Alumni renew friendships as they return to campus

Posted on May 2, 2012

Returning alumni gather to exchange greetings.  

Eleanor Chesnut Richardson ’59 of Flat Rock, N.C., received the Alumni Distinguished Service Award April 28 during Alumni Weekend 2012 at Erskine College and Seminary. Awards were presented to other alumni and friends of the institution during a meeting chaired by Alumni Association President Nan Sherer Campbell ’86 of Honea Path.

W. David Conner, chairman-elect of the Board of Trustees, brought greetings from the board, stressing its reaffirmation of Erskine’s “historic, unique, purposeful, mutually beneficial” relationship with the ARP Church.

Erskine President Dr. David A. Norman, who was inaugurated as part of alumni weekend activities last year, reflected on his experience as president. Erskine is a place where “critical thinking paves the way for creative thinking,” he said. “It’s not just about asking what or why, but the courage to ask ‘what if,’” he added.

Eleanor Chesnut Richardson

Alumni Director Buddy Ferguson ’82 presented the Alumni Association’s highest award to Richardson, who came to Erskine on an honors scholarship, a piano scholarship, and a work scholarship. Her work scholarship in the business office turned into a full-time job so that she could remain at Erskine.

Richardson has served her alma mater as president of the Alumni Association and co-chair of the Annual Fund. She began her fund-raising career at Georgia Institute of Technology, raised funds for the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, and was the first woman in Atlanta to earn the designation “Certified Fund Raising Executive.” She set up the first retirement fund for ARP ministers while working with the denomination’s treasurer, and now serves as development director for Bonclarken, the ARP conference center.

“All of us who came to Erskine are abundantly blessed,” Richardson told the alumni audience. “We need to share that abundance by being active and involved.”

Ferguson recalled that when he came to work as alumni director, he received a plant from Richardson. “I don’t do well with plants, but that one is still alive,” he said. “As long as we get to work with people like Eleanor Chesnut Richardson, Erskine will be just like that plant.”

Gail Gaston O’Farrell ’63 hurries into Lesesne Auditorium. 

The Sullivan Awards, given by the New York Southern Society to a man and woman who have “shown a spirit of love for and helpfulness to their fellow human beings,” were presented by Dr. Norman.

Dr. Judith Sherrill Bazemore ’55, a retired educator who served as director of research and planning for Spartanburg School District Seven, received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award. She majored in English and French at Erskine, then earned a master’s degree at Winthrop College and a Ph.D. at the University of Georgia. Well known and respected in her field, she is also a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto.

Dr. Ralph C. McCullough II ’63, an attorney and professor of law, received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. He served on the faculty of the University of South Carolina School of Law from 1968-2002. He and several judges and attorneys established the Charleston School of Law in 2002, and today he serves as managing director for the fully accredited school.

Andy and Angi Patrick

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award, for recent graduates who have begun making achievements in the workplace, church and community, was given to an Erskine couple, Andrew J. Patrick III ’96 and Angi Taylor Patrick ’94, and to Michael Shake ’98.

Vice President for Student Services Dr. Robyn Agnew presented the award to the Patricks, who own and operate Attaway Printing in Anderson. Husband and wife were both named to an inaugural list of influential people under 40 in Anderson and are active in numerous community organizations, including United Way and Habitat for Humanity.

Associate Professor of Music Robert Glick presented the award to Shake, organist and associate director of music at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Laura Bowden. Shake formerly served as organist at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta. He has been featured in a number of recordings as well as on the National Public Radio program “Pipe Dreams.”

Richard Haldeman

Richard H. Haldeman ’99 (honorary) received the Erskine Service Award. His 34-year Erskine career began in 1961, and included teaching journalism and freshman English, editing the alumni magazine, launching several college publications, helping to plan and publicize Erskine’s 125th anniversary celebration, writing and distributing countless press releases, covering sports events, and serving as student newspaper advisor.

Inducted into the Flying Fleet Hall of Fame in 1987, he was recognized by the College News Association in 1995 and received the Clifford Beers Award in 2010 for service in the mental health community. Taking the podium, Haldeman expressed gratitude for students and staff members who assisted him through the years.

Named honorary alumni this year were Professor Emerita of Bible and Religion Dr. Margaret Cubine and Randy Estep, Erskine’s chief of public safety.

Cubine taught at Erskine from 1961 until her retirement in 1989, coming to Erskine after teaching at several high schools and colleges. Cubine was unable to attend the meeting, but expressed “great excitement and appreciation” at being named an honorary alumna.

Estep came to Erskine in the fall of 1999 as a lieutenant and was promoted to chief in 2000. He has also served as a resident director for a total of seven years. Erskine has recently been recognized as one of the safest college campuses in the United States. “This is truly a testament to the dedication and professionalism of Chief Estep,” Vice President for Finance and Operations Greg Haselden said.

Four-year-old Daniel Weyer, son of Adam Weyer ’99 and Ashley Weyer ’97, enjoyed the inflatable games on the Mall.

Outgoing Alumni Board members recognized were Phillip Cook ’92; Grace Lucile Garrison Hill ’52; Jean Valentine McClinton ’75; Charles W. McKinney ’60; C.E. “Ed” Poore Jr. ’61; and Phillip M. Smith ’74.

The Class of 1962 Gift, a donation of more than $10,000 toward the planned Alumni House, was presented by Dot McGill Elmore, class representative.

Paul Grier ’84 and Dr. L. Elizabeth Patrick ’90, Annual Fund co-chairs, encouraged alumni to support their alma mater. “Please think about students when you give to the Annual Fund,” Patrick said.

Gerald Ellis ’89 turned out for this year’s Red Eye Run.

President-elect Steve Southwell ’80 presented a slate of nominees for the Alumni Association Board of Directors and Campbell conducted the election and installed the officers.

Chosen as new board members were Ruth Beard Boetsch ’72, Fort Mill; Angi McNeil Grooms ’77, Davidson, N.C.; Herbert K. Jordan ’68, Due West; Robert B. Luebke Jr. ’61 (Sem. ’64), Deland, Fla.; Darrin C. Sanders ’94, Austell, Ga.; and Richard E. Thompson ’76, Starr.

The Erskine Choraleers, directed by Dr. Mark Nabholz, opened the meeting with a short concert. Dr. Robert Bell, dean of the seminary, offered the opening prayer. Heather Emch, president of the Student Christian Association, gave a closing prayer.

Activities Friday night included a 50th reunion dinner for the Class of 1962, and a number of classes gathered Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening. Saturday’s events started early with the 20th annual Red Eye Run at 8 a.m. Friedrich Engler ’99 of Due West finished in first place.

This year’s “Stories by the Student Cabin,” directed by Sarah Kennerly ’65, featured William Cooper ’13 and Daniel Prohaska ’14, students of Dr. Russell Benton ’61.

For more photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/erskinecollege/sets/72157629956055089/