Dear Friends of USC Upstate,

As you read this issue of Upstate Magazine, you will find it filled with stories of successful students and accomplished alumni and tales of a robust campus that is benefitting from numerous collaborative efforts. USC Upstate is emerging as a great metropolitan university. Our reputation across the I-85 corridor and, indeed, across the state and region and - through our expanding agreements with international institutions - around the world is positive and strong.

It was with this strength in mind, that I recently announced my intention to step down as chancellor in August 2011. This is a decision that I have made following careful consideration and much deliberation. Having spent 42 years in academic life, I am looking forward to the next step, which will begin with some months of reading and writing and traveling, in addition to providing some assistance as needed to President Harris Pastides within the USC System.

Part of leadership is knowing when to step aside. Following 17 years of service as chancellor, I am pleased with the position in which the University is poised for new leadership.

USC Upstate is now the fourth largest South Carolina university in the enrollment of South Carolina undergraduate students, led only USC Columbia, Clemson and the College of Charleston. Our students are committed, our faculty credentials and creativity are exemplary, our staff is dedicated and focused, our administrative group is very capable, and our relations with the USC System have never been stronger. The time is right for substantial expansion in Greenville, for growth in out-of-state recruitment and for a rich increase in international students. It is my belief that these and other initiatives can best be led by the next chancellor.

From a personal perspective, I am fortunate to announce this decision while happy in the work I do, optimistic about the future, in good health, and anticipating what may come next. The University, the Upstate and Spartanburg have treated my family and me most generously; and we look forward to the future in the place and among the people we have grown to know and love.

John C. Stockwell, Ph.D.

Succeeding On A Global Level

By Tammy E. Whaley

At the young age of 20, Alexey Goretoy didn't spend his summer at the beach or playing endless computer games. Instead, he was in Costa Rica mastering the Spanish language and establishing connections between international companies in an attempt to broker a trade deal between Costa Rica and China in the coffee market.

A senior majoring in marketing in the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics at USC Upstate, Goretoy earned the McRae-Hastings Professorship that provided funding and housing with a Costa Rican family for him to stay in the country for a month. His own networking skills and self-determination landed him a rare opportunity with a Chinese company, BBN Shanghai, to stay another month to scope out business ventures.

"Coffee has always been a passion of mine," explained Goretoy, who worked at a coffee shop that imported coffee from all over the world. "I developed a palate and could distinguish beans from various regions."

Having spent five years researching the coffee market meant Goretoy was well-versed in the planting, harvesting, and roasting of coffee beans. So while his youth and boyish grin may have caught the CEO's off-guard, his breadth of knowledge captured their attention.

It was those same qualities that led to his connection with Alexander Bobarykin, the CEO of BBN Shanghai Fuel Company. Their paths crossed as a result of Goretoy's four years of building a network ranging from secretaries to CEO's of major companies. Bobarykin requested to see samples of Goretoy's school projects and loved the meticulous details, saying Alexey reminded him of himself.

A relationship soon developed and when Bobarykin learned that Goretoy planned to be in Costa Rica in the summer, he hired him to develop business for BBN Shanghai.

"With coffee being one of their largest exports and China being an untapped market, everyone had the desire to enter that market so I was searching for the most applicable company to partner with," said Goretoy.

As the young college student went about calling on the leaders of the coffee companies, he was putting all of his marketing and business skills to the test, as well as his interpersonal skills. Goretoy explained, "I would show my respect to each person I met, be very courteous, emulate their posturing, and my deep voice certainly helped over the telephone. My credibility helped with my knowledge about different industries from reading and researching, and my sense of humor was an added bonus."

Dr. Faruk Tanyel, professor of marketing at USC Upstate has taught Goretoy, who enrolled in college at age 16 and will graduate in May, and can vouch for his abilities. "Alex has a lot of sense of humor. He is very innovative and has a lot of entrepreneur zest."

A young American college student, representing a Chinese company, calling on Costa Rican businesses does seem a bit odd but Goretoy was there to talk bottom line. "The 40% tariff currently minimizes profit, cuts down on quality and also increases the value per unit in China, and decreases exports from Costa Rica," he pointed out to the CEOs. "So, with a joint venture, it would not be a Costa Rican company exporting coffee but a Chinese company. Therefore, they would not have the same taxes and the tariff would be lower."

Goretoy made progress in Costa Rica as BBN Shanghai is working through the export process and currently sampling different coffees. Goretoy was named Business Developer in Latin American Operations for BBN Shanghai and set up an office in Spartanburg while completing his senior year. Upon graduation in May, he will relocate to California.

"Honestly I lucked out and it was a blessing," he said.

Dr. Deryle Hope, associate director of the Center for International Studies, praised Goretoy for being a shining success of the University's study abroad experience. "Alex had a keen desire to study Spanish in Costa Rica and explore business opportunities that might be open there. He was able to grasp the importance of international experience for linguistic, cultural, and professional reasons and to use it to his advantage.He exemplifies the international exposure that world citizens of the next generation will need."

The trip to Costa Rica wasn't Goretoy's only international experience as he has quiet an interesting international family background. A first generation American, his family immigrated from Russian. In the former Soviet Union, Goretoy's grandfather was a painter, author, poet, and a leader in an underground church where he became one of the most respected men in the Christian community before being exiled for 18 years. Once in America, his grandfather founded a church in California and his father is a minister of a church in Greenville, where Goretoy plays piano.

"I look at my family and see how they came to this country with nothing. My father had $200 in his pocket. Years later he is a business owner, a home owner, and he supported his three children with no knowledge of the language. This is the land of opportunity and it has been a blessing of the Lord. It motivates me. If my father can succeed, then I can too."

Study Abroad at USC Upstate

USC Upstate established its Center for International Studies in 1996 to provide enhanced international experiences for students and faculty members, as well as interaction between the University and the international community. Due to the reciprocal agreements with various universities around the world, USC Upstate is able to offer students the opportunity to study or conduct internships abroad to destinations such as Costa Rica, Chile, Sicily, Milan, Ghana, Athens/Istanbul & Israel, Mexico, Ukraine, Vietnam, Germany and China.

For international students attending USC Upstate, the Center provides curricular and personal support, as well as assistance with internship placements in international and American local businesses.

Dr. Deryle Hope, associate director of the Center for International Studies, commented, "The value of study abroad cannot be underestimated in what it does for students both personally and professionally.  Employers are interested in students who take the initiative to study in a country and language different from their own. Since many businesses have international operations or contacts, the student who studies abroad proves that he/she can travel independently and successfully negotiate work or study in an international context."

To learn more, call (864) 503-5561.

Drilling Deeper: Veteran Investigative Reporter Seeks Answers for Gulf Coast Residents

By Claire Sachse and Tammy Whaley

April 20, 2010. The nation watched as the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank killing 11 rig workers in the Gulf of Mexico. But mourning for the workers' families turned to a feeling of helplessness when the country realized that the calamity was only just beginning. The weeks and months wore on as the national news focused on the path of underwater oil plumes, oil-covered pelicans, marshes stuck in the stranglehold of sludge, and once pristine beaches fouled by tar balls. The oil slick covered as much as 28,958 square miles, about the size of the state of South Carolina, and became the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

This particular oil well was one of 27,000 oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico that would ultimately be sealed from production, and, it is assumed, from leaking. Veteran Associated Press news reporter and USC Upstate adjunct journalism instructor Mitch Weiss decided to take a closer look at a sea floor crowded with abandoned wells, and the government agencies charged with monitoring the oil companies' well closure process. Just days before the leaking gusher was sealed July 15, Weiss and his investigative team broke an unsettling story.

Weiss' team found that federal regulators do not typically inspect the plugging of offshore wells, nor do they inspect for leaks later. Federal and state regulators acknowledged that they knew of leaking abandoned offshore wells.  Petroleum engineers disclosed that even in properly sealed wells, cement plugs can fail, metal casing lining the wells can rust, and wells can repressurize over time and spill oil. The General Accounting Office recommended the Minerals Management Service set up an inspection program for abandoned wells – but the agency never acted upon that recommendation. There is no "spill-cam" set up to monitor 27,000 wells, some abandoned since the 1950s.

The oil spill was, of course, not the only calamity to hit the Gulf Coast in recent memory.  Hurricane Katrina was still a lingering headache for many Gulf residents. Weiss began another investigation last summer into the Small Business Administration's handling of loan disbursements in the hurricane's aftermath for the rebuilding of homes and businesses.

Weiss's team interviewed more than 200 people and filed dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain thousands of pages of documentation. They performed a computer-aided analysis of SBA data post-Katrina and post-Rita and found a series of disturbing results. He discovered that 55 percent of loan applicants were turned away. Of the loan money approved for disbursement, only 60 percent actually reached the applicants. The AP analyzed data by zip code and by race, finding that the wealthy applicant moved through the processing system faster, and that approval rates were much higher in white neighborhoods.

Interviews with SBA employees revealed an agency in chaos. Inexperienced loan officers were overwhelmed with applications, forced to utilize a computer system that kept crashing, and they were kept under pressure to close cases by using arbitrary impossible deadlines. Files were lost, calls were not returned, loans were shelved, and prizes were offered to officers who cleared the most loans off their books.

This same agency would later be called upon in a similar capacity in the aftermath of the BP oil spill.

Weiss, who teaches investigative reporting and media management at USC Upstate, says that this type of investigative reporting, or "watch dog" journalism, is his passion. "Investigative journalism is about finding data, drilling deeper, and presenting those findings to the reader, a lot like a prosecutor would to a grand jury," said Weiss.

Keith Shaefer, a junior majoring in mass communication, said investigative reporting was the most interesting class he has ever taken. "Professor Weiss puts you right in the mindset of an investigative reporter and in the middle of a news breaking situation. During the West Virginia mine collapse, he asked the class how we would have written the story and then he told us how he did write the story."

Weiss explained, "The job of a journalist is to bear witness, to dig up the facts and decipher them, and then present them to the public. It leads to changes. It is doing a public service."

Often the facts are uncomfortable, or even heinous, to confront. Such was the case surrounding the series that earned Weiss the Pulitzer Prize.

In 2003, while a projects reporter for The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, he and fellow reporter Michael Sallah launched an investigation into Tiger Force, a 45-member paratrooper task force of the U.S. Army, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, and war crimes committed by the task force between May and November 1967 during the Song Ve Valley and Operation Wheeler campaigns in Vietnam. While the Army had launched its own investigation of the crimes, no one was ever prosecuted for the torture, maiming, rape, scalping and killing of unarmed Vietnamese villagers including men, women, children and the elderly. The reporters published their findings in a series of articles and were subsequently awarded the Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal for medium newspapers, the Sigma Delta Chi award for investigative reporting for publications with a circulation of 100,000 or more, the Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers, and finally, in 2004, the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. In 2006, the two reporters published a book detailing their research and findings called Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War.

"The expertise that Mitch Weiss brings to USC Upstate journalism students is without parallel," says Jimm Cox, chairman of the Fine Arts and Communication Studies Department.  "His award-winning career in journalism, his novel, which was selected as one of the year's best books by The Washington Post Book World, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette and the St. Louis Dispatch, and his position with the Associated Press brings the rich texture of a successful journalism career into the classroom."

"Going after big stories and exposing wrong doing, finding a major breaking news story, I love that!" Weiss says. "Journalism is a wonderful career," he says, adding that he enjoys teaching students about all aspects of journalism, and looks forward to mentoring them as they explore their career options.

Upstate Direct Connect Partnership Offers Students Deliberate
Pathway To Baccalaureate Degree

By Tammy E. Whaley

With the demand for higher education in Upstate South Carolina on the rise and the availability of a well-educated workforce among the most critical factors in the economic growth of the region, the University of South Carolina Upstate recognizes that partnerships with two-year colleges are an important key to producing more graduates with baccalaureate degrees.

USC Upstate unveiled its Upstate Direct Connect© initiative, an exclusive opportunity for two-year colleges that guarantees admission for any student who graduates with an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science or select Associate of Applied Science degree. Partnerships are now in place with Greenville Technical College, Spartanburg Community College and Spartanburg Methodist College.

"USC Upstate is extremely effective in graduating students with baccalaureate degrees and extremely efficient in partnering with two-year colleges," said Dr. John Stockwell, USC Upstate chancellor. "The University is proud of its track record in enrolling transfer students from Greenville Tech, SCC and SMC. Currently, about 40% of our incoming students enter as transfers, by far the largest percentage among universities statewide. Consequently, the percentage of enrolled USC Upstate students who graduate each year with the baccalaureate degree is also the highest among the state's public universities."

All four college presidents agree that the Upstate Direct Connect© partnership will advance considerably the percentage of Upstate residents with baccalaureate degrees, creating a growing pool of well-educated citizens, enhancing the competitive advantages of Upstate South Carolina.

Upstate Direct Connect© will allow students to be more deliberate in their transfer plans once entering a two-year college as they will receive enhanced academic on-site advising from Greenville Tech, SCC, SMC and USC Upstate advisors. Students enrolled in Upstate Direct Connect© will have accelerated admission to USC Upstate, providing smooth transition through the University's processes including orientation, transcripts, advising, and financial aid. A concurrent admission process means that students may select USC Upstate courses after completing 45 semester hours of credit at Greenville Tech, SCC or SMC.

"Upstate Direct Connect© is providing students with a defined pathway from one college to the next while saving a significant amount of money on the total cost of earning a bachelor's degree," said Dr. Marsha Dowell, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at USC Upstate. "Students who transfer to USC Upstate as part of Upstate Direct Connect© will have a stronger connection to the University from the very beginning, giving them a head start in succeeding in baccalaureate degree completion."

Students enrolled in the initiative will be given a USC Upstate student identification card, ensuring many benefits such as priority registration, enhanced academic advising from both campuses, access to the USC Upstate Library, and free admission to sporting events.

Upstate Direct Connect© provides students with three avenues for entry to the program for completion of their bachelor's degree at USC Upstate. Students may enter at the time of admission to Greenville Tech, SCC or SMC; as a current student at one of the three colleges; or as an applicant to USC Upstate who is not currently eligible for freshman admission. Upstate Direct Connect© differs from the Bridge Program because it is designed for all potential transfer students, instead of just those students not eligible for freshman admission to USC Upstate.

To learn more about, visit or call (864) 503-5280.

Stockwell Receives Prestigious Milliken Medal of Quality Award

By Tammy E. Whaley

Dr. John C. Stockwell, chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate, recently received the prestigious Milliken Medal of Quality Award that recognizes South Carolina residents or former residents of vision who have demonstrated leadership, innovation, and outstanding achievement in the implementation of quality systems in their organizations and who has been an inspiration for others to follow in South Carolina.

The Milliken Medal of Quality Award is presented by the S.C. Quality Forum, which was founded in 1991 to recognize and encourage improvements in quality and productivity by organizations throughout the state. The medal is named after Roger Milliken, chairman of Spartanburg-based Milliken & Company, who was the first winner of the honor in 1997.

Milliken Medal of Quality recipients have to be nominated and are selected by a panel of state business leaders. To be eligible to receive the award, individuals should demonstrate leadership and vision to move teams and the organizational culture toward world class standards that are customer focused and supported by quality systems that empower and equip teams and individuals. Nominees must be widely recognized as a champion of the quality principles, serve as a benchmark for others, impact the change of culture for continuous improvement, ensure the continuity of the quality management principles in their organization through systems and communications. He or she should promote the spirit of cooperation through common goals and synergy. Nominees must be recognized as a quality achiever who conducts business with honesty and integrity and be a supporter of quality principles and initiatives in the community.

John S. Poole, President and CEO of Carolina Alliance Bank and member of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education, said "During Dr. Stockwell's leadership of the University, he has earned tremendous respect from University and community leaders because he is not only a visionary but also an individual who is trusted and delivers on his promises. The quality of the faculty and staff at the university has improved during Stockwell's tenure and with limited resources, honesty and integrity have played a major role in recruiting this key talent for the University's future. I can certainly say that without question, the Spartanburg community leadership believes in Dr. Stockwell and knows that because of his integrity, he will deliver on his promises to our community."

Stockwell has served as chancellor of USC Upstate since 1994, leading the University toward its vision as one of the leading metropolitan universities in the Southeast. Under his leadership, USC Upstate has experienced outstanding growth in academic reputation, capital development and public/private partnerships.  Enrollments have doubled to 5,500 students, and include a diverse student population. And, USC Upstate has the second highest rate of South Carolina residents enrolled among the state's 10 comprehensive universities.

He is heralded for the implementation of a 10-year, $184 million master plan that has dramatically increased classroom space, academic support facilities, parking and roadways, housing, and athletic/recreational facilities. Additionally, Stockwell collaborated with the Spartanburg community to build the world-class George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg that is now home to the University's 850 business majors.

Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Cordeau said every community has a few special people who lead the way, inspire next-level thinking and raise the bar on community goals. "John Stockwell goes even beyond the few. His ability to be listened-to, followed and respected crosses the boundaries between academic, business, social and civic institutions."

Cordeau, like other local business leaders, applaud Stockwell's efforts for seeking to engage the Spartanburg community several years ago to raise the percentage of college graduates. Stockwell stepped forward to design, develop and implement the 40/30 Challenge, which would achieve 40% of the adult population holding bachelor's degrees by 2030 in order to raise per capita income and grow the county's economic development potential. The College Hub of Spartanburg County was formed from this effort and now resides with the Spartanburg County Foundation.

"This plan has been called the most important education initiative in South Carolina by experts," said Cordeau.

Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education Serves As Lead Advocate for USC Upstate

By Jim Smith ('72)

The 1967 South Carolina Legislature, by Act #36, created the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education (SCCHE) and charged it with specific duties including the encouragement of higher education in Spartanburg County and adjacent areas and the establishment of facilities to offer standard freshmen and sophomore college courses and other courses as necessary. The SCCHE was empowered to enter into contracts, make binding agreements, negotiate with educators and educational institutions and to take any necessary actions to fulfill their mission.

With this charge from the Legislature, the Commission contracted with the University of South Carolina, and USC Spartanburg came to life with a freshman class of 177 students, originally housed in the old nurse's residence hall of Spartanburg General Hospital. The late G. B. Hodge, MD was the first chairman of the Commission and served tirelessly in that role for 28 years. The current chairman, businessman Jim Smith, ('72), a freshman at USCS in 1968, was appointed to the Commission in 1991 and has served as Chairman since 2001.  Members of the Commission are nominated by the Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation and appointed by the governor, for a term of four years. (A list of the current members can be found on page 2.)

With support of Spartanburg County Council, the Commission arranged for the acquisition of the first 40 acres of for the Spartanburg campus in 1968.  A portion of that original purchase came as a gift from the Gramling Family, with the balance being paid through a Spartanburg County bond issue. The administration building, featuring its iconic gold dome, is located on this parcel of land.

During the years since, the Commission has acted to assemble our present campus – 320 +/- acres, sought out and supported funding for campus facilities – now over a million square feet of classroom, academic and support buildings.  In addition, the Commission enthusiastically participated in expansion to Greenville and development of the Johnson College in downtown Spartanburg.

The roles of Commission members include a number of important duties including serving in an advisory role to the Chancellor on all matters of institutional importance, providing recognition of service contributions to the University, assisting with the acquisition of land, supporting capital facilities development and participating in the campus master plan design and approval process. Commission members are also called upon to bring greetings and congratulations at spring commencement exercises and December convocations for graduates. 

The Commission has established several awards to recognize outstanding service to the University, including the G.B. Hodge, MD Lifetime Achievement Award, Founder's Day Award, CHE Distinguished Service Award and CHE citations.

Over the life of our University, the Commission has maintained a close relationship with members of Spartanburg County Council and the Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation, for the purpose of keeping these key leaders informed and engendering support regarding the opportunities and challenges facing USC Upstate.

More about the SCCHE can be found on the web at under the "About USC Upstate" tab.

Giving and Receiving: Make a gift and receive income for life in return

By Mike Irvin

It's a concept that seems almost too good to be true, yet federal tax law sanctions several different ways you can do just that.  The benefits are numerous:

A life income gift can generate a substantial income tax deduction
It may allow you to turn an asset that produces little or no income into a source of significant payments
You may be able to avoid some or all of the tax on any paper gain you have on appreciated assets that you use to fund a life income gift.

"Giving for income" with a charitable gift annuity.

Profile: Joyce is a 79 year old widow.  Most of her investment assets are cash or fixed income investments, and she depends on the income they produce to supplement her retirement income.

Joyce wanted to make a meaningful gift to USC Upstate, but felt she needed all the income her assets were producing.  In fact, a little additional income would be nice.

At her age, a sure, reliable income is more important than the possibility of a big gain on investments.  She has invested a significant portion of her assets in CD's, even though the returns are not what she had hoped for.

Recently, when a few CD's came due, Joyce learned that she could make a gift to USC Upstate in return for a charitable gift annuity and actually increase her annual cash flow.  She was able to only get 2% on her CD's but, based on her age at the time of the gift, she is getting payments equal to 7.0% of the gift amount, with a significant portion of that tax free for the balance of her life expectancy.  That makes the payments worth even more.

The gift also allows her to take an additional income tax deduction, which is based on her tax bracket at the time of the gift.

Analysis: By "replacing" some of her investments in CD's with a charitable gift annuity, Joyce was able to increase her return substantially.  And, because she planned to use cash to fund her gift annuity, a maximum amount of the annual payment is treated as a tax free return of principal, further increasing the after-tax value of her gift annuity payments.

If you would like more information on how you can benefit from a charitable gift annuity please call the USC Upstate Foundation at 864-503-5217.

You should consult your attorney or tax advisor about the applicability of this type of giving instrument to your own situation.

Thrilling Win Highlights Triumphant Day
Generous Gift Allows Athletics Department to Usher in New Era of Basketball and Volleyball in Renovated Hodge Center Arena

By Bill English, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information

When Chalmers Rogers put in a layup with six seconds to play in the game to give USC Upstate a two-point lead, the crowd erupted. When East Tennessee State University couldn't convert with a running jumper at the other end, the final horn sounded and Upstate prevailed with the win to put a cap on a festive day when the newly renovated Hodge Center was officially dedicated on Dec. 5, 2010. Immediately after the final horn sounded, the new sound system pumped out the hip-hop song "All I Do Is Win" to an enthusiastic crowd. And so began the second celebration of the day.

The first celebration was at halftime and honored the woman who made the $4 million renovation to the Hodge Center possible, Mrs. Dolores "Dodie" Anderson, former owner of Anderson Hardwood Floors.

Mrs. Anderson is a 1981 graduate of USC Upstate and a longtime supporter of the university, the athletics department and, in particular, the men's basketball program. As a student in the late-70's and early-80's, Dodie and her husband, Bob, would watch the USC Spartanburg Runnin' Rifles coached by Jerry Waters. Waters transformed a solid program into a national contender, winning the NAIA National Championship in 1981-82.

When current head coach Eddie Payne took the reins of the program in 2002, Dodie regained the passion for the men's basketball program. Payne and his wife, Ann, developed a relationship with Dodie and her family, and discussions revolved around what it would take to make the program a winner once again. When USC Upstate moved to NCAA Division I, the one glaring problem facing the basketball and volleyball teams was the state of the Hodge Center.

Adequate in its time, the Hodge Center had long ago surpassed its usefulness as a facility the coaches could recruit to. And so Dodie dedicated $4 million to renovate the Hodge Center to make it more attractive for recruits, and more accommodating to fans.

While the arena itself is no bigger than it was, it is decades more advanced than anything the original contractors could have envisioned for the facility. A new parquet floor simple in design and understated by today's standard, is a testament to tradition. The new video scoreboards and scorer's tables bring in new technology with flashy introductions and video pieces to thrill the crowd. The new lighting system brings to life the action on the court so much more vividly than in the past, and it allows photographers more true to life photo quality. The wooden bleachers are gone, replaced by 839 comfortable chairback seats.  

The women's basketball and volleyball teams now each have their own locker room and player lounge space. The men's basketball team has a new locker room. A video room and multi-purpose room have also been created for use by all of Upstate's athletic teams.

Dodie was greeted by dozens of well-wishers when she entered the Hodge Center and took her seat in one of the new VIP courtside seats. Special presentations to her family and Upstate's legendary coach Jerry Waters took place during the first half. At halftime, it was time for the Dodie show.

While the words of praise and gratitude flowed, Dodie took it all in. The smile on her face indicated that she seemed to realize the effect her generosity has had, and will have, on Upstate Athletics. She is not a boastful person. The pride she showed was not for herself, but for her University. And, with one quick remark, she showed the Upstate faithful just the kind of down-to-earth person she is.

"I thought they said all they needed was new lockers."

A roar of laughter greeted the comment. Nine words and she was finished. A video tribute to Dodie played on the video board and only strengthened the message USC Upstate and the athletics department wanted, and needed, to convey…thank you Dodie!

Put simply, the Hodge Center may be the smallest Division I facility in America, but, it may very well be the best small facility. Few can match the amenities in the arena, and after two-straight sellout crowds, a ticket to a Spartan basketball game may be the toughest ticket in town.

Mrs. Dodie Anderson

Mrs. Anderson's connection to USC Upstate is unique. A Chicago native with Norwegian family roots, she moved to the Carolinas with her husband Bob in 1950. She earned her degree later in life after raising her four children, graduating in 1981 from USC Upstate's interdisciplinary studies program. She received the university's Founders Day award in 1986, was inducted into the university's Honor Fraternity in May 2005 and on the 25th anniversary of her graduation, the university presented Mrs. Anderson with the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding career accomplishments, service to the local community and to the university. Additionally she served on the board of directors of the Carolina Piedmont Foundation, the fundraising arm of USC Upstate. In addition to being a strong supporter of the USC Upstate athletics program, especially men's basketball, Mrs. Anderson also supports USC Gamecock football, the Girl Scouts of America (Old 96 Girl Scout Council) and the Greenville Humane Society. Mrs. Anderson's large family includes four daughters, numerous grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

Entrepreneurs Reflect on Success and Share Advice

By Claire Sachse

A month shy of his 25th birthday, Krish Patel, '08, was already the owner and director of operations for 14 Verizon Wireless retail outlets across the Upstate and South Carolina.While a business administration major in the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics at USC Upstate, this entrepreneur was formulating his business plan for the company he went on to form in 2008 called Wireless Communications, which now has 75 employees. Patel came back to the classroom to share his remarkable entrepreneurial story to Instructor Jeff Smith's 300-level business class Topics in Metropolitan Studies: Entrepreneurism.

Patel was one of 18 entrepreneurs, drawn from the restaurant, microbrewery, non-profit, advertising, coal brokerage, community banking, investment advising, venture capital, textile, data analysis, storage, and medical fields, to share their stories. Patty Bock and Amanda Mathis, with the City of Spartanburg Economic Development Department, also joined the class to discuss opportunities for public/private partnerships, available sources of public funding, and tax incentives for job creation.

"Our goal is to prepare students for entrepreneurial endeavors if they chose that path in life. The willingness of these successful individuals from our Upstate community to join us in the classroom to expose our students to examples of real success is invaluable to us in completing this goal," said Smith. He added that it was beneficial for students to see that entrepreneurs go into business for a variety of reasons, at different times in their lives and with different expectations, goals and measures of success.

In addition to sharing the particulars of growing a business within their specific industry, many speakers discussed how legislation, regulations, politics and current events affected their business, including opportunities that can be found during a recession. Speakers stressed the importance of goal setting, relationship building, reputation, credibility and differentiation from the competition. Several shared how their faith influenced their business and their perspective on success. Additionally, selected high school students from Dorman High, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg Christian Academy, and Spartanburg High were invited to attend several of the presentations.

Courses in entrepreneurship are now offered by more than 1,200 American universities, according to a recent analysis by the New York Times. The Johnson College course is a 300-level course for junior and senior business majors. Smith said that even if his students do not continue on to start their own businesses, the knowledge they gain from an entrepreneur can be applicable in any corporate business setting.

Visit to see more photos and details of each speaker's presentation. 

Roster of Speakers

John Bauknight and Nick Wildrick
Co-owners, Shred First, RJ Rockers and Longleaf Development
Dr. Mary Joan Black
Partner, Orthopedic Associates, PA
Hal Blackwell
Investment Advisor, HE Blackwell Advisors
Steve Caldwell
 Founder of Data Ventures, Inc., Associate Professor of Management
Justin Converse
President, Converse and Company
Jimmy Gibbs
President and CEO, Gibbs International, Inc.
Steve Harvey ('80)
Owner, Roebuck Advertising
Hamp Lindsey
Owner, Wade's Restaurant
Amanda Mathis and Patty Bock
City of Spartanburg Economic Development
Jayne McQueen
President and CEO, Mobile Meals
David Miller ('90)
Former President and Founder of Community South Bank, Consultant with Unique Financial Solutions
Krish Patel ('08)
Owner, Wireless Communications
Carter Ridgeway ('08)
Owner, II Samuels Restaurant
Benjamin Wall and Mark Blackman
Principals, WJ Partners, LLC
Billy Webster
Co-founder, Advance America, Cash Advance Centers, Inc.
Joe Wells and David Zabriskie,
Developers, Rome Nightclub
Mike Wood ('77)
Owner, American Storage

Edible Schoolyard Provides Hands-on Experience for Students

By Natalie Brown

In the spring of 2011, the University of South Carolina Upstate will partner with the Myles W. Whitlock Flexible Learning Center to offer a unique learning opportunity for local area students: an Edible Schoolyard. Participating students will cultivate an organic garden on the University campus, in order to gain hands-on experience and a deeper appreciation for how the natural world sustains us.

"We are excited to host Spartanburg County's Edible Schoolyard program on the USC Upstate campus," said Dr. Charles Love, dean of the School of Education at USC Upstate. "This program gives us the opportunity to collaborate with local area schools in each district, in order to provide students with valuable experience in the cultivation of natural and nutritional resources."

The mission of the Edible Schoolyard is to create and sustain an organic garden and landscape that is wholly integrated into each school's curriculum, culture, and food program. The concept is modeled after a project that began at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California, where students from urban public schools in the area participate in all aspects of growing, harvesting, and preparing nutritious, seasonal produce.

The program will involve students in the stages of farming the garden and preparing, serving, and eating food as a means of stimulating their senses and encouraging awareness and appreciation of the transformative values of nourishment, community, and stewardship of the land. Students who participate in the Edible Schoolyard program learn about the connection between their daily food choices and the health of the community, the environment, and themselves. These lessons foster sound nutritional practices, responsible food choices, and environmental stewardship.

For more information on the Edible Schoolyard project at USC Upstate, contact Dr. Rick Hartsell, assistant professor of education, at (864) 503-5628 or

Using Simulation Technology To Improve Professional Nursing Skills

By Tammy E. Whaley

Since Dr. Deborah Charnley's arrival at the Mary Black School of Nursing at USC Upstate, she has been consumed with establishing a new Center that will have an impact on the integration of simulation into the classroom and beyond. Charnley was recently named the program manager for the Joint Center for Nursing Research and Scholarship (JCNRS), a collaborative effort among the Mary Black School of Nursing and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS).

Funded by a $495,000 grant from the Bureau of Health Professions, the Center will be housed on the USC Upstate campus and will serve as a research and educational link between the University, hospital and community settings.  Spartanburg Regional Health System and the School of Nursing have come together to create the Center to  use innovative technology to provide more and better-prepared nurses to meet the health needs of Upstate South Carolina.

"The Center's unique purpose will be used to teach novice nursing faculty how to incorporate simulation into student learning, and at the same time, increase the number of qualified nursing faculty available to us," said Dr. Lynette Hamlin, dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing. "The Center will be used by the MBSON, SRHS, and other practice partners to teach innovative methods that embrace new technologies to provide more and better-prepared nurses and undergraduate nursing students, critical thinking, confidence and ability to face real-life situations in the clinical and home setting."

Nursing students are certain to be amazed by the acute care simulation experiences being created, given the sophistication of the equipment. Among the list are SimMan Essential manikins, ventilators similar to those currently used in hospitals, Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training units, critical care beds, nasogastric and chest tube manikins, and research hardware/software and presentation equipment.

While the Center plays a major role in teaching nursing students, it will also seek to promote the development of healthcare educators and encourage the involvement of nurses in conducting research in the healthcare community and disseminating findings that facilitate evidence-based nursing practice. According to Hamlin, the JCNRS supports the goals of the Bureau of Health Professions (BHPR) in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  BHPR goals are to provide national leadership and resources to develop, distribute and retain a diverse, culturally competent health workforce that provides the highest-quality care for all, particularly the underserved.

"Research is so important to the nursing profession, both nationally and internationally," concludes Charnley.

USC Upstate Greenville Campus Offers Virtual Learning
Communities for Non-Traditional Students

By Natalie Brown

The USC Upstate Greenville Campus has a strong reputation for serving non-traditional students in the Upstate region of South Carolina and surrounding areas. As students from all walks of life return to complete their degrees, exciting and innovative concepts continue to emerge, and the term "non-traditional student" has taken on an entirely new meaning.

Thanks to a collaborative partnership with the University Center of Greenville (UCG), which houses the USC Upstate Greenville Campus, faculty members now have the ability to develop curriculums based in a virtual campus where students can meet, interact, attend classes, and work together to complete projects without ever setting foot on campus.

In 2010, the UCG partnered with Charter Communications to connect to Internet2, the foremost advanced networking consortium led by the U.S. research and academic community. This upgrade has provided the Greenville Campus with access to the Carolinas Virtual World Consortium (CVWC), an assembly of academic and corporate partners who utilize three-dimensional virtual worlds to explore non-traditional methods of teaching, training, and learning. Students and professors are now using virtual world technology to interact in simulated learning and training systems.

The UCG has offered specialized workshops and training programs for USC Upstate faculty members at the Greenville campus, to better familiarize them with the benefits and methods of engaging students within virtual campus communities. Tim Ellis, coordinator of the Engineering Technology Management (ETM) program at USC Upstate, participated in the training program last spring and is working to adapt his primarily online program into a virtual learning community.

 "In the ETM program, we have students with full-time jobs who commute from the Georgia state line and Cowpens to Greenville to meet and work together as a team. Translating our program into a virtual world allows more access for more synchronous collaboration," said Ellis. "These platforms will redefine how we manage team projects and even study groups."

Thus, the ability to complete courses and projects in the virtual world is an important advantage for the USC Upstate Greenville Campus, which accommodates a significant number of non-traditional and commuter students. Such advancement affords students the convenience of connecting anywhere, at any time, along with the benefit of participating in an exciting research and development network. Though USC Upstate's efforts to build a virtual campus are in the earliest stages, it is likely that participation and input from non-traditional students and faculty will encourage further innovation within the virtual world.

Upward Bound
Building a Foundation for Academic Success

By Tammy E. Whaley

High school students growing up in low-income homes where parents are without college degrees are often at a disadvantage when navigating educational options beyond high school. For some, achieving a baccalaureate degree seems out of reach. Thanks to the University of South Carolina Upstate Upward Bound Program, local high school students are being motivated and supported to seek post-secondary education as a realistic alternative.

According to Dr. Cassandra Mitchell, director of the Upward Bound Program, "Initially we provide students with a realistic picture of the entire college experience and life beyond high school and the support necessary to seek assistance, enroll and gain acceptance in post-secondary institutions."

The Upward Bound Program, created for first generation college students, is an outreach program that seeks to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program is designed to increase students' academic and social skills to levels necessary for success in education beyond high school. Additionally, the program seeks to promote leadership skills and an overall responsible lifestyle through its year-long series of group and individual activities.

The program consists of two phases: a year-long academic program and a six-week summer program. The academic program includes:

Weekly group and/or individual tutorial sessions with students in areas where academic deficits exist
Availability of personal and academic counseling on an as-needed basis
Monthly on-campus Saturday programs that include formal instruction in English/reading/ study skills, math, science and foreign language. The Saturday program also includes guest speakers and information of the Student Government Association.
Participant visitation of post-secondary institutions
Seminars on college financial aid and scholarship

Participation in Upward Bound at USC Upstate is based on the student's family financial status and parents' educational status. The student must possess academic potential, be enrolled in college preparatory classes, be a resident of Cherokee or Spartanburg Counties, and attend one of the participating high schools. Also, students must finished 8th grade but not completed 10th grade at the time of selection.

Upward Bound is funded totally by a Title IV grant awarded to USC Upstate by the U.S. Department of Education.

To learn more, visit or call (864) 503-7402.

Opportunity Network Receives $1.5 Million Grant to
Help Students Achieve Academic Goals

By Natalie Brown

The Opportunity Network at the University of South Carolina Upstate recently received a nearly $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to further the program's mission until 2015.

The Opportunity Network is a Student Support Services program at USC Upstate that provides resources such as tutoring and other programs to assist students in achieving their academic, career and personal goals. The program is designed specifically for first generation college students, students with disabilities, and students on a limited income who are actively pursuing college degrees at USC Upstate.

"The Opportunity Network has enriched my life," said Dana Smith, a junior majoring in information management systems. "My experiences in the program have provided me with resources and skills that I can use throughout college and in my career, and I have formed lifelong friendships within the program that mean the world to me."

During spring break every year, the Opportunity Network provides students with the opportunity to participate in an educational excursion at no cost. These excursions allow students to travel throughout the United States and share bonding experiences with their peers. Most recently, students in the Opportunity Network have visited Memphis, TN.; Washington, D.C.; and Jacksonville, FL.

"This program is valuable because we can offer individual support to our students," said Ina Minsky, who has served as program director since the inception of the Opportunity Network in 1997. "The most rewarding part of the program is seeing our students blossom into successful adults."

Thus far, the Opportunity Network has provided services to more than 1,500 students, and welcomes 50 freshmen to the program at the beginning of each academic year.

USC Upstate and BMW Manufacturing Partner To Offer
Academic Outreach Camp For High School Seniors

By Claire Sachse

Rising high school seniors in Greenville and Spartanburg Counties, with an interest in the real world applications of mathematics, statistics, physics, business and manufacturing improvement processes, are invited to apply to the two-week USC Upstate/BMW Manufacturing Academic Outreach Camp, to be held June 13-17 and June 20-24. The camp will be held at the USC Upstate Johnson College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but will also involve trips to the BMW Manufacturing facility and BMW Performance Center in Greer, as well as to USC Upstate's main campus.

For students with a demonstrated ability in math and science, this camp will emphasize how mathematics and science are used to improve the processes to build things like BMW vehicles and how other industries and organizations, such as health care, finance and the armed forces, use similar processes and tools. In addition to honing and improving team work and leadership skills, students will gain hands-on experience, from BMW managers and engineers, by learning and applying Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma tools through computerized challenges, physical simulations, process improvement case studies and teaching games. An in-depth tour of BMW's manufacturing facility is included and students will even get a chance to improve their driving skills behind the wheel of a BMW vehicle at the BMW Performance Center.

"Once again, BMW is pleased to partner with USC Upstate to develop a curriculum to present students with real life applications that can help them plan their future career choices. Programs like these continue to support BMW's ongoing commitment to education, particularly in the area of math and science, and will enable participants to learn professional skills related to lean manufacturing and management techniques," said Bobby Hitt, manager of Public Affairs for BMW Manufacturing.

More information for applicants is available online at Students must submit their application, a letter of recommendation from their high school guidance counselor or teacher, their high school transcripts, and PSAT, SAT or ACT scores, by March 3. A selection committee will review all applicants. A valid S.C. driver's license is required. The camp is free; lunch and snacks will be provided. Applicants may direct any questions to Donette Stewart in the Admissions Office at USC Upstate at (864) 503-5280 or

Tour Normandy, France

USC Upstate alumni and friends have the opportunity to enjoy an eight-day tour of Normandy, France, led by our own Dr. Regis Robe who is a native of Normandy and director of the Center for International Studies. Dr. Robe will explore some of Normandy's most fascinating cities and landmarks. This picturesque region on the northern coast of France is known for its dramatic coastline and beaches, quaint countryside, charming manor houses, magnificent churches, exceptional cuisine, and countless sites of immense historical interest.

The trip includes a seven-night stay in Hotel Mercure, a three star hotel located in downtown Caen, and a one-night stay in Hotel Novotel, a three-star hotel located in the Charles de Gaulle airport. The tour also includes an orientation meeting before departure, a welcome reception, seven lunches, and eight buffet breakfasts and dinners.


Land Only: $2,100 with a minimal of 16 participants (double room occupancy)

Land Only: $2,450 with a minimal of 10 participants (double room occupancy)

Add $450 for a single room

*Price may be reduced with favorable exchange rate of the dollar.

A group flight cost will be added upon demand.

For more information, contact Dr. Regis Robe at (864) 503-5630 or

USC Upstate Welcomes Two New Deans

By Tammy E. Whaley

The University of South Carolina Upstate welcomed two new deans to its campus this fall. Dr. Lynette Hamlin was named dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing and Dr. Dirk Schlingman was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Prior to coming to USC Upstate, Hamlin served as the chair of the Department of Nursing at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Loyola University and her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is also a certified nurse mid-wife. 

"Dr. Hamlin brings a wealth of experience both in educational and clinical settings," said Dr. Marsha Dowell, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. "Her vision, energy and expertise will continue to move the Mary Black School of Nursing in very positive directions."

Schlingman served as the chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Eastern Kentucky University prior to coming to USC Upstate.  He received his diploma in mathematics from the University of Bonn, his master's degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the Free University of Berlin. 

"Dr. Schlingman brings a fascinating background in blending multiple disciplines in interesting research, such as music and math," said Dowell. "His vision, energy and expertise will likewise continue to move the College of Arts and Sciences forward in very positive directions."

Hodges Receives South Carolina Information Technology Directors'
Award for Implementation of Spartans Green Sky

By Natalie Brown

The concept of cloud computing is getting a lot of attention recently, thanks to the buzz surrounding the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system and the catchphrase, "To the cloud!" Like many organizations, the University of South Carolina Upstate has implemented its own local cloud computing initiative, Spartans Green Sky, offering long-term benefits for teaching and learning on campus.

Under the leadership of Kevin Hodges, the Client Services department in the University's Information Technology Division has worked diligently to implement Spartans Green Sky, replacing traditional PCs in computer labs with so-called "thin clients," which use less energy and significantly reduce support costs. Thin clients access data, processes, and software within the cloud, instead of using their own internal resources, so all clients across campus can be upgraded with new software and updates simultaneously.

"This initiative is important for USC Upstate because it provides a simple, cost-effective means of maintaining computers on campus, primarily those in student labs that need to be upgraded and replaced annually," Hodges said. "In the traditional student lab environment, computers were on a four-year replacement cycle, a process which frustrated faculty because it was difficult to add additional application software during the school year."

Spartans Green Sky allows students to run departmental applications on their personal computers, no matter what platform or operating system they have. Instead of going to computer labs to work on specialized software, students can work from their dorm rooms or homes via the Internet.

 "The cloud allows students to work anytime, anywhere on their own computers, smart phones or other devices," said Jeanne Skul, vice chancellor for Information Technology and Services. "Thanks to Kevin Hodges and his staff, our University's ever-changing technological needs are consistently met with valuable resources."

Following the implementation of Spartans Green Sky, the South Carolina Information Technology Directors Association (SCITDA) recognized Hodges for his team's innovative approach and outstanding achievements in information technology, awarding him the 2010 South Carolina Information Technology Directors' Award. "Kevin and his staff have worked tirelessly to implement Spartan Green Sky," said Skul. "Because of their efforts, the Information Technology Division can provide enhanced flexibility, reliability, efficiency, and security for all computer users on the USC Upstate campus."

USC Upstate Students Participate in Regional Visioning Process Led by "Ten At The Top"

By Claire Sachse

It was an unconventional final exam for Professor Abraham Goldberg's 19 students in his 300-level Public Administration class. Instead of answering multiple choice questions or laboring through essays, the students, in groups of three to four, stood before governmental, non-profit and education leaders from various Upstate counties and organizations, and presented their semester-long research projects and recommendations borne out of the Ten at the Top initiative.

Ten at the Top (TATT), initially formed in 2005 as Upstate Together, was created to foster collaboration, cooperation and planning in the ten-county Upstate region. It is comprised of public, private, nonprofit and civic leaders. Goldberg's students participated in the community forums held this fall for leaders and citizens to address key issues facing each county and the region. Nearly 9,000 Upstate residents participated in the effort through questionnaires, visioning exercises, community meetings and outreach presentations. Through these venues, TATT has collected research and data that is being folded into a regional "visioning" plan. The Shared Upstate Growth Vision will be unveiled on April 27, 2011 at the Carolina First Center.

"If any institution needs to be involved in TATT, it's us," said Goldberg. "Many of our students will stay here after graduation and this process will affect their future."

To complete their assignment, students researched the demographic trends, economic data, quality of life concerns, employment, housing, politics, transportation, taxes, education, and natural resources of their assigned areas. They also attended and helped to facilitate community forums held in Spartanburg, Union, Greenville and Cherokee Counties. The forums focused discussions on key elements of the TATT Vision Statement draft including: human potential (education, diversity and health), entrepreneurial vigor (cultivating entrepreneurs, small businesses and manufacturers as well as enhancing job skills), sustainable growth (land use planning, transportation enhancements), natural beauty and resources (protecting vital resources and natural beauty), and community vibrancy (downtown revitalization, history and heritage).

"The purpose of TATT is to get people to think regionally," said Noel Lawhorn, a political science major from Charleston whose group attended the Spartanburg forum. Many of the issues discussed, she says, affect the immediate area as well as the ten-county region.

After hearing each community's issues and concerns, coupled with data from their research, the students formulated their recommendations to present at their final exam. Each group presented a variety of recommendations including preparing high speed rail connections, tax incentives for mixed-use downtown developments, adaptive reuse development of blighted or historic properties, a manufacturing research triangle similar to North Carolina's triad-region Research Triangle, truck stop electrification, reenergizing the College Town initiative, creation of new town logo as part of branding campaign, community center for area youth, the creation of additional exits off I-85 to relieve congestion in Greenville, and many more.

Dean Hybl, executive director of Ten at the Top, attended the students' presentation.  "Much of what we have done to date has been gaining an understanding of what matters to people in the Upstate and what components they want to see in a shared regional vision. The work of the students was really the first time that anyone has taken a stab at turning those concepts into potential real-world projects, many of which have definite capability of being replicated across the Upstate," he said.

Goldberg echoed Hybl's sentiment. "For my students, the work they did with TATT was not just an academic exercise but it was a chance for their recommendations to be heard by leaders who are in a position to possibly make them happen." Goldberg also added that the exercise introduced his students to the process, often incremental and slow, of effecting change through bureaucracies, legislation, and public participation.

Harrison Kaplan, a senior from Spartanburg, attended the Spartanburg County forum.  "TATT is doing a hard job to get as many people involved as possible, to get an interesting mix of people. The discussion was apprehensive towards change, but there is a necessity for planning and a vision, or change will be out of control," he said.

For more information on Ten at the Top, visit

A Nonprofit With A Vision:
JeKeithlyn Stroble Ross ('10) Heads JC Stroble Glaucoma Awareness Foundation

by Claire Sachse

With a major in non-profit administration, Jekeithlyn Stroble Ross is an alumna from the December 2010 graduating class who had a job waiting for her after she crossed the stage with her diploma. Actually, she's been on the job for three years now as head of the JC Stroble Glaucoma Awareness Foundation, a non-profit organization that she formed in 2007 to raise awareness of glaucoma and blinding diseases.

Named for her father, the legally blind icon of the Beacon Restaurant who has been calling out food orders for 50 years, the foundation's focus is to decrease the number of people with undiagnosed glaucoma by promoting early detection, assisting patients in finding proper medical care for glaucoma, educating the public on glaucoma and other ocular conditions and overcoming existing health disparities in the community.

For everyone who has met Kiki, as she is known, from fellow students to professors and staff, she has been a whirlwind of energy during her years at USC Upstate, from balancing the demands of her academic program with the challenges of starting the foundation to juggling her family life with four children.

"The key to my success and where I am today are the professors here at Upstate," said Kiki. "It has been so important for me that my professors understood the balance between work and school that I had as a non-traditional student. I give the credit to my teachers for seeing me through the mission, especially Dr. John Long." She also credits her faith and her parents for getting her through her studies.

With academics no longer on her 'to-do' list, Kiki will have more breathing room to focus on the goals of the foundation. The annual health fairs, walk-a-thons, and community outreach events have been very successful she says, as more in the community become aware of the foundation and its mission. The staff and physicians from many area ophthalmologist offices, civic groups such as the Lions Club, and nursing students from the Mary Black School of Nursing have volunteered their time and resources for the foundation's awareness events.

She has been particularly blessed, she said, by the outpouring of support from the Spartanburg area schools. Young children are helping to raise money and participate in walk-a-thon teams, and in turn, she is helping to educate the children and their families about the importance of early ocular health checks.

Kiki planned to hit the ground running after accepting her diploma. "January is National Glaucoma Month, and I have a clinic to organize and an awareness campaign publicity poster to plan," she said breathlessly.

Kiki watched her father go blind at the age of 36, his vision robbed by glaucoma, a "silent, highly misdiagnosed disease." Glaucoma affects peripheral vision when fluid pressure builds up within the eye, gradually causing eye sight to narrow to tunnel vision, and finally causes objects in front to be blurry, and fade.  More information on the JC Stroble Glaucoma Awareness Foundation can be found at

Lee Ann Johnston Receives USC
Upstate Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award

By Natalie Brown

The University of South Carolina Upstate Alumni Association presented the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award to Lee Ann Johnston at the Convocation Honoring December Graduates on December 14. Criteria for the Distinguished Alumni Award include outstanding career accomplishments, service to local community and the University.

Lee Ann, a 1980 graduate of the University of South Carolina Spartanburg (now USC Upstate), received a Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary studies. She and her husband Allen serve as principals of the management companies that operate numerous restaurants in the Upstate and beyond.

While dating in high school, Lee Ann and Allen met Jerry Richardson, the well-known majority owner of the Carolina Panthers NFL franchise. At the time, Richardson served in an executive position with the Transworld Corporation and owned a number of restaurants across the Upstate. He recruited Johnston to work for his initial franchised concept, Hardee's Hamburgers. After graduating from the University, she accepted a position with Spartan Food Systems and eventually became Richardson's administrative assistant, and her husband, Allen, became a district manager overseeing five Quincy's restaurants based in Spartanburg.

In the fall of 1984, Richardson approached Lee Ann and Allen about pursuing the acquisition of franchise rights for Fuddruckers restaurants in the Carolinas. The Johnstons opened their first Fuddruckers in Spartanburg on September 5, 1985, operating under their newly formed The Butcher - The Baker Management Company. The company has subsequently owned and operated a number of Fuddruckers franchises throughout the Carolinas and Tennessee, from Myrtle Beach, S.C. to Sevierville, Tenn., with several in the Upstate area.

More recently, Lee Ann and Allen have opened two Bojangles' franchises in Duncan and Lyman, S.C. under the corporate name Chix and Bix, LLC. 

Johnston currently serves as chief financial officer of The Butcher - The Baker Companies and Chix and Bix, LLC. In 1993 and again in 1996, The Butcher – The Baker was awarded Fuddruckers' International Franchisee of the Year Award. In 1999 the company was awarded Fuddruckers' Founders Award, and in 2006 the Johnstons were honored with the South Carolina Restaurateur of the Year Award.

Johnston is active in the community and has given of her time and energy to benefit USC Upstate students by speaking at job fairs and other functions on campus.

Alumni News

class notes

The J M Smith Corporation was named as one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies for 2010" by the Ethisphere Institute.  Bill Cobb serves as President/CEO.

Teresa Stuart Hough is the playwright of October Daisies, which premiered at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC.

M. Lynn Crowe is a K-3 teacher at First Baptist of Lyman. She also began as an independent consultant for Pampered Chef in May 2009.

Michelle Dellinger Cockcroft graduated from Duke Divinity School. She was commissioned as a provisional elder in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and is currently serving her first appointment at Green Pond United Methodist Church in Gray Court, SC.

Cathy M. Ward is a National Board Certified Teacher of Middle School Mathematics and she also holds a Business Administration degree and a Master of Education degree.

Shannon Harris is a marketing associate for The Children's Museum of the Upstate. She is also a former Miss Spartanburg.

Bridget Thornton Boone currently works for Inman Elementary School in Spartanburg School District One.

Heidi Hawkins Blake works at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C.

April Riddle Staggs serves as the business development officer for CommunitySouth Bank and Trust in the Greer and Spartanburg markets.

Charlianne Wyatt is an office manager at Coldwell Banker Caine.

Elizabeth Hammond Myers is the owner of Nu-Way Restaurant and Lounge.

Marvin Allen Jones is a Licensed Master of Social Work in mental health.

Corey Rodahl received his Master of Business Administration degree from Winthrop University.

Stephanie Richardson has been teaching for Charlotte Mecklenburg County Schools since 2005. She received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and is also a second year doctoral student at University of Phoenix. Additionally, she is attending Empire Beauty School.

Nina Cline enrolled in a doctoral program at Walden University in December 2010. She lives and works in Chicago for a division of US Foodservice. She recently received a promotion to division margin manager after being the division controller for two years.

John Stewart serves as the regional sales manager for Shred-It.

Brent Blackwell works for Smith Animal Hospital.

Skyler Jackson works as a financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments in Greenville, SC.

Phillip Conner works for Walgreens Pharmacy as a store manager in Greenville, SC.

Jonathan A. Faulkenberry works as the Latana Program Coordinator for The Arbor Company in Greenville, SC.

Kim Johnston, a third grade teacher at Lemira Elementary School, was named Teacher of the Year in Sumter School District 17.

Lee E. Grady, II is a fourth grade teacher at Alice Drive Elementary School and was named first runner up for Teacher of the Year in Sumter School District 17.

Tara Clarini works with Fieldturf in Montreal, Canada as a sales and marketing administrator.

Julia Blandin has been working in Afghanistan since November 2010 for Fluor Corporation in the government group.

Matthew Gierber works as the creative marketing director for the United States Army Garrison Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, NY.

Jocelyn R. Calvin is enrolled as a student at North Carolina Central University School of Law. She is also the proud mother of Taya Wright, who was born in 2008.

Jessica Hill works as a customer service representative for Park Seed Wayside Gardens Jackson and Perkins.

Erica Nicole Williams is a graduate student at Georgia Southern University, studying accounting with a concentration in forensic accounting. She expects to graduate in May 2011.

Ivy Martin Maddox is employed with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

Andrew Maddox is employed with Cintas Corporation in Greenville, SC.

Todd Long works for American campus Communities as an assistant general manager based at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. He holds a Master of Education degree in High Education Administration from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

Tiffany Hummel is working with an online marketing firm.

Currie Spoon works for First Baptist Church of Spartanburg as a senior high school ministry assistant.

Justin Bradley is attending the University of South Carolina School of Law and is employed by Lonon Law Firm.

Jeffery Horton works for Estate Financial Planning as a financial planner.

Steven Huskey is continuing his studies at Oklahoma State University and is working as a teaching assistant.

Jasmine Harper works as a registered nurse at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

Jonnell Atkins, a literacy specialist and reading recovery interventionist, was named Campus Teacher of the Year in Sumter School District 17.

Cedrick Koffi works as a residential life coordinator at Sheridan College in South Dakota.

Amrit Gill works at Virginia College in Spartanburg, SC as the financial planning officer.

Jon Kimmel works for Paycom in Atlanta, GA.


Kevin Crowe and M. Lynn Crowe '91celebrated 20 years of marriage on June 16, 2010. They are the proud parents of Jordan and Hannah.

Tracy L. Duncan and James Duncan celebrated eight years of marriage on December 28, 2010. They are the proud parents of Rachel and Will.

Marie and Al Earnhardt celebrated four years of marriage on July 8, 2010. They are the proud parents of Aleeson.

Bridget Thornton married John William Boone on July 17, 2010 at Jackson Memorial Baptist Church. The reception was held in the Fellowship Building.

Heidi Hawkins Blake married Charles Blake III in Costa Rica on December 12, 2009. They honeymooned in Peru.

Elizabeth Ann Hammond married Patrick Edward Myers on June 5, 2010 at the Church of the Advent. A reception was held at the Converse Alumni House.

Jessica Leigh Quidley married Brent Wiley on June 19, 2010 at River Hill Baptist Church. A reception was held at Converse College.

Brent Matthew Blackwell married Amanda Gail Swinford on June 1, 2010 at Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, NY. A reception was held on June 5 at Riverbend Sportsman's Resort in Inman, SC.

Matthew Gierber married Claire Menger of Arlington, TX on April 10, 2010.

Ivy Michele Martin and Andrew Keith Maddox married on July 17, 2010 at Oakwood Baptist Church in Anderson, SC. A reception followed at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Will and Lindsey deBorde celebrated three years of marriage on March 10, 2010.

Nicole Lynne Mercer married James Haynes on May 22, 2010 at Twigs Tempietto. A reception was held at Twigs.

Amber Nicole Bishop married Robert Oliver Bouknight on June 12, 2010 at Buck Creek Baptist Church in Anderson, SC. A reception followed at the home of the bride's parents.

Currie Peterson Spoon married Annette Elizabeth Tyser on March 20, 2010 at First Baptist Church Spartanburg. A reception was held in the church fellowship hall.

Justin Tyler Bradley married Faith Leighann Brown on June 19, 2010 at Evangel Cathedral. A reception was held at Evangel Cathedral Atrium.

Katlyn Eubanks married John Raymond Boyter Jr. on January 23, 2010.

Jeffrey Horton married Kimberly Lauren McAbee on October 9, 2010 in Maggie Valley, NC. A reception was held at the Maggie Valley Club.

Kimberly Lynette Walden married Jonathan Lee Terry on June 19, 2010 at Woodruff Church of God. A reception followed at the Woodruff Church of God Christian Life Center.

Stephanie Nicole Cloninger married Gary Blount on June 12, 2010 at Fernwood Baptist Church. A reception was held at Carolina Country Club.

Nicole Stamm married Brandon Winterson April 24, 2010.

Rachel Foster married Robert Hodge II on May 23, 2010.

Amanda Cantrell married Timothy W. Shearer on August 7, 2010.

Stacie Michelle West and Dustin Scott Austin were married on July 17, 2010 at Christian Fellowship Baptist. A reception followed in the church's Christian Life Center.


Dr. Princess Porter Fowler is the proud parent of two children: Zoe Rayne, born in October 2008, and Xander Rhys, born in June 2010.

Corey and Jennifer Cetto are the proud parents of Merrin Jane, born on October 3, 2006.

Jenna Turner is the proud parent of Carlee Marie, born on December 15, 2006, and Cardiee Faith, born on December 4, 2007.

In Memory

Reverend David A. Lawson passed away on March 14, 2010.

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In addition to sharing your news, births or marriages with us, we also want to hear about what exceptional and interesting things our alumni are doing. Please use the space provided for Alumni News on the inserted envelope or e-mail information and updates to:

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