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Alumni Association Presents Distinguished Awards

October 19, 2023


NEWBERRY — As part of Newberry College’s 101st Homecoming celebration, the Alumni Association presented four Distinguished Alumni Awards during its annual meeting on Oct. 14.


Each year at Homecoming, the association honors graduates and friends of the College who have distinguished themselves through service and support of the institution, the church, and their communities.


The awards were presented by Dr. Maurice Scherrens, president of Newberry College, and Dr. Lisa Wagner '91 and Matt Fogle '09, past president and president-elect of the Alumni Association.


The Alumni Distinguished Service Award was presented to Joyce Roof Carter '82. Carter is a former president of the Alumni Board of Managers and has served on the Board of Trustees and advisory committees for the teacher education and music departments. She is a member of the Newberry College Hall of Master Teachers, having received the William Dufford Retired Educator Award. 

In her community, Carter has served on the board of Lexington County First Steps, the board of the Lexington One Educational Foundation, and as a philanthropic event planner for the Free Medical Clinic in Columbia. 

Carter is married to Jeffrey Mark Carter, and they are members of Pomaria Lutheran Church in Pomaria. 

The Noah & Pansy Derrick Outstanding Friend of the College Award was presented to Leah Blackmon. Blackmon is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Newberry College Athletic Club and a former member of the Newberry YMCA Board. She founded the William C. Blackmon Athletic Memorial Foundation, in memory of her late husband, a proud 1992 Newberry graduate. She is a lifelong member of the Newberry community, and she works to make Newberry College the best it can be for students and for the community. 

Blackmon is a member of Summer Memorial Lutheran Church in Newberry, where she serves on the church council, chairs the evangelism committee, and plays in the handbell choir. She is the proud mother of sons, Ben and Alec '21, and daughter-in-law, Brady Keeler '20.


The Thomas A. Epting Outstanding Alumni Award was presented to Jim Hale '63. Hale has served his alma mater faithfully for decades as a loyal alumnus, president of the Alumni Association, and director of planned giving. In this role, he fostered love for Newberry among his classmates, and grew scholarships that have allowed countless students to succeed. Though he graduated in history and political science, he has maintained a lifelong passion for music, and has been a supporter of the College’s music programs and of the Newberry Opera House.

Hale is a member of Virginia Wingard Memorial United Methodist Church in Columbia. He has three children, Jimmy, Lyn, and Elise; and six grandchildren: Robert, Sam, Michael, Caroline, Matthew and Sara. Hale was unable to attend the event, and his award was presented in absentia.

The Phillip T. Kelly Jr. Outstanding Young Alumni Award was presented to Jay Salter '19. Salter joined Newberry College's Department of Marketing & Communications after graduation. His role has allowed him to give back to the institution that has given him so much. As the staff writer, his work includes news & public relations, the alumni magazine, "Dimensions," the College's social media accounts, advertisements, and strengthening the Newberry College brand. He also enjoys serving as a public address announcer for Wolves volleyball.


Salter is a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Prosperity, where he is a member and secretary of the church council, sings in the chancel choir, teaches Sunday School, and serves as an offering clerk.


In addition to recognizing these honorees, the association also recognized the classes of 1953, 1963, 1973, 1983, 1998 and 2013, which celebrated their 70th, 60th, 50th, 40th, 25th and 10th reunions, respectively.


Top: Alumni Association president Jessica Beam Shealy '12 at Homecoming 2022, taken by Trey Love '95. Homecoming 2023 photos: Garry Talbert '75.

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