships


he late Ruby S. Hicks’ love for education and her lifelong goal of helping students to achieve their educational best live on in perpetuity at TriCounty Technical College by means of the Ernest H. and Ruby Sharp Hicks Scholarships. Since 1988, students have been benefiting from the generosity of Mrs. Hicks who, upon her death in 1992, bequeathed the majority of her estate, valued at nearly three-quarters of a million dollars, to Tri-County to establish these scholarships. Until 2001, this was the largest single donation the Foundation had received in its history.

“Mrs. Hicks was interested in removing the financial barriers for Tri-County students, many of whom otherwise could not have attended college,” said President Don C. Garrison. “The major portion of her estate was earmarked for scholarships. Mrs. Hicks loved Tri-County and its students because she believed in the mission of the technical colleges and wanted to see no one denied an education because of lack of finances.” The criteria for the scholarships are the intent to pursue a baccalaureate degree and a B average in high school and/ or a 3.0 GPR while enrolled at Tri-County or any other college or university. “Mrs. Hicks loved academia, and she demanded excellence,” said James Williams, a member of the College’s Foundation Board and her attorney and close friend for 20 years. “She wasn’t just interested in the education of the academically gifted; she was committed to helping all students, especially those who might not have the opportunity to pursue a college degree. She was impressed with the Tri-County Technical College

Mrs. Hicks, pictured here with Dr. Garrison at the annual Writing Contest she sponsored, was a charter member of the Foundation Board. She died October 2, 1992, at the age of 88.

students. She realized the importance of a technical education,” Mr. Williams continued. During her lifetime, her enthusiasm and generous financial support enabled the English Department to recognize the creativity of area high school students through an annual Writing Contest. Cash awards and plaques were awarded to first-, second- and thirdplace winners in short story and poetry categories, and honorable mentions in each category. The English Department renamed its annual writing contest to honor the late Ruby S. Hicks for her patronage, her encouragement, and her friendship. In recognition of her major contributions to students and to the College, the Area Commission departed from tradition and acted on October 17, 1994, to name the Library Administration building in honor of Mrs. Hicks. Five Decades of Distinction | 69


Mrs. Hicks, who was a charter member of the College’s Foundation Board, died October 2, 1992, at the age of 88. She was owner and operator of the 385-acre Water Oak Farm at Five Forks and was the widow of Colonel Ernest H. Hicks, a Pendleton native who was a retired psychologist and educator.


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A partner of the College since 1989, over the years, AnMed Health has established five scholarship endowments through the Foundation for the associate degree Nursing program. The hospital also named the fourth floor of Hayden Abney Fulp Hall the AnMed Nursing Education Center, providing professional growth endowment funds for almost all departments in the Health Education Division. AnMed Health was named the 2001 Philanthropist of the Year by the Tri-County Technical College Foundation Board of Trustees. Pictured from left are (standing) Charlie Thornton, then chairman of the board for AnMed Health and a member of the College’s Foundation Board; Kirk Oglesby, presidentemeritus of AnMed Health and a member of the College’s Foundation Board; John Miller, president of AnMed Health; and (seated) Peggy Deane, then senior vice president at AnMed Health and a current Foundation Board member.

Three founding fathers of the technical education system appropriately were honored in October 2002 at the College’s first Founders’ Day (commemorating the 40th anniversary) for their vision and foresight in creating a formalized system of technical education in S.C. in the early 1960s. R. C. Edwards, of Clemson, (now deceased), second from left; O. Stanley Smith, of Columbia, third from left; and Governor Robert McNair, of Columbia, (now deceased), fourth from left, were inducted into the Order of the Trilon, which recognizes community and state leaders who have contributed to the development of Tri-County Technical College and the State Technical College System. Pictured with them are Dr. Mendel H. Stewart, former chair of the College Commission, left; and President Don Garrison, far right.

Five Decades of Distinction | 71

Tri-County Technical College saluted retiring President Don C. Garrison November 7, 2002, by naming the campus in his honor. Area Commission Chairman Dr. Mendel Stewart made the announcement at the College’s Annual Report Luncheon, which highlighted the College’s accomplishments during 2001 – 02 and celebrated 40 years of service to the community. “In honor of this great man and outstanding president, the College’s governing board unanimously decided to name the campus in his honor,” said Dr. Stewart. “It shall henceforth and forever be known as the Don C. Garrison Campus of Tri-County Technical College.” After nearly 32 years of service, Dr. Garrison retired July 31, 2003. A naming plaque is displayed in his honor on a granite rock at the entrance to the campus.

2000s 2000

For second consecutive year, ADN graduates received highest scores in the Upstate and exceeded national average on the National Council Licensing Exam for registered nurses. The College’s firstever job placement office opened offering students full placement services.



The Accounting, Business Technology, and Office Systems Technology programs received accreditation through the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Enrollment in distance learning classes topped 500. Foundation received $1 million gift from Abney Foundation December 2001, the largest single financial gift to the College. Tri-County ranked third among South Carolina’s 33 public institutions of higher education in achievement of performance standards. The Licensed Practical Nursing program received accreditation by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).


2002 College completed $4.5 million renovation of three oldest buildings on campus. Veterinary Technology Distance Learning program graduated first class in Columbia. Tri-County honored the late Ellison S. (Bubby) McKissick, Jr., former chairman and president of Alice Manufacturing Company and one of the College’s founders and longtime supporters, by naming a building in his memory.



President Don C. Garrison delivered his final graduation speech before retiring following 32 years as president. MLT Department received maximum accreditation, perfect score from accrediting agency. For the seventh time in more than a decade, Practical Nursing graduates reported a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensing Exam (NCLEX-PN). Paul and Lucy Wilkerson named Philanthropists of the Year. Dr. Ronnie L. Booth named College’s third president.

Nancy Browning Ratliff (Class of 1986), right, received the Alumni Association’s first-ever Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003. This is the most prestigious award given to a graduate of the College. The recipient of this award must have been awarded a degree, diploma, or certificate from Tri-County; must have graduated at least one year earlier; and must have made significant contributions to the College, the Alumni Association, or his/her community in the form of time, talent, money, or service. Nancy, a graduate of the Secretarial Science department, has been instrumental in the success of the Alumni Association by serving in every office (president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer).

2004  | First-ever economic impact study said Tri-County is sound investment.

2005   The Medical Assisting program received a seven-year accreditation. Dr. Valerie Ramsey was first alumna appointed to the TriCounty Commission. Officials broke ground on the future site of Anderson Campus. Economic Development Center opened on Pendleton Campus. Gateway to College program established through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant.


Tri-County Technical College paid tribute to one of its founding fathers as faculty and staff and the community gathered to dedicate the Marshall J. Parker Auditorium in Oconee Hall. Friends and family of Senator Parker donated funds to name the auditorium in his honor. Senator Parker, who passed away in 2008, was one of the State Technical College System’s founding fathers, chair of Tri-County’s Foundation Board, and a devoted College advocate and benefactor. Dr. Booth said Senator Parker’s long history of altruistic service to TriCounty and its surrounding communities has been “all about serving others. He is, without a doubt, one of the strongest advocates the College has ever had.”




The Licensed Practical Nursing program received a maximum eight-year continued accreditation by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).

College opened first community campus in Anderson.

A $249,775 grant from AdvanceSC moved the College forward in being more responsive to addressing the shortage of skilled metal fabrication employees and machinists.

College established intercollegiate sports and launched

College embarked on a journey to become a rolemodel community college committed to learning college principles and concepts. Bridge to Clemson program established.

New CATT tagline, readySC™, reflected dedication to recruiting and training area workforce. Veterinary Technology program expanded with evening program.

Tri-County was first technical college in the State to offer PrePharmacy. Officials dedicated College’s Oconee Campus at the Hamilton Career Center. First Gateway to College graduates received their high school diplomas. Students participated in study abroad experience in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. The Early Childhood Development program received accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Tri-County Technical College’s Executive Vice President Robbye Mauldin added another well-deserved and unexpected recognition to her list of awards at a reception just days before her February 27, 2004, retirement from the College. Dr. Mendel Stewart, then chairman of the Tri-County Technical College Commission, presented her with the Order of the Trilon, which recognizes community and state leaders who have contributed to the development of the College and the Technical College System.

Michelin North America pledged $50,000 to name the Job Placement/ Cooperative Education Center and to establish an endowed chair in Dr. Garrison’s name. Pictured from left are Andy Delscamp, public relations; Bob Hoepfl, industrial safety and security; Terry Bailey, human resources manager, Anderson County; Dr. Don C. Garrison; Wayne Culbertson, plant manager, Starr and Sandy Springs plants; and Butch Merritt, the College’s director of Job Placement and Cooperative Education.

2000s 2008

First Pre-Pharmacy graduate accepted into Pharmacy School. Tri-County and Anderson University joined efforts to salute local law enforcement officers and raise scholarship money for Criminal Justice programs.



The Commission approved the College’s 10-year vision plan, called Transforming Lives, Shaping the Community. College officials broke ground on third community campus in Easley.

TRiO programs received more than $1 million in continuation grant funding.

College opened QuickJobs Development Center, located at the Oconee Campus at the Hamilton Career Center.

Tri-County enrolled a recordbreaking 5,728 credit students for fall semester.

College opens Senator Billy O’Dell Learning Center at the Watkins Community Center.

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2010 Tri-County Technical College received nearly $2 million in U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Title III Strengthening Institutions grant funds. The QuickJobs Development Center, located at site of new Easley Campus, opened. College enrolled a recordbreaking 6,941 credit students for fall semester.


2011 College opened its third community campus in Easley with 407 students enrolled during the spring and an additional 549 enrolled in Fall 2011. QuickJobs Development Center located there, also.

Former Commissioner Larry Miller and his wife, Marge, talk with incoming President Ronnie L. Booth at a welcome reception attended by faculty, staff, and community members. He told the crowd that accepting this position is “a lifelong dream” for him. “There are a lot of challenges, but I’m up for it and the College is up for it. I will do you proud.” Dr. Booth’s first day at Tri-County was July 1, 2003. Dr. Booth succeeded Dr. Don C. Garrison, who, after nearly 32 years of service, retired June 30, 2003.

The College’s student chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) was named the Student Chapter of the Year for 2005. Chapter Advisor Christee Williams, third from left, along with Department Head Dr. Peggy Champion, right, and NAVTA Chapter President Carlin Hardin, second from left, traveled to the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando where they accepted the award. Lori Renda-Francis, MA, BBA, LVT, and Veterinary Technician program director at Macomb Community College, left, presented the award. This was the first time Tri-County’s chapter submitted a nomination and the chapter’s first national accolade.

In appreciation for the role Tri-County plays in training its employees, NHC of Anderson and the Foundation for Geriatric Education gave $14,614 to purchase equipment for longterm health care training and to remember a devoted employee, the late Pat Leppard. Here, Brad Moorhouse, NHC’s administrator, is joined by Pat’s daughters, Mary Leppard, center, and Karen Compton, far right, who viewed the laboratory that has been named for their mother in the Industrial and Business Development Center.

readySC™ is Often Deciding Factor for Industries Locating in SC


ifty-one years after its inception, readySC™, originally named Special Schools and later The Center for Accelerated Technology Training (CATT), is still considered to be one of the State’s greatest incentives and often the deciding factor for industries to locate new jobs in South Carolina. Like his predecessors, Area Director Bobby Brothers believes readySC™ stands out because of its continued commitment to providing customer-driven training at no cost for new and expanding industries.

Prior to relocating to South Carolina, executives from The Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company in 2005 worked with readySC™ staff on a training plan for the company. Pictured from left are (seated) Bill Kirkpatrick, vice president for manufacturing, Jim Daly, director of human resources, Wayne Coppe, director of manufacturing, all from Reliable; and Tom Yeoman, director of curriculum for readySC™; and (standing from left) Bobby Brothers, then-project manager for readySC™; and Woody Dillard, then-area director for readySC™.

“It’s the greatest resource we have,” said Brothers of the program which is funded through the State to provide customized pre-employment training — at no cost to the employer — for new and expanding industries.

That’s part of the incentive package the State offers to create jobs. Classes include on-the-job and pre-employment training. The program is supported 100 percent by State funds, which are appropriated and expended totally independent of the College’s budget. The State’s program has trained more than 25,000 workers for new and expanding manufacturing jobs in the tri-county community since its inception in 1961 and continues to be a powerful recruiting tool. It’s a competitive advantage when a prospect is trying to decide between S.C. and another state. The first special schools program was held in 1961 for Jacobs Chuck Manufacturing in Clemson.

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In 2005, Tri-County was among four community colleges in the United States to receive three-year implementation grants from Portland Community College (Oregon) to replicate their nationally recognized Gateway to College program. Funding for the grants was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tri-County received a $300,000 grant to address needs of at-risk and dropout youth through a Gateway to College program. Its purpose is to serve high school dropouts age 17 – 20 who have demonstrated academic ability and meet specific eligibility criteria. Using a dual credit model, students earn both high school and college credit and may simultaneously complete both the high school diploma (meeting all requirements of the South Carolina Department of Education) and a postsecondary credential. The Gateway program also has been funded through Lottery Tuition Assistance, College exemption, district flow-through funds, student-paid fees, and a partnership contract with Palmetto Youth Connections that provides financial support for WIA-eligible students.

Known as LPN to Professor, the project focuses on hiring additional nursing school instructors immediately while preparing more nurses to become teachers in the future. One of the outcomes is an increase in the number of nursing students — and eventually more nurse graduates to meet the staffing needs of the four hospitals. The grant allowed Tri-County to add more nursing faculty members which allowed the launch of a second cohort for the associate degree Nursing program, giving students more educational access and flexibility. Five Decades of Distinction | 77


In 2005, a $1.2 million grant from the Duke Endowment enabled four area hospitals (AnMed Health, Cannon Memorial Hospital, Oconee Medical Center, and Baptist Easley Hospital) to join forces with Clemson University and TriCounty to address the future shortage of nurses in the workplace and nursing faculty within Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties.

Since 1991 the late Senator Marshall Parker and his wife, Martha, pictured here, made significant financial contributions to the College, including endowing scholarships and establishing an instructional/ staff excellence endowment.

Through generous donations from the Abney Foundation, area hospitals, healthcare agencies, and private donors, the College was able to purchase human patient simulators, which are teaching tools designed to look and respond like real patients. Nicknamed STAN for Standard Man, these learning tools teach students how to care for critically ill patients in a safe, simulated environment. The Nursing programs at the Pendleton, Oconee, and Easley Campuses have a total of 11 human patient simulators. The Corporate and Community Education Division has one for Emergency Medical Technician training.

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Their first gift was to support the Don C. Garrison Endowed Scholarship in 1988. Since then, they endowed the Martha Barham Parker Scholarship in 1990 in memory of their daughter; in 1995 they established the Hazel Sherrill Instructional/Staff Excellence Endowment; and in 1999, they established a scholarship in honor of Mrs. Parker’s brother, the late Dr. R.K. Nimmons. They also have been faithful supporters of the Foundation’s Fall Classic Golf Tournament and the Spring Open Golf Tournament sponsored by the Alumni Association and the Athletics Department. Senator and Mrs. Parker were recipients of the College’s 2007 Philanthropists of the Year award. In 1991, the late Senator Strom Thurmond honored his longtime friend and political associate by establishing a scholarship endowment fund in Senator Parker’s name at Tri-County.

Anderson Campus Becomes a Reality in 2005

Tri-County Technical College’s second campus opened its doors to the Anderson community March 1, 2007, and community members joined President Booth, the faculty and staff, and State and local leaders in dedicating

the facility. The 42,000-square-foot structure houses the Office Skills Computer Lab, a large multi-purpose room, a culinary lab, student lounge, science labs, a learning resource center, and other general classrooms. The campus serves several of the College’s goals by bringing its services closer to Anderson residents, increasing community involvement, and expanding educational opportunities. Both credit and noncredit programs are offered at the facility. “Our goal is to offer the services and programs where people live and work. Our job has been to make the space available and increase the course offerings for students to be able to get their full schedules exclusively at Anderson,” said Tim Bowen, director of the Anderson Campus. “We are meeting the expectations of the community by offering two flagship, two-year programs in their entirety (Associate in Arts and Associate in Science). This lays the foundation for developing our other signature programs such as criminal justice, culinary arts, early childhood development, and automotive technology,” he said. Corporate and Community Education classes range from CPR and first aid classes to business and professional development programs. The campus also houses the College’s Culinary Arts lab and program.

Five Decades of Distinction | 79



he vision for a campus convenient to the Anderson County community became a reality December 2, 2005, when officials broke ground on the future site of the College’s first community campus. Located on a 38.95-acre piece of property near the intersection of Standridge Road and Michelin Boulevard, the campus was made possible by the commitment of Dr. Booth, the College Commission, and the Foundation Board to find alternative sources of funding for the purchase of this land and for the construction of the first building. (Once the approval process began, the College Foundation Finance Committee voted to establish a limited liability corporation (LLC) to purchase, develop, and lease property to the College.)

Carl T. Edwards, Executive Director Emeritus and Trustee, seated, and David C. King, Vice Chairman, Trustee, and Executive Director.

Abney’s Generosity Supports College


he Abney Foundation is Tri-County’s numberone donor, contributing $3,730,000 over the past 23 years. Since its first gift in 1989, the Abney Foundation Trustees have demonstrated a strong commitment to the mission and purpose of Tri-County — to provide educational opportunities to deserving and needy local citizens and to support economic development and the creation of new jobs in our region.

The Abney Foundation has given consistently to TriCounty over the years, helping thousands of students to attain their educational goals. No other foundation, individual, or company has contributed so generously to the Foundation. In December 2001, the College received (at the time) its largest financial gift ever — one million dollars from the Abney Foundation. The gift was made to name Hayden Abney Fulp Hall. Abney has invested in training our health care technicians by contributing $220,000 to purchase human patient 80 | Tri-County Technical College

simulators, which are teaching tools designed to look and respond like real patients. Nicknamed STAN for Standard Man, these learning tools teach students how to care for critically ill patients in a safe, simulated environment.

“Tri-County values its partnership with the Abney Foundation.” ~ Dr. Ronnie L. Booth “Tri-County values its partnership with the Abney Foundation,” said President Ronnie Booth. “Each time the Abney trustees make a contribution, they are having an enduring impact on human lives and on their community.” The Abney Foundation was named the Philanthropist of the Year by Tri-County’s Foundation Board in 1998. Established in 1957, the Abney Foundation, located in Anderson, supports higher education and makes awards for social service and youth organizations.

Family, friends, Foundation Board members, and donors paid tribute to Linda Elliott’s record of excellence at a retirement celebration hosted by the Foundation Board at the home of Steve and Judy Darby in 2005. She was honored for more than three decades of dedicated service in the areas of academia and institutional advancement. Mrs. Elliott joined Tri-County in 1973 as head of the English Department and was promoted to chair of the Arts and Sciences Division where she remained until 1988. During Mrs. Elliott’s 17-year tenure as administrator of the College’s Foundation, assets grew from $2 million to more than $14 million, making it the largest foundation among the 16 technical colleges in the State. Here, Linda’s husband, Dr. Ralph Elliott, makes the announcement that he is naming the Linda Craven Elliott Advancement Suite in her honor. In addition, the Foundation Board, friends, and family raised $36,600 for the Linda C. Elliott Instructional Excellence Endowment. The College Commission recognized her pioneering leadership in the areas of academic programs and institutional advancement and inducted her into the Order of the Trilon.

Today’s manufacturing workplace requires its technicians to have a broad mix of skills to meet the demands of modern integrated electromechanical systems. The four Upstate technical colleges launched a new Mechatronics curriculum that integrates electronics and mechanical competencies for the industrial maintenance occupations, ensuring that graduates working side by side in local industries will possess the same core competencies.

In 2005, College officials and industry leaders dedicated the Economic Development Center, a 7,500-square-foot facility dedicated to training projects for new and expanding industries through readySC™. The Center, constructed during the fall of 2004, was funded by Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties, readySC™, and the College.


This Mechatronics project represents the critical phase of the TechReadySC™ initiative to create a ready pool of technicians with mechatronics and maintenance skills needed to work in advanced manufacturing. Here, instructor Danny Stovall, right, and student Cody Lemere work on a Kuka robot. Five Decades of Distinction | 81

In 2006, Tri-County became the first community college in the country to acquire a surgical simulator and integrate it into its Surgical Technology clinical procedures. The simulator allows students to practice dexterity skills used in laparoscopic surgeries in the OR, enhancing their confidence and promoting proficiency in a safe environment. Earlier that year, the Veterinary Technology Department was the only community college program in the United States chosen to receive Pepper, a prototype canine simulator used to teach anesthesia techniques to veterinary students. Bionca Dunbar, pictured here with her mother, was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of the Bridge to Clemson program, a first of its kind in South Carolina. The invitation-only program blends the traditional academic experience at Tri-County with the social and cultural experiences of being a Clemson University student. The inaugural class in 2006 included 235 recent high school graduates who narrowly missed admission to Clemson because of limited space and high demand. Now in its sixth year, the Bridge to Clemson program enrolled 560 freshmen from all over the United States in the fall of 2011. Bridge students must earn 30 transfer credits at Tri-County during their two semesters and transfer to Clemson with at least a 2.5 GPA.

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In addition, the College has 12 human patient simulators, which are physiologically correct, computer-driven models designed to look and respond like real patients. Tri-County’s Health Education Division was the first fully equipped virtual lab in the State.

In the spring of 2006, the College held its first annual bluegrass concert offering free family fun with bands, fireworks, and department displays. Bluegrass under the Stars is held each April. Dr. Booth, a lifelong bluegrass fan, initiated the concert in 2006 as a way of strengthening the College’s ties to the community and to connect with the town of Pendleton and its annual Spring Jubilee celebration.

Community Partners Work Together To Bring College to Oconee County


conee County residents were eager to have a college in their own backyards.

Tri-County and the Oconee County School District joined representatives from Oconee Memorial Hospital, Oconee County Council and legislators and community members to dedicate the Tri-County Technical College Oconee Campus at the Hamilton Career Center.

Bringing the College to Oconee County came to fruition because of collaboration between the Oconee County School District, Oconee County Council, and the College, with commitment from Oconee Medical Center. Two years before, Tri-County partnered with the school district and the hospital to develop a collaborative agreement to expand nursing opportunities for Oconee County high school students. During fall semester 2007, the Oconee Campus began with a full slate of university transfer classes for those

Oconee County residents who wanted to save time while pursuing a degree in the evening. Offerings cater to working adults and high school students by offering late afternoon and early evening classes in the University Transfer curriculum. Tri-County shares the building with the Hamilton Career Center, who occupies the annex in the daytime. The Licensed Practical Nursing (L.P.N.) diploma program gives area students twice-a-year entry into the Tri-County L.P.N. curriculum. Academically qualified students in the Health Occupations/Sciences area of the Hamilton Career Center are given preference for L.P.N. program slots. This gives high school students a head start on a nursing career. The general education classes meet Registered Nurse (R.N.) requirements so students can move more quickly into the R.N. major if they choose.

Pictured here in the L.P.N. lab are Jessica Allen, L.P.N. grad, left, and instructor Carol Henry. Five Decades of Distinction | 83


In the fall of 2007, administrators and educators from Tri-County and the Oconee County School District joined representatives from Oconee Medical Center, Oconee County Council, and legislators and community members as they gathered to dedicate the Tri-County Technical College Oconee Campus at the Hamilton Career Center.

The late Nancy Ann Garrison, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee and a native of Anderson, was Tri-County Technical College’s nominee for the Benefactors Make a Difference Award in 2006. Ms. Garrison’s family accepted the award in her honor during a ceremony in Columbia. Pictured here are Dr. Ronnie L. Booth, president of Tri-County; former Senator T. Ed Garrison, Nancy’s brother and a founder of Tri-County; Tom Cox, Nancy’s nephew; Dr. James H. Hudgins, retired president of the South Carolina Technical College System; and Gaye Garrison Sprague, Nancy’s niece. Ms. Garrison was the daughter of the late Thomas E. and Nettie McPhail Garrison, of Anderson. After graduating from Lander College, she accepted a position with Eastman Company and spent her entire career with the Manhattan project in Oak Ridge. In her will, Ms. Garrison generously remembered several colleges in the area, including Tri-County, as well as in Oak Ridge.

Tri-County Technical College introduced the University Transfer program in 1973, and the venture was a departure from the traditional public approach to higher education in S.C. Today, the Arts and Sciences Division’s enrollment tops 2,250, and its University Transfer students include those who attend Tri-County for one or two years and transfer to fouryear colleges and universities. Dr. Sharon Miller, left, and Grace Mukui, of Clemson, perform a biology lab test.

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Tri-County Technical College’s athletic programs are gaining visibility and momentum and began competing on the varsity level in 2007. In addition to men’s golf and soccer teams, women’s basketball and soccer have been added. Teams are sanctioned by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and compete within Region 10 at the Division I level.

The Darbys have given benevolently to the educational programs at the College since 1994. The couple endowed a scholarship in honor of Mrs. Darby’s uncle, Claude Moore of Pendleton, who had served as head of the Automotive Mechanics Department from 1963 until his retirement in 1970. In November of 2001, they made a major gift to the Foundation to support former English instructor Ron Rash’s writing. In addition, they contributed to the Don C. Garrison Instructional Excellence Endowment in 2002 and to the Linda Craven Elliott Endowment in 2005. In June of 2006 Mr. Darby established the Julia M. Darby Endowed Scholarship in honor of his beloved wife. Shortly after his death in January of 2007, contributions began pouring in to honor Mr. Darby with the establishment of the E. Steve Darby Memorial Scholarship. Mr. Darby was chair of the Foundation Board at the time of his death.

Tony Webb, who received an Associate in Science degree in 2006, is the College’s first graduate to enter the nationally known Call Me MISTER program, where black males are recruited, trained, and certified to become elementary teachers in S.C.’s public schools. Call Me MISTER is a scholarship teaching program developed by Clemson University to meet the shortage of African American male teachers in South Carolina’s elementary schools.

Friends, family, and neighbors, along with colleagues past and present, gathered on the campus in June 2005 to salute Charlie Gibson’s commitment to his community and his career in education by naming a room in his honor in the Industrial and Business Development Center. Charlie retired as dean of the Continuing Education Division in 1991 after 29 years of service to the College. Through contributions from area businesses and companies, College retirees, co-workers, and friends and family members, The Charles R. Gibson Conference Room was funded. He is pictured here with Haley Sitton, who worked in the Continuing Education Divison for 20 years before joining the College Foundation as its Director of Development from 1999 - 2009.

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The late Steve Darby and his wife, Judy, of Anderson, were the College’s nominee for the Benefactors Make a Difference Award in 2007.

Welding students joined forces with Clemson University’s Architecture and Landscape Architecture students in 2009 on a project to take a shipping container and turn it into a hurricane-resistant housing option for residents in hurricaneravaged countries. The Clemson/Tri-County group was among the 14 college teams who received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the sixth annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The team received a $75,000 grant to continue phase two of the SEED project.

NASA Astronaut and retired Army Colonel Patrick Forrester delivered the keynote address at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) conference to around 100 educators from Anderson-Oconee-Pickens school districts, along with educators from Tri-County and Clemson University. The conference was held at the Anderson campus to discuss how to promote STEM education at their individual schools. The symposium was funded with a $46,200 grant from AdvanceSC.

In the fall of 2009, AdvanceSC awarded Tri-County a $250,000 grant to create another career path by designing and implementing a program for qualified pipefitters. Until then, there were no programs training pipefitters in the State. This grant supports the collaboration of the College with the Anderson School Districts 1 – 5, Pickens County School District, Oconee County School District, Hamilton Career Center, Pickens County Career and Technology Center, Williamston Career and Technology Center, and Anderson V Career Campus.

In 2009, representatives from five local businesses and industries, along with Dr. Booth, signed documentation to implement registered apprenticeship programs through Apprenticeship Carolina. From left are Steve Witcher, training manger for Plastic Omnium; Robert Dye, chief financial officer for Peoples Bancorporation; Dr. Ronnie L. Booth; Randy Bowers, executive director of Bowers Emergency Services; Cindy Coward, human resource director for Johnson Controls; and Rob Griffin, former plant manager for U.S. Engine Valve. Tri-County is the first technical college to have the first registered customer service apprenticeship in the State.

The pharmacy technician is a specialist working under the direction of a licensed pharmacist. Duties are assigned by the pharmacist and are related to preparing and dispensing medication in accordance with standard procedures and laws. Since 2001 the College has partnered with Midlands Technical College to deliver the pharmacy technician coursework via distance education. Five Decades of Distinction | 87


Since 2005, the Tri-County Technical College Foundation has hosted an Annual Fall Classic Golf Tournament. In its sixth year, the tournament has become a signature event in the community and has raised funds for the Gateway to College program and provides scholarship assistance for students. It also supports other programs aimed at providing our students with invaluable learning experiences, such as student government programs, ]regional internships, and educational travel abroad programs. Proceeds from the 2011 tournament supported the Industrial Technology Center.

In 2009, the College was the seventh college in the State to be accredited by the American Society of HealthSystem Pharmacists (ASHP), the nationwide gold standard for pharmacy technician education programs. It signifies that the program meets nationally endorsed standards in its educational programs, services, and facilities.

The College honored Dr. Mendel H. Stewart in 2009 for his 32 years of dedicated service as a faithful member and chair of the College’s Commission. At the Annual Report Luncheon, Dr. Booth presented him with the Order of Merit, the highest award given by the College’s nine-member Commission. He later was honored by South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners in Columbia.

The manufacturing Certified Production Technician (CPT) program, offered by the World Class Training Center, enables workers to build the core knowledge and skills needed in today’s advanced manufacturing workplace. The certificate program is based on the Manufacturing Skills Standard Council (MSSC) standards and is delivered in a combination of instructor-led and computerbased instruction. Instructor Jay Sloan and Beth James, U.S. Engine Valve product technician, are seen in the Mechatronics lab at the Oconee QuickJobs Development Center. 88 | Tri-County Technical College

Community leaders, residents, and College officials gathered at the Watkins Community Center in Honea Path in 2009 to celebrate the dedication of the College’s new Learning Center named in honor of Senator Billy O’Dell, pictured fourth from left. Pictured from left are Eddie Moore, chair of the Anderson County Council; Helen Rosemond-Saunders, then chair of Tri-County’s Commission, Dr. Ronnie L. Booth; Sen. O’Dell; Shelby Kay, president of the Watkins Community Center board; Al Young, past president of the Watkins Community Center Board and president of The Commercial Bank; Honea Path Mayor Lollis Meyers; Cindy Wilson, Anderson County Council; and Representative Mike Gambrell.

The Learning Excellence Initiative (LEI) is Tri-County’s foray into examining and refining a student’s firstyear experience. The LEI improves student learning through a Smart Start orientation, Learning Communities (comprised of the same group of students taking the same classes), and the Freshman Seminar (an academic course that gives these students the tools to become successful in college). Five Decades of Distinction | 89


The College held its first annual 5K Race in 2010 on Memorial Day weekend. The Tri-County Road Race starts and ends at the Anderson Campus located at 511 Michelin Boulevard. Proceeds have gone toward health education student scholarships and Anderson Campus programs and services.

Tri-County Technical College enrolled a recordbreaking 6,941 students for fall semester 2010. Over the last decade (2001-2010), Tri-County’s cumulative percentage growth increase was 84 percent compared with the South Carolina Technical College System average of 45 percent.

Easley Campus Brings College Closer To Pickens County Residents


ommunity-based education is so important,” said Dr. Booth at the December 10, 2010, dedication of the College’s newest, and third community campus, in Easley. “We are thrilled to have a campus where Pickens County residents live and work.”

Campus offers Criminal Justice and Medical Office Specialist, in addition to the Early Childhood Development and Entrepreneurship/Small Business certificate programs in their entirety.

The Easley Campus is located on Powdersville Road and gives the College a presence in each of the three counties. The campus better serves the citizens of Pickens County by offering credit and continuing education courses to residents. The campus features an Academic Building, which houses classrooms, offices, a large conference room, student lounge and science labs, as well as the QuickJobs Development Center, a 4,600-square-foot building used for employee and workforce training. The QuickJobs Development Center was funded through a $986,364 grant from the State Department of Commerce to Pickens County. Instructors from the Corporate and Community Education Division teach training courses specifically based on locally identified needs and shortages. The Academic Building is a 40,000-square-foot facility funded through State capital reserves of nearly $6 million. “This campus was the next step for the College in terms of our mission, which is to be accessible and available to the residents of our service area,” said Dr. Booth. In addition to its signature programs, Practical Nursing, University Transfer, and Industrial Electronics, the 90 | Tri-County Technical College

In May 2009 legislators, county council members, and local business leaders joined College officials in breaking ground on the 37.51-acre piece of property.

Professional and personal interest classes include Certified Nurse Aide, transportation (truck driving CDL), office skills, and leadership training. Pickens County business and industry leaders are making a permanent investment in the Easley Campus through room-naming opportunities. In honor of Ben and Lucille Childress’s dedication to education, an anonymous community donor made a generous contribution to name the lobby of the new Easley Campus after the couple. To date, five other companies and/or individuals have named rooms in the Academic Building. They include: Bowers Emergency Services; Dr. Dan Pasui; Tri-Tech, USA; Cornell Dubilier; and Easley Combined Utilities.

Students participate in an annual Boston trip whereby they immerse themselves in the culture and history of a city where American independence began. This seven-week program, titled Early American Studies, allows students to visit the literary and historical sites to visually experience what instructors cover in the classroom. The Learning Beyond Campus study is funded by support from the Student Affairs Division, personal contributions from private donors and instructors, as well as student fundraisers.

Jane Sosebee, AT&T director of Legislative Affairs, third from left, and Dr. Booth, second from left, pose with members of the Legislative Delegation for the presentation of a $100,000 check from AT&T to support the College’s Gateway to College program. Pictured with them are, from left, Rep. Brian White; Sen. Thomas Alexander; former Rep. Dan Cooper; Jim Evers, AT&T regional director; Rep. Phil Owens; and Rep. Mike Gambrell.

Including a pledge of $50,000 to the Major Gifts campaign in 2010, the company has given more than $112,000 to its teaching chair for the Engineering and Industrial Technology Division and a total of $124,750 to the Foundation. Pictured here are Larry Smith, plant manager of Schneider Electric, left, and Dr. Booth. Five Decades of Distinction | 91


Schneider Electric was honored with the Foundation’s Philanthropist of the Year award in 2010. This award is the Foundation’s highest and most prestigious honor. The purpose of this award is to recognize individuals, foundations, companies, trusts, organizations, or other entities that have made a significant financial contribution, either cash or noncash, to the Foundation to support the work of the College.

The Foundation kicked off its first-ever Major Gifts Campaign aimed at moving the College toward achieving role-model status among community colleges in the United States. Over a five-year period, the College has been working toward a goal of $7 - 9 million with four initiatives to address community demands: expanding educational opportunities, improving technology and equipment, enhancing opportunities for student success, and promoting economic and community development. “Our gifts to the campaign can make a profound difference in the lives of students and in the future of Tri-County Technical College,” said David Wakefield, chairman of the College’s Foundation Board, pictured here, at the 2009 Annual Report Luncheon.

Itron pledged $100,000 to Tri-County’s Major Gifts Campaign. It was the company’s largest gift to the College to date. The gift will support the Improving Technology and Equipment initiative by providing a gift of $20,000 per year for the next five years. Pictured from left are (front row) Dr. Booth; John Lummus, vice president for the Economic and Institutional Advancement Division at the College; and Mike Higgins, Itron plant manager; and (back row) Sue Gray, human resources manager for Itron, Elisabeth Gadd, director of development at Tri-County; and Ken Ambory, Itron comptroller.

Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company continued its commitment to Tri-County Technical College and to the community by making a $50,000 gift to name the Manufacturing Resource Center. The Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Manufacturing Resource Center is housed in Cleveland Hall on the Pendleton Campus and serves students in the Engineering Graphics, General Engineering, and Machine Tool Technology majors. The lab is filled with sophisticated equipment that includes a HAAS 5 axis vertical machining center, a rapid prototyping center, and a ROMER seven axis scanner arm. Pictured from left are Michael R. Fee, the vice president and owner of Reliable; John Lummus, vice president for the Economic and Institutional Advancement Division at Tri-County; and Courtney White, manager of donor relations for the College.

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U.S. Engine Valve is a member of the College’s World Class Training Center and since 1989 has been a strong supporter of the College Foundation, having endowed a scholarship and provided funding for professional development of faculty and staff and for equipment. In 2011, in support of the Major Gifts Campaign, U.S. Engine Valve made a donation in support of equipment for the Mechatronics program at the College. The two joint owners of U.S. Engine Valve donated $7,500 from the Eaton Charitable Fund and $7,500 from Nittan Valve Company towards the purchase of EM614/600-Air Advanced Electronics Sensors Systems with Ejection/ Sorting Stations. Pictured here are, from left, Rob Griffin, former plant manager; Lamar Dendy, a maintenance technician at the plant and a student in the College’s Mechatronics curriculum; Dr. Booth; Mary Ann Craft, human resource manager at U.S. Engine Valve; Keizo Harada, technical manager for Nittan; John Lummus, vice president for the Economic and Institutional Advancement Division at Tri-County; and Elisabeth Gadd, director of development for Tri-County.

Pictured from left are (front row) Dr. Booth; Ashley R. Batson, SCAPA executive director; and Michael Crenshaw, president of King Asphalt; and (second row) John Lummus, vice president for the Economic and Institutional Advancement Division at Tri-County; Elisabeth Gadd, director of development; and Mary Corley, program manager for Tri-County’s Highway Construction program; (third row) Serji Amirkhanian, consultant; Steve Cosper, owner of Granite Construction and SCAPA board member; Scott Fant, vice president of Sloan Construction; and Lauren Cosper, SCAPA summer intern; and (top row) Doug Truluck, president of PP&S, Inc.; Ben Poore, summer intern for Granite Construction; and Rick Cothran, dean of the College’s Corporate and Community Education Division. Five Decades of Distinction | 93


The SC Asphalt Pavement Association (SCAPA), a statewide trade association of contractors engaged in the production of high quality hot mix asphalt, presented the College with a $100,000 donation. The SC Asphalt Pavement Association’s donation to the College will provide students with a state-of-the-art asphalt materials testing facility on the Pendleton Campus where they will receive hands-on training in Hot Mix Asphalt applications.

The College lost dear friends with the passing of Cameron and Margaret Murdoch, two of the College’s most generous supporters who were introduced to Tri-County in 1996 through their friend and longtime College supporter, Thomas Gignilliat. He told the Seneca couple that the students at Tri-County appreciate scholarships, and Mr. and Mrs. Murdoch responded by endowing their first scholarship in 1998 and another in 1999. When Mrs. Murdoch’s sister, Katie Marshall, died in 1999, Mr. Murdoch suggested to his wife that they should honor Katie in a special way with the Katie M. Marshall Memorial Scholarship for Medical Laboratory Technology students. (Katie had been a lab technician.) The Medical Laboratory Technology lab in Fulp Hall also is named for Ms. Marshall. Since making their first $30 gift to the Foundation in 1997, Mr. and Mrs. Murdoch established endowed scholarships, an instructional/staff excellence endowment for mini-grants, a priority needs endowment, and a technology endowment. In 2000 when their total giving totaled $69,995, they were recognized as the Foundation’s Philanthropists of the Year. Today, their total giving amounts to more than $1,126,000.

The Industrial Technology Center, a state-of-the-art welding and heating ventilation and air conditioning training facility, is set to open during the 2012-2013 academic year. The 42,000-square-foot building, formerly the Virginia Products Tobacco Building, is located on Highway 76 in Sandy Springs on five acres of land and is just four miles from the Pendleton Campus. Designed to simulate a real-life industrial setting, the structure will use various types of construction techniques in the retrofitting process to be used later as teaching tools in the classroom. The renovated building will house updated equipment and provide additional space for instruction. It will allow the College to keep the industry training programs centrally located in the service area, which is important to students who enroll from all three counties.

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In 2011 the College completed a comprehensive master facilities plan for the Pendleton Campus. The plan will provide guidance and direction for short- and long-term improvements and construction. Five Decades of Distinction | 95


Tri-County BMW Scholars pose for a group photo with Governor Nikki Haley and company executives following a press conference at the company’s Greer facility. Pictured from left to right are: Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing Co.; Governor Haley; Cole Johnson, student; Chad Looper, student; Michael Bonham, student; Michael Bellamy, student; Charlton Balcombe, student; Adam Grantz, student; Doug Allen, Industrial Technology department head; Duke Moses, BMW Scholars supervisor; Ryan Childers, project lead, BMW Training & Development; Jasmin Begic, BMW Scholars supervisor; and Harald Krßger, BMW Group Board of Management Member for Human Resources. Not pictured is Kenneth Denmon, student.

Pendleton Campus 7900 SC Highway 76 P.O. Box 587 Pendleton, SC 29670

Easley Campus 1774 Powdersville Road Easley, SC 29642

Anderson Campus 511 Michelin Boulevard Anderson, SC 29625

Oconee Campus at the Hamilton Career Center 100 Vocational Drive Seneca, SC 29672

Tri-County Technical College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the associate degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia, 30033-4097, or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Tri-County Technical College.

Tri-County Technical College does not discriminate in admission or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, qualifying disability, veteran’s status, age, or national origin.

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