Dear Friends,

This Spring 2012 issue of the Upstate Magazine provides a wonderful articulation of our institutional history, our engaged, dynamic, evolving present, and a look toward a bright future of expanding excellence in the Upstate as our enrollment grows and we acquire resources to provide the very best experiences possible for students.

As we approach spring, the calendar is filled with events that motivates and excites us and that reflect our metropolitan mission. I hope many of you will join us for my investiture on April 13 when we will gather as a university community to celebrate and be reminded of how important our work is to the quality of life in this region and beyond. This event will combine a formal academic ceremony with a casual lunch for all in attendance. I hope you can be here.

Shortly following the investiture event, we will gather on the lawn for spring commencement. Graduation ceremonies are opportunities to celebrate our reason for existing – to educate citizens who are equipped tocontribute to the public good through productive work and meaningful lives. We will celebrate our mission with families and friends of those who will leave us to take their experiences here into the world and make that world better because of what they have done here.

We all know that higher education is a costly endeavor, and increasingly we depend on private support to remain accessible and affordable to those we serve. On May 10, the Upstate campus will be one of many sites across the nation and the world hosting events to mark the launch of the $1 billion capital campaign for the USC System – Carolina’s Promise. We have a campaign advisory panel in place under the capable leadership of December 2011 Upstate graduate Mr. Chris Crowley. Chris experienced first-hand the quality of our programs and the needs of students, faculty, and staff. Our USC Upstate goal for the five-year capitalcampaign is $50 million, and we owe it to students, faculty, staff, and the Upstate of South Carolina to exceed this goal in support of this university as we expand our excellence in the Upstate.

Throughout my first year as Chancellor, I have experienced many reminders of institutional history; and none is more significant than the action of the USC Board of Trustees to name the Olin B. Sansbury, Jr. Campus Life Center and the John C. Stockwell Administration Building after the two men who occupied the Chancellor’s office prior to me. Olin and John provided exceptional leadership and brought this University to the stature we acknowledge today, and both are deserving of this great honor. Congratulations Olin and John!

The pages that follow this letter are filled with stories about how this University provides opportunities and service that enrich and transform lives. Thank you for your contributions to the mission of USC Upstate; I hope you enjoy this issue of the Upstate Magazine.


Dr. Thomas F. Moore, Chancellor


Once A Leader, Always A Leader

By Tammy E. Whaley

By all traditional definitions, Chris Crowley has been living the American Dream.

He married his high school sweet heart, raised three children, built a beautiful home, and retired from a successful career. Crowley is very active in his community and he has taken up painting, a passion for which he clearly has the time and talent.

On the surface everything seems perfect. But one part of his life had been left unsettled and Crowley could not find peace until he faced the issue head on.

Crowley attended three colleges but never earned enough credits to be awarded a degree. He attended Hampden Sydney, University of South Carolina and University of South Carolina Upstate (when the campus was comprised of only the Administration Building).

High school friend and college roommate Jeff Outten can attest to many of Crowley’s misdeeds in college.

“Chris was always identified as a leader. He was a leader at Spartanburg Day School. He was a leader at Hampden Sydney. And he could lead all of us to fun,” laughed Outten.

“My dad was a task master so when my four years of college were up, they were up,” said Crowley. “Looking back, I can see that I misunderstood why I was in college.”

But not earning that college degree always haunted Crowley.

“Chris and I talked about him completing his degree quite a lot,” said Chris Dorance, headmaster of Spartanburg Day School, where Crowley’s children attended and where he coached and served on the board of trustees. “He has always had intellectual interests and placed great value on education.”

“It was always embarrassing for me to say that I didn’t finish college. I guess I had complained about it enough. One day my wife, Garrow, looked at me and said ‘why don’t you stop being embarrassed and do something about it?’”

It was that challenge that landed Crowley on the campus of USC Upstate.

He enrolled in May 2010 and was soon struck by how vastly different college was from his earlier years.

“Running a textile company, I always had secretaries,” Crowley joked, who ran the family business, Cherokee Textiles. “I couldn’t type fast enough to complete the test in my computer science class. I had to hunt and peck and use two fingers.”

Crowley’s return to the college campus was readily supported by his wife and his three grown children, who had to offer their tutoring skills for his computer science class.

“Dad always required us to make certain grades and do well in school because he saw having an education and succeeding as giving you a purpose,” said daughter Kathleen who is studying art history at Sewanee. “I think it was very dignified the way he approached going back to college. He views his education as about building up his own intellect and not proving to someone else he could do something.”

Perhaps being a father of three college-aged students gave Crowley an advantage in the classroom. He was able to establish an excellent rapport with his classmates and easily formed friendships outside of the classroom.

“Chris was always curious, engaged and a thoughtful student and as a professor, that is what you want in a student,” said Dr. Robert McCormick, associate professor of history and chair of the Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy, and American Studies. “During class discussion, Chris’ knowledge of the world, politics and history were critical to generating debate in the classroom. Students would often see him as the leader in the classroom and look toward him for advice. He was eager to give it and he has a high level of compassion for the students. There are numerous instances where Chris went well beyond what was expected to assist his fellow students. You just don’t encounter this on a daily basis where someone is so generous and compassionate.”

Crowley was indeed very compassionate toward his fellow students. He helped several students who did not have the financial means to buy their textbooks. Several students came to Crowley for tutoring assistance. He jokes that they asked for his assistance because of his bald head and wrinkles. Crowley also helped out a French study abroad student who selected USC Upstate based solely on what she read on the website.

“She had a really hard time getting adjusted to Spartanburg at first so my dad loaned her a truck so she could see more of this region,” said Elsa, Crowley’s daughter who graduated from Trinity College and is teaching Latin in New York. “Our family introduced her to people in Spartanburg so she would know more people and I took her to North Carolina for a weekend. But that is just how my dad is, always looking out for other people.”

So it was with these students that Crowley has formed a bond that he walked across the stage at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium on December 13 to receive his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.

“We are really proud of him,” said Crowley’s son Mark, who graduated from Davidson College. “He worked really hard at USC Upstate to realize his goal.”

“I’m amazed at how much it really does means to me,” said Crowley. “I’ve righted a wrong and I would encourage others to do the same.”

Crowley explained that most of his professional opportunity was given to him due to birthright, not because he earned it.

“I got in a lot of doors because of who my family was. That’s virtually impossible today as few family businesses can sustain generations. I was lucky not to be hindered by the lack of a college degree. A college degree gives you choices to pick the path you want to take.”

Now that his past has been righted, Crowley is proud. He is also proud to call USC Upstate his alma mater.

"This is my home and I am grateful for the second chance that USC Upstate gave me,” he said. “Upstate is all about first and second chances – for first generation college students and for those of us who return."

Crowley had complimenting words for the caliber of the USC Upstate students.

“The level of students at USC Upstate is just as good as any of the other colleges and universities in this area. If we are going to improve the standard of living in our community, donors should invest in USC Upstate because the graduates of this institution stay here. It is in our collective best interest. The USC Upstate graduates are the ones who are going to staff any new companies and in a lot of ways, the economic future of this community is tied to USC Upstate more so than any other institution of higher education.”

It is evident that Crowley holds his fellow students in high regard, but he had equally impressive remarks for the USC Upstate faculty members.

“We have such a talented faculty at USC Upstate,” he said. “The faculty members in the history department are just fabulous. Rob McCormick has really inspired me to explore the idea of teaching so I may pursue earning a master’s degree.”

It was that way of thinking, along with his leadership abilities and the new USC Upstate degree that he earned in December 2011, that led Chancellor Tom Moore to ask Crowley to lead the University’s $50 million Capital Campaign. Yet another challenge he readily accepted.

This comes as no surprise to Father Timothy Gahan, the minister at St. Paul’s Catholic Church where Crowley is chair of the building committee.

“Chris is looked to when something needs to be done,” said Gahan. “He has great leadership ability and experience, and he is very well-respected and highly-regarded.”

Crowley has seamlessly made the transition to college graduate to alumnus to campaign chair.


Taking It Up A Notch
Campus Initiative Strives to Assist Students In Need

By Meg Hunt

It could be said that for as long as there have been colleges, there have been students in need. Over the years, responses to those students have been as varied as their needs.

And while the term “need” can be applied to a myriad of circumstances, the USC Upstate Division of Student Affairs chose to take it at its most basic definition when it created the Spartan Nutritional Assistance Campaign, or SNAC. Its mission is “to provide food, nutritional information and other basic necessities to USC Upstate students in need, as well as educate the campus population on poverty and hunger.”

This approach also aligns SNAC with “Spartans Care,” the campus-wide initiative established by the Division of Student Affairs in collaboration with Academic Affairs.

According to Dean of Students Laura Puckett-Boler, the purpose of the initiative is to instill the value of a caring community and allow students to assist other students who may be in crisis. Spartans Care strives to foster an environment where students reach out to students in need and assist in referring them to appropriate resources on campus.

A key goal in fulfilling that objective was to establish a food pantry which clearly meets the most basic of some students’ needs.

“During a Division of Student Affairs retreat last summer, we realized through discussions of some case studies that many of us were sharing similar stories but talking about a number of different students,” said Kara Ferguson, assistant director of campus programs for student life. “We then begin to explore what kind of options we had to address the situation.”

The exploratory committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students began to examine programs at other colleges and universities, in particular UCLA and West Virginia University.

In a short three months, “a whole lot of work by a whole lot of people” took place, and the food pantry became a reality, said Ferguson.

“Students on the committee really helped keep us focused on what the needs of students are and would be,” she added. “Jim Shecter with SODEXO was great in helping us work through what we needed to do to be in compliance with food distribution regulations.”

Open to any USC Upstate student who doesn’t currently have a meal plan, the food pantry operates on an honor system and makes available food and other non-perishable items, such as paper goods, hygiene products, household supplies and nutritional information.

“We have several systems in place to ensure students don’t feel stigmatized,” Ferguson noted. “From the location of the food pantry and hours of operation to the different ways of entering and exiting the building, we’ve tried to take all things into consideration.”

The program has been well-received and supported by faculty, staff, and a number of student organizations across campus. Members of the Greater Spartanburg community have also been generous in their support.

Need by any definition can be met with indifference or action. The USC Upstate community has made its choice.

For more information, contact Kara Ferguson at 864-503-5122 or

Greenville Campus Modifies Concept To Better Meet Student Needs

‘Meal In A Bag’ Distinguishes Scope Of Its Food Pantry

Helping students in need is a core value present throughout the USC Upstate community, whether on its main campus or the Greenville campus.

So when the Division of Student Affairs established the Spartan Nutritional Assistance Campaign (SNAC) and created a food pantry, it was with the intent of providing emergency food, nutritional information and basic necessities to all students in need, regardless of which campus they attended.

“The plan was always to have a food pantry on the Greenville campus, as well,” said Dr. Judith Prince, vice chancellor for the Greenville Campus. “Ours opened in January.”

The realization that some of their students not only struggle financially, but too often don’t have access to adequate food and other basic necessities led the Greenville committee to build on the overall model by crafting the concept of a “meal in a bag.” This added dimension provides a student with “a one-stop shopping opportunity that gives them and their family a nutritional advantage,” acknowledged Dr. Prince.

“Meal in a bag” originated from a conversation with Wanda Swinney, administrative assistant for the School of Education at the Greenville campus.

“I was a single parent,” said Swinney. “I understand what it’s like to have to juggle the challenges of going to school, working two jobs and raising a child. Providing food combinations that make a ‘meal’ helps relieve some of the pressure.”

The response of Greenville campus faculty, staff, and students in supporting this effort shows that helping students is, indeed, fundamental to making a difference.


For The Good of the Whole
Individual Effort Generates Collective Success

By Meg Hunt

The diversity of a cross country course says as much about the sport as it does about the athletes who choose to compete on it. From running surfaces and amount of up and down hills to frequency and tightness of turns, the factors that make a quality course are no less numerous than the factors that make a quality cross country program.

USC Upstate has not only found student-athletes who understand the unique challenges of cross country running, but who also know how to work together to ensure that their individuality strengthens the whole in terms of the teams and the university.

“With each athlete working to become fit and strong, we can achieve more as a team,” said Associate Head Coach Carson Blackwelder. “As a team, we work together to understand what it is going to take from each individual athlete in order for the group to succeed.”

In athletic terms, Upstate’s cross country programs have made remarkable strides. In just a very short five years, they have risen from having no programs to winning an Atlantic Sun Men’s Conference Championship, individual conference titles for members of the women’s team, the A-Sun men’s “Runner of the Year,” Gilbert Kemboi, and earning Division I All-Academic honors for the women’s team from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Because of their conference success in this first year of being able to compete as full Division I members, the Upstate men’s and women’s teams advanced to the NCAA Southeast Region Championships where they posted strong finishes. The Spartan women came in at a strong 17th-place, while the Spartan men took 22nd in team standings.

Coach Blackwelder attributes much of the success to the teams’ consistent focus, a “great group of freshmen coming in three years ago” and being able to compete at the Division I level from the beginning even though Upstate was a provisional member.

“Four years ago, we were eighth at the A-Sun Championships,” he noted. “Before this year’s Championships, we talked in detail about putting ourselves in a position to win; their positioning in the race, moving up during the middle of the race and making smart decisions tactically. Once they gave themselves that opportunity, their will to win took over.”

Of course, months of practice, planning and motivation take place each year in preparation for regular season meets, conference championship meets and NCAA regional championship meets.

Cross country is a sport that all comes down to one meet, and you only get one shot a season at winning a championship, stressed Blackwelder.

“Every person reacts differently to different types of motivation,” said Blackwelder. “Finding what works for that particular person will be the best way to reach their potential.”

And potential is one thing the Spartan cross country teams aren’t short of.

“The core of the men’s program will return next year to defend their conference title,” Blackwelder added. “We will only graduate one person this spring. James Jackson is our only senior and ran in our top 7 this year. He’s been able to watch this team grow over his four years and finishes as part of a team championship.”

On the women’s side, expectations remain high, as well, as they return strong competitors from this year’s team.

That includes an international influence with key Kenyan standouts returning for both the men’s and women’s teams.

“Kemboi, Andrew Kipchumba, Joan Tangwar, Carolyne Chelulei, and Jemeli Sang are the only international athletes we have on the teams,” said Blackwelder. “The Kenyan student-athletes bring great qualities to the team. They have a strong work ethic and focus at practice and in the classroom.”

Cross country running is a mixture of skill, commitment, efficiency, and endurance, not only for the individual runner, but for an overall program. The strategy and preparation the university developed in 2006 exhibited those same traits and demonstrated, then and now, that, much like a good cross country runner, it recognizes the value of a strong foundation of purpose, determination, and perseverance.

“The success of the team has created a lot of interest in the program and proven that we are capable of developing runners,” stressed Blackwelder. “We have continued to add athletes who have the work ethic and focus to be successful at the Division I level. A team has to motivate itself from within and we have done that.”


Singularly Focused - Doubly Successful

By Meg Hunt

Faith, service and a deep desire to help others are traits that define United States Air Force Captains Erin Horn and Maria Horn.

Having grown up hearing their mother and aunt share nursing stories, the 2007 graduates of the Mary Black School of Nursing at USC Upstate knew early on that they, too, were destined to a profession that would allow them to “help people who are hurting, heal physically, spiritually and emotionally.”

What they discovered during college was that the Air Force could help them add another dimension to this dream.

“We had a friend and fellow nursing classmate who had talked to an Air Force recruiter and was talking up all the pros of joining the military at one of our weekly ‘girls’ hang-out mornings,’” reminisced Maria. “Like everyone else, we said ‘you’re crazy, we’re at war, why would you join the military?”

As the two sisters were talking later, Maria and Erin realized that their interest was piqued, so they talked to their dad and asked if they could call the recruiter. The rest, as they say, is history.

Upon graduation from USC Upstate, they went to Commissioned Officer Training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, for five and one-half weeks. Both were assigned to the same unit and stationed at Travis AFB in Northern California. Maria’s primary responsibilities are as a labor and delivery nurse, and Maria works as a surgical ward nurse.

Now, there’s nothing unusual about young people having these aspirations and goals for their lives, unless you consider the fact that Maria and Erin are identical twins. Each step of the way, they have been sharing thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears. From July to December 2011, awareness of many of those was heightened as both young women were deployed to Afghanistan.

While there, Maria worked on a Medical/Surgical Intensive Care Ward (ICW), and Erin worked in the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility (CASF). Both cared for the wounded and ill soldiers, as well as coalition forces and local nationals.

In addition to the obvious challenges of what it means to be in a war zone, nursing has its own set of challenges in such an environment.

“The military sees you as a nurse, regardless of what your job is back home,” said Maria. “For me, it was a major adjustment from birthing babies to trauma nursing and working in more of a med-surg (medical-surgical) type of environment.”

“We were both thrown into roles outside of our comfort zone and expected to hit the ground running,” noted Erin. “We both were working six days a week, 12-hour shifts every day, so it was challenging as nurses and as sisters because we didn’t get a lot of time to talk as Maria worked days, and I worked nights.”

Their six-month deployment completed, Maria and Erin returned to the States in December.

Each young woman recognizes that they are forever changed as a result of their experience in Afghanistan, but only in ways that make them appreciative and ever mindful of things they sometimes take for granted.

“As nurses, it was most rewarding to be able to care for our wounded soldiers who are fighting to protect our freedoms and to serve the local nationals with kindness,” said Erin. “As sisters, it was awesome being able to deploy together and ‘be there’ to support each other. We were able together to ‘stand in the gap’ and intercede for Afghanistan – the country, the people and the soldiers.”

“Nursing in a whole different environment there was most challenging,” added Maria. “Seeing the horrific injuries caused by war is hard and very sad, but knowing Erin and I were experiencing the same things there together was rewarding because I knew if I needed a hug I could go find my twin and get one!”

Now back at Travis AFB, the twins have enjoyed resuming some of their hobbies and extra-curricular interests, such as skiing, kayaking, horseback riding and volunteering at a therapeutic riding center for autistic children.

In addition, Erin and Maria remain committed to another passion they trained for while in high school and participated with in college – serving on search and rescue teams.

“We are still passionate about that hobby,” said Maria. “We are members of the Solano County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue Team and the California Search and Rescue Dog Association.”

“Our parents kindly kept our SAR dogs for us while we went to military training and when we were deployed,” added Erin. “We are looking forward to getting back and working with them to help look for lost people.”

Making the most of each moment, finding ways to serve God and others, and fulfilling the call to higher purpose have been guiding principles for Erin and Maria – twin sisters who faithfully give of themselves, singularly focused and doubly successful.


A Closer Look at the Personality Assessment Laboratory

By Natalie Brown

If you were asked to spend two days wearing a device that would record audio samples of your daily interactions and activities, would your personality be affected? Would you go about your daily life as usual, or would you make a greater effort to think before you speak? Knowing that your everyday interactions with friends, family, and co-workers were to be recorded and analyzed, would you behave differently?

The study of personality and everyday life, based on data collected from Electronically Activated Recorders (EARs), is just one of many projects that are currently underway at the University of South Carolina Upstate’s Personality Assessment Laboratory (PAL). Under the direction of Dr. Andrew Beer, assistant professor of psychology, students are developing and investigating a variety of studies in the field of personality assessment.

“Our objective in the Personality Assessment Lab is to investigate both formal and informal measurements of personality,” said Beer. “Students are working on projects that range from more formal scale constructions to broad-based examinations of the naturalistic process of judging personality in others.”

Dr. Beer began his work with students in the PAL in 2009, and their research is currently focused on snap judgments of personality, the acquaintanceship process, and naturalistic observation methods.

“Students in the lab are researching the effect of the laboratory-style setting on the natural process in which we seek knowledge,” said Beer. “We have an ongoing study that allows them to make personality observations in normal, everyday situations, then bring their data back to the lab for coding and analysis.”

The PAL is located in the College of Arts and Sciences building, and features space for individual testing, as well as a larger area for testing groups. For more information about the Personality Assessment Laboratory at USC Upstate, visit the PAL website at


Echo360: Improving Instruction with Blended Learning Technologies

By Natalie Brown

Blended learning, a new trend in learning technology, has come to a number of classrooms across campus at the University of South Carolina Upstate. By combining face-to-face classroom instruction with computer-mediated activities, such as lecture capture, the University has begun to provide faculty and students with a variety of options for both collaborative and individual studies.

For the past two semesters, the Division of Information Technology and Services (ITS) has been working with faculty and departments to implement Echo360, a lecture capture tool that will improve opportunities for blending learning on campus. The Echo360 system captures class lectures by enabling faculty to record from their computers, then email or upload audio and video to the forum of their choice. The personal capture software is readily available for those who wish to use it, and can be easily downloaded to any personal computer or laptop.

“Echo360 provides more flexibility and the opportunity for greater interaction between students and instructors,” said Cindy Jennings, director of learning technologies. “Lecture capture allows us to explore the concept of the ‘Flipped Classroom,’ in which students view lectures and tutorials before attending class, and therefore are more prepared to participate and interact with faculty in the classroom setting.”

Using Echo360, faculty, staff, and students download easy-to-use recording software to their computers and perform audio and video captures at their convenience. The Client Services team in ITS is available to train employees to use Echo360 with a comfortable level of comprehension and skill in 30 minutes or less. ITS has also set up two classrooms on campus with Echo360 recording devices that work with a simple push of a button.

“We are excited about the possibilities this new technology can offer,” said Luke Vanwingerden, director of client services. “Echo360 will enhance the way course content is delivered to our students, and influence the entire classroom experience at USC Upstate.”


Working Toward a Brighter Future for Children in South Carolina

By Natalie Brown

According to recent statistics, one in four girls is sexually abused before the age of 14, and one in six boys is sexually abused before the age of 16. Child maltreatment, however, involves more than just physical and sexual abuse; it also includes emotional abuse and failure to meet the basic needs of the child.

The state of South Carolina ranks 45th in the United States for overall child well-being, and high rates of all forms of maltreatment in Spartanburg County have far-reaching consequences. Many serious and costly youth problems, such as teen pregnancy, juvenile crime, school failure and substance abuse are preceded by child abuse and neglect. Furthermore, child abuse and neglect can disrupt early brain development, leading to increased risk of lifelong emotional and physical problems. If we direct our efforts to education and prevention of child maltreatment, then we can effectively eliminate many of these later developing problems.

With these facts in mind, the University of South Carolina Upstate’s Center for Child Advocacy Studies is hosting its third annual conference, A Brighter Future: Ending Child Abuse through Advocacy and Education, on Friday, March 30 on the USC Upstate campus.

According to Dr. Jennifer Parker, professor of psychology and program director, the conference is a major initiative to increase community awareness of the problem and to provide ongoing community education.

“The objectives of the conference are to impart a greater understanding of the problem of child abuse and the serious impact on child development and the community and to provide expert training to those working with children,” said Parker. "I want to ensure that every citizen is capable of recognizing early warning signs of child abuse and neglect, and will take appropriate action to end this pervasive problem in our community.”

The event’s keynote speaker is Victor Vieth, director of the National Child Protection Training Center. He has trained thousands of child protection professionals from all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and 17 countries on numerous topics pertaining to child abuse investigations, prosecutions and prevention. Vieth is also the author of Unto the Third Generation, an initiative that outlines the necessary steps we must all take to eliminate child abuse in America in three generations.

The conference is designed to target a broad audience of concerned citizens and professionals, including healthcare personnel, legal experts, the faith community, counselors, educators, social workers, victim service professionals, and community members.

For more information or to attend, visit

The Center for Child Advocacy Studies at USC Upstate
In addition to providing supportive resources to the child advocacy studies minor program for USC Upstate students, the Center for Child Advocacy Studies works to address the critical needs of the community. The Center hosts the annual conference on child advocacy and awareness, and provides other educational and evidence-based training opportunities for a broad range of professionals serving the needs of our children. A certification program for child advocacy professionals is also currently in development.


With A Little Help, Dreams Are Recognized

By Jason Michaels

When Katie Poindexter graduated from the Mary Black School of Nursing at the University of South Carolina Upstate in December 2011, she did not do it on her own. She had the help of family and friends behind her. However, receiving a scholarship was of great help.

The Frances Elizabeth Sitton Smith Scholarship is awarded to a non-traditional nursing student who might otherwise be unable to attend college, has demonstrated need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid, and who distinguished himself or herself by exhibiting a significant desire to achieve. James “Jim” R. Smith ’72 and his family established this scholarship in memory of his mother as a way of paying it forward to future generations of students at USC Upstate.

According to Poindexter, she was a prime candidate for the scholarship since she was in “financial need and a non-traditional student.”

“My family and I have struggled financially over the past two years while I was in nursing school,” she said. “I could have found work while in school, but my education was my job. In the end, I knew it would pay off... I believe it was the countless hours, forgoing family outings, studying during the holidays and putting my education before anything else that got me the scholarship and ultimately the recognition from faculty and peers. In order to do all that, it took the support and understanding of my husband. He took care of our young son Calvin, who has Down syndrome. We were two ships passing each evening as I would head off to study and he took over care of our son. This scholarship help offset some of my educational costs but it also showed me that even non-traditional students can be acknowledged for their academic achievement.”

Upon graduation, Poindexter secured a job at St. Francis Hospital in Greenville where she is currently training as a circulating nurse in the operating room at St. Francis – Downtown. Her sights are set on returning to graduate school in the fall to earn a Masters in Nursing with a concentration in Nursing Education.

“I have been touched by some incredible instructors who have reinforced my passion to teach,” said Poindexter. “However, I am going to take it at a slower pace to enjoy time with my family because after all, we deserve it.”

Poindexter owes a lot to her family and friends for helping her through the tough times. As a nursing student, she had to devote much of her life to the rigorous, time-demanding program. However, since her “education was her job,” she did not have time for much else. Therefore, she credits the scholarship for helping her meet her financial needs.

Katie Poindexter is a great example of how hard work can pay off. Given her situation with raising a child with a disability and also needing a lot of time for her studies, she is an example of how someone can strive even in today’s bad economy. With the help of the Frances Elizabeth Sitton Smith Scholarship, she has been able to accomplish the goal of graduating and also sees a bright future for herself.

To learn more about establishing a scholarship, contact Bea Walters Smith at the USC Upstate Foundation at 864-503-5235 or


Nursing Endowment to Aid Professional Growth of Mary Black School of Nursing Faculty

By Claire Sachse

Gracious. Thoughtful. Supportive. Engaged. All of these are words used by Cecilia Cogdell’s colleagues to describe this retired professor and former dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing.

And although she retired in 2007, Cogdell has not let her passion for the Mary Black School of Nursing dwindle. Her presence and influence is still felt and seen, and future nursing faculty will benefit from the plan she has put into place.

Two years ago, working through the USC Upstate Foundation, she created the Cecilia Cogdell Endowment for the Mary Black School of Nursing. Each year she will contribute a set amount, with the goal of reaching $100,000. At that point the endowment’s earnings will be used for faculty development within the Mary Black School of Nursing.

“Like so many other organizations, institutions of higher education are facing tight economic times and have to do more with less while continuing to offer high quality educational opportunities for students. While all aspects of university life (i.e., administrators, staff, and a wide range of support services) are important for student growth and learning to occur, faculty members are the most vital of all,” says Cogdell.

With this in mind, faculty development becomes a critical factor for the institution. Faculty, says Cogdell, are the driving force behind the university, and they must have opportunities for personal and professional growth to keep the institution on the forefront of higher education practices if high quality education for students is to be sustained.

The type of faculty development she envisions for nursing faculty includes personal study in their nursing disciplines, research activities, attendance at national and international professional meetings, scholarly writing and publication activities, investigation, implementation and evaluation of creative and innovative teaching/learning strategies, and similar opportunities for growth.

Cogdell continues, “High quality, expertly initiated and implemented health care will always be needed. Therefore, the endowment funds are to be used to support the expertise of those who teach the future generations of health care practitioners (nurses) in the Mary Black School of Nursing.”


Students to Raise Funds, Develop Business Skills Through BMW Collegiate Challenge

By Claire Sachse

When most people in the Upstate think about the BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament held each year in May, they think celebrities, sunny days on the greens, and great music in the evenings. But the tournament’s focus is to raise money for nonprofit agencies in our area. And with tough economic times, the tournament’s importance cannot be overstated for those agencies.

With that in mind, the BMW Charity Pro-Am reached out to four area colleges, asking for assistance from students in promoting ticket sales for the event. The first-of-its-kind in the nation for pro-am tournaments, the BMW Charity Collegiate Challenge seeks to engage students in a friendly competition that encompasses fundraising, sales, marketing, networking and other important business skills.

USC Upstate students Brittany Fyall, Anna Grimes, David Cain and Krystal Borsch accepted the challenge on behalf of the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business.

“In addition to gaining terrific salesmanship and deal-closing skills – which they will need in the business world – these students have an opportunity to go behind the operational backdoor to the entire tournament,” said John Long, the group’s advisor and professor of nonprofit administration courses. “As the students make ticket sales to individuals and companies and progress towards the goals BMW has set, the students will appreciate the sophisticated level of coordination necessary to make the BMW Charity Pro-Am a success.”

“Our mission is to get the Spartanburg community excited about the tournament and to raise $103,000 from the sale of tickets, tournament play and sky boxes for South Carolina Charities. And, of course, we want to beat our competition – Wofford, Converse and Spartanburg Community College!” said Borsch, president of the team.

Leading up to the tournament dates, May 17-20, the team will be calling upon friends, associates, alumni, and businesses small and large, to share the message of the BMW Charity Pro-Am and to present the opportunities for the Spartanburg community to participate in this event.

Learn more online at


Instinct + Intuitiveness = Journalism Career
From Newspaper To Television To Web…This Alumna Makes The Most Of Each Opportunity

By Meg Hunt

Sometimes in life, you just get the feeling that you knew all along what you were going to be when you grew up. Or at least, what your mother knew you’d be.

That’s how Carolyn Farr Smith, member of the Class of 1995 and current member of the USC Upstate Alumni Association Board, speaks of her journalism career.

“My mother says I was born to be a journalist,” said Smith. “She said if new neighbors moved into the neighborhood, I knew what color their couch was, how many children they had and where they had lived before the move, even before they had gotten in the house good.”

That instinctive intuitiveness has been at the heart of what’s made Smith the award-winning, multimedia journalist she is today.

Smith has spent every year since graduation honing her skills and experiencing first-hand the significant changes taking place in the world of journalism. During her career, she has served as a newspaper reporter, assignment editor for a television station, and currently as an associate regional editor for the online news website

“While I freelanced for many publications during college, my first full-time position was as a staff writer for The Union Daily Times in Union, S.C.,” Smith noted. “At that time, Union was the focus of national, and even worldwide, attention as Susan Smith was to be on trial that summer in the deaths of her two children, Michael and Alex. While I never covered the events inside the courtroom, I met journalists from all over the country that first summer after graduation.”

Her evolving skill set took her to the much larger Herald-Journal, Spartanburg’s daily newspaper, where she worked as a reporter and Lifestyles editor.

Even after she was unexpectedly laid off from the Herald-Journal, Smith maintained a positive outlook and found herself interviewing for and getting the assignment editor’s position at Fox Carolina.

“I knew so little of the world of TV and what I had learned from a previous internship at ETV was so far out-of-date, I felt like a dinosaur,” stressed Smith. “I could tell you what a center spread, sidebar, feature and cutline were with no problem, but I started hearing terms like package, VO and MOS, and it was my job to send people out to get those things.”

“Being assignment editor was sort of what I imagine an air traffic controller’s job is like…there are lots of stories out there and I was the person who determined if they are going to land or move on to the next destination.”

Of course, in typical fashion, Smith used this experience to round out yet another aspect of her journalism career and, in her words, “keep adding to my toolbox.”

“Working in TV taught me to tell the story quicker, in shorter bites and with people and video,” said Smith. “Those things have helped me now that I have transitioned to the web. We still have the capability to tell the story just as print would, but readers want shorter stories, more video, and they want to be able to participate.”

And that is exactly what was created to do. It advocates community journalism, according to Smith, and is designed to start the conversation and allow readers and users to keep feeding that conversation.

“On our Patch sites, we are doing what many have talked about – using readers to help tell the story,” she noted. “The goal is to be the source for information in the community.”

Over the course of her years as a journalist, Smith had the opportunity to cover a variety of stories ranging from the proverbial “happy ending” stories to the sad, and, of course, the famous. Through them all she continues to find purpose and passion for what she does.

In fact, a primary difference from “the early days” of her career she cites as most appealing today is the instant gratification she is able to achieve.

“You can write it, edit it, publish and see your story and photos in minutes instead of in the next day’s copy,” Smith added. “And, I also like that I can do my job anywhere. I can work from home, the car, the library, the doughnut shop or the parking lot behind a football stadium.”

In spite of the myriad of changes in the field of journalism and communication, when asked if she would recommend journalism as a career choice for young people today, Smith enthusiastically responded “Yes, most definitely.”

“It never gets boring,” Smith said with a smile. “But as with most jobs, I think you have to have a passion and a love for your craft. If you love what you do, then it never seems like work.”


Letting Go To Move Forward
Upstate Rock Climing Club Takes Learning to New Heights

By Meg Hunt

College is about learning. It’s designed to give students exposure to that which they did not know before or at least provide additional insight. It is also a time to explore ways to expand the mind, develop new interests, and meet challenges head on – all in order to be better prepared for the future.

It could be said that “all of the above” were the drivers motivating Dr. Peter Caster to establish the Upstate Rock Climbing Club. After all, the description in the USC Upstate – Special Interest Organizations listings says: “The mission of the Upstate Rock Climbing Club is to introduce students to a challenging activity that is both mentally and physically rewarding…Students will gain new perspectives and be introduced to different cultures, allowing them to continue learning outside the classroom in a fun and safe environment.”

Of course, it could also have been the fact that this associate professor of English and department chair has been rock climbing since he was 19 years old.

“I never found another physical activity that satisfied my need for control,” said Caster. “Rock climbing is a ‘user-created’ system with the difficulty of climbing solely determined by the climber.”

When asked why he wanted to establish the Upstate Rock Climbing Club, he eagerly noted “climbing has brought so much to me that I wanted to be able to share it with students.”

By definition, rock climbing is “the sport of climbing sheer rock faces, especially by means of technique and equipment.”1

And because rock formations vary throughout the world, a number of rock climbing styles, such as bouldering, exist. Bouldering is defined as “the sport of rock climbing on larger boulders or low cliffs.”2 Typically, climbers engaging in bouldering use no ropes.

Physically and mentally demanding, rock climbing pushes individuals to test their strength, agility, balance and endurance. Bouldering combines those with power and dynamics because it’s based on “short sequences of moves.”

“I need more than what traditional or conventional sports offer,” said student and club member Daniel Gosnell. “I am adventure-driven and even though I’ve only been doing it for a couple of years, rock climbing gives me that thrill.”

Fellow student and club member Tyler Evans concurs.

“I tried basketball, football, soccer, but caught on to rock climbing,” he noted. “So I began climbing regularly with my dad and brother.”

Technique is a critical component for a climber in any style, as is the ability to work through the challenge presented by the rock formations.

Prior to the climb, a climber must determine the route he or she needs to take in order to reach the summit. In rock climbing vernacular, this is referred to as solving the problem.

“You choose the route that best suits your needs,” noted Caster. “You also look for conflict and challenge to solve the problem (route), to achieve your objective.”

Because it is then, he believes, that you learn “you have to let go in order to move forward.”

“The beauty of rock climbing is everyone starts off badly,” added Caster. “But it allows you to build strength which forces you to become more efficient.”

And for climbers, the more efficient you are, the more effective you become. The more effective you are, the more balanced you become in terms of the physical and mental requirements needed to reach the summit.

“It’s looking at the wall and finding the most challenging way to the top that draws me to the sport,” said Gosnell. “It’s about solving the problem.”

“Rock climbing gives me a point of balance,” Evans noted. “With something so physical, you need a balance of something equally mental.”

Whether it’s rock climbing, bouldering or any other activity, Caster wants club members to understand “how much performance is dictated by what we’re not fully aware of.”

“I know rock climbing doesn’t mean anything. It’s moving over stretches of stone,” he proffered. “But it’s most meaningful to me in an existential way, which is most satisfying.”

Letting go to move forward – a lesson from rock climbing…a lesson for life.

Upstate Rock Climbing Club tries to meet 2-3 times a week. For indoor climbs, they meet at the climbing gym, Climb Upstate, on Daniel Morgan Avenue in Spartanburg. Outdoor climbs are sited at various locations around the area. For more information, contact Dr. Peter Caster at 864-503-5677.


Honors Bestowed at 45th Annual Founders Day

By Tammy E.Whaley

Each February the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education holds its Founders Day Celebration to commemorate the establishment of the University and to pay particular tribute to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in support of USC Upstate. Seven individuals were recognized at the 2012 Founders Day Celebration.

James “Jim” R. Smith ’72 received the G.B. Hodge, M.D. Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest recognition the Commission can grant. It is designed to recognize a lifetime of history altering influence on the shape, character and destiny of the University. Smith was appointed to the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education in 1991 and served as its chair from 2001 to 2011. He has since been named Chairman Emeritus.

Allison Berrian ’11, Marcia Easler (posthumous), Dr. Alice Henderson, and Dr. Jack Turner received the Award for Distinguished Service, which honors those who have demonstrated a long and distinguished career of service to the University, characterized by exceptional dedication to the work at hand, and to the institution.

Berrian earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from USC Upstate in 2011. During her senior year, Allison served as the student government association president and was very involved in the events surrounding the opening of the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics.

Prior to her death in July 2011, Easler worked as a financial aid counselor at USC Upstate, helping countless students realize their dreams of obtaining a college degree.

Henderson arrived on the USC Upstate campus in 1970 to teach history, focusing her interests on European and American history since 1800, women’s history, and history of the civil rights movement. A Fulbright Scholar, Henderson traveled abroad extensively and authored several books. In 1998, she was named Distinguished Professor Emerita and began to teach on a part-time basis.

Thousands of students have studied biology at USC Upstate under the instruction of Turner since 1974. His students have won awards from the South Carolina Academy of Sciences and from Sigma Xi for their research projects. A Fulbright Scholar, Turner is the founder of the USC Upstate Watershed Ecology Center and serves as its director. His establishment of a water quality testing lab has provided opportunities for USC Upstate students to obtain lab skills and experience in environmental testing. In 2001, Turner raised funds to establish the Watershed Education Program to offer hands-on learning activities to local children that correlate to the South Carolina science standards. During the 2010-2011 school year, this program brought hand-on science education to more than 22,000 kids in Spartanburg County.

William “Bill” R. Cobb ’74 and Dr. Marsha Dowell received the Founders Day Awards, which provide recognition to those persons in the larger community who have been of exceptional assistance to the University.

Cobb took personal interest in beautification initiatives related to the University’s 10-year master plan. His involvement and generous contributions to these initiatives have made a substantial impact on other landscaping endeavors that aid in student recruitment and campus beautification. Cobb’s unwavering personal and professional commitment to the advancement of the University has been noteworthy in his service to the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education and the USC Upstate Foundation.

Since 2008, Dowell has served as the senior vice chancellor of academic affairs for USC Upstate, where she has demonstrated great capacity to lead and manage in the areas of greatest importance to the USC Upstate mission. In her previous position as dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing, USC Upstate benefitted tremendously from her more than 30-year academic career (in the classroom, clinical areas and academic offices) at multiple institutions and in various roles.

“The Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education is pleased to have an opportunity each year to celebrate the founding of USC Upstate, to applaud the milestones that have been accomplished, and to acknowledge individuals who have contributed greatly to the University,” said Commission Chairman Thomas R. Young, III.


USC System and its Alumni Pump $4.1 Billion into State’s Economy Annually

By Claire Sachse

In a recent poll conducted by Winthrop University in early December 2011, the most important problems facing the state of South Carolina were identified by Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike as jobs, the economy, and education. Shortly after that poll was released, researchers at the Darla Moore School of Business at University of South Carolina unveiled an economic impact study of the university system on the economy of the state.

The findings of the USC study are fascinating, in that they address how the university affects employment, the economy and the future of education – the same concerns state residents expressed in the poll. The findings are also pertinent in that they quantify the value of the institution to the state at a time of lean budgets and dwindling state appropriations for higher education.

As an eight-campus institution, the university system has more than 44,000 students and 154,000 alumni in South Carolina. It employs nearly 14,000, accounting for about 1 in every 37 jobs in the state. The institution also pumps $4.1 billion into the state’s economy every year.

“The economic impact of the University of South Carolina is sweeping,” said USC President Harris Pastides, upon the statewide release of the study on January 12, 2012. He added, “Education is acknowledged as the path to economic success and increased quality of life for individuals. However, these results illustrate the benefits, including economic prosperity, that the University of South Carolina contributes to our state’s citizens in every community regardless of their connection to Carolina.”

Second to the Columbia campus, the USC Upstate campus, with its 5,500 students and 20,000 alumni, has a $388.5 million impact upon the state, a figure which includes the effects of local expenditures on wages and purchases injected into the state’s economy, the ripple effects of spending on in-state suppliers, and household spending.

The key take-away from the study, according to its author, research economist Dr. Joseph C. Von Nessen, is that the university is a net contributor to the state. The system’s employees and alumni contribute $75 million more to the state in taxes than the system receives in state appropriations. “In carrying out its mission to educate South Carolinians, USC helps to generate a sizeable amount of revenue for the state,” Von Nessen said.

Bill Cobb, chairman and CEO of Spartanburg-based J M Smith Corp. and 1974 graduate of USC Upstate, urges the community to also look beyond the study’s facts and figures. He spoke at one of four press conferences held across the state to announce the study’s findings.

“The contributions that USC Upstate makes to our community go far beyond the money. [The university] helps us to be a city and county that can attract businesses for our citizens, and it’s a major factor when people visit our town – as to what kind of educational opportunities they would have for their employees and their families. And it has become a recognized college here in the Upstate for producing quality graduates,” Cobb said.

The full study is available online at


Robbie South completed his Doctor of Health Education (D.H. Ed.) from A.T. Still University in May 2011 and is serving as chair of the Department of Nursing at Lander University.

Gloria Cook received her Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Language and Literacy.

James Holland was named an NAIA District Six Honorable Mention All-American and is the ninth person affiliated with the men's basketball program to be inducted into the USC Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame. Holland enjoyed a tremendous four-year career at the University, leading the then-Rifles to the NAIA National Championship. He finished his career having set four assist records. Holland still owns the all-time assist record of 553 in 124 games, 92 assists better than second place on the all-time list.

Laurinda Allison Pennington and husband, Harold, recently celebrated 20 years of marriage. They have two children, Allison and Andrew.

Gwendolyn Whiteside-Proctor took second-team honors on the all-time all NAIA District Six basketball team. Proctor came to the University in the fall of 1985 on a basketball scholarship and wrapped up her playing career in 1987 after breaking more than a dozen school records. A two-time All-American selection, Whiteside-Proctor became the first female athlete to earn such an honor when she was named to the American Women's Sports Foundation First Team in 1985-86.

Sharalyn Thornton and Brian Thornton recently celebrated 10 years of marriage. They have two children, Brian, Jr. and Lexi.

Lindsay Bryant Porter is a senior consultant with Thirty-One Gifts. She recently joined Perceptis in downtown Greenville as a documentation specialist. Perceptis serves as a call center for colleges and universities.

Mary Ketterman is currently working as an outpatient/inpatient physical therapist for Laurens Rehab Associates at Laurens County Health Care System in Clinton, S.C.

Felicia Reid, an adjunct psychology faculty member at Park University, recently became a licensed professional counselor in South Carolina and in practice with Jamison Consultants Behavioral Health Center in Holly Hill, S.C.

Simone Mack is the new wellness director at the Pine Street YMCA in Spartanburg.

Michael Berry is working as an assistant public defender with the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Cherokee county.

Jeffery Parris works for Charles Lea Center in Spartanburg, S.C.

Devon Donnelly will receive a RN-BSN from USC Upstate in August 2012. She is currently working as a critical care RN at Greenville Memorial Hospital.

Loretta Smith was recently named human resources director of S.C. Labor, Licensing, and Regulations. She graduated in 2011 from Clemson University with a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Development. She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society and represents the Spartanburg County on the Appalachian Council of Governments.

Geoffrey Long is a senior account analyst for Levelwing, an Inc. 500 data-driven marketing firm.

Samantha Else completed her graduate degree in England and is currently in New York City directing a play called "Blood Orange Sorbet" by Bradley Brian Custer. This production is a part of the Strawberry One Act Festival, which has been running for 21 years.

Abbas Fidahussein recently got a job in the Intensive Care Unit at Saint-Joseph London Hospital in London, Ky. He is enjoying every bit of it.

Robert “Bobby” Suttles is currently employed by a software development company as the document control specialist.

De Anna Bachelor is an eighth grade science teacher at Sedgefield Middle School in Charlotte, N.C.

Devan Bolf was accepted into dental school at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and will begin the dental program in June 2012.

Tamara Gray is a preschool teacher at First Step Preschool at the YMCA in Greenville, S.C.

Randi Hunton has enrolled in the M.A. program in Social Research in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Erica Sample is attending Georgia Health Sciences University to obtain a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy.

Kelly Pensmith is the director of marketing and public relations for one of Atlanta’s largest private commercial real estate firms. She had an article published in the January issue of Southeast Real Estate Business.

Lane Brown has been awarded an Artist in Residence Fellowship sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The S.C. Parks Artist in Residence placement committee has recommended Lane Brown, BFA 2011, for a residency at Barnwell State Park located in Blackwell, S.C. The park will provide a week long stay in a park cabin where Brown will spend time creating new works of art inspired by the natural location. After completing his stay Brown will donate an original work of art created during the residency to the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Collection. The work will then be on public display at park.

In her Life Writing class with Dr. Tom McConnell, Vickie Dailey read a piece of a memoir that she was planning to write someday as a novel. Afterwards, she worked to improve the memoir, and in late Oct. 2011, the memoir (which is still partially finished), titled “Broken,” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize at the South Carolina Writers Workshop Conference. The piece was included in the 2011 issue of the SCWW’s Petigru Review. The full-length memoir is a work in progress and is not ready to be submitted to a publisher. The Petigru Review is available through Amazon or at Fiction Addiction on Woodruff Road in Greenville. Dailey graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in journalism and law, and a minor in English. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta - International English Honorary Society.


Megan Kathleen Creech ’08 and Justin Grant Force ’06 were married on September 3, 2011.

Suzanne Abernathy Harrill ’96 and Bryan Lawson ’94 were married Saturday, October 22, 2011 at Calvary Church, Glenn Springs, S.C

Jessica Mack ’11 and Craig Smith were married on Saturday, December 17, 2011, at Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church in West Columbia, S.C

Amanda Cantrell ’10 married Tim Shearer on August 7, 2010. They welcomed Mason Shearer on April 10, 2011

Alyson Drake ’07 married Blake Malone on April 4, 2011

Lindsey Koon ’09 married James McCoy on May 1, 2010. They welcomed Charlie James McCoy on September 19, 2011

Amanda Schrag ’10 married Matthew Pendergrass on October 2, 2011

Patricia Vener ’91 married Scott Shaffer on September 11, 2011.

Jorda Young, III ’06 married Rhagen Austin on July 2, 2011. The couple is expecting a daughter.

Ericka Webb ’09 married Brenton Norris on September 25, 2010.


Rob and Tammy Chumley ’93 welcomed their daughter, Charlotte Marion Chumley on December 28, 2010.

Felicia Reid ’02 gave birth to Adrienne Reid on March 29, 2011.

Tiffany Watson Nativi ’10 and her husband, Fredy, welcomed Braiden Nativi on September 8, 2011.

Joshua and Veronica Lewis Quick ’08 welcomed their son, Aiden Quick on December 28, 2011.


Jayne Doctor ’08 passed away on January 23, 2012.