Robert C. Williams (’67)

May 17th, 2013 by Dan Mathewson

“Well, I’m not crazy and I’m not bored!” This is what I always tell people who ask how I’m enjoying retirement. So, why do I say that? I retired from active practice as an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat physician) on May 1, 2012, after 34 years in harness. I hear that some other medical retirees have trouble adjusting to life after their time as “the Doctor.” I have no such problems and I attribute much of that to my liberal arts background as a Wofford graduate.

The magnificent foursome of Biology Professors — Leonard, Dobbs, Patton and Hubbard — have already been mentioned several times in this blog. I owe them much. I especially remember helping with Trichinosis research under Professor Dobbs in Invertebrate Zoology and becoming Professor Hubbard’s first lab assistant in Genetics, a job I held for my last two years at Wofford.

But while at Wofford I also took an eclectic assortment of classes including Shakespeare, Russian Literature, Psychology, Philosophy, Spanish, and Astronomy, among others both required and elective. These included two art classes from Professor Armitage (later Antonsen). Thanks to her, I insisted on seeing Michelangelo’s David in Florence when it wasn’t originally included in our tour of Italy!

At the time Wofford required two semesters of Religion for which I have always been grateful. We had Old Testament in the Fall and New Testament in the Spring of the Sophomore year. Dr. Nesbitt was awesome! I feel I have been forever protected from charlatans who would try to twist Theology and Scripture into some narrow confines where they were never intended to go.

Since retirement, I have been reading quite a few books on History and Geography as well as fiction. My wife and I have traveled in the USA and Canada. For the last decade, my primary avocation has been Birding. With it I can combine my Biology background with a love of the chase, keeping records of species seen, and getting to be outside generally enjoying nature. Although the Medical University of SC taught me a profession, my undergraduate experience taught me that if you seek to enjoy life a wide range of interests is essential. The learning should never stop!

Thanks Wofford!

Don Jones (’61)

May 7th, 2013 by Dan Mathewson

From my earliest days at Wofford, my experience was defined by the bonds of community. I was fostered by a spirit of unity that stemmed from relationships built on the athletic fields and in the classrooms. It has sustained me throughout my career. My Wofford experience taught me to recognize choices and to respond to opportunities with optimism. It instilled in me a sense of delight in setting goals and a sense of duty to persevere in the face of adversity. Over the course of my career, I have been an athlete, a college coach, a community leader and a nationally recognized motivational speaker. To participate fully in the Wofford community — or any community for that matter — we are required to act with kindness and respect. We must accept the responsibility of understanding that each of us has a valuable contribution to make, but that none of us can do it alone. The following are some lessons that Wofford’s community taught me:

“We are good enough to win the game, but we must have a game plan” -Coach Snidow

One of my earliest experiences at Wofford taught me that setting and achieving personal goals builds confidence in community. I came into Wofford on a partial athletic and academic scholarship and was assigned to the last string on the 90-man football team as a freshman. For my entire first year, I did not dress out for games. So the first goal I set was to “dress out” in my sophomore year. Then I worked hard to make the traveling squad. Following that, my goal was to get on the field to play during a game. Eventually, I advanced to a first string starter for three years. In my last season, I averaged 59 minutes of play per game for 10 games. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal covered my movement up the lines in an article in 1959 entitled “Rags to Riches: Don Jones from Marietta …” I believe this was the foundation for future goal setting that pushed me to graduate, to obtain a master’s degree and an Ed.D. in Education. Wofford allowed me to be my own man. No one in my family had gone to college before me. Making choices to set goals and accepting the responsibility of achieving them within the context of the team was an incredibly rewarding and motivating experience.

“If you find joy in your work relationships, you will be successful at anything you do” -Don Jones

During the time I was at Wofford, I played “the other end” opposite Jerry Richardson. In 1958 Coach Snidow needed someone who could block and tackle to complement Jerry who could catch and run. My friend, Jerry, was the team captain. I followed Jerry’s career over the years after graduation in 1961, but as college friends do, we lost touch. In 1994(?) I had been working as a motivational consultant with Evander Holyfield. I went to the news stand to pick up a copy of Ring magazine that had an article on Evander. Just opposite that magazine on the stand was a copy of the Sporting News with a cover article about Jerry becoming one of the only two former NFL players to own an NFL team. I took the article and got it framed for him. I sent it to him with a note that said “Something for you from an old friend.” Jerry called me from Seattle with gratitude saying thanks to a “true friend.” I’ve never been in awe of someone else’s success. My Wofford experience taught me to value what everyone brings to the table. For years, I worked as a corporate coach for NASCAR teams and other professional athletes. Recognizing others’ success boosted my own confidence and made me feel like I could accomplish anything. Being a student athlete at Wofford laid a strong foundation for appreciating the benefits of being part of a team.

“The greatest thanks you can give someone who helped you is to pay it forward with someone else” -Coach Jim Brakefield

As one of the only two sport athletes at Wofford in 1959 (football and baseball), I had the honor of knowing a fine man, coach Jim Brakefield. Coach Brakefield was the head baseball coach and an assistant coach on the football team. He recruited me from Atlanta in 1956. I had a choice between a full baseball scholarship to Georgia Tech or a dual scholarship at Wofford. I chose Wofford because I liked Coach Brakefield’s philosophy of believing strongly in students’ success. He gradually became a mentor and a role model for me. Before my last football game at Wofford, I thought all week about how to thank Coach Brakefield for the opportunities he gave me. After we won the game, I pulled him to the side and said “Coach, I want to tell you something: how can I thank you for…” Before I even got finished, he said “Jones, you help some other boy like I helped you and we’ll be even.” Since then, I’ve relived that moment often. I think it was a seminal event in my Wofford experience that has guided the rest of my career choices. As a college coach at Berry College in Rome GA, I was able to provide scholarships to many young athletes who would not have had the chance to attend college otherwise. Currently as the Executive Director of the Henderson County Education foundation, I am able to help provide over $150,000 in scholarship funds to students from my community every year. We’ve even established several scholarships that cover the entire cost of a student’s college education.

College is a separator. It helps you rise above where you started. The lessons you learn as a student remain with you in your career and throughout your life. Wofford students share a community in which they can make choices that lay the foundation for their future. Being in community is not easy. Simplicity was never meant to be the hallmark of college education. Being in community requires all of us to engage faithfully and respectfully in each others’ lives. As such it challenges the very nature of our being. We are at once independent and connected at the same time. This alone makes our commitment to our choices that much more important. The true measure of our success is to remember simply that there is accountability in the choices we make. If you enjoy your work and are motivated to honor others, you will be successful at anything you do.

W.D. Parris (’62)

April 29th, 2013 by Dan Mathewson

I am currently a retired hospital chaplain whose ordination is with the Christian Church Disciples of Christ. Though retired from the hospital I am currently the chaplain with the Harrison County, WV Sheriff’s Department, and I am interim minister of my church here. In addition to serving as chaplain of United Hospital Center for 33 years, I also taught Introductory Philosophy, Medical Ethics, and Death and Grief for Fairmont State Community College for over ten years.

The education I received at Wofford has been instrumental in my success in the ministry and has provided me a broad perspective from which to view our changing world and my changing life. I majored in History which was a great choice as I had the opportunity to pastor an English-Language church in Mainz, Germany and to experience a lot of European history in person. The enthusiasm of the History Department continues to stimulate my interest in current events and to see them from a historical perspective.

Dr. Kenneth Coates had a small afternoon class in which he was able to teach grammar by having us write a paper each day in class and to write another one at home. As a result of this method, writing papers at Wofford and at seminary became relatively easy for me. Also, preparing sermons and writing articles for our hospital newsletter became second nature. I was called on to proof the newsletter and other publications because people respected my knowledge of grammar. (Unfortunately, as I have aged, I find myself looking up many of the grammar rules — they do not come as natural as they used to!).

I required my students at Fairmont State to write several papers in my classes. As a result, I had an opportunity to teach English as well as the subject I was assigned. I have also had a lot of fun arguing rules of grammar with my youngest son who majored in English, and with a friend’s daughter who teaches English at West Virginia University.

Dr. Nesbitt was so thorough in his Bible classes that I scored well enough on entrance exams at seminary to skip basic Bible courses. This allowed me to take more Greek and Hebrew as well as elective Bible courses.

While most of the courses and departments I have mentioned prepared me well for my profession, the wide range of courses prepared me to live my life with enthusiasm for its many facets. All of my professors cared about what they were doing. They were well-prepared to teach their subjects and they wanted their students to be well-prepared for their careers and for their lives. I feel a sadness for students who enter college with only a desire to get their degree but do not care to learn, or those who ignore the liberal arts and become myopic in experiencing the world.

I have a niece who will graduate Wofford this year. She affirms that Wofford is still a great school. I read the newsletter and know that Wofford is still committed to providing quality liberal arts education. I am thankful and proud that I had the opportunity to graduate from this fine school.

Ann Payne Howard (’80)

April 23rd, 2013 by Dan Mathewson

My entrance to Wofford College was a life saving experience. While in the midst of a “mid-life crisis,” I was encouraged by my friend, Jim Seegars, chair of the Psychology Department at Wofford, to “come take a course at Wofford. Get your mind set on productive learning and leave behind the worries of aging.” His pitch was also enhanced by “and you can work for me in the Psychology Department a few hours a week.”

Little did I know how the decision to heed his advice would change my life. It led not only to taking a class, but also to working at Wofford in various positions for twelve years. During that time I was allowed to attend classes; I eventually graduated Cum Laude in 1980. This, added to my license as a Registered Nurse, was incentive to pursue a Master’s Degree in Education with a Cognate in Counseling.

Without the Wofford experience I would not have been hired to work for The Spartanburg Area Mental Health Center, a job that was extremely rewarding and fulfilling. I would also have missed out on working with many significant community service activities.

Thank you, Wofford, for believing in me and giving me the basic tools for a successful career and wonderful life.

Zebulon V. Kendrick (’69)

April 16th, 2013 by Dan Mathewson

I have heard it said that colleges and universities prepare one for one’s first job, not the last. Although there is truth in this statement, I can attest that Wofford prepared me for my career, not just for my first job or my last.

I came to Wofford College as a junior transfer in 1967 and was a member of the graduating class of 1969. My major area was History. This discipline uniquely prepared me for my career choices, which have led me into disciplines that are very different from History. I earned my master’s at Wake Forest University and my doctorate at Temple University in Kinesiology, with research in the physiology and biochemistry of exercise. After earning my doctoral degree, I completed postdoctoral training in Pharmacology. Since then, I have been a professor; have conducted and published research for over 40 years; and directed a research laboratory for 18 years. At present, I am the Vice Provost for Graduate Education at Temple University.

One may ask how a Wofford degree in History fits into my career. The answer is simple: the faculty at Wofford and the 4-1-4 program. First, I had amazing History professors at Wofford that demanded more from me than I was demanding of myself. Drs. Jones, Lesesne, and Killian helped to shape my love for history and how to make history “living.” I must admit the one class I hated the most, although it was probably the most important class I took at Wofford, was the one-credit course taught by Dr. Jones on how to use the library. Skills learned in that class were repeatedly used in attaining my master and doctoral degrees, writing my earlier publications, and, interestingly, helping to prepare me for the early use of internet search engines. I consistently used the library skills to develop a well-founded historical perspective in defining my research problems, thereby helping me with both my research and the writing of my publications.

The 4-1-4 was a new curriculum when I arrived at Wofford. In my first winter session, I spent the month at the United States Military Academy at West Point studying the biomechanics of gymnastics. In my senior year, I spent the winter session applying those mechanics to the teaching of gymnastics. I am certain that Dr. Jones had wished I had undertaken other projects, but the winter sessions allowed me to shape the next steps in my career.

Wofford College provided an excellent faculty, a demanding and great liberal arts education, and the chance through the winter sessions to satisfy academic experiences that were “outside the box.” Thank you, Wofford – and go Terriers!

Jim Mancke (’71)

April 10th, 2013 by Dan Mathewson

I am one of the luckiest and most blessed men alive! In fact, the father of one of my students paid me the ultimate compliment when he wrote “no person has known their place on this earth so exactly and loved it so dearly as you.” To have had the opportunity of serving literally thousands of high school students and their parents as a high school counselor in both public and private schools over the past thirty-six years has blessed me in ways that are difficult at best to put into words.

The time has now come for me to retire. In doing so, I am very intentionally calling a time-out in my life to reflect upon my career and all of the life-lessons I have been taught by my students and their parents. Yes, they have been my teachers and, I, their pupil over these many years. It is the lessons I have learned from them that are so choice.

Imagine going into work each day and walking into your office that is located right in the center of where hundreds of students congregate. Literally every time I opened my counseling office door I would see them passing by in all of their adolescent “glory” (or “whatever” as the adolescent vernacular goes). And, yes, as adolescents tend to do, they frequently came running on their own to my office to seek out my wisdom and counseling assistance. NOT! (Again, adolescent lingo). Actually, I must admit that I had to use some manipulative measures to lure them in. These measures ranged from jars full of candy on my desk to student photographs hanging on my office walls and windows. These photographs depicted them doing their “things” in a multitude of different venues. As one of my students phrased it, “You documented our lives.” Of course, I had to leave my office to be where they were to take such shots. And let me assure you that students know when you are present to see them in action.

My philosophy of high school counseling was fairly simple; try your best to connect with your students in the good times so that when the bad times come you have a level of connectedness that enables you to better minister to their needs. I have italicized the word connectedness to emphasize that is the essential ingredient of serving the adolescent community effectively. (Some would prefer to term it “the building of relationships,” but that is only somewhat synonymous.) Let me sing the praises of Dr. Ned Hallowell, an extraordinary adolescent psychiatrist, who has operationally defined connectedness as follows:

“Connectedness is a sense of being a part of something larger than oneself. It is a sense of belonging or accompaniment. It is that feeling in your bones that you are not alone. It is a sense that no matter how scary things may become, there is a hand for you in the dark.”

So, basically my role as a high school counselor was that of connecting, of being that “hand in the dark” but also being there to give a handshake and a pat on the back on those “sunny days” when most everything was right in their world. There were plenty of those days. Once the connections were made, the lessons began.

Some of the lessons I have learned were joy-filled and elicited from me intense laughter, broad smiles, and, yes, at times, even happy tears. Others brought more visceral responses such as knots in my stomach, a flushed face, confusion, and so forth. But, let me suggest that these are what life is all about, especially when it centers around the adolescent world.

While I firmly believe that a loving Lord placed in my heart a genuine love for people, modeled by my incredibly loving parents, and a heart-felt desire to serve them, I still needed to develop the skills necessary to minister to them in a productive, meaningful way. That is where Wofford College entered my life. My older brother, Rudy, was already a student there, with his focus being more upon (as he describes it) “no-legged and four-legged” creatures in nature (he was a Biology major). Since I was looking to serve the “two legged” population, my focus centered around the field of Psychology.

Thanks to Dr. Jim Seegars, Dr. John Pilley, and Dr. Don Scott of Wofford’s Psychology Department, and their respective fields of study, I absolutely fell in love with my major. For every class I took (with the exception of Statistics – forgive me Dr. Scott), what being human was all about was expressed in powerful ways. While I hoped my future career emphasis would focus upon counseling, I, too, needed to know what made people work (or not work), how the brain actually operated and was affected by a million bits of stimuli that impinged upon it daily, and how certain schedules of reinforcement either encouraged or discouraged the behaviors for which I was hoping. These gentlemen covered it all and did so with a hands-on, one-on-one approach that made it so meaningful. They, in effect, placed “a fire in my belly” to proceed with my future counseling career.

While at Wofford I also joined the Army ROTC Program and, upon my graduation, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Military Police Corps. Interestingly, that further opened doors for the study of human behavior. My 3-1/2 years of military service coupled with my Wofford Psychology degree and an additional Masters degree earned at the University of South Carolina in the field of Secondary School Counseling, paved the way for my calling and my career. Wofford set the stage for so many wonderful things that followed my education there.

So, I close with special thanks for so many folks who invested themselves in me over these many years. In turn, their investment enabled me to invest in those very strange “creatures” known as adolescents. As one person has phrased it, despite their many quirks, adolescents continue to be “among the most charming of God’s creatures!” They certainly blessed my life!

Fran Battles (’10)

April 4th, 2013 by Dan Mathewson

I will graduate in May with my masters in the field of Speech-Language Pathology and I intend to seek a job in a pediatric outpatient/rehabilitation setting. While my time at Wofford has not directly impacted my job quite yet, it certainly has influenced my time in graduate school and has prepared me well for obtaining a job. My liberal arts education at Wofford has also enabled me to bring a different perspective to a field that is constantly evolving, and has equipped me to assist patients in the most effective ways possible.

Wofford fostered in me a sense of independence, even as it shaped my ability to problem solve and reason in new ways. In my time serving on interdisciplinary professional teams to rehabilitate adults and children, my ability to critically evaluate and integrate information has been a useful tool, a tool that my time at Wofford developed and strengthened.

While at Wofford, I spent both a January term and semester abroad. With the help of my Spanish professor, I designed my own trip to Cuernavaca, Mexico, to take Spanish classes and work in an orphanage. I also spent a semester in Siena, Italy, traveling and exploring Europe. Both experiences enhanced my cultural understanding and awareness, as well as enabled me to discover a different, more confident side of myself. The depth of my experience came from being immersed in other cultures and being allowed the freedom to create and learn both independently and with groups of other students from all over the country. Having a school that challenged me to explore — and that made traveling possible — has given me respect and compassion in communicating and interacting with individuals from other cultures.

In addition to the opportunities for intellectual and cultural growth, Wofford encouraged personal growth through service and involvement in the community, as well relationships with faculty and staff. The extensive variety of the service organizations at Wofford provided numerous avenues in which to impact the surrounding community, and the small class sizes allowed professors to be more engaged in the education and lives of their students. I built relationships with faculty that I still maintain today; these relationships gave me the confidence to forge new relationships with the faculty and administration in my graduate program – new relationships that have led, in turn, to a greater depth of understanding about my field, even as they provided me with numerous opportunities throughout my graduate work.

My liberal arts education created opportunities for me to experience learning in a variety of ways. The uniqueness of an education at a place like Wofford is that the environment promotes growth in areas outside of a student’s main area of interest and it challenges students always to probe deeper. The end result is a student who is well rounded with both professional and interpersonal skills.

Although I find it difficult to capture in words the educational and personal growth I experienced at Wofford, I do know that the skills I developed there have shaped who I am today and will continue to influence who I will become as a healthcare professional.

Drew Crowell (’12)

March 25th, 2013 by Dan Mathewson

Wofford was the best thing to ever happen to me, but my decision to enroll there was anything but certain. As a high school basketball standout, I had many college coaches contacting me and writing me letters every day — coaches from USC, Syracuse, Davidson, Citadel, Elon, North Florida, Upstate, and countless Division 2 schools. It was overwhelming, to say the least. Wofford stood out to me for a few reasons, the most important of which was because my parents emphasized strong academics. In particular, my father, who was a basketball standout in his day, taught me to prioritize the educational opportunities that playing college ball would provide.

My father passed away while I was being recruited, and the only potential coach he was able to meet before he died was the first coach to contact me, Mike Young. My father approved of Coach Young, and this had a powerful effect on me, as my father was someone that I always strove to impress. After weighing all my offers, Wofford seemed like the best fit: it had a beautiful campus, a friendly faculty, strong academic standards, and a D1 basketball program coached by Mike Young. I decided to become a Terrier.

I formed many close friendships during my time at Wofford, and I came to realize how close the Wofford community is — I knew almost everyone on campus! Also, while I was there, the basketball team went on to win two Southern Conference Championships; these were the first and only ones in school history. Since graduating, I accepted a contract to play professional basketball in Denmark for Team Fog Naestved. I know this opportunity was due to the team’s success and the excellent job done by Mike Young and his coaching staff, as well as the talent and hard work from his players!

While playing overseas was a blast, it’s not for everyone and you really have to be in a good situation to be successful. While my experience was amazing, I was not in the best situation, unfortunately. Now, I am back in the United States and everywhere I turn I run into Wofford graduates. Currently, I am looking for a job, and although I have not yet found one, I have spoken to a few interviewers who know about Wofford and our sports teams, as well as the high academic standards upheld at the college. Fortunately, Wofford has a very prestigious reputation throughout the South.

Had I not attended Wofford, I know that my life would be on a totally different course. I am thankful for what Wofford has done for me.

Jackson W. Carroll (’53)

March 19th, 2013 by Dan Mathewson

My years at Wofford contributed in important ways to my outlook on life and my career, particularly in relation to the struggle for racial justice. I grew up, as many of my contemporaries, in the racially segregated South. Although earlier experiences, especially participating in a national interracial church conference, had begun to challenge my taken-for-granted views about racial segregation, Wofford made a significant impact in a number of ways. Let me be clear, however: Wofford at the time was no bastion of racial liberalism! It was as racially segregated as the larger society. Yet despite this, glimpses of a different way of thinking and acting broke through. One experience stands out as especially formative.

In 1951, during the second semester of my sophomore year, I served as editor of the Old Gold and Black. Early in the semester, Hodding Carter Jr., the award winning Southern progressive editor of the Greenville (Mississippi) Delta Democrat-Times, gave a lecture at Wofford. I was deeply moved by his lecture and arranged to interview him afterwards for the student paper. The interview led to a lengthy front page editorial in which I praised Carter’s point of view and his courage in expressing it, and I challenged fellow students to confront their own racism as Carter had challenged me to do. In the following issue, we published an editorial cartoon by fellow student Philip Gibbs, which pictured a Klansman whipping a Black man tied to a cross. It was captioned “In this sign conquer?” Looking back, I admit that the editorial especially was rather “sophomoric” in style and content — reflecting no doubt the fact that I was a sophomore at the time! However, publishing the editorial and the cartoon were for me one of the first times that I went public in such a broad based and open way with my evolving racial views. To put it mildly, doing so was neither a popular nor comfortable thing to do in the social and cultural climate of the time! I soon discovered this to be the case.

Our actions were described in a brief Associated Press news story and published in the Greenville (SC) News. Shortly afterwards I, along with Ted Morton, the associate editor, received a summons to the President’s office. President Walter Greene was of the “old South” in his racial views, and he was also concerned about what he considered to be the adverse publicity that our actions were bringing to the college. In today’s vernacular, he strongly admonished us to “cool it”! We were, however, not without a strong champion and advocate in Professor Kenneth Coates of the English department, who was also faculty advisor to the student newspaper. Professor Coates publicly defended us and applauded what we had done. I might add that he, among the many fine faculty members at Wofford during my four years, had the most profound influence on me. While not a particularly dynamic teacher, Coates exhibited great integrity and courage. He challenged me and others to think critically, ask questions and express our convictions whether popular or not.

In retrospect, this experience seems quite tame in light of the turbulent events that were to follow: the Supreme Court decision of 1954 ending segregated schools, the sit-ins of the late 50s and 60s, and the racial violence that erupted throughout the South. Yet, for this Wofford student, my experience was an early catalyst in shaping a commitment to racial justice that I continued to pursue in various ways during my subsequent career, first as a Methodist pastor, later as a professor, and is still vital today.

Tony Metze (’80)

March 13th, 2013 by Dan Mathewson

When I was a student at Wofford, I did not know what I would do with the rest of my life. But people like Dr. Donald Scott and Dr. John Bullard made a powerful impression on me, and through the influence of Dr. Bullard I decided to major in religion. Several of my friends thought I was crazy. After all, what would I do with a religion degree? Wofford, however, instilled in me a desire to learn.

After graduation I spent a year in retail management searching for direction. Uncertain of all the ramifications, I applied for seminary and was accepted. Imagine my surprise when the first day of Old Testament class the professor introduced the same textbook I used at Wofford! I knew I was in a great position academically; Wofford prepared me well. After some years in parish ministry, my Wofford-instilled desire to learn stirred me once again to pursue further studies. After completing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Gordon-Conwell, I realized yet again that my Wofford foundation served me well.

The bottom line is this: Wofford created in me a desire to learn, and it continues to this day. Thank you for changing the direction of my life and setting me on my career path as a pastor and a lifelong learner.