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Roost Named Professor of the Year

December 1, 2021


NEWBERRY — The Newberry College Student Government Association has elected Dr. Laura Roost, associate professor of political science, as 2021 Professor of the Year.


The award is given annually to a professor dedicated to the college’s students, who has the enthusiasm that inspires future leaders, the association said in a statement. According to tradition, the honoree will deliver the commencement address at fall commencement, to be held Dec. 10 at 2:30 p.m. in the college’s Wiles Chapel.


Roost joined the Newberry College faculty in 2017, serving also as political science program coordinator, pre-law advisor and Fulbright liaison. In these first four years, she has distinguished herself as an advocate for student civic involvement. She has organized numerous voter registration drives, community service days and real-world discussion panels.


Roost has also sought to strengthen relationships among faculty, staff and coaches, spearheading meet-and-greets and encouraging conversation across disciplines. She also serves on the President’s Task Force for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, established in 2020 by President Maurice Scherrens. For all this and more, she was named Newberry College's 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award winner in April by South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.


Roost earned her doctorate from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, with graduate specialization in human rights and humanitarian affairs. She also earned her master's in political science from Lincoln, and her bachelor's from Morningside College, graduating summa cum laude. A Fulbright Scholar herself, Roost spent 10 months in Rwanda studying the impact of women’s non-government organizations on post-genocide society. Roost is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.


Coffman Appointed Newberry College Campus Pastor

November 17, 2021


NEWBERRY — The Rev. David W. Coffman, of Irmo, has been called to serve Newberry College as campus pastor, effective Dec. 1.


The 1997 Newberry College graduate returns to his alma mater from West Columbia-based SC House Calls, where he has served as patient care coordinator. Coffman has also been a chaplain for Agape Care, and has served its predecessor, Agape Hospice, in multiple roles since 2013.


“I am super excited about joining Wolf Nation and being back home,” said Coffman. “Newberry College was formative for me, and I am humbled and honored to be sharing in the amazing work God is doing in and through the students, faculty and staff. I look forward to engaging in our spiritual journey and connecting folks over what unites us: God’s amazing grace.”


Coffman earned his bachelor's degree from Newberry in political science, and he holds a Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.


Coffman’s formal installation service will be held in February.


Newberry College Recognizes Bachman Honor Scholars

November 15, 2021


NEWBERRY — Induction into the Bachman Honor Society has long been one of the highest honors Newberry College bestows on students.


Founded in 1962 by faculty and named for the college’s principal founder, the Rev. John Bachman, the society is home to seniors who finish in the top 8% of their class for GPA.


This year, the society decided to split its induction, historically a single ceremony each spring, to recognize seniors graduating in fall and spring respectively. The decision allows prospective fall graduates to receive this well-deserved acknowledgement with their peers.


The society held its first fall induction on Friday during Founders Convocation in Wiles Chapel, and welcomed the following five students:


  • Preston Bowers, an accounting major from Pomaria (pictured below)

  • Sarah Dominick, a psychology major from Newberry

  • Kelsey Havird, a biology major, with an environmental studies concentration, from Newberry (pictured below)

  • Emma McCall, an accounting major from Chapin

  • Denelle Williams, a criminal justice major from Johannesburg, South Africa

The society also honored one faculty member and one administrative staff member:


  • Patrick Gagliano, chair of the Department of Arts and Communications and professor of theatre and speech, who arrived at Newberry College in 1994 (pictured below)

  • Cindy Shealy, assistant registrar, who has served Newberry College since 1977 (pictured below)

Dominick, McCall and Williams were honored in absentia.


Newberry College Student Voting Increased in 2020, report finds

November 8, 2021


NEWBERRY — As the 2021 off-year elections came to an end, Newberry College reported that its student voting in the 2020 presidential election increased significantly over previous years.


A simple majority, 51.7%, of Newberry College students cast their votes in the 2020 election, up from 14.7% in the 2018 midterms and 36.6% in the 2016 presidential election.


The report comes from the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University.


“This report is fantastic news for campus civic engagement in the area of voting,” said Dr. Laura Roost, associate professor of political science and political science program coordinator at Newberry College. “The reason these years are highlighted is because these are presidential elections, which typically have more voter participation than midterm elections.”


Newberry College student voter registration was up as well, with 67% registered in 2020 over 51% four years before.


“We are doing some great work getting students to register and ultimately vote however they choose,” Roost added.


Nationwide, the institute reported, students built on the momentum swing of 2018 as 66% of them turned out in 2020, over 52% in 2016. The 14-point increase outpaces that of Americans on the whole, who saw only a six-point jump, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


“That students, often younger and first-time voters, turned out at rates commensurate with the general public is nothing short of stunning,” said IDHE Director Nancy Thomas.


Thomas went on to say that the high level of participation can be attributed to increased student activism and increased efforts by educators to get students civically engaged.


The institute’s study is the nation’s largest study of college and university student voting. The 2020 dataset included 8,880,700 voting-eligible students, representing 1,051 colleges and universities, all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


Newberry College Receives Growth Grant for Diversity Week

November 3, 2021


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Newberry College received a Growth Grant from South Carolina Humanities for the college’s ninth annual Dufford Diversity & Inclusion Week. The week was held Oct. 25 through Nov. 1.


Funding for the grant was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the NEH Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan initiative.


“We are very grateful for the grant funds received from SC Humanities,” said Dr. Peggy Winder '86, director of diversity education and professor in the Department of Sport Professions. “It truly means a lot for our diversity and inclusivity efforts, in that it allows us the opportunity to offset some costs and continue educating our audiences by sharing human stories that are often ignored or forgotten.”

Winder added that the Newberry Opera House also received Growth Grant funding for its collaboration with Newberry College, affording an even greater reach to the local community.


Dufford Diversity & Inclusion Week is an annual event series started in 2013 through the vision and generosity of Dr. William E. Dufford '49. Dufford made history in 1969 as the administrator responsible for integrating the Sumter County school system. As an educator, he has been a lifelong advocate for civil rights and quality education for all.


“The Dufford series is a tangible outcome of the College’s commitment to promoting personal and social acceptance, and the awareness, development and understanding of diversity, multiculturalism and social equity,” added Winder.


The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this nonprofit organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 350,000 citizens annually.


For more information about Dufford Diversity & Inclusion Week, visit


Newberry College Unveils Newberry Edge

November 2, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has unveiled Newberry Edge, the college’s new Quality Enhancement Plan, designed to pave students clear pathways to graduation.


Officially launching in fall 2022, the comprehensive plan seeks to enhance student learning and target specific areas for student success, focusing mainly on academic advising.


“Surveys were sent to students, faculty, staff, the Board of Trustees, alumni and community partners to see where they believed Newberry College has the greatest potential for improvement,” said Dr. Carrie Caudill, associate professor of psychology and chair of the committee. “With the insightful help of the College community, we have identified academic advising as a key area.”


Advising is a process through which students work with faculty and staff advisors to find courses, internships and other academic opportunities that lead to graduation and further career success.


“It’s not just about picking out classes. It’s about the personal attention for holistic development and strategically creating a purposeful path that will take students where they want to go in life,” added Caudill.


The plan includes guiding students’ educational goals, preparing for careers, exploring purpose, improving student satisfaction with the advising process, and bolstering student retention and persistence.


“This Quality Enhancement Plan is the product of years of research and dedication, so that we can be more effective at helping students reach their goals,” said Dr. Sid Parrish, vice president for academic affairs. “We would like to thank the QEP committee and everyone who has brought us to this point, and we look forward to implementing this plan over the coming years.”


Committee members include Caudill, Registrar Whitney Merinar, Assistant Dean John Lesaine '07, Head Baseball Coach Russell Triplett, Professor Jenny Lindler '11, Professor Annette Hunter, Professor Lindsy Boateng, student engagement director Kenntrail Grooms '07, Professor Matthew Kidder, Foundations and Grants Officer Tina McCartha, Muller Center Director Krista Hughes, Chair of Humanities David Rachels, Professor Matthew Fuller, Chair of Arts and Communications Pat Gagliano, and Associate Dean Christina Wendland.


For more information on Newberry Edge, visit


Newberry College Hosts 99th Homecoming Celebration

October 25, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College hosted its 99th Homecoming in person last weekend, welcoming back alumni and their families for awards, class reunions and fellowship.


Each year, the Newberry College Alumni Association gives awards to graduates and friends of the institution for their service, success and support. This year, following last year’s virtual Homecoming, awards were presented for 2020 and 2021. The following awards were presented Saturday:

  • The 2020 Alumni Distinguished Service Award: Mary "Cookie" Canty Goings '82, a retired educator who converted her family home into Nana’s Hope House, a nonprofit that benefits homeless Horry County high school students. Goings and her husband, Eric Sr., have two children, Whitney and EJ, and a granddaughter, Cali Marie.
  • The 2020 Noah and Pansy Derrick Outstanding Friend of the College Award: The Rev. Dr. Herman R. Yoos III, bishop emeritus of the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and former member of the Newberry College Board of Trustees. Yoos and his wife, Cindy, have three children, Drew, Kristi and Elizabeth.
  • The 2020 Philip T. Kelly Jr. Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Albert Elton Garrett III '02, a Laurens District 55 Athletic Hall of Famer and volunteer with the Salvation Army of Augusta and Goodwill Industries of Aiken. Garrett and his wife, Precious (Polite-Caldwell) Garrett '02, have two daughters, Jade and Maya.
  • The 2020 Thomas A. Epting Outstanding Alumni Award: Henry Michael Mack '82, an award-winning science teacher at Clinton High School, mentor for the Science Olympiad team and member of Presbyterian College’s CHAMPS enrichment collaborative.
  • The 2021 Alumni Distinguished Service Award: Bill Hilton Jr. '70, a retired educator, former president of the Alumni Association, founder of the nonprofit Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History, and co-founder of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics. Hilton and his wife, Susan (Ballard) Hilton '71, have two sons, Billy III and Garry, and two granddaughters, McKinley and Hadley.
  • The 2021 Alumni Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Heyward Brock '63, a retired professor and author who co-founded the University of Delaware’s Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program, the Medical Scholars program, and several undergraduate programs. A former president of Lutheran Community Services in Wilmington, Delaware, he co-founded the LCS Walk/Run for Life. Brock and his wife, Patricia (Farmer) Brock '63, also founded the Farmer/Brock Memorial Nursing Scholarship. The couple has three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
  • The 2021 Philip T. Kelly Jr. Outstanding Young Alumni Award: Elliott Cox '09, the director of marketing for South Carolina Lutheran Retreat Centers’ Coastal Retreat, and volunteer coach at the Isle of Palms Recreation Center. Cox and his wife, Deacon Ashlyn (Suhr) Cox '09, have three children, Carson, Lily and Micah.
  • The 2021 Thomas A. Epting Outstanding Alumni Award: Jim Guard Jr. '70, a member of the Florida Bar and scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America Troop 760, who has been honored for his pro bono legal services. Guard and his wife, Susan (Oetgen) Guard '71, have five children and three grandchildren.
  • Finally, a new award, the 2021 Newberry College Alumni Award of Valor, was presented to the late Mark G. Liptak '74. The Stamford, Connecticut, native retired in 2008 as a supervisory special agent in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, after 40 years in law enforcement at the local and federal levels. In 1999, he was honored with the Department of the Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award for safely negotiating the end to a hostage situation. Liptak and his wife, Helen “Lindy” (Lee) Liptak '75, had two children and two grandchildren. Mark Liptak passed away Sept. 16 at age 70.


On Saturday, reunion lunches honored the following groups:

  • 50th Reunion (1970 & 1971)
  • 40th Reunion (1980 & 1981)
  • 25th Reunion (1995 & 1996) 
  • African American Alumni Chapter
  • The 1971 football team, which marked 50 years since one of the greatest seasons in school football history
  • The Madrigal Singers, previously known as the Madrigalians, who celebrated 52 years since the group’s founding


Homecoming worship services were led Sunday by the Rev. Kevin Strickland '04, bishop of the Southeastern Synod of the ELCA.


The Alumni Association has announced that next year's centennial Homecoming, "100 Years of Home," is scheduled for Oct. 28-30, 2022.


Newberry College to Host Ninth Annual Diversity Series

October 4, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced the schedule of events for its ninth annual Dufford Diversity & Inclusion Week. The series, set for Oct. 25 through Nov. 1, is designed to inspire appreciation for differences of humanity and bring people together on common ground.


The annual series began in 2013 with the vision and generosity of Dr. William “Bill” Dufford '49, who continues to sponsor the program. Dufford made history in 1969 as the school administrator responsible for integrating the Sumter County school system. As an educator, he has been a lifelong advocate for civil rights and quality education for all.


This year’s program will include the following events, all of which are free and open to the public. Masks are required in all indoor spaces on the Newberry College campus and in the Newberry Opera House.


Monday, Oct. 25: DDIW Symposium

·       Educator Brandarius Jones '20, at noon on Setzler Field

·       Retired educator Moses King '76, at 2 p.m. in Kohn Lecture Hall

·       Graduate student Aubrey Guyton '21, at 3:30 p.m. at the Center for Teacher Education, 1121 Speers St.


Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m.: Keynote address by Billy Keyserling and Mike Greenly, under the tent at the Alumni Music Center. Keyserling, retired Beaufort, South Carolina, mayor and legislator, is co-author of “Sharing Common Ground: Promises Unfulfilled but Not Forgotten,” which offers a new approach to gaining a shared understanding of our value to each other. His co-author Greenly, a Beaufort native now living in New York, is a former Avon executive, lyricist, writer and speech coach.


Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.: “Cross That River” performance at the Newberry Opera House. These performances take audiences on a musical journey about how slaves-turned-cowboys helped settle the American West. These performances have been made free thanks to the support of Newberry Arts For All.


Wednesday, Oct. 27, at noon and 2 p.m.: “Tearing Down the Wall of Prejudice & Discrimination” workshop in the Gnann conference room in the Center for Teacher Education. Sponsored by the Social Justice Club.


Friday, Oct. 29, at noon: Room dedication for Nancy Lou Anderson Glasgow '70, at the Center for Teacher Education. This event will honor Glasgow, a Newberry native and Newberry College’s first African American graduate. A reception will follow in the garden.


Monday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m.: “Underrepresented Composers” performance in Wiles Chapel. This concert will feature the works of historically underrepresented musical composers, including those of Chickasaw pianist Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate and Black violinist Jessie Montgomery.


Coggins, Raines & Trainor Elected to Newberry College Board of Trustees

September 27, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced that James P. “Jimmie” Coggins '74, Dr. Kevin M. Raines '92 and Joseph A. “Joe” Trainor III will serve on the institution’s Board of Trustees. They each begin a three-year term Oct. 18.


Coggins, of Newberry, is a 1974 Newberry College graduate. He is the owner and general manager of Newberry Broadcasting Co. Inc., which has operated WKDK radio since its founding in 1946. Coggins served as chair of the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce, honorary chair of the Newberry County March of Dimes, and president of the county unit of the American Cancer Society. He also served on the board of directors of the Newberry County Family YMCA, the Newberry County Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, and as member and chair of the Board of the State Department of Youth Services Juvenile Parole Board. He is a member of the Newberry Rotary Club, and was named Rotarian of the Year and a Paul Harris Fellow. He received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from his alma mater in 2007.


Coggins has served on the Newberry College Board of Trustees since 2015. He and his wife, Doris, have a son, Parkes '05, and a daughter, Jessica.


Raines, of Chapin, is a Newberry College alumnus of 1992 who went on to graduate from the Medical University of South Carolina and earn specialty training in pediatric dentistry at the Medical College of Georgia. He is currently a pediatric dentist and partner at Palmetto Smiles Pediatric, Orthodontic & Family Dentistry in Lexington. He is a member of the South Carolina Dental Association, Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. He has also served as president of the South Carolina Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Raines has been a volunteer youth baseball and basketball coach and a former board member of the Lexington County Fellowship of Christian Athletes.


Raines is a member of Gateway Baptist Church. He and his wife, Katie, have four children, Klaire, McGuire, Cooper and MaryKate.


Trainor, of Prosperity, is the co-owner of Stokes-Trainor Chevrolet in Newberry, and boasts 27 years of experience in the automotive business. He purchased a dealership that was losing money and restored it to one of the consistently highest-ranked. Stokes-Trainor won the General Motors Mark of Excellence Award in 2000, and the 2020 Mark of Excellence Award from Chevrolet. Trainor was Gov. Mark Sanford’s Economic Ambassador for Newberry County in 2004. He is also a Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow.


Trainor previously served on the Newberry College Board of Trustees from 2011-20. He and his wife, Carla, have two children, John Wesley '20 and Samuel Christian.


Newberry College Launches Capital Improvements

September 21, 2021


NEWBERRY — The Newberry College skyline will look much different over the next year. That’s what President Maurice Scherrens told students, faculty and staff Monday in a special announcement on Yost Portico at Holland Hall.


Over the weekend, the college’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved construction on two new campus facilities: the Nursing and Health Science Center and the second phase of athletic stadium renovations. The decision is the culmination of years of planning and generous giving, and the timing could not be better.


“This decision by the Board of Trustees is transformational for Newberry College,” said Scherrens. “As we reimagine our role in preparing students for the future, we’ve been relentless in our efforts to create a campus environment that leads to academic and athletic success. Today, thanks to the generous support of our alumni and friends and the leadership of our Board of Trustees, we are turning dreams into reality.”


The Nursing and Health Science Center will be Newberry College’s first new academic building since Langford Communications Center in 1990. The $2.6 million facility will occupy 11,000 square feet at the corner of College and Evans streets. State-of-the-art classrooms and simulation labs will allow the space and the innovative potential required by the ever-changing health care industry.


Stadium Phase II will bring an 18,000-square-foot athletic field house to the stadium’s east side, behind visitor seating. The facility will include locker rooms for football, lacrosse and field hockey, coaches’ offices and field-view classrooms and reception areas. The $4.5 million project is the second of three phases designed to upgrade the athletic stadium and provide well-needed space for the growing Wolves athletic programs. The stadium decision was first announced at Saturday’s football game against rival Lenoir-Rhyne, following the board’s meeting earlier in the day.


“The board could not be more pleased to move forward with these projects,” said Rob Best '71, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We are grateful to all those who have helped us get to this point, and we are excited to see this momentum continue over the coming years.”


The projects are a leap toward the completion of the Scaling the Summit capital campaign. Since the campaign’s launch in 2014, the college has added the Center for Teacher Education, in the former Speers Street Elementary School (2016), Pearson Residence Hall (2018) and the Melvin & Dollie Younts Athletic Performance Center, the stadium’s first phase (2020).


Newberry College Among Top Five for Best Value

September 13, 2021


WASHINGTON — Newberry College has been named one of the top five best value colleges in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report. In the annual college rankings for 2022, published today, Newberry also held its place among the top 10 for social mobility and retained its No. 11 position among the overall best colleges in the region.


Here are Newberry’s official rankings:

  • Best Regional Colleges – South: No. 11

  • Best Value Colleges – South: No. 4

  • Top Performers on Social Mobility – South: No. 7


This year’s rankings are consistent indicators of Newberry College’s success. The college has been among the top 10 for value since it made the list in 2017. Newberry has remained among the top 10 in social mobility since the category’s creation in 2020. Finally, in a series of stunning leaps, Newberry has worked all the way up from No. 41 among the region’s best in 2016 to No. 11 in 2021.


“Our trajectory in these national rankings reflect the transformative advances being made by the College,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “The College is on a journey of growth, change and continuous improvement. We are reimagining our role in higher education as we add state-of-the-art facilities and new academic programs – including our first new graduate program. Our success has only been possible through the efforts of our outstanding faculty, staff and coaches.”


From the value perspective, Newberry College reaffirmed its commitment to affordability with its Tuition Promise, which freezes an incoming student’s tuition for their four years at Newberry. The promise was initiated in 2013, supplemented by a loan repayment promise in 2016, and the Tuition Promise has been renewed by the Board of Trustees since 2019.


“We constantly evaluate our key performance indicators as an institution, to see how we can become better and in turn better help our students,” said Rob Best '71, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Alongside student retention, graduation rates and others, these rankings help confirm that we are on the right track.”


The Top Performers on Social Mobility list is based upon graduation rates of students who received federal Pell Grants. Available to students with household incomes below $50,000, most Pell Grant funds benefit those with incomes below $20,000. Newberry College’s Pell Grant recipients graduate at a rate nearly identical to that of non-recipients.


According to U.S. News & World Report, the rankings compare four-year colleges and universities from across the country on 15 diverse measures of academic quality. Factors used in the rankings include average ACT and SAT scores, student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates, tuition and financial aid, student body characteristics, post-graduate employment and more.


Find out more about the college rankings at


Benitez to Lead Newberry College Esports

August 30, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College’s esports program has found a new head coach in Ruben Benitez.


Benitez previously served as a coach at Uptime Esports in Hanover, Massachusetts, a youth esports club. Before that, he was an esports coach and “League of Legends” team captain for Georgia Southern University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations in 2019.


Benitez is passionate about effective communications, particularly in competitive gaming.


“We are proud to welcome Ruben to the Newberry College family,” said Dr. Michael A. Smith, assistant dean for student engagement. “He brings a love of the game, a desire to grow Wolves esports and a willingness to learn. This is important especially in esports, which is not only growing in popularity, but also in terms of strategy and technology.”


Benitez comes to the helm of an esports program burgeoning just two years from its inception. The program brought home its first national trophy in 2020, expanded its coeducational roster and recently added a fifth gaming title. A member of the New England Collegiate Conference and supported by the National Association of Collegiate Esports, the Newberry program offers intercollegiate competition in “League of Legends,” “Madden,” “Overwatch,” “Fortnite” and “Rocket League.” Participation comes with structured training, competitions and scholarships.


“As a former student, competitor, and youth esports coach, I look forward to being a resource for my players, parents, and faculty alike,” said Benitez. “I seek to create a program that allows students to express themselves competitively and creatively, in an institution that challenges them academically.”


Back-to-School Message from President Scherrens

by Dr. Maurice Scherrens | President of Newberry College - August 23, 2021


Dear Members of the Newberry College Community,


It brings me great joy to welcome you back to campus and back to the classroom as we begin another exciting academic year.


We begin this new year stronger than we have ever been. We each bring our compassion, experience, hope, and resilience, having weathered many storms over the last 17 months. Though we have challenges before us, even the continuing effects of a global pandemic, I am optimistic about the coming year because of the wide range of improvements we have finished over the past few months.


As you arrived on campus, you saw the results of the hard work of many people as they prepared campus. We look forward to breaking ground on new buildings, starting classes for our brand-new master’s degree program, launching new undergraduate majors, and welcoming a new sport to the field of competition. We welcome new professors, new coaches, new staff members, and of course, the Class of 2025 into the Newberry College family. We have so much to look forward to this year!


Our success as a College, once again, depends on your actions and behavior on and off campus. While we strive to return to normal campus life as much as possible, the fact is that we’re still living in a pandemic. Our campus community is known for and sustained by the compassion and dedication of its members to a safe, healthy, and happy campus environment. And it is through your commitment to our sense of community that we can remain on campus and enjoy everything this year has to offer.


To learn more about the upcoming year, I am inviting you to an in-person town hall for students on Thursday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Wiles Chapel. Select one session to attend.


As always, you can visit for up-to-date health-related information.


Wear your mask indoors. For those who can, get vaccinated! Be mindful of social distancing. Be respectful of each other. Stay Newberry Strong.


Welcome back, take care of each other, and Go Wolves.


Maurice W. Scherrens



Newberry College’s New Leader in Song

August 16, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has appointed Dr. Molly A. Getsinger as its new director of choral activities for the Department of Music.


Getsinger comes to Newberry from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she has served as a lecturer in choir and choral education. She has also taught at Xavier University in Ohio and led the women’s chorus at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.


“Dr. Getsinger’s excellent work and vision will continue to take the choral program to new highs,” said Dr. Chris Sheppard, chair of the Department of Music. “She is ready to jump into the choral world in South Carolina and brings promising connections that will serve our students well. I am very excited to welcome Dr. Getsinger, and I know we will work well together.”


Getsinger holds a doctorate in musical arts from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, a master’s from Rider University’s Westminster Choir College, and a bachelor’s from Shepherd University. Before earning her graduate degrees, she taught at Brunswick Middle School in Brunswick, Maryland.


“I am very much looking forward to joining this welcoming community, and I am excited to continue to the strong choral and musical tradition at Newberry College,” said Getsinger.


Sheppard, who has led Newberry College’s choral activities with great success for the last 11 years and served as department chair since 2016, is turning his attention to his administrative role. He sees Getsinger’s appointment as a way to better provide the choral program with the attention it requires. While Getsinger will serve as the main choral director, Sheppard isn’t ready to give up the podium completely. Look for him to remain involved in some way with the Newberry College Singers.


Kinard Joins Newberry College’s Muller Center

August 11, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has appointed Carlton L. Kinard '16 as program coordinator for the institution’s Muller Center.


In his new role, the Newberry city councilman will connect students to community service opportunities and deepen civic engagement on and off campus.


“Mr. Kinard’s love and dedication to both the College and the Newberry community make him the ideal candidate for this position,” said Dr. Krista E. Hughes, director of the Muller Center. “And with his history of civic service, especially at such a young age, he is a wonderful model and mentor for our students.”


In addition to expanding the number of the college’s community partners, Kinard will play a vital role in several collaborative projects. These include an effort to establish Gallman Place, a community center at the former Gallman High School. As Newberry’s high school for Black students from 1954 until its integration with Newberry High in 1970, the Gallman site remains an important landmark for its surrounding community.


“I believe in the vision of the College and the Muller Center, and I am excited to play a part in making that vision come to fruition,” said Kinard.


The Muller Center, established in 2015 and named for Lutheran benefactor John D. Muller Jr., offers opportunities for volunteerism, community-based learning, leadership development and vocational reflection. Ongoing student initiatives include Muller Research Fellowships and the Sophomore Sojourners program.


Among Kinard’s initial duties is reaching out to community partners to learn more about their plans and projects for the coming year. Any organizations interested in partnering with the Muller Center, or any in need of volunteers, are invited to contact the center at or 803.321.5615.


A Half-Century of Young Adult Suffrage

by Dr. Laura Roost | Political Science Program Coordinator - July 30, 2021


This month marks the 50th anniversary of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Ratified on July 1, 1971, this amendment ensured that “[t]he right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.” This amendment acknowledged the reality that many who participated as adults in the U.S. from the age of 18 on – as military service members, in the general workforce, and in their communities – could not vote until the age of 21. This left them without a say in the democratic process that elected representatives, who in turn made policies which impacted them in nearly every way.


The timing of this amendment during the Vietnam War shows what many pointed out to be an absurdity: since men in the U.S. needed to register for selective service at 18, there were a number getting drafted for military service in Vietnam who could not vote, just as many had been in World War II. In World War II, a shortage of troops led the draft age to be lowered to 18 in 1942, which began the protest phrase: “Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Vote.”


Do note that men who are 18 in the U.S. still need to register for selective service at, and you can also register as part of your FAFSA application. Those who are conscientious objectors (religiously or morally opposed to participating in war) could submit a for conscientious objector classification in the event of a draft. There have been discussions of amending existing law to include women in selective service registration, since all military occupational specialties are open to anyone who qualifies for the position, but to date there has been no such change.


Fifty years of the 26th amendment has given 50 years of voting access for those 18 and older, and many have been able to use their access to the vote to have their voice heard in the important matters that impact their everyday life. However, even after half a century of suffrage, voters in the 18-34 age group tend to have the lowest voter turnout. Voter registration drives and other initiatives continue to be important for ensuring that citizens make themselves heard in matters that affect them and their community. As a good milestone, with a variety of voting options available this past election year, 18-34-year-olds saw their largest jump in voting as 57% voted in the 2020 presidential election, while only 49% voted in 2016.


Expanding voting access has been a continual debate in U.S. history, and the 26th expands to all adults letting them contribute in every way to their communities, including politically. The debate has been a key aspect of U.S. history and politics because voting ensures that our government represents “We the People.” If you are not registered to vote, please consider honoring the 50th anniversary of the 26th amendment and the struggles of those who advocated for it from 1942 to 1971. Take a couple minutes to register to vote, or remind others to register if they have not.


If you are a citizen who lives in South Carolina, as a resident or college student, you can register to vote online at, or go to your local county voter registration and elections office (in Newberry, the address is 1872 Wilson Road, or you can call 803.321.2121 with questions). If you are a college student, you can register at your campus address or your home address, but you can only vote at your chosen address. Talk to your local county elections office if you have questions. To get information on registering to vote in other states or territories, you can go to


Photo: The National WWII Museum


Newberry College Esports ‘Kicks’ it into High Gear

July 27, 2021


NEWBERRY — Described as "soccer, but with rocket-powered cars," the game “Rocket League” is Newberry College esports’ fifth and newest competitive title. Intercollegiate competition will begin this fall.


Created by Psyonix, the game can be played by two teams of up to eight players across gaming platforms, including Xbox, PlayStation and PC. Matches are typically five minutes long, with “sudden death” overtime if the score is tied when time runs out.


“Rocket League is among the fastest-growing esports for its simplicity in objective and the fact that soccer is a globally popular sport,” said Terrence Knock, head coach and coordinator of esports. “We look forward to welcoming our first ‘RL’ recruits to campus and participating in tournaments.”


The addition comes after a stellar year for Newberry College esports, which included its first-ever national trophy, roster expansions and a founding membership in the New England Collegiate Conference. “Rocket League” joins the Wolves’ four other competitive titles — “Fortnite,” “League of Legends,” “Madden” and “Overwatch.”


The gaming program, founded at Newberry College in 2019, offers structured training, strategy and skill building, competitions and scholarships for participants. The Wolves are also supported by the National Association of Collegiate Esports.


Knock, who built the Newberry College and U.S. Air Force Academy esports programs from the ground up, is stepping down to devote his energy to his Air Force career. A nationwide search is currently underway for a new esports coach.


Learn more about the program here.


Hamilton to Lead Newberry College Admission

July 26, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has appointed Matthew “Matt” Hamilton as its director of admission, effective Aug. 1.


"My family and I are beyond excited to join Wolf Nation,” said Hamilton. “My goal is to make strategic impacts and provide year-over-year growth for the College. It is evident that the current leadership and community are forward thinking, and with that will come great things."


Hamilton comes to Newberry from Bluefield College of Bluefield, Virginia, where he has served as director of traditional admissions since 2015. During his time at Bluefield, the college saw a significant increase in traditional undergraduate enrollment.


“Matt has a history of demonstrating cross-campus communication and relationship building,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “He brings a data-centric mindset to the position, along with a student-focused perspective, and we believe he will be an invaluable asset to Newberry College.”


Hamilton holds a bachelor’s degree from Concord University in Athens, West Virginia, and he is close to completing an MBA from Bluefield College.


Spring 2021 Dean’s List Honors 416 Students

July 23, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced its spring 2021 Dean's List, honoring 416 students for academic achievement.


The list recognizes all full-time students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher for the semester. The spring 2021 list represents 23 states and 16 countries.


View the spring 2021 Dean's List.


Cureton Appointed Assistant Dean of Students

July 19, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has appointed Quintavis Cureton as assistant dean of students and deputy Title IX coordinator. His first day was July 1.


Cureton’s duties encompass student conduct and Title IX cases, and he will supervise campus security and health and wellness services.


The Newberry County native comes to the institution from his alma mater, Benedict College, where he taught recreation and sport management.


“Mr. Cureton brings experience and a desire to strengthen relationships throughout campus,” said Dr. Sandra Rouse, dean of students. “We are excited to welcome him to the Office of Student Affairs.”


Cureton was elected in 2018 to the Newberry County school board. He also serves on the board of directors for the Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands.


Before his stint at Benedict, Cureton served as a research assistant for the University of South Carolina’s College of Education.


“I am excited to be at Newberry College, and to have an opportunity to ensure the safety of our campus community,” said Cureton. “We all play a role in maintaining a safe campus environment, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Student Affairs to better the holistic development of all students at Newberry College.”


“I have an open-door policy and I welcome everyone to stop by,” he added.


Cureton is working toward a doctorate in educational leadership and policies from the University of South Carolina. He holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and a bachelor’s from Benedict College. He remains an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.


Scherrens: Returning Safely this Fall

by Dr. Maurice Scherrens, President of Newberry College - July 15, 2021


Dear Newberry College Community,


I hope you and your family are safe and well. As we reach mid-summer, we look forward to the fall semester.


I continue to reflect on the successes of the last academic year with deep appreciation for your resolve to navigate through the turbulence caused by the pandemic. We kept case counts low, excelled in the classroom and on the field, and redefined what it means to be “Newberry Strong.” As effects of the COVID-19 pandemic remain with us, I just wanted to share our plans for your safe return this fall.


First, while we strongly recommend everyone get vaccinated against COVID-19, vaccinations are not mandatory for students, faculty, or staff. At fall check-in, vaccinated students will show proof of vaccination to keep on file. Like last year, students who have not been vaccinated must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five (5) days of their return to campus. Vaccinated faculty and staff may send a copy of their vaccination card to Human Resources to keep on file.


Due to a decrease in the risks associated with the pandemic, in large part due to the availability of vaccines, we are pleased to report that all classes will be held on campus, in person. Virtual learning will be offered on a limited, case-by-case basis for students with extenuating circumstances. You may click here to fill out the virtual learning application.


All students, faculty, staff, and guests will be required to wear face masks inside college buildings, regardless of vaccination status. Masks may be removed when outside, dining, or in one’s own office or residence hall room. Face shields are permissible, but face masks are still required along with them. Accommodations can be made for students who have documented medical conditions that could be worsened by wearing a face covering. We will maintain social distancing of three (3) feet while engaged in indoor activities. Finally, like last year, we recommend that students limit non-essential travel to and from campus.


This is just a summary of our policy changes for this fall. Since the issues surrounding the pandemic are ever-changing, we will advise you of any policy changes as soon as possible. For up-to-date information, visit, and email any questions to


Enjoy your summer, stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you back on campus next month.


Maurice W. Scherrens



Tiller to Lead Newberry College’s Athletics Development

July 14, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has appointed William “Bill” Tiller as director of development for athletics.


In his new role, Tiller will work to bolster support for Wolves athletics. The Clinton native comes to Newberry from the Greenwood Genetic Center Foundation.


“We are so honored to welcome Bill Tiller to the Institutional Advancement team,” said Lori Ann Vinson Summers, vice president for institutional advancement. “His experience will be an invaluable asset to the continued growth of the College.”


Tiller has also served as CEO of Make-A-Wish South Carolina, and as executive director of United Way of Laurens County.


“Newberry College is rich with potential for amazing things,” said Tiller. “I look forward to being a part of a talented team, and to working with the many students, alumni, staff and other constituents who make up the Newberry College community.”


Tiller resides in Clinton with his wife and three children, and he boasts a love of history, sports and The Grateful Dead.


Newberry College Announces Accreditation Level Change

July 9, 2021


NEWBERRY — After years of planning, Newberry College has the green light to offer master’s degrees, college leaders announced Friday on the steps of Holland Hall.


The announcement comes after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges approved the level change from Level II to Level III, which includes graduate degrees as well as the traditional undergraduate curriculum.


“This level change is not only an historic step for Newberry College. It’s a natural extension of our College’s mission, and a next step in our continued growth. Our mission includes preparing students to pursue their calling, their vocation,” said Dr. Maurice Scherrens, president of Newberry College.


“As society and industries change, Newberry College will be here to give students the tools they need to pursue their callings – whether it’s a traditional bachelor’s degree; degree completion for working professionals in nursing and respiratory therapy; and now, a master’s degree,” Scherrens said.


The substantive change in accreditation is the result of the college’s viable case for adding such programs. Not only did the institution need to illustrate the demand for new master’s programs, college leaders needed to demonstrate financial fortitude, employability of graduates, faculty preparedness, and more. Newberry College cleared these hurdles with flying colors.


“There are so many people who are committed to the success of our students and the future of Newberry College. We want to thank our students, alumni, staff, and community partners who continue to support Newberry College every day, without whom this would not be possible,” said Dr. Sid Parrish, vice president for academic affairs.


The college’s first graduate program will be an online Master of Science in organizational development and leadership, with classes expected to begin this year.


Parrish went on to recognize Dr. David Fowler, who, alongside his duties as chair of the Department of Business Administration, has spearheaded the graduate degree’s development. Fowler will assume the role of program coordinator for the new master’s program, while Dr. Sarah Bryant will reprise her role as business department chair.


“Graduate program offerings help us expand opportunities for individuals to invest in their future through education, to journey with them toward discovering their vocation and impacting their communities, regions, and states,” said Dr. Kelli Lynn Fellows, dean of online and graduate programs.


“Our task now is to work to build new partnerships and strengthen existing connections in our community, to provide the framework for real-world educational experiences,” Fellows added.


Newberry College’s move to the graduate level is historic, but not unprecedented. Between 1885 and 1928, the college awarded 54 master’s degrees, in subjects including mathematics, natural sciences, philosophy, history, and Latin and Greek. The last student to earn a Newberry master’s degree was Ella Dunn, the program’s only female graduate, who received her Master of Arts degree in chemistry and physics in 1928.


The location of Friday’s announcement was chosen in part as a tribute to the Rev. George Holland, president of Newberry College from 1877 until his death in 1895, whose accomplishments included the establishment of the college’s first graduate program.


President Scherrens Elected Chair of SCICU Council of Presidents

June 21, 2021


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dr. Maurice Scherrens, president of Newberry College, has been unanimously elected to serve as chair of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities’ Council of Presidents.


The council comprises the leaders of the state’s 20 private higher education institutions. As chair, Scherrens convenes meetings of his fellow member executives, sits on the SCICU Executive Committee, and serves as vice chair of the SCICU Board of Trustees.


“As chair of the Council of Presidents, Dr. Scherrens will be the voice of SCICU’s campus leadership,” said Dr. Jeff Perez, SCICU president and CEO. “SCICU is very fortunate to have the benefit of Dr. Scherrens’ experience and leadership, and I personally look forward to his counsel and guidance on matters of importance to SCICU’s 20 member institutions.”


Scherrens was nominated by the outgoing council chair, Krista L. Newkirk, president of Converse College, who has just completed her two-year term as chair. Newkirk will also step down from her role at Converse in July to assume the presidency of the University of Redlands in California.


“The future of our private colleges is bright due in large part to the dedication, leadership and vision of my fellow presidents in the SCICU. It is a great honor to help coordinate the collective efforts of our outstanding institutions,” said Scherrens. “I would like to thank President Newkirk for her service, and I wish her all the best as she begins her next chapter.”


Op-ed: Juneteenth in Newberry

by Dr. Peggy Winder '86 | Director of Diversity Education and Professor of Physical Education - June 15, 2021


Juneteenth, also referred to as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, is a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. History tells us that Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas, and is celebrated annually on June 19. It is celebrated on this day because in 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger announced that the Civil War had ended, and slaves were now free.


I am so excited to be a part of a town that sees the significance of an event such as Juneteenth. With so much turmoil that has taken place in our world today, it is wonderful to see a COMMUNITY come together to bring about awareness and recognize the importance of the day that celebrates our freedom. It not only is an opportunity for us to come together, but an opportunity for ALL of us to boldly take a stand against the inequities that are so vivid in our communities and beyond.


Juneteenth is also a time to reflect on African Americans who have made significant contributions to our lives, and to think about all the sacrifices that have been made to secure our freedom. As stated by African American historian and Harvard professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Juneteenth became “an occasion for gathering lost family members, measuring progress against freedom and inculcating rising generations with the values of self-improvement and racial uplift." While this event will be a wonderful celebration of history, family, food, culture, and music, we must continue to build upon it and not forget that there is still much work that needs to be done.


I am grateful for the collaborative effort by the City of Newberry’s Parks, Recreation, and Tourism department and the Juneteenth Committee: Councilwoman Jackie Holmes, Councilman Carlton Kinard '16, Barbara Chapman, Margo Whitener, Shelia Brown, Tomekia Means, and Michael Raiford, for seeing a need for an event such as this and bringing it to fruition. Thank you all!


For more information on the City of Newberry's festivities this June 19, please click here.


Sgt. James C. Hipp ‘40 Wounded In Normandy

by Dr. J. Tracy Power, Associate Professor of History and College Archivist - June 6, 2021


James Chester Hipp '40 (1918 - 2001), of Saluda, South Carolina, enlisted at Camp Jackson in March 1942. He was a Sergeant in the 58th Field Artillery Battalion, attached to the 3rd Armored Division of the First Army. He was an advance observer attached to a Ranger unit on D-Day, June 6, 1944, among the first to go ashore on Omaha Beach. The battalion commanding officer and reconnaissance officer were killed by machine gun fire on the beach, and the Executive Officer took command of the battalion. Sgt. Hipp was unharmed on D-Day, but on June 12, he was wounded by machine gun fire while reconnoitering as a forward observer.


Sent to England to recuperate, Hipp wrote the Newberry College Alumni Bulletin, thanking the editors for sending him the Bulletin and describing his experiences. The following was his entry in the August 1944 Bulletin:


Sgt. James C. Hipp, '40, Wounded In Normandy

Played 'Possum For Eleven Hours After Having Received Wound.


Received a V-mail letter this past week from James C. Hipp, '40, in which he told of his having been wounded by the Germans in the D-Day invasion. The letter is as follows: "I received your letter of June 13th and the Alumni Bulletin today. I was very glad to receive them because it had been so long since I had heard from Newberry. It took a long time to reach me because I have been evacuated from France back to England for hospitalization after being wounded on June 12th.


"I landed on D-Day in the first wave as an observer for my battalion. I got along well until venturing out too far and running into a machine gun nest. Received a slug in the right shoulder but got out light after playing ''possum' on them for 11 hours. I'll be returning to my outfit in a short time.


"Give my regards to Coach Laval, if he is around. Also Dr. Kinard. I always enjoy hearing from you."


Hipp was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster (for a second wound, sustained in the German Rhineland in late 1944 or early 1945), was later awarded the French Croix de Guerre and the Silver Star (the third highest U.S. military award) for gallantry in combat, and was promoted to 2nd lieutenant before his discharge in October 1945.


Hipp, who had been a teacher and coach in Florence County before enlisting in the army, worked at a furniture store in Georgetown after the war, then moved to Loris, in Horry County, in 1946. He founded the Carolina Furniture Company there that same year, where he worked for over 50 years. A prominent businessman and one of the founders of Coastal Carolina Junior College — later Coastal Carolina College of the University of South Carolina, and now Coastal Carolina University — Hipp died in 2001 at the age of 82.


A Conversation with Dr. Kelli Lynn Fellows

by Jay Salter '19 | Communication Specialist - May 27, 2021


Dr. Kelli Lynn Fellows joined the Newberry College staff earlier this year, taking the newly crafted helm of the College’s rapidly growing online division and a budding master’s degree program weeks away from accreditation.


This is kind of a big deal.


Newberry is meeting the post-pandemic world with a solid and growing menu of online programs, including an RN-to-BSN program for working nurses and the Palmetto State’s only bachelor’s-level program in respiratory therapy.


On top of this, the Scarlet and Gray are rolling out their first graduate program since 1928 — master’s degrees were offered for 43 years, beginning in 1885. This pending program, dubbed the Master of Science in organization leadership and development, has been developed primarily by Dr. David Fowler, chair of the College’s Department of Business Administration, over the last 18 months. More on Dr. Fowler later. The program passed institutional hurdles in February before being sent where it is now, to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, for final approval.


In the middle of all this is Dr. Fellows, who comes to Newberry from Pfeiffer University in North Carolina, where she was an assistant dean in graduate and business programs and a professor of business and leadership. She also touts an extensive professional background in communications and public relations.


After the obligatory talk of Mardi Gras and piping hot beignets, the New Orleans native discussed the changing face of business, the possibilities in education, and how excited she is to be at Newberry.


Q: What is this new master’s degree program all about?


A: The new MSODL focuses on two critical dimensions of business — individuals who comprise the organization, and coordinated action to business outcome attainment.


All organizations, regardless of type — nonprofit, for-profit, church, school — have one thing in common — people. That is, organizations are groups of people working together toward a common goal. And so when we recognize that, and juxtapose the science of business with the fact that human beings are not stable phenomena — we do not appear on the periodic table — then we say, ‘How do we effectively coordinate individual decision makers to collective action toward our common goal? How do we motivate to form and grow a thriving organization?’


Concurrently, the face of business is changing. How we do business is changing. We’ve got artificial intelligence coming in. We’ve got organizations and departments that have three to four generations all working alongside each other. Too, there's a lot of nuance to human behavior, to communication, and there are leadership aspects to organization development. They all come together to weave the fabric of how the organization operates. On top of all this, we’ve had a wake-up call for industries, brought on by the pandemic. It's truly given all firms a litmus test, if you will, of their own organizational rigidity, their leadership agility. It’s given us an opportunity to examine our own capacity for innovation.


This and our other burgeoning programs are also opportunities to infuse Newberry’s liberal arts tradition and core values, grounded in the Lutheran tradition, to help individuals discover their vocation; to help them discern their own ethical standards and their own moral compass; and to infuse them into ever-evolving industries. We are growing, and we will have the opportunity to grow ethical leaders, those who will contribute and hopefully continue to expand and innovate within and across all sectors of business and industry.


Q: What would you say to folks who are questioning whether it's worth it, to go to college, especially with everything that’s happened over the last year?


A: Within any society, there's always a need for a spectrum of educational offerings. So, there are folks who go to community colleges and technical schools to get very precise training in specific areas. Some of these people then take their associate degrees and their work experience and complete a bachelor’s in their fields, like nurses and respiratory therapists, for example. And then there are others who choose to earn traditional bachelor's degrees and then go on and work, or those who want graduate education. The spectrum of educational opportunities provides highly individualized choices and opportunities for reskilling, upskilling, and/or lifelong learning. Essentially — optimized employability.


Whether for career mobility or lifelong learning, education is a catalyst. Across every education venue, though, education is an investment in the individual and the individual’s possibility — helping them actualize their dream. And that’s what we’re about here at Newberry. We welcome anyone who wants to learn, to grow, to advance their careers and find their callings, and we continue refining and expanding program offerings to align with shifting marketplace needs and demands.


As we continue to emerge from the pandemic as a society, we recognize that some folks may be experiencing a change in their financial situation. Some folks might be questioning whether a traditional college education is worth the time and money. And Newberry College has, for the last several years, renewed its commitment to accessibility and affordability, and we have made it clear that we are willing to meet people where they are. And I think the most important thing about education is that it’s not an investment in just another piece of paper. It’s an investment in hope, in possibility, in discovery. Education fuels our individual and societal capacity to grow and thrive —as individuals, professionally, and to inspire others.


Q: What do you think of your time at Newberry so far?


A: I am truly ‘living the dream!’ What a phenomenal opportunity to work with visionary leaders, people who are driving our programs and who share a passion for education for life. I’m impressed by the caliber and the commitment of the faculty and staff. It truly feels like a family here, a place where one can thrive. My roots in the Newberry community deepen each day — getting to know area businesses, taking classes at the Newberry Arts and Cultural Center, attending performances at the Opera House, and developing relationships with alumni and community members. It truly feels like home, and for that, I consider myself blessed beyond measure. I’m ecstatic to be here, and my door is always open. Drop by and let’s chat over a cup of coffee. Together, we will ‘make it happen!’


Masterson Revives Life and Lost Music of Philippa Schuyler

May 24, 2021


NEWBERRY — The music of the late Philippa Schuyler, concert pianist, composer and freelance journalist, has been largely unheard since her untimely death 54 years ago.


Newberry College’s Dr. Sarah Masterson seeks to change that.


“Schuyler was a mixed-race composer, pianist, and journalist whose works have not been recorded or published, in large part due to her early death in the Vietnam War,” said Masterson, associate professor of piano and music theory.


This summer, Masterson will record Schuyler’s unpublished Seven Pillars of Wisdom, written in 1964-65. The album will be released by Centaur Records.


Seven Pillars of Wisdom was performed by Schuyler during her lifetime, but the manuscript pages have remained scattered among archive boxes since her untimely death,” said Masterson, whose recent research has focused on the work of 20th-century American women composers. “I reassembled and transcribed the full work, using Schuyler’s combination of handwritten musical notation and performance instructions. It is my hope that this recording will inspire a renewed interest in Schuyler’s life and music.”


Schuyler was born in 1931 Harlem to George Schuyler, an African American journalist, and Josephine Cogdell, a white artist and writer from Texas. Educated privately and managed by her mother, Philippa Schuyler was performing Mozart at age five, and by 10 she had earned national fame as a young composer. As she entered young adulthood, her appeal among white Americans had declined, and she noted racial prejudice for the first time. After that, she left the U.S. and toured more than 80 countries, performing for numerous world leaders. In the 1960s, Schuyler became a published writer, and later a Vietnam correspondent for the Manchester Union Leader. She died in Vietnam in 1967 while on a helicopter rescue mission.


“Inspired by T.E. Lawrence’s book of the same title, the hourlong Seven Pillars includes a prologue, seven movements and an extended epilogue,” said Masterson. “Perhaps also influenced by Schuyler’s experiences reporting on war crimes in the Congo, the piece explores challenging ideas about conflict, violence and faith through interwoven themes spelled with her own musical alphabet.”


To bring this project to fruition, Masterson will need to raise $2,500 to cover the album’s production and international distribution. Masterson will hold recitals to assist with this effort, and to educate the public about Schuyler and her until-recently lost music. The album can be released about four to six months after the necessary funds are raised, Masterson said.


To become a project supporter, please visit, or contact Whitney Metz '09, assistant vice president for institutional advancement, at 803.321.5694.


Newberry College Celebrates the Class of 2021

May 17, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College conferred bachelor’s degrees upon spring graduates May 15 on Setzler Field, celebrating the accomplishments of its 151st graduating class.


To view the commencement program and list of graduates, click here.


The college has maintained a tradition of selecting graduating seniors to address their classes at commencement. This year, the honors went to Aubrey Guyton, psychology and religion major from Cordova, Tennessee; and Jonathan Elicier, biology major from Apopka, Florida.


“Before college, I was always known as being someone’s sister, cousin, or daughter. People did not know me for who I was. In fact, I was one of those people,” said Guyton. “Today, I can tell you who I am. I am Aubrey Guyton. I am almost a Newberry College alum. I believe in the importance of mental health and that is why I am pursuing a degree in clinical mental health counseling.”


“Growth is the one word that I believe will illustrate our memories at Newberry College thoroughly,” said Elicier. “Within society, we tend to celebrate the specific accomplishment that we hope to reach, but forget the growth that we as individuals went through to achieve that thing we wanted so dearly.”


Senior Class President Ari Edmiston, business administration and digital marketing major from Cayce, presented the class gift, a total of $1,314. Seniors personally gifted the funds to campus organizations and scholarships that were important to them.


Three retired faculty members were awarded emeritus status: Bruce Nellsmith, professor of art; Dr. Vinetta Witt, professor of sociology; and the Rev. Dr. Wayne Kannaday '75, professor of religion.


Nellsmith, who joined the college faculty in 1989, is an acclaimed artist with paintings in collections across the United States and Europe. During his time at Newberry, he served as department chair, on faculty council, and as chair of the Fine Arts and Lectures series, among others.


Witt officially retired at the end of the 2019-20 academic year after 21 years of service, the last six of which as chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She has been a tireless advocate for equity and inclusivity, and an excellent mentor to her faculty, students and community.


Kannaday, an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, joined the faculty in 1999 after a decade in parish ministry. He helped create the college’s Summerland Honors Program and the Muller Center for Ethics, Vocation and Civic Engagement. He served as Dean of the College from 2008-11. More recently, he was the 2017 Professor of the Year and a 2019 recipient of the Dr. L. Grady Cooper Award.


In addition to his emeritus status, Kannaday was presented with the Luceo Mea Luce Award. The honor, Latin for “by my light I enlighten,” was created in 2004 by the faculty to recognize individuals whose lives of devotion, learning and service exemplify the motto, associated with Newberry College founder, the Rev. John Bachman. Kannaday is the 10th individual to receive the award.


“Make a life, make a living, make a difference,” Kannaday said. “We need you to make a difference. Don’t ever think you can’t. You can change the world.”


The graduating class annually presents the Dr. L. Grady Cooper Award to faculty, staff or students who exemplify the loyalty and devotion to Newberry College that Cooper demonstrated during his long tenure as a professor of religion and Greek. This year, the honor went to Dr. Naomi Simmons, assistant professor of sociology, and Jonathan Elicier.


The Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards were established to honor one man and one woman of the graduating class who exemplify outstanding character and service to others, traits valued by Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan. The awards were bestowed respectively upon Pedro Campos, psychology and English major from Belo Horizonte, Brazil; and D’Zhanya Richards, digital marketing major from Pembroke Pines, Florida.


In memory of Dr. George B. Cromer, president of Newberry College from 1895-1904, the faculty gives an award to the graduating senior who has exemplified the qualities of academic excellence, leadership ability and personal integrity. This year, the honor was presented to Aubrey Guyton.


Founded in 1962 by faculty and named for the college’s principal founder, the Rev. John Bachman, the Bachman Honor Society is home to seniors who finish in the top 8% of their class for GPA. The following graduates were inducted in spring 2021:

  • James Aldridge '20, an exercise science major from Chesterfield, England
  • Alyssa Ball, an elementary education major from Ocean View, Delaware
  • Brooke Berry '20, an English and psychology major from Batesburg, South Carolina
  • Gustav Bjornsson, a business administration major from Stockholm, Sweden
  • Samantha Blair, an accounting major from Blair, South Carolina
  • Tony Bridges, a music education major from Sumter, South Carolina
  • Adam Cain, a history major from Columbia, South Carolina
  • Allison Crout '20, a history major from Gilbert, South Carolina
  • Aubrey Guyton, a psychology and religion major from Cordova, Tennessee
  • Savannah Harmon, an early childhood education major from Prosperity, South Carolina
  • Lauren Huffman, an exercise science major from Granite Falls, North Carolina
  • Aaron Kitchen, an accounting major from Chapin, South Carolina
  • Brianna Meador, a psychology major from Lexington, South Carolina
  • Bethany Meadors, a biology major from Clinton, South Carolina
  • Victor Odiong '20, a sport management major from Stone Mountain, Georgia
  • Tradd Proctor, a physical education major from Orangeburg, South Carolina
  • Julia Roach, an art and graphic design major from Prosperity, South Carolina
  • Keli Romas, a business administration and chemistry major from Donvale, Victoria, Australia
  • Adrian Villiger, a business administration major from Flühli, Switzerland
  • Jeffery Young '20, a biology major from Pelion, South Carolina


Op-ed: My Fellow Wolves

by Paige Meyer | 2020-21 Student Body President - May 13, 2021


My fellow Wolves,


We have come to the end of not only another academic year, but also the end of another student government administration. As student body president, I have been so fortunate to lead a team of outstanding student leaders, from different backgrounds and even different continents. Together, as a student body, we have successfully returned to campus during a global pandemic, and showed our compassion for one another's health and well-being every step of the way. On top of that, we have enjoyed an active academic year, remaining engaged and social and full of Newberry pride.


In my term as president, I have learned to be more open-minded, to value other people's opinions and consider other ideas alongside my own. I have continued to realize what it means to be a member of a close-knit community, like the one we share here at Newberry College, and I've fallen in love with it all over again. I have faced challenges that have made me a stronger person, and so have you.


I would like to thank all my wonderful professors, teammates and classmates, for their friendship, support and the life lessons they've helped me learn. I will leave Newberry with a great education, invaluable experiences, and friendships for life.


My hope is that our time together has left you more enriched as students and as people, and that we have made a difference at Newberry College.


My wish is that all present and future students have successful experiences at Newberry, from academics to athletics and everything in between. Be active, participate, have fun, and get out of your comfort zone. Keep doing these things after graduation – enjoy life and what it has to offer. Give back – find something you care about and volunteer – be part of something good.


As one door closes and another one opens, I would like to wish all Student Government Association members-elect my very best.


As for my fellow 2021 graduates, I'll see you in your caps and gowns on May 15.


Thank you, and Go Wolves.


Newberry College Seniors Honored by City Council

May 10, 2021


NEWBERRY — Twelve Newberry College seniors were recognized May 5 by the Newberry City Council for their service to the community during their time as students.


Newberry Mayor Foster Senn, Mayor Pro-Tem Lemont Glasgow and Councilman Carlton Kinard, a 2016 Newberry College graduate, presented the proclamations on the Yost Portico at the college’s Holland Hall.


The following seniors were recognized:


Ty'Ran Dixon, of Columbia, captain of the football team, has served as a peer mentor for local children, training youth during his off-season. He is also co-president of the Newberry Society of Sport Professions and a member of the Order of the Gray Stripe, the football team’s leadership council. Dixon will graduate with majors in exercise science and sport management.


Benjamin Gilmore, of Columbia, a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., has worked as a peer mentor in local schools, and has lent his services to F. B. Pratt & Son Funeral Home when needed. On campus, he has been president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and an Alpha Leader. Gilmore will earn a degree in physical education, with a concentration in leisure services.


Antoinaya Grant, of Charleston, has served as a leader on campus and off, from heading the Social Justice Club to mentoring local students via the Bridge to Big Ideas summer program. She has also interned at Newberry County Memorial Hospital, assisted with focus groups for the Gallman School Project and helped lead a Martin Luther King Jr. service day project at the Newberry Museum. Grant plans to graduate in December with a degree in sociology.


Aubrey Guyton, of Cordova, Tennessee, a member of the women’s golf team, has served the community in a variety of ways. She has volunteered at Oakland Community Center food drives, Central United Methodist Church, Newberry Elementary School, and the Newberry Alternative School, where she also conducted a mindfulness study. She is youth director at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Newberry, and a camp counselor for the Muller Center’s Called to the Common Good program. She has served as a representative to the Student Government Association and as a leader in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. Guyton will graduate with Summerland honors and majors in psychology and religion, with a concentration in church leadership.


Julie Kinard, of Prosperity, a two-time captain of the women’s basketball team, has volunteered with the Newberry County Humane Society, with the YMCA for basketball clinics, with Screaming Eagles Special Needs Athletics, and with Newberry Academy as an afterschool mentor. After graduating with majors in biology and exercise science, Kinard will continue her education and earn her doctorate in physical therapy.


Nathan Lee, of Irmo, has done volunteer work in multiple neighboring communities, providing music lessons to young musicians and assisting church music programs. At Newberry College, Lee has performed in almost every musical ensemble, including the wind ensemble, Jazz Big Band, Scarlet Spirit Marching Band and Newberry College Singers. Lee will graduate with a major in music in performance.


Brianna Meador, of Lexington, has volunteered numerous hours at Westview Behavioral Health, where she compiled valuable needs assessment information for substance abuse prevention. She has also been a member of the Highlander Battalion ROTC. Meador will earn her degree in psychology, with an interest in criminal justice.


Paige Meyer, of Georgetown, Indiana, student body president and a member of the softball team, has volunteered at J.F. Hawkins and Springfield Place nursing homes, at local elementary schools, and with various softball camps and clinics. She has been an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and she plans to travel on a mission trip to Haiti this summer. Meyer will graduate with a major in elementary education.


Nycholas Millington, of Summerville, a member of the Highlander Battalion ROTC, has assisted with Veterans Day lunches and other such events in the community. On campus, he has served on the Student Government Association, All Campus Entertainment and as the campus recreation program intern. Upon graduation, Millington will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.


Preslee Sikes, of Graniteville, a student ambassador and a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, has volunteered at Newberry’s Boys Farm, at the animal shelter, and with Newberry’s Oktoberfest and Pork in the Park festivals. She has served as president of the first-year experience, a resident advisor, peer mentor and Alpha Leader. Sikes will graduate with a degree in chemistry, with concentrations in biochemistry and forensic chemistry.


Denelle Williams, of Johannesburg, South Africa, a member of the field hockey team, has volunteered with the City of Newberry’s Oktoberfest, county voter registration, Boys Farm and Living Hope Food Bank. She has also interned with Samsung and Pope, Parker and Jenkins law firm. On campus, she founded the Newberry International Student Organization, and has been a member of the Social Justice Club. She has served as a resident assistant, treasurer of the Newberry College chapter of the Alpha Phi Sigma criminal justice honor society, and a member of the campus disciplinary board.


Jacob Williams, of St. Augustine, Florida, a member of the men’s soccer team, has volunteered with the Newberry County Parks and Recreation Department with various activities, including youth soccer clinics. After graduating with a degree in sport management, Williams plans to pursue opportunities in parks and recreation services.


Photo credit: City of Newberry


Newberry College, Technical Colleges Sign Respiratory Therapy Partnership Agreement to Meet Industry Demand

April 27, 2021


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Newberry College and the South Carolina Technical College System have signed a partnership agreement to meet industry demand for respiratory care professionals.


The agreement is designed to enhance the smooth transfer of respiratory therapy graduates from the state’s 16 technical colleges to Newberry College’s online bachelor’s degree-completion program, the only one of its kind in South Carolina.


"We are very excited to collaborate with the S.C. Technical College System," said Dr. Maurice Scherrens, president of Newberry College. "Students can begin their educational journeys in respiratory therapy at one of 16 technical colleges across the state, and then transfer seamlessly to Newberry College. This agreement provides a clear, accessible, affordable path for individuals looking to get their bachelor's degrees in this high-demand field."


Respiratory therapists typically treat patients with breathing-related health conditions, such as asthma, COPD and pneumonia. This year, however, they have played a crucial role alongside doctors and nurses to help patients impacted by COVID-19. The pandemic has brought light to the profession and increased the demand for highly trained respiratory therapists.


After they complete an Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Care degree at their local technical college, students can seamlessly transfer to Newberry College's online Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy program with junior class standing. As the bachelor’s degree becomes the industry standard for new respiratory therapists, this agreement provides a streamlined approach for career advancement, skill expansion and versatility in the field.


"This memorandum of understanding is a tremendous opportunity for our Respiratory Care students," said Dr. Tim Hardee, president of the SC Technical College System. "Accessibility, affordability, and relevance are key tenets of our System. This collaborative agreement works to strengthen those fundamental values by expanding our students' access to a baccalaureate education with a well-respected South Carolina college. The online component of the program provides accessibility and scheduling flexibility to accommodate our students and ensure their educational success."


Scarlet & Gray Week is a Chance to Make Your Mark

by Whitney Metz ’09 | Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement - April 26, 2021


Dear Newberry Family,


Scarlet & Gray Week is upon us once again. This time of celebration and giving comes at the end of an academic year that some thought impossible, given all that society has endured of late. The task of returning to campus during a pandemic has been difficult, but with your love, faith and loyalty, we have persevered, even thrived, in unprecedented times. This second annual Scarlet & Gray Week is about celebrating how far we’ve come together, honoring the accomplishments of our soon-to-be alumni, and coming together with financial gifts for continued growth, but it’s about more than that. It’s about making your mark on the institution that has made its mark on you.


A native of Irmo, South Carolina, I first came to Newberry College as a Lutheran youth on an overnight camp. Many of our alumni have also come to know Newberry through their church involvement. It was during that camp, on setting foot on this beautiful campus, that I fell in love with the College. Then and there, I decided that I would become one of the Scarlet & Gray.


Just shy of the end of my junior year, I suffered a medical emergency that impacted my ability to go to class, and even to learn. During and after my time in the hospital, I was greeted with cards from all over campus, my professors worked with me, friends and faculty and staff came and ministered to me, and I was able to graduate in 2009. I wouldn’t be the person I am today, had it not been for the people of Newberry College and the life-changing mark they left on me.


That’s why events like Scarlet & Gray Week are so important. They remind us of who we are, how far we’ve come, and how we got here. And it might sound cliché, but it’s absolutely true: You are vital to the College’s success, to our students’ success. You have a direct impact on our students, in the form of scholarships, innovative new programs, and so much more. And now, at the end of the academic year and when matching donors have agreed to match the overall gift amount during this week, it is the best time to make your mark, whether you are an alum, a parent, a student, a congregant, or a member of the local community.


Last year, we raised more than $150,000 from over 400 donors, and we were able to connect and celebrate with countless more through email and social media. This year, we’ve set a goal of 450 donors and $200,000. Why do we set a goal for number of donors? Because each individual donor has an invaluable impact on our students, and no gift is too small.


We have so much planned for this exciting week, I ask you to please visit for our complete schedule and all the ways you can make your mark this May 3-7. And remember to follow Newberry College and @newberrycollegealumni on social media, where you can participate and follow the action.


Thank you, take care, and Hail Scarlet and the Gray!

Whitney | 803.321.5694


Newberry Esports Partners with Gaming Companion Mobalytics

April 19, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has partnered with Mobalytics, an analytics-based gaming companion for "League of Legends," in an effort to bolster Newberry's growing esports program.


The partnership is designed to help the program with talent recruitment and player development using cutting-edge data analysis. The plan is part of an initiative by Mobalytics to support varsity esports programs. To that end, 2016 Techcrunch-winning firm has provided Newberry's "League of Legends" team with a Mobalytics Plus subscription, free for two years.


"We process players' in-game actions and events and score that data with our GPI methodology to identify weak and strong spots," said Dima Karpenko, champion of industry partnerships at Mobalytics. "Ultimately, we deliver to coaches and players relevant and actionable recommendations on what and how to improve."


Essentially, the partnership will serve as a treasure trove of player statistics and insights at the technical level. With Newberry's help, Mobalytics aims to continue developing and optimizing its tools for the ever-growing field of esports athletes.


"This exciting new partnership offers Newberry access to tactical insights we wouldn't otherwise have. Insights that will help our players and our staff build on strengths and shore up weaknesses in gameplay," said Terrence Knock, head coach and coordinator of esports at Newberry College. "This will definitely be a game-changer."


Knock added that he hopes to partner with analytical firms for other gaming titles, such as "Fortnite," "Madden" and "Overwatch," in the near future.


Newberry College's esports program was established in 2019, and since then has grown to field 23 players across four competitive gaming titles. In 2020, the No. 1 seed “League” team went undefeated in the regular season and made the playoffs, where it came in second only to Howard Community College in Maryland. The season also saw the program's first-ever intercollegiate championship, won by senior "Madden" star Lamonzeia Mosley.


Newberry College Reintroduces Staff Council

April 16, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College is renewing its commitment to its staff as it announces the reestablishment of the staff council.


The representative body seeks to recognize the contributions of the college’s non-faculty employees, including administrative and athletics staff, as well as to serve as a voice in matters of mutual concern.


Sandy Smith '08, faculty administrative assistant, is leading the revitalization effort.


“Staff Council originally started in late 2018, and a lot of initial work was put into its organization,” Smith said. “But before it really got off the ground, COVID happened and effectively derailed all that the council had put together. The subject came up again recently, and after speaking with some colleagues, I volunteered to head the steering committee to reestablish the council.”


The committee also includes Whitney Metz '09, assistant vice president for institutional advancement; Angelia Bedenbaugh '02, administrative assistant for teacher education; and Michael A. Smith, assistant dean for student engagement.


“I believe – truly believe - that the Staff Council could be of significant benefit to our staff,” said Sandy Smith. “From much-deserved recognition for all they do, to keeping staff informed, to hopefully acting as a liaison between staff and College administration, there’s a lot of potential here.”


She added that the council’s current goals are to reintroduce itself to campus and gather feedback from staff regarding their priorities.


“The steering committee has done a lot of research regarding other college’s staff councils and the work they are currently doing on their campuses. It is our hope to start small and build a very firm foundation on which the council can grow,” added Sandy Smith.


With questions, concerns or comments, please contact


Fall 2020 Dean’s List Features 459 Outstanding Students

April 15, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced its Dean’s List for academic achievement during the fall 2020 semester.


In "hi-flex" classes that were a mix of in-person and online learning, students fared quite well overall. The Dean's List comprises 459 outstanding students who represent 26 states and 22 countries.


The honor is awarded each semester to full-time students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher for the term.


Click here to view the fall 2020 Dean’s List.


Roost Wins SCICU Excellence in Teaching Award

April 14, 2021


NEWBERRY — Dr. Laura Roost, associate professor of political science, has been named Newberry College's 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award winner, by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.


Roost joined the Newberry faculty in 2017, and she brought with her a passion for civic education and real-world involvement. Alongside her roles as professor, coordinator of the political science program, pre-law advisor and Fulbright scholar liaison, Roost has become a campus leader for community service, voter education and civic discussion efforts. She serves on the President's Task Force for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, established in 2020. She has also been a key player in the development of a new major and minor, public and nonprofit administration, set to debut this fall.


"My teaching philosophy emphasizes that which makes for effective students and world citizens: questioning, critical engagement, and logical argumentation," said Roost. "Education is about going outside comfort zones, grappling with difficult concepts, working together to fully comprehend those concepts, and learning how to apply critical thinking skills."


In addition to this year's SCICU award, Roost was honored in 2019 with the Teacher Appreciation Award by the Alpha Delta Chi chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.


Roost earned her doctorate from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, with graduate specialization in human rights and humanitarian affairs. She also earned her master's in political science from Lincoln, and her bachelor's from Morningside College, graduating summa cum laude. A Fulbright Scholar, Roost spent 10 months in Rwanda studying the impact of women’s non-government organizations on post-genocide society. Roost is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.


Photo: Dr. Laura Roost and Newberry College President Maurice Scherrens.


This Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Speak Out

by Dr. Carrie Caudill | Associate Professor of Psychology - April 13, 2021


For over 15 years in clinical practice, I heard clients describe experiences of sexual assault from their college years in graphic detail. Compounding the trauma is their fear and shame that others in their life may think “they were asking for it” by what they were wearing, drinking, or where they were during the incident. On the other hand, I’ve heard from those who felt supported by their campus environment, who received supportive and knowledgeable care, and the latter is one of the aims of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.


Although often underreported, sexual assaults occur worldwide on college campuses. Data from the Association of American Universities in 2019 reported an alarming rate of 13% of non-consensual sexual contact at colleges and universities. Moreover, the #MeToo movement is one that too many college students can identify with. Fear of social, political, or career reprisal has muted too many for too long. Now a wave of social disapproval, particularly by high-profile public figures, indicates a shift in the climate. Nevertheless, survivor-blaming and cultural values that reduce one’s humanity to their sexuality are still too common.


Students who have been sexually assaulted are not alone. Newberry College will support these students with counseling resources and Title IX advocacy. Legal processes are also available with advocacy support through Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, a local nonprofit that provides survivors with free counseling support, survivor advocacy, and legal counsel, if desired.


Sexual assault is preventable! Many human injustices have been reduced and even eliminated through education and efforts to influence public consciousness. This is our goal at Newberry College, especially in the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences has collaborated with other campus organizations to provide events and programming to educate and facilitate change.


Support our events and speak out for survivors to END all sexual assault!


Upcoming Sexual Assault Awareness Month events:

April 21 at 4:30 p.m. | Walk Like a Wolf. This fundraising walk around the Newberry College campus benefits Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. Sponsored by the Newberry College Social Justice Club and Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology.


April 27 at 7 p.m. | Empowering Yoga. All are welcome from a trauma-informed yoga session on the campus Quad. Please RSVP to for a mat and a socially distanced space. Sponsored by the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Newberry Yoga.


April 28 | Denim Day encourages everyone to wear jeans to support survivors of sexual assault and to spread awareness about all forms of sexual violence and resources that are available. Sponsored by the Newberry College Office of Health and Counseling Services.


Newberry College’s Fall Nursing Grads Earn High Marks on NCLEX Readiness Exams

March 30, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College’s fall class of nursing graduates has earned a 100% first-time pass rate on its nursing readiness exams. This is the program’s fourth such success since May 2018.


“We could not be prouder of our nursing graduates,” said Dr. Susan Ludwick, chair of the Department of Nursing. “We are also thankful to have been able to prepare them for the field with safe, in-person instruction and clinicals.”


The NCLEX-RN is a standardized exam used by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to assess the readiness of new nursing graduates to enter the profession. The board uses the percentage of students’ first-time successes to help measure the effectiveness of nursing education programs.


“The Newberry College nursing program continues to be among the very best,” said Dr. Sid Parrish, vice president for academic affairs. “This comes from an unmatched standard of excellence and a commitment to our students. We continue to expect great things from this department, out students, and our graduates.”


All three fall graduates, Brooke Baker, of Clinton; Iyteria Smith, of Silverstreet; and Taylor Marie Smith, of Chapin, are gainfully employed in hospitals around South Carolina. All three also hope to pursue graduate degrees.


Women Leading the Pack: Past and Present

by Madison Darby-McClure ’17 - March 23, 2021


During Women’s History Month, we often recognize the pioneering accomplishments of female leaders like aviator Amelia Earhart, Pulitzer Prize winner Edith Wharton, or Vice President Kamala Harris. At Newberry College, we, too, have a rich history of women achieving and leading at high levels. Starting with the first women to enroll and continuing over 100 years to this year’s student body president, the experience, strength, and knowledge of capable women leaders has impacted every facet of the College community.


In 1897, Newberry College admitted the first women as day students. In 1900, Margaret Johnstone was the first of these to graduate. Shortly after, Pauline Holland, widow of President George Holland, joined the staff as a full-time librarian, the first woman to do so. Ella Dunn ’24, M’28, was the first and only woman to earn a Newberry master’s degree (the College’s graduate program spanned 1885-1928). Since these female firsts and the 1930 merger with Summerland College, women have continued to make their mark on the institution. The direction of the College has been, and continues to be, greatly influenced by women’s leadership as they guide the College in a variety of roles.


At the highest level, Newberry College is headed by the Board of Trustees. Dr. Lenna Young ’77 serves as secretary for the board, inspired by her years earning her bachelor’s in psychology. “I want students to experience what I did,” she said of her undergraduate education.


In academic support, Dr. Sandy Scherrens, first lady of the College, leads the Center for Student Success and other student persistence efforts to make sure students have everything they need to be successful in the classroom.


Dr. Peggy Barnes Winder ’86 is a well-loved professor who also holds the role of director of diversity education. As the first woman inducted into the Newberry College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998 and the first African American full-time professor, her perspective and wisdom shape the College’s efforts to create an inclusive community.


Dr. Sandra Rouse, dean of students, manages a good portion of the student experience outside of academics and athletics, including everything from residence life, to student engagement, to conduct, to security.


Lori Ann Vinson Summers, vice president for institutional advancement, leads a team critical to College support, including alumni relations, giving and development, and marketing and communications.


Key to student enrollment is Director of Admission Milena Velez, a native of Bulgaria with a keen interest in writing and rhetoric.


Chief of Staff Bobbie Sides ’80 is the longest-serving full-time staff member, who began her Newberry College career in 1974.


In the last year, Newberry College faced a host of challenges as a provider of higher education amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Paige Meyer, president of the Student Government Association, has been key in helping students have the best year possible. “I see Paige as an individual who is very approachable,” said SGA advisor and Director of Student Engagement Kenntrail Grooms ’07. “She is instrumental here as an advocate between the student body and the administration.” Paige is the latest in a handful of women who have been elected to lead the Newberry College student body.


This is just a sampling of the women who have shaped, and continue to shape, Newberry College since those first steps through these hallowed halls in 1897. Now, in the 121st year of female alumni, at just over a century of women’s suffrage, and 93 years since Miss Dunn earned her master’s degree, women could once again reach the graduate level of education at Newberry College. Last month, the Board of Trustees announced that plans for a graduate program in organizational development and leadership are headed for final approval. Given our legacy of leadership and strength, there is no limit to what Newberry women might accomplish.


This piece is just one of many insightful stories featured in the upcoming spring 2021 Dimensionsthe magazine for alumni and friends of Newberry College. Click here to read last year's issue.


Newberry College Students Win Multiple Awards in Speech and Theatre Competition

March 23, 2021


NEWBERRY — Continuing a tradition of excellence, Newberry College students brought home impressive awards from the annual South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association State College Festival Competition. The event was hosted virtually on March 20 by the University of South Carolina Lancaster.


Of the 11 competitive events, Newberry College students dominated in four, and brought home four second-place and two third-place finishes. The students prepared under the direction of Pat Gagliano, chair of the Department of Arts and Communications, and Dr. Jodie Peeler, professor of communications.


“The SCSTA Festival Competition was brilliantly organized and facilitated by the USC Lancaster personnel, and we were happy to participate,” said Gagliano.


Individually, Newberry team members placed in the following competitions:


  • Informative Speaking: Denelle Williams, of Johannesburg, South Africa (first), TJ Paul, of Charlotte, North Carolina (second) and Sarah Dougherty, of Newberry (third)

  • Persuasive Speaking: Jayleen Gant, of Poway, California (first) and Caleb Wilkie, of Gaffney (third)

  • Impromptu Speaking: Denelle Williams (second)

  • Television Broadcasting: Timothy Roesler, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania (first) and Jayleen Gant (second)

  • Prose Interpretation: Jayleen Gant (first) and Ashton Porter, of Lexington (second)


Newberry College has participated in the festival annually since 1994, hosing several times and taking home top honors on multiple occasions, most recently in 2020.


Photo: Newberry College speech and theatre students pose with trophies after a successful showing at the South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association State College Festival Competition. Back: Timothy Roesler, TJ Paul, Bryce Sox. Front: Denelle Williams, Ashton Porter, Jayleen Gant. Not pictured: Caleb Wilkie, Sarah Dougherty.


Shealy Leads Newberry College Alumni Engagement and Communication

March 17, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry native and 2016 Newberry College graduate Laura Beth Shealy has returned to her alma mater to serve as assistant director for alumni engagement and communication.


Shealy comes to the role from the world of nonprofit and philanthropy.


“In previous positions, my job was to help people help their community,” Shealy said. “And now that’s what I want to do for Newberry College, engaging fellow alumni, reminding them what makes Newberry College so great, and pouring back into the College.”


Shealy is a third-generation Newberry College graduate and the eighth graduate in her family. She graduated in three-and-a-half years with a degree in history, and was a member of the cheerleading team and of Kappa Delta sorority.


Her role in the Office of Institutional Advancement will include alumni engagement through the alumni association, Homecoming and other events, and all forms of alumni communication.


“We are thrilled to welcome Laura Beth back to Newberry College,” said Whitney Metz, assistant vice president for institutional advancement. “She exemplifies what it means to be ‘Newberry born and Newberry bred,’ and her wealth of experience and energy will be vital to this role.”


Newberry College has Unique Opportunity through NetVUE Grant

March 11, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has received a $25,000 Vocation across the Academy Grant from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education.


The grant will support an ongoing program to integrate two key pieces of the Newberry College mission — meaningful vocation and engaged citizenship.


What’s more: this amount could more than triple with donor support.


“We have a chance to develop and implement some campuswide projects that will help students integrate their entire Newberry experience,” said Dr. Krista E. Hughes, director of the Muller Center at Newberry College. “What is particularly unique and exciting is that NetVUE asked institutions to imagine a four- to five-year project, even though the grant is disbursed across three years. The grant leadership team responded so creatively.”


The grant will fund professional development opportunities for faculty and staff, and the creation of new co-curricular opportunities for students. Campus departments may also choose to apply for ‘mini-grants’ to support student program development. Examples include redesigning internship programs, reimagining introductory courses, or combining classroom learning with civic leadership in a community-based project.


The program even provides for the development of off-site travel courses through grants for faculty who design the courses, and scholarships for students who participate.


NetVUE will issue another $25,000 if Newberry College will match the funds.


“The Newberry College community has a real chance here to literally triple its impact for our students, faculty and staff,” said Whitney Metz, assistant vice president for institutional advancement. “The grant funds, matching funds, and anything raised over the required amount go directly to innovative programs that exemplify the Newberry College experience.”


For more information or if interested in supporting the initiative, contact Metz at, or 803-321-5694.


Golden Brown Gratitude

by Jay Salter | Communication Specialist - February 23, 2021


NEWBERRY — Last Friday, Newberry College President Maurice Scherrens presented each student, faculty and staff member with their own box of Girl Scout Cookies.


Like the beloved treats themselves, the event was a scrumptious mix. Part appreciation and encouragement at the close of spring semester’s first few weeks. Part well-needed support for future female leaders in the community.


And the rain held off just long enough for the cookie party to ensure there were no ‘soggy bottoms’ (for fans of The Great British Baking Show).


“We have been back on campus for about three weeks and our campus continues to show courage in dealing with the ongoing pandemic,” Scherrens said in a message to campus. “So many of you have stepped up to work harder and stepped out of your comfort zones to keep the mission of the College in full focus.


“Much like us, Girl Scout cookie sales have struggled this year, so we are supporting local Girl Scout Troop 990 and our community,” he added.


The president purchased 150 cases of cookies from Newberry County’s Troop 990, including Caramel deLites®, Thin Mints®, shortbreads, peanut butter sandwiches, Peanut Butter Patties®, and of course, Lemonades®. In all, over 1,000 boxes were whisked away to offices and dorm rooms, where they are unlikely to linger.


The event was more than just desserts, however. The midday celebration was marked with a ‘photo booth’ and appearances by Scar, the Newberry College mascot, and the Newberry College Dance Team and cheerleaders. The Office of Institutional Advancement and the sisters of Kappa Delta, for whom the Girl Scouts are the main philanthropy, helped the event pan out.


“I am thrilled that Newberry College is a champion for girls and Girl Scouting,” said Lora Tucker, CEO of Girl Scouts of South Carolina — Mountains to Midlands. “Thank you so very much for understanding that the Girl Scout Cookie Program powers our girls’ experiences that provide life changing opportunities, and you are helping them meet their goals. The purchase of Girl Scout Cookies by Newberry College will help girls in their community learn, grow, and build a better world.”


Newberry College Music Announces Annual Honors Recital

February 17, 2021


NEWBERRY — At the start of another unprecedented year, one Newberry College tradition will happen right on cue.


The Department of Music has announced its annual honors recital, to be held Feb. 23 at the Newberry Opera House. The performances begin at 8 p.m., and the event is free and open to the public. The event will be held according to reduced capacity and face covering guidelines established by the Newberry Opera House.


The recital will feature 15 solo performers and one chamber ensemble, selected through competitive auditions held earlier this month.


The performing students include:

  • Freshman Te’Ondrus Billie, of Pinewood, on bass trombone

  • Sophomore Myson Boone, of Wellford, on baritone

  • Junior Isaiah Bowman, of Irmo, on viola

  • Junior Crysta Gurga, of Clinton, soprano

  • Sophomore Jayden Hickey, of Bluffton, on viola

  • Sophomore Joanne Hunt, of Mount Croghan, on flute

  • Sophomore Paul Johnson, of Summerville, on piano

  • Freshman Belle Kneece, of Leesville, on trumpet

  • Senior Nathan Lee, of Irmo, on trumpet

  • Freshman Joseph Loera, of Lexington, on flute

  • Senior Maria Manaeva, of Gaffney, on clarinet

  • Junior Sophia Maybay, of Lexington, soprano

  • Sophomore Zackery Nash, of Sumter, tenor

  • Junior Margaret O’Toole, of Irmo, mezzo-soprano

  • Freshman Steven Robinson, of Fountain Inn, bass

  • Senior Connor Shadday, of Lexington, on alto saxophone

  • Senior Lilly Tague, of North Charleston, on trumpet


For those who cannot attend, the performance will be streamed live here.


Here’s What the Newberry College Board of Trustees Decided in February

February 16, 2021

NEWBERRY — In its February meeting, the Newberry College Board of Trustees approved numerous significant measures, including a renewal of the Tuition Promise for incoming students, the election of new board members, and one step closer to the launch of a graduate program. The virtual meeting was held Friday, Feb. 12.


“Friday was a great day for Newberry College. Thanks to the hard work of the Board of Trustees, we continue our trajectory of institutional improvement while advancing strategies to provide an accessible, high-quality education for our students,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “We are not only setting goals of growth, accessibility and affordability, but we are exceeding them despite all odds.”


For the third consecutive year, the board has frozen tuition costs for incoming freshmen for their four years at Newberry College. While tuition, fees, room and board will increase 1.2% for the 2021-22 academic year, the Tuition Promise guarantees that each new student’s tuition rate is locked in at the time of enrollment and will not increase for their subsequent years. The initiative does not apply to room and board costs during the same period. The promise was made in 2019 and expanded to include transfer students, all part of the college’s commitment to affordability.


“We know as a matter of fact that this program is a great benefit to our students, especially over the last year,” said Rob Best, a 1971 graduate and chair of the Board of Trustees. “This initiative is designed to give peace of mind that incoming students’ tuition costs will not increase. It’s a little bit of certainty for uncertain times.”


Second, the board ratified membership for three new members who will officially take their seats in May. Financial specialist and entrepreneur Mary Grate-Pyos, class of 1981, has served as president of the Alumni Board of Managers. The Rev. Kevin Strickland, class of 2004, took office in October 2019 as the fourth bishop of the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. John Winarchick retired as CEO of Zeus Industrial Products, Inc. in 2020, after 31 years of service.


“Each of these new members, Mrs. Grate-Pyos, Bishop Strickland and Mr. Winarchick, has already contributed immeasurably to Newberry College though time, talent or financial support,” said Best. “Each of them brings a great deal to the table, and we are confident that they will continue to help further the mission of the institution. We are so happy to welcome them aboard.”


Newberry College is also one step closer to a graduate program. The board will proceed with a plan to pursue a master’s degree in organizational development and leadership. Now that it has cleared institutional hurdles, the program will go to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for final approval. If ratified, the degree will be Newberry’s first graduate-level program since 1928.


The board approved the college’s 2021-22 operating budget, balanced at just over $30.5 million, a 1.6% expansion over the previous fiscal year. The college also received a clean opinion from national nonprofit consulting firm CapinCrouse. Scherrens called the budget and the report “indicative of the impeccable financial strength of the College.”


Op-ed: A New Beginning

by Dr. Maurice Scherrens | President of Newberry College - February 1, 2021


Dear Newberry College Community,

We've just experienced an unprecedented year, full of challenges, division, and violence. As many of us spent the holiday season in a very scaled-back manner with a limited number of family and friends, we witnessed a most deplorable act as the U.S. Capitol was ransacked. Property was damaged and destroyed, individuals were injured, and unfortunately, five people died. This criminal act reflected the polarization that has been dividing our country. It was a most embarrassing day for us as a nation. Moreover, the violence was an attack on our democratic form of government.

Today signals a new beginning. Now we begin a new year, a new semester, and hopefully, a new era, filled with light rather than darkness. Today we reaffirm our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Empathy begins with respectful, civil discourse, listening more and judging less and realizing that getting out of our comfort zone is at the root of all growth and learning. Now is a time to listen to one another and treat each other the way we want to be treated. We have many, many miles to travel before we achieve equity and eliminate discrimination — be it of gender, race, ethnicity, social status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The list of types of discrimination is endless. But this is our time, and we can make a difference.

In the inspirational words of the 22-year-old poet laureate Amanda Gorman, recited at the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, "We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free."

We have said this often on campus and it means more now than ever: “the winner in this race of life is not the person who crosses the finish line first, but the person who carries the most people across the finish line.” I invite you to carry this thought with you as we begin this new semester.

For those of you who have arrived on campus, it is great to welcome you back. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to providing you with another great semester here on campus, in the classroom, where there is not a more effective teaching or learning environment.

Take care of each other this semester. Please do not take any chances with this virus. Mask up, continue to socially distance, and avoid large gatherings. Above all, continue to treat one another with respect, compassion, and care. Let’s enjoy this semester together. We are Newberry strong!



Maurice W. Scherrens



In the News: Reggie Deas ‘89 and the Deas Guyz Orchestra

January 28, 2021


Newberry native and former Newberry College football player Reggie Deas '89 is founder and lead vocalist of the Deas Guyz Orchestra, a group of 12 multi-talented musicians blending jazz, Motown and rhythm and blues. The orchestra will return to the Newberry Opera House on Friday, Jan. 29. For those unable to attend this performance, Deas and his six-piece band will perform at the Opera House on Friday, May 7.


For tickets and more information about the Deas Guyz Orchestra, click here.


For an exclusive interview with Deas and the Newberry Opera House's Heather Hawkins, click here. For a shorter feature published in The Newberry Observerclick here.


For tickets and more information about the Deas Guyz Band, coming May 7, click here.


Photo: The Jazz Corner, Hilton Head Island, S.C.,


High-Tech & Sky-High

by Jay Salter | Communication Specialist - January 21, 2021


NEWBERRY — Athletic staff at Laurens District 55 High School once called Lamonzeia Mosley a “multi-dimensional character,” distinguished by his fierceness on the field and his close relationship with teammates. Four years later, the former Raiders defensive end and Newberry College senior has taken his love for football to a new dimension.


In April 2020, the Newberry College esports program announced it was expanding its gaming title offerings to include “Madden,” a long-running football video game series first released in 1989. When he heard the game would be available for intercollegiate play in the fall, Mosley jumped at the opportunity.


“I told Coach Knock I really wanted to be on the team, and he told me that this was going to be the inaugural ‘Madden’ season. So, you know me, I was excited and ready to play,” said Mosley. “And when I played the first game, I blew everybody out.”


Mosley went on to secure the New England Collegiate Conference’s first-ever championship crown in esports, having defeated Carroll University on Xbox One under the gamertag “Mozart.”


“It’s a really fun experience just being able to play and bring a championship to Newberry,” he said.


Mosley is part of a growing esports program, established at Newberry College in 2019, which includes 26 players across four competitive gaming titles. “Madden” wasn’t the only Wolves team that covered ground in the fall.


The No. 1 seed “League of Legends” team went undefeated in the regular season and made the playoffs, where it came in second only to Howard Community College in Maryland. The “Overwatch” team wrapped up its 7-4 season with a fourth-place division finish, ranking 29th out of 85 teams in the first-ever National Association of Collegiate Esports Overwatch Fall Cup.


“I would say the biggest part of the ‘League’ team's success, and this could be extended to about any team, is that now that the program has been around for a year, we have had more chances to grow as a team,” said senior Jordan Peebles, of Camden. “We all went from just playing for fun, or with people we never knew and will never know, to now playing consistently as a group. It gives the game an entirely new feel that took time to get used to.”


The popular battle royale “Fortnite,” which also joined the program’s title offerings in 2020, will begin intercollegiate play this spring. “It’s gonna be a ride. I’m excited for it. It’s going to be a lot of fun being Newberry’s first Fortnite team to go out and play,” said junior Will Eubanks, of Chapin.


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, esports does not face the same logistical challenges as traditional sports do, since practices and competitions are virtual anyway. However, operations have been notably different for the Wolves this year for a different reason.


Coordinator and head coach Terrence Knock, an Air Force captain with eight years of active-duty service, was deployed in September, just over a month into the fall season. Despite a world between them, Knock and his players have stayed connected through the same technology that brought them together in the first place.


“It’s definitely different,” Eubanks said of the past season during Knock’s deployment. “He’s normally with us in the arena, and it’s just a different vibe without him being in there. But I will say, whenever we’ve been playing online and we’re streaming, he always pops in and says some kind words. When he’s not there in person, we know he’s still there because he’s watching us, saying, ‘great job.’”


“It’s been weird, because I had just got here, and I really like Coach Knock,” said Mosley. “But he always communicated with us every day, making sure we were on top of our game, making sure we understood what was going on. Coach Knock really did a great job, being a great coach, not even close to us on the map.”


Knock came to Newberry in 2019 from the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he cofounded the first esports program of any military service academy. There, he coached the same number of players across three gaming titles. In his short time with the Wolves, he has helped form his pack into a force to be reckoned with.


“The teams performed at a level above and beyond expectations,” Knock said. “I expected them to compete and fulfill academic requirements, but they operated as truly seasoned veterans. They came together quickly and were able to show growth in a less-than-ideal environment.


“Being a coach while deployed is far from a desirable situation. But this did not deter the students from taking ownership of their respective teams and being the responsible teammates I knew they could be,” he added.


Before Knock returns in June, the Wolves face a spring season in which they hope to capitalize on their momentum.


“’Overwatch’ will be competing in the NECC’s spring tournament, ‘League of Legends’ will participate in Riot Games’ annual collegiate tournament, while ‘Madden’ and ‘Fortnite’ will look to take the competition by storm in NACE’s spring matches,” said Knock. “I know these students will continue to represent themselves and Wolf Nation at a high level.”


“I’m looking forward to seeing ‘Overwatch’ play, I’m ready to see ‘League’ play, I’m ready to see myself play,” said Mosley. “I’ve just got the drive to win right now, and I’m ready to win another championship.”


Before the beginning of his second season in the program and his next-to-last as a Newberry College student, Mosley notes the lasting impression the program has already made.


“I just want to thank Coach Knock for giving me the opportunity to play, to represent the school. And I appreciate Newberry College for propelling us on and making esports as important as it should be. A lot of people don’t really understand how big a medium esports really is,” he said.


“It’s huge.”


Pictured: The Newberry College "League of Legends" team. Back: sophomores James Hansen (Selah, Wash.) and Shield Sawyer (Newberry). Front: senior Jordan Peebles (Camden), sophomore Jin Zheng (Washington, D.C.) and junior Tristan Ly (Duncan).


Newberry College’s Annual Piano Competition to be Held Virtually

January 19, 2021


NEWBERRY — Newberry College’s fourth annual piano competition for middle and high school students will still go on this year, though in a slightly different arrangement.


The W. Darr Wise Piano Competition will be held virtually, with competitors’ performances entered via YouTube. All submission materials, including video links, forms, sheet music and the $25 entry fee, are due Feb. 13.


Participants will compete in either the junior division, for those in grades six through eight, or the senior division, for grades nine through 12. Entrants must be residents of South Carolina, North Carolina or Georgia.


Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third in each division. The first prize winner for the junior division will receive a cash prize of $150. The senior division champion will receive $250, as well as $5,000 in Newberry College scholarships. All winners will be notified via email by March 1.


The traditional winners’ recital, at which each prize winner performs one selection, will be set for a later date.


The competition is named in honor of Professor Emeritus of Music W. Darr Wise, now in his early 90s, who served as a member of the Newberry College faculty for 42 years. The event is hosted by the Department of Music, and organized by Dr. Sarah Masterson, associate professor of music.


Visit the competition webpage for full competition details, contact information and more.


Pictured: The winners of the 2020 W. Darr Wise Piano Competition at their recital, held Feb. 15. From left to right: Eric Sun, Andrew Ning, Harry Ding, Henry Sun, Caleb Jennings, Jennifer Centa. Credit: Dr. Sarah Masterson.


Carlton Kinard ’16 Shares His Family’s Kwanzaa Traditions

December 26, 2020


Today, the Kinard family of Newberry, South Carolina, will mark the beginning of Kwanzaa, a seven-day celebration honoring shared culture and heritage among Americans of African descent. The holiday begins each year on Dec. 26 and culminates on Jan. 1.


“Celebrations often include singing and dancing, storytelling, poetry reading, African drumming, and of course, traditional meals that have been passed down through generations,” said Newberry City Councilman Carlton L. Kinard ’16.


Kwanzaa began as a holiday in 1966 with Dr. Maulana Karenga, of California State University. Karenga sought to bring the African American community together in the wake of civil unrest across the United States, particularly in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The traditions are based in the Swahili language, and each of the holiday’s seven days is defined by a guiding principle for discussion and reflection.


The Kinards began celebrating Kwanzaa in 2010, and they are among many who celebrate the cultural holiday alongside Christmas.


  • Day one: Umoja (Unity): “To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.”


  • Day two: Kujichagulia (Self-determination): “To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.”


  • Day three: Ujima (Collective work and responsibility): “To build and maintain our community together, to make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.”


  • Day four: Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): “To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.”


  • Day five: Nia (Purpose): “To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.”


  • Day six: Kuumba (Creativity): “To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.”


  • Day seven: Imani (Faith): “To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.”


Each principle is represented by a candle held by the kinara (candleholder), which is placed on a mkeka, a straw mat. One ear of corn, called the vibunzi or muhindi, is placed under the kinara for each child in the family. On the first night of Kwanzaa, the center black candle is lit, and on each subsequent night, another candle joins it, three red and three green, lit in alternating order. Other Kwanzaa symbols include a mazao (fruit basket) and a kikombe (unity cup), which are also placed on the mkeka.


“It is tradition when greeting family members, you must start out by saying ‘Habari Gani’ (‘what is the news?’). The appropriate response is to say the name of the principle for that day,” said Kinard.


“Cooking and eating have played an important role during the Kwanzaa celebrations,” said Kinard. “Many recipes are prepared that have been passed down from generations. Dishes such as my Grandma B’s famous sweet potato pie, also black-eyed peas, rice, collards, a smoked turkey, and dressing (not stuffing)!


“Another tradition that has been rooted in the African American culture is dancing. There’s nothing more satisfying, and needed, after eating a delicious meal than working off that turkey while dancing to your favorite old school tunes and African drumming. Many African American households own an African drum that is more likely used as decoration in the house. However, during the Kwanzaa celebrations, it is often used for its original purpose.


“Many of the traditional dances are from our African heritage, however, we have incorporated some of our African American dances into the celebrations as well, such as the Soul Train Line, the Electric Slide, the ‘Wobble’ and so much more.


“As a musician, I find joy in performing different genres of music on my trumpet as well,” added Kinard, a music program graduate.


“One of my favorite traditions during the Kwanzaa celebration is storytelling. Listening to the elders in the family, like my grandmother and great aunts and uncles, and allowing to them tell old stories about their struggles and successes during their lifetime is a highlight during Kwanzaa.


“Allowing the elders to share the family history is a way young people like myself have a better understanding of my family roots. During the pandemic, we have been able to start a family tree activity where we are doing some research on how far we can go back in time to find out about our ancestors. It has been a great experience for our family,” said Kinard.


“Gifts are often exchanged for Kwanzaa, but are usually handmade rather than store-bought. The focus of the gift-giving is about creativity and commemorating a shared history, rather than on receiving a bounty of toys. Some of the Kwanzaa activities often include making traditional crafts, such as straw baskets, painting, jewelry crafts and kente cloths, which are then given out to relatives as the celebration progresses.


“The celebrations and traditions will look a little different this year during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kinard said. “However, we are blessed to have our family still among the living. During the Christmas and Kwanzaa holiday season, our family will celebrate many of our traditional festivities online, via Zoom or some other virtual outlet.”


“The festivities are enjoyed in your home, from embracing the full week to just devoting one evening to the holiday. Remember that the focus is on being together as a family and connecting the present to history and the future. As many Americans are staying home this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, I ask that you spend an evening with your family and discuss the principle of the day and how your family can achieve that principle on a daily basis collectively,” said Kinard.


“The most important part is to create a holiday tradition that resonates, delights, and inspires your family.”


Op-ed: Newberry College Marks 164 Years

by Dr. J. Tracy Power, Associate Professor of History and College Archivist - December 18, 2020


Newberry College celebrates its 164th birthday this Sunday, Dec. 20. The year 1856 on the College seal refers to the charter granted to the original board of trustees by the South Carolina General Assembly, and the date of that charter, Dec. 20, 1856, is celebrated as Founders’ Day.


The College had its origins almost 30 years earlier, when the Rev. John Bachman, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Charleston, suggested that the Synod of South Carolina and Adjacent States should establish a seminary to educate prospective Lutheran pastors for service in South Carolina and other southern states. That seminary, opened in 1831 in Pomaria, moved to Lexington in 1832. In 1855 the Synod, after considering alternate locations for the seminary, settled on Newberry as its new home and approved the establishment of a Lutheran college there as well.


After receiving its charter, the board of trustees held its first official meetings in Newberry in January 1857. The trustees elected Bachman their chairman, elected other officers, accepted a bid for the construction of the college building and met with the architect and contractor, and appointed a committee to oversee the the building’s siting, construction, and completion. The 54-acre core of the present campus was purchased for $2,300 from Simeon Fair, vice-chairman of the board, and James Williams of Newberry. The site was ready for construction by the summer of 1857.


On July 15, John Bachman gave the keynote address at the ceremonies laying the cornerstone for the new building. “We have called it Newberry College,” Bachman told his audience. “The name of this growing and flourishing town and this fertile district will be a rallying point to the lovers of learning and science.”


In time, he assured them, the College would be not only influential as an institution of higher learning, but also in the world, making mankind “wiser, better and happier, qualified for usefulness on earth, and fitted for the society of angels in heaven." Bachman closed his address with the observation that Newberry College would contribute to “that power which can create new resources and surmount all difficulties — a power that gives a lever to move the world — the power of knowledge” (emphasis in original).


From such hopeful and prayerful beginnings, Newberry College was born. She has sent thousands of young men and women off with her blessings to change the world, and she has done so in spite of countless challenges and obstacles throughout her long history. This calendar year has been one challenge and obstacle after another, in many respects more daunting and difficult than any the College, its administration and staff, and its faculty and students have ever faced. But with determination in the present and hope for future, we can be encouraged by the knowledge that our graduates will indeed make the world “wiser, better, and happier.” May the College community and all its many friends dedicate ourselves to working together to make that a reality.



Image: The original Newberry College building, completed in 1859 and razed in 1877. Catalogue of the Officers and Students in Newberry College, South Carolina (1859).


“Small and Safe:” How Newberry College Returned to the Classroom Amid a Global Pandemic

by Jay Salter, Communication Specialist - December 16, 2020


Newberry College freshman Jareed Raymond graduated this spring with honors from Estill High School in Hampton County, South Carolina. From one milestone to another, he was one of 305 students to begin their college careers at Newberry this fall. For Raymond and others like him, while the COVID-19 pandemic loomed, nothing could completely eclipse the significance of the moment, nor the benefits of returning to a small, safe, living-learning community.


“As a first-year student, my first semester at Newberry was pretty good, considering the fact that we were going through a pandemic,” said Raymond, a business administration and healthcare management double-major. “I feel like I learned a lot of new things, there were some great professors that actually taught me. Overall, it was a great learning experience and a great first semester for me to be introduced to college.”


Maintaining classroom instruction for all 73 days of fall semester exceeded all expectations, especially when so many large universities across the country were forced to revert to online instruction during the fall. The first day marked the end of a five-month separation that sent the latter half of spring semester online. The last day proved the resilience of the Newberry College community in the face of crisis, and the Wolves’ ability to turn obstacles into opportunities.


College President Maurice Scherrens said it best, in a virtual November town hall meeting with staff: “Every obstacle is nothing more than an opportunity in disguise.”


Small and safe

In preparation for fall, Newberry College reconfigured many aspects of its small residential campus to better curb the risks of the spread of illness. This effort included getting more out of the campus’ beautiful outdoor spaces and creating more space indoors.

A tent was erected outside the Alumni Music Center, which has since hosted weekly worship services, musical rehearsals and performances, and open-air class sessions. A new venue, affectionately called Ernie’s Porch after the retiring Campus Pastor Ernie Worman, now stands outside Kaufmann Hall’s west wing. The space will be available for more outdoor dining, class and study sessions, and more. The campus bookstore is also in the process of moving to a new building across Luther Street from its current location adjacent to the dining hall. This will also create more socially distant dining space.


Throughout the semester, the college saw a total of 116 positive COVID-19 tests, and the greatest number of active cases at any one time was 23. While the college was prepared for a potential outbreak, as seen in some larger universities, none came, and cases that did arise were handled quickly and effectively.


Students who tested positive and could not return home were provided isolated quarters in college-owned facilities near the main campus, which included meal deliveries and regular virtual checks with health care professionals and college staff. Most cases, however, isolated at home. Through the course of the term, each active case recovered and returned to normal activity.


“I would say the biggest asset in keeping our campus safe this semester was communication. We had a plan, and all key players were on the same page,” said Dr. Sandra Rouse, dean of students. “I would like to thank the Health Care Task Force – which included faculty, staff and community partners, specifically individuals from Newberry County Memorial Hospital and SCDHEC – for their hard work and expertise.”


While similar procedures were standard among colleges that did return to campus this fall, perhaps Newberry’s greatest advantage came in its size. The historical benefits of a small, close-knit campus showed in full form amid the global pandemic, when ease of communication and Newberry’s shared commitment to community health proved invaluable.


“We here at Newberry are known for our small size, our 13-to-1 faculty-to-student ratio, our personal attention,” said Scherrens. “But this semester, we proved that we are small and safe, and that our size not only enhances the college experience, but also safeguards the health and well-being of the college community."


Back to the classroom

As classes began online on Aug. 17, as scheduled, students were given the option of coming back for in-person instruction or remaining home and taking classes online. Most students elected to return face-to-face, and residential students were brought back in phases to better adjust to the newness of study amid a global pandemic.

Academically, classes were offered in a hi-flex format, with some courses available online, but most classes were taught in person, socially distanced and with face coverings. Through the changes and learning curves, though, students and faculty were able to maintain both academic rigor and an individualized education experience throughout the semester from start to finish.


“Academically, I felt like it was going very, very fast … I mean, yes, it was rushed a little bit, but at the same time, I was still able to learn the appropriate material for each and every class I took,” said Mikayla Miles, a business administration major from Clio, South Carolina.


Faculty, who in the spring transitioned from in-person instruction to virtual learning in a matter of hours as the pandemic began, voluntarily increased their course loads in the fall to meet the demands of hi-flex instruction.


“I thought the semester went as smooth as it possibly could have gone considering the circumstances,” said Dr. John Lesaine, assistant dean of academic affairs and a 2007 Newberry graduate. “The faculty had to step outside of our comfort zone and adapt to the new norm just like the students did. There was some confusion at first because of the phased move-in but once we got through that, we were able to get the train rolling.”


Traditions in unprecedented times

While many college events, such as athletic competitions, had to be curtailed or postponed to minimize the risk of the spread of illness, some traditions continued on, though in very different forms. Homecoming, a Newberry tradition since 1923, was held in October entirely online, offering alumni opportunities to engage with classmates and college faculty and staff from wherever they were.

Near fall’s end, the college recognized the achievements of two classes of Newberry graduates in respective ceremonies in Eleazer Arena. The spring class, which included graduates who earned their degrees in July, honored 163 graduates from 14 states and 14 countries, and set the record for the largest graduating class in school history. The fall graduates, who walked ahead of officially receiving their degrees in December, numbered 88, from nine states and three countries. This, too, was the largest class of its kind to graduate from Newberry College.


“During our journey at Newberry College, we have made lasting memories, overcome adversities, and learned how to be resilient,” said May 2020 graduate and former Student Body President Akio Brown, at his class’ Nov. 21 commencement exercises. “I thank God that you and I have made it to witness the greatness of each other.”


Whatever it takes

Looking ahead, plans are underway for a safe return for spring 2021. New to the college this year, students will have the opportunity to take a cost-reduced online course in January, at the height of flu season. Students will return in phases for spring semester, which officially begins Feb. 1, following submission of a negative COVID-19 test dated within five days of their return.


Following a fall athletic season largely postponed for members of the South Atlantic Conference, the Wolves look forward to a full return to intercollegiate play in the spring. Provided health and safety can be maintained, the first half of the 2021 calendar will be shaded scarlet and gray as 19 sports play at nearly the same time. Already, though, the same community-minded spirit that led Wolf Nation through fall semester is shining promise on the upcoming term.


“As a team, our motto is ‘Whatever It Takes,’” said senior Lauren Huffman, a member of the softball team from Granite Falls, North Carolina. “Our season was cut short last year, and it was a such a blow to all of us. This motto means that we are going to do ‘Whatever It Takes’ to ensure that we stay on campus, we follow the rules, and we get to have our season.”


Sayers to Stay on as Newberry College CFO

December 14, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced that David Sayers will continue serving as vice president for administrative services and chief financial officer. The announcement removes the ‘interim’ designation from the role Sayers has held since February.


“David has been serving us for the past 10 months in an interim capacity and we are pleased to announce that he has agreed to continue forward as our vice president for administrative affairs/chief financial officer," said President Maurice Scherrens. "I have been very pleased with his contributions to the College and look forward to working with him in the future.”


Sayers brings over two decades of financial experience, including work in banking, nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions.


“It has been a great experience getting to work with Dr. Scherrens, the Board of Trustees, and the students, faculty and staff, facing challenges like COVID-19 with such a strong group,” said Sayers. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue this work.”


The Marion, Virginia, native has served as a self-employed consultant and accountant. His higher education experience includes service as chief financial officer at Florida Christian College and at Mid-Atlantic Christian University, and a business professorship at Point University. He also served as president of the Mid-Atlantic Christian University Foundation and leadership and business departmental chair during his time there.


Sayers holds master's degrees from Gardner-Webb University and East Tennessee State University, respectively, and a bachelor's from Radford University.


Newberry College Honors the Graduating Classes of 2020

December 3, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College recognized the achievements of two graduating classes in respective ceremonies on Saturday, Nov. 21.


The spring and summer classes were honored at 10 a.m., the fall class at 2:30 p.m., each in Eleazer Arena.


In the morning, 163 graduates from the spring and summer graduating classes represented 14 states and 14 countries. This year’s contingent formed the largest spring graduating class on record.


In keeping with the college’s practice of selecting graduating seniors to give the commencement address, this year’s honor went to graphic design major and former Student Body President Akio Brown, of Savannah, Georgia.


“During our journey at Newberry College, we have made lasting memories, overcome adversities, and learned how to be resilient,” said Brown. “I thank God that you and I have made it to witness the greatness of each other.”


At the fall ceremony, 88 candidates, representing nine states and three countries, formed the largest fall graduating class in school history. Each spring, the Student Government Association elects a professor of the year, who in turn speaks to the graduating class the following December. Dr. J. Tracy Power, associate professor of history and college archivist, delivered the address.


“Each and every one of you in the Class of 2020 is your own miracle, your family’s own miracle, and each of you was meant to be, born to be, at Newberry College,” Power said. “We need to give ourselves permission to be who we were meant to be, instead of who we expect ourselves to be, or who the world expects us to be.”


“Be kind, and once you make that something you do and someone you are, do more and be more,” he added.


Each ceremony was held in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines regarding face coverings, social distancing and capacity limitations.


Recordings of the two ceremonies can be viewed on demand at this link.


Newberry College Launches Scholarship for Newberry County High School Graduates

November 23, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has just unveiled its new Heritage Scholarship, a renewable award available specifically for Newberry County residents who enroll in on-campus programs.


The $3,000 scholarship is available to graduates of Newberry County high schools and homeschooled Newberry County residents who are admitted to Newberry College and enroll in traditional programs. This designation excludes online degree-completion programs such as respiratory therapy and RN-to-BSN. The scholarship will be available beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.


“This scholarship reflects our commitment to the families of Newberry, to provide additional financial assistance to help them afford a high-quality, private college education,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “The College is skyrocketing in all national rankings, so this is the perfect time to unveil this scholarship as a way to express our desire to become the college of first choice for more and more of our local high school graduates.”


Area high schools include Newberry, Mid-Carolina, Whitmire Community School and Newberry Academy. Currently, approximately 10% of the Newberry College student body hails from Newberry County.


“We are proud to offer this scholarship to help more local students achieve an outstanding private college education in their own community,” said Christopher M. Harris, dean of enrollment management. “Newberry College continues its commitment to affordability, and that commitment starts at home.”


In the 2019 academic year, Newberry College awarded $18.5 million in institutional student aid. As a result, the college ranked No. 1 in South Carolina and No. 32 in the nation for least student loan debt per borrower, according to a report by online financial marketplace LendEDU. U.S. News & World Report has also named the college among the southeast’s top 10 most affordable institutions for the fifth consecutive year.


Campus Pastor Ernie Worman to Retire After 12 Years

November 10, 2020


Newberry College Campus Pastor Ernie Worman has announced he will retire in December after 12 years in the role. In his dozen-year tenure, Pastor Ernie has been known, among other things, for his rocking chair ministry, his laid-back and accessible manner, and his distinctive red shoes. The two-time Navy veteran plans to return home to Louisville, Kentucky, for a well-deserved retirement with his fellow Navy veteran and beloved wife of 43 years, Annie, and their two daughters and three grandchildren.


Pastor Ernie sat down with the marketing and communications staff for an exclusive interview as he prepares to depart his longest post.


“How has the campus changed spiritually since you’ve been here?”

“This campus has always been a spiritual place, and ministry is done by many people on campus. I’ve just held the title [of campus pastor]. But the caring, not just for students, but for faculty and staff and coaches, has been done by dozens and dozens of people on campus, because we all are searching for our own personal journeys. Life is about how we interact with each other, build relationships with each other. The campus is so much greater than the sum of its academics.”


“Is there any one thing you will miss more than anything else?”

“I had been here about a year and [I was] in Walmart downtown, and a football player on one side of the store shouts my name and waves. And I said to my wife, ‘That’s why I’m here.’ Just before I came up the stairs to come here and talk to you guys, I was walking across campus, and two students are walking toward Smeltzer. They stopped and they looked at me and they shouted at me across the Quad. Just, ‘Hi, Pastor Ernie.’ And they came over and we had this delightful conversation. That’s my favorite. That’s why I’m here. … People don’t have to give you their time. And when they do, that’s pretty precious.”


“Do you have any retirement plans?”

“[Spending more time with family,] that’s No. 1. I’ve got to go to my grandkids’ field hockey and ice hockey. … I know there will be some time for me and my wife at the beach, because I miss the ocean, don’t see it enough. I’m gonna have to find somewhere to volunteer. I’ve got to do something. … I’m gonna take a baking class. There’s a restaurant a couple miles from my house, they’re only open breakfast and lunch, but they’re also a bakery, and they have classes on how to bake. I gonna take that, I’m gonna take some cooking classes, and my wife and I are gonna experiment in the kitchen.


“But I’ll miss this place a lot. I’m not leaving because I want to. It’s just time. … Everything’s got a beginning, a middle and an end. And it’s just time.”


The Legend of Madeline

October 30, 2020


Have you met Madeline?


As a campus founded 164 years ago, Newberry College has enjoyed its share of legends and ghost stories, passed down by generations of students, faculty and staff. The most famous and most enduring of these is Madeline, the tragic lover of Keller Hall.


The story first appeared in the Dec. 2, 1959, edition of the student newspaper. In the original version, by Barbara Patterson Nuessle ’61, “Miss Madeline” was a Newberry native who was dating a Newberry College student named John around the turn of the 20th century. The pair were contemplating marriage after John’s graduation, until rumors circulated that Madeline was being unfaithful. On Nov. 17 of that untold year, John climbed to the top of the Keller Hall steeple in despair and leapt to his death.


That very evening, Madeline was on her way to campus to confess to John that she had betrayed him, and that she had finally realized that she loved him and him alone. Around midnight, leaving her carriage on what is now Evans Street, she carried a dim lantern to light her way up the path to Smeltzer Hall, where John stayed. As she passed before Keller Hall, she stumbled over something. When she held the lantern over the object, she discovered John’s broken body and let out a scream that was heard across campus.


According to legend, the ghost of Miss Madeline returns to campus every Nov. 17 to search for John to no avail, carrying that same dimly lit lantern and crying into the night. On several occasions after the story was first put to paper, students dressed as Madeline, carried lanterns and went out on the anniversary to help the tragic lady search for her lover.


Several other versions of the story have surfaced since the 1959 article. The most prevalent version casts John as a Union soldier who was stationed at Newberry College during the army’s occupation between July and October 1865. John had fallen in love with a local girl, Madeline, and the two matched immediately. Shortly thereafter, the garrison transferred, and Madeline was left behind. Upon hearing news that John had died, she was overcome with grief and threw herself from the top of Keller Hall.


Now, it is worth noting that Keller Hall was constructed in 1895, 30 years after the end of the Civil War, so the timing of this version might not add up. However, one shouldn’t let facts get in the way of a good story.


No “Madeline” sightings have been reported for decades, perhaps because Miss Madeline finally gave up her search.


But who can say for sure?


Photo: Robert Matheson / Newberry Museum


Op-ed: Voting and Civility Matter in this Election

by Dr. Maurice Scherrens, President of Newberry College - October 27, 2020


Dear Newberry College Community,


Over the next couple of weeks, our state and country will once again choose whom we wish to represent us in government. Through the time-honored practice of voting, we are given the opportunity to have our voices heard. Our vote is how we show our support for those pursuing public office, and the outcome of our voting will not only affect the next two, four and six years, but will undoubtedly impact our lives far beyond the years of their terms.


I write to you today to simply urge you to take the time to vote. Your vote matters. It is said that over 100 million people did not vote in the last presidential election, and I am sure there were similar numbers of non-voters in previous elections. Let us all turn that trend around and get out and vote.


Throughout our history, many have sacrificed so that we now all enjoy the right to vote. This year, in fact, marks 100 years of women’s right to vote, and the Civil Rights Movement only half a century ago to ensure the same right of African Americans. So please let us show the world how unified our country can be as we set all-time records for voter turnout.


Let us also show the world that when the ballots are counted and the winners are proclaimed, we accept the results with dignity, grace and civility. As much as our votes matter in this upcoming election, what matters even more is our national and individual capacity to treat each other with respect and compassion. Winners will celebrate the moment and losers will concede defeat, but the true victory for our country is only realized when we can put aside our differences and move forward together.


There are several options available to you for voting, including voting by mail, voting early at your local election office, or voting in person on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. If you are registered in South Carolina, click here for information on how you can vote. If you are registered in another U.S. state, click here.


We are all in this together. Stay safe and take care.




Maurice W. Scherrens


Newberry College Esports Joins New England Collegiate Conference

October 26, 2020


NEWBERRY — South Carolina can’t be much farther from New England, but that hasn’t stopped the Newberry College esports program from affiliating with the New England Collegiate Conference.


The Mansfield, Massachusetts-based conference comprises Division III schools in the northeast, but the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the organization to expand into the esports realm, where geography and division are of little consequence. Over the summer, the Newberry College program became one of a handful from across the country to form the conference’s esports wing in its inaugural season.


“We were looking for additional opportunities to compete, so we decided to go with the NECC,” said Terrence Knock, head coach and coordinator of esports at Newberry College. “Being part of the NECC also means our students will be able to compete with a nationwide audience, since the conference broadcasts on streaming devices and other television outlets.”


The new affiliation affords the Newberry program some well-needed breathing room for its recently expanded slate of competitive titles and a player roster whose capacity grew from 15 to 24 over the last year.


“We’re excited,” Knock said. “This is ‘year zero’ as the conference is calling it. We’re still working through some roadblocks and we have a lot of room to grow, but it’s definitely a great opportunity for us and for everyone involved. I am also confident the NECC will look out for the best interests of the students and the member institutions in the conference.


“Stay tuned, because we have a serious chance to see some playoff and some championship time,” he added.


The Newberry College esports program was established in 2019, offering four competitive gaming titles, and like traditional sports, structured practices, skill building and scholarships for players. The program is supported by the National Association of Collegiate Esports.


Image courtesy: New England Collegiate Conference.


Newberry College to Hold 8th Annual Dufford Diversity & Inclusion Week

October 12, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College is set to hold its eighth Dufford Diversity and Inclusion Week Oct. 19-22. The annual series will feature alumni, civil rights pioneers and opportunities for meaningful engagement.


“Dufford Diversity and Inclusion Week is a tremendous opportunity to come together as a campus community, celebrate diversity, and provide tools to help create an environment of inclusivity and radical hospitality,” said Dr. Peggy Winder '86, director of diversity education.


The annual series began in 2013 with the vision and generosity of Dr. William E. Dufford '49, who continues to sponsor the program. The retired educator made history in 1969 as the school administrator responsible for integrating the Sumter County school system, and he has been a lifelong civil rights and education advocate.


The 2020 program comprises the following events, all of which are free and open to the public. Face coverings are required at all events, and seating capacity has been limited to allow for adequate social distancing.


Oct. 19 - "Let Them Play!" The 1955 Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars. In the summer of 1955, all but one of South Carolina’s 61 chartered Little League programs in South Carolina were made up entirely of white players. The lone exception was the Cannon Street YMCA Little League from Charleston, whose “All-Star” team won city, district, state and regional titles when other, all-white teams organized boycotts and refused to play. This event welcomes three members of the 1955 state championship and Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame team. Newberry Opera House, 7 p.m.


Oct. 20 – Tearing Down the Wall of Prejudice and Discrimination. “Tearing Down the Wall” is an interactive and educational experience that examines and tears down negative stereotypes about various groups of people, and helps participants become advocates in their communities. Hosted by the Social Justice Club and advisor Dr. Naomi Simmons. Center for Teacher Education, 1121 Speers St., 12:30 and 7 p.m.


Oct. 21 – Wednesday Worship with Coach Jeremiah Jones '98. Tent outside Alumni Music Center, 9:55 a.m.


Oct. 21 – An Evening with Nancy Lou Anderson Glasgow '70. The Newberry native is the first African American graduate of Newberry College. Though some students and professors refused to associate with her, she found support in a “village of people” who helped her succeed at college in the Civil Rights Era. Event by invitation.


Oct. 22 – The Color of Justice. The South Carolina Bar’s Color of Justice Committee presents a virtual panel discussion on non-traditional approaches to the law and the impact of law on daily life, particularly with regard to race. Hosted by the South Carolina Bar. Visit for access to the virtual meeting at 7 p.m.


For more information, visit


Newberry College Enrollment Holds Steady Amid Pandemic

October 1, 2020


NEWBERRY — The COVID-19 pandemic has left no sector of the economy untouched, and for many institutions of higher education, especially small liberal arts colleges, the coronavirus has delivered a staggering blow. Many small colleges are struggling financially due to declining enrollments and rising costs associated with COVID-19, and some have closed their doors permanently.


In an attempt to cope with the challenges of the pandemic, many colleges and universities have eliminated academic and athletic programs, furloughed faculty and staff, curtailed co-curricular activities, postponed or cancelled athletic competition, and reverted to teaching courses entirely online again this fall. 


The question now is, considering all the circumstances and the pandemic’s widespread stymying effect on higher education in particular: How has Newberry College sustained enrollment and even grown student retention to record highs?


The total number of full-time students this fall is 1,206, just shy of last year’s all-time high of 1,225, but still the second-highest enrollment in the college’s history. Including part-time students, the total student population is 1,265, compared to last year’s record 1,271. This year’s incoming class is stronger academically at enrollment than any previous class on record, with 56% bringing in a high school GPA greater than 3.5.


The groundbreaking figure is the percentage of full-time students enrolled in the spring who returned for the fall, also known as retention. An astonishing 86% of potential returners – who exclude May graduates – decided to come back for another semester after a tumultuous spring. This is the highest spring-to-fall retention rate in the last four years, a roughly 2-point increase over last year and a 4-point increase over 2018.


Like many other institutions, Newberry devoted much of the spring and summer to expanding dining areas, leasing temporary showers and restrooms, reconfiguring classrooms and redesigning living spaces. But Newberry had something else in mind. The plan was not only to prepare campus for the safe return of students in the fall, but also to make the campus environment even more student-centered.


“We took the chaos and uncertainty of the coronavirus and turned the challenge into an opportunity,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “There were things that absolutely needed to be done for a safe return, but it was also an opportunity to focus on creating a more welcoming, vibrant living-learning community for potential, incoming and returning students.”


Late in the spring, while classes were completely virtual, Newberry coordinated an initiative to ensure each student stayed connected with the college community. The college developed a communication plan that ensured that 10 days would not go by without a message of encouragement or updates on campus operations. Perhaps most responsible for the record student retention, the Center for Student Success organized faculty, staff, coaches and alumni to have regular, direct contact with each student. Whether the students’ concerns were financial or academic, there was a member of the college community to show them a pathway. This not only helped students get through the abrupt transition and subsequent challenges of remote learning, it kept the community together beyond the confines of curriculum when members were states and hemispheres apart.


“I wanted to come back to campus, because I don’t like online classes, I can’t learn like that. In the spring, my professors communicated well, and that helped me know what I needed to do,” said Pete Elmore, a junior from Barnwell majoring in pre-engineering. “But classes just aren’t the same outside the classroom, so I’m glad to be back.”


Ahead of fall semester, the Office of Admission unveiled a test-optional application for potential students unable to take or retake the ACT, SAT or English proficiency tests. The Board of Trustees unanimously renewed the college’s Tuition Promise, a program which freezes tuition for incoming students for their four years at Newberry. The college also waived fees for summer courses to keep students engaged in their studies over the summer months, resulting in the highest summertime enrollment on record.


In August, students were brought back in weekly phases while classes began virtually and on time, to allow everyone to gradually adjust to the “new normal” of campus life. The campus’ small size and 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio has made the return to campus life that much easier and safer. Most courses moved into the classroom after Labor Day, and instruction will continue to be available in a “hi-flex” format, a mix of virtual and classroom instruction. 


“Classes were probably the biggest concern for me. I was planning on taking a lab science class, and wasn’t really sure how I was going to be able to get the proper credit for that, taking it online,” said junior Connor Shadday, of Lexington, a music education major. “If I was not able to live on campus, this would’ve been the worst year ever. I’m also thankful for the ability to have some classes online and some classes in person.”


For Newberry College administrators, the health of students, faculty and staff has been the highest priority, and with their efforts to bring students back safely has come growth in many ways. There is, however, much work to be done, and the college has already developed plans to reach new heights in the fall of 2021.


The college anticipates a strong spring enrollment and has announced an enrollment target of 1,300 students for next fall. The college plans to add new academic programs, and the Board of Trustees just approved the addition of women’s triathlon as a new NCAA sport, to be introduced in fall 2021. In fundraising, the college has raised $30 million of its $35 million Scaling the Summit capital campaign goal. The Melvin and Dollie Younts Athletic Performance Center was completed this summer, with a formal grand opening on the horizon. Fundraising efforts continue with the goal of completing the campaign in 2021 with the construction of an Athletic and Academic Achievement Center at Setzler Field, and a Nursing and Health Science Center.


At last week’s staff town hall meeting, Scherrens may have said it best: “We are not out of the woods yet, with all the uncertainty of the times, but we must remind ourselves that ‘not every storm comes to disrupt our lives, some storms come to clear a path.’ We are bound only by our imagination and our willingness to do whatever needs to be done. By staying together, we will emerge stronger than ever.”


Peeler Compiles Historical Greenwood County Motor Tours

September 24, 2020


NEWBERRY — Dr. Jodie Peeler, professor of communications at Newberry College, has published a compilation of “Touring Greenwood County” motor tours written over a century ago.


The 26 articles were originally published by the Greenwood Index, the forerunner of the present-day Index-Journal, between 1911 and 1913. In addition to chronicling historical events, the series was designed to better connect the communities of the rural county at the dawn of the automobile.


“Two writers and a photographer from the Index drove around Greenwood County in a Ford automobile furnished to them by a local dealer,” said Peeler, a Greenwood native. “It's an interesting look at what the county was like a century ago.


“The tours ran more or less weekly through November 1911, and then abruptly ended. Three more installments were published in mid-1913. Although they were sometimes referenced throughout the years, and although local historians have known about the series, to our knowledge they have never been reprinted until now.”


The 266-page book includes descriptions of Greenwood County communities such as Bradley, Callison, Cambridge, Hodges, Ninety Six, Promised Land, Troy, Ware Shoals; notable homes and families; historic places such as Cokesbury College; and extensive discussion of the role Ninety Six played in the American Revolution.


“The tours are written in an interesting, rambling, sometimes free-associative style. You not only get a lot of history of the places they visit, but you get details of what the journey was like, and comparisons to these men in this Ford automobile feeling like the first sailors to explore the seas,” said Peeler.


The former newspaper reporter said she and her partner for the project, Ralph Scurry, of the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society, included as many of the original photographs as were salvageable from the microfilmed pages. The articles were manually typeset for easy reading, and a section in the back features modern-day photos of some of the historical places covered in the series.


Having been originally published in the South in the 1910s, the articles are culturally dated. However, Peeler said, learning from history involves preserving period publications and adding context where necessary.

“We presented the articles as they ran. Sometimes that was painful. There is language in some of the articles that reflect attitudes of that era, especially on race. It's truly awful stuff to read in some places, but our mission was to preserve what was written back then, warts and all, for future historians.


As a historian I know there's no substitute for primary sources, as they ran, because they provide insight into an era. In a couple of cases I provided additional information in a footnote or a sidebar, as a means of adding context and knocking down disproven myths.”


Peeler said this project began earlier this year after meeting Scurry at a gathering of the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society.


“Somehow we got around to the ‘Touring Greenwood County’ series, and he mentioned that he wanted to see it available again, because it's such a great time capsule of Greenwood County and had so many great stories in it. I knew about the series, and it turned out it was available through the database, so I volunteered to see what I could do.”


“Richard Whiting, the executive editor of the Index-Journal, was happy to learn about the project and has been very supportive of what we are doing,” Peeler added.


The softcover book, printed locally, is available at Greenwood County bookstores, and those interested can also contact Peeler directly at


Peeler, a member of the Newberry College faculty since 2001, is also the author of "Ben Robertson: South Carolina Journalist and Author,” published in 2019 by the University of South Carolina Press. Peeler is currently working on another book covering the life of Dave Garroway, the original host of NBC’s “Today” from 1952 to 1961.


Newberry College Ranks High for Economic Diversity, Social Mobility

September 17, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has been recognized on two rankings lists for the ability of all students, regardless of financial background, to receive a high-quality education.


The college has taken the No. 6 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s Top Performers on Social Mobility regional list, becoming the category’s third-highest ranked college in the southeastern United States. Newberry also appeared on the publication’s unranked Economic Diversity list.


Social Mobility measures the six-year graduation rates of federal Pell Grant recipients, drawing on data from students who entered in fall 2012 and fall 2013. The Economic Diversity list measures the percentage of undergraduates receiving Pell grants. The grants are available to students coming from households with total annual incomes below $50,000. Most of these funds benefit students with family incomes below $20,000.


“We are so excited to receive this recognition, because it acknowledges the ability of Newberry College to help students succeed in the pursuit of their educational goals while transforming their lives,” said Barbara Joyner, assistant dean of the Center for Student Success. “This is the concerted effort of everyone on campus, faculty, staff, and our students themselves.”


The percentage of Newberry College students who receive federal Pell grants is approximately 52%. Newberry College was one of six South Carolina schools included on the Economic Diversity list for the regional South.


“Literature indicates that traditionally, lower-income students are often underrepresented in higher education, particularly among private institutions,” said Dr. Peggy Winder, a 1986 Newberry graduate and director of diversity education. “This is part of the College’s ongoing efforts to create a diverse, inclusive educational environment.”


In terms of Newberry College graduation rates, Pell Grant recipients average 50.7%, on par with 54.7% for non-Pell recipients.


“Social Mobility and Economic Diversity are methodologies that are pretty new to the U.S. News college rankings, and they are great news for our students,” said Susanne Nelson, associate director of institutional research and effectiveness. “The numbers show there is virtually no distinction at Newberry College when it comes to student income and student success.”


Find out more about the U.S. News & World Report rankings at


Newberry College Remains Among South’s Best Value

September 16, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has firmly held its place among the South’s most affordable institutions, according to U.S. News & World Report.


The college maintained its No. 6 ranking on the 2021 list of Best Value Schools – Regional Colleges South, and was also the highest-ranked South Carolina school on the list. This is the fifth consecutive year in which Newberry has remained among the top 10 for best value in the southeast.


"I’m proud that Newberry College has been consistently been ranked one of the top 10 best value schools in the South, and benefits such as the Tuition Promise and robust financial aid are hallmarks of the Newberry experience," said Dr. Lenna Young, a 1977 graduate, member of the Board of Trustees, and former vice president for academic affairs at Greenville Technical College.


“My accessible, high-quality Newberry education shaped me to successfully leap forward into career and life.”


In March, the board renewed the college’s Tuition Promise, which freezes tuition for incoming first-year students for their four years at Newberry College. This is the second consecutive year the program has locked in new students’ educational costs.


The ranking can also be attributed to the financial aid packages available to students. In the 2019 academic year, the college awarded $18.5 million in institutional aid to 96.4% of the student body.


“Newberry is very accepting of everyone’s financial background, and they’re willing to work with everyone because they truly want us here,” said Preslee Sikes, a senior and chemistry major from Graniteville.


“I told another student recently, ‘there are people here working for you, you just gotta find them and get in contact with them, these people actually do care about you and want you to be able to stay here and to not have to worry about school financially,’” said Elijah Fulmore, a junior and elementary education major from Irmo. “You’re definitely getting your money’s worth.”


Newberry College also recently ranked No. 1 in South Carolina and No. 32 in the United States for least average student loan debt per borrower, according to a report by LendEDU.


Find out more about the U.S. News & World Report rankings at


Newberry College Rises Among Best in the South

September 14, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has risen to the No. 11 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 list of Best Regional Colleges in the South, the college’s highest placement to date.


The annual higher education rankings, released today, showed the college’s significant climb of five places over last year’s No. 16 finish. This marks the fourth consecutive year Newberry has been named one of the South’s top 20 colleges.


“Our key performance indicators improve every year, especially our steady student enrollment growth and our significant improvement in retention and graduation rates,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “Our rise in these rankings reflects our relentless focus on being student-centered and creating a strong faculty-student learning environment.


“We are honored by this recognition. Achieving the highest regional best ranking in the history of the College is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our faculty and staff.”


According to U.S. News & World Report, the rankings compare four-year colleges and universities from across the country on 15 diverse measures of academic quality. Factors used in the rankings include average ACT and SAT scores, student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates, tuition and financial aid, student body characteristics, post-graduate employment and more.


“Our huge jump in these rankings is proof that the hard work is paying off,” said Rob Best, chair of the Board of Trustees and a 1971 graduate. “This is a result of changes that Newberry College has made, over the last few years, but certainly in the last year, like expanding academic and athletic programs, improving campus resources, and making a college education more accessible.”


Find out more about the college rankings at


Op-ed: Happy Newberry College Sunday

by the Rev. Ernie Worman, Campus Pastor and Director of Church Relations - September 9, 2020


I believe it was Martin Luther, priest, reformer and campus pastor, who said, “A city’s [or state’s or country’s] best and greatest welfare, safety, and strength consist rather in its having many able, learned, wise, honorable, and well-educated citizens.”


Since 1856, Newberry College and the Lutheran Church have been partners in the ministry of higher education. Conceived in faith, established by the grace of God, and rooted in the Lutheran liberal arts tradition, Newberry College has been supported for more than 164 years by the prayers and financial support of the South Carolina Synod and many wonderful people of many faith traditions.


The South Carolina Synod has graciously designated this Sunday, Sept. 13, as Newberry College Sunday, a tradition that celebrates the strong relationship our partner churches share with South Carolina’s only ELCA-affiliated college.


Newberry College has grown from its humble beginnings into a world-class institution of higher education, celebrating the liberal arts and sciences and offering pre-professional degrees, sought out by students from all over the United States and around the globe, attracting a diverse and ever-growing student population each year. Our success in providing students with skills and opportunities to pursue their callings, could not be possible without the sustained love and support of our brothers and sisters in Christ.


As a side note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our annual Lutheran Day — a tradition that invites Lutheran church congregations to campus for an afternoon of athletic competition on the gridiron and food and fun and fellowship — has been postponed to the spring of 2021. So, we look forward to welcoming members of the Lutheran community, and of all faith traditions, to campus this spring.


In the meantime, this Sept. 13, Newberry College Sunday, please support Newberry College in your worship services, in your prayers, and please consider giving a love offering to support the mission of the College, as you have faithfully done for 164 years. You can also give to Newberry College any time at, by calling (803) 321-5363, or by sending a check to Newberry College, Office of Institutional Advancement, 2100 College Street, Newberry, SC 29108.


Also, please join us in saying “thank you and God bless you” to the Rev. Herman Yoos for his unwavering and faithful support of Newberry College during his tenure as bishop of the South Carolina Synod, and, “welcome and God bless you” to our new bishop, the Rev. Virginia Aebischer. We look forward to working with you in ministry for years to come.


God bless our state and nation, God bless the South Carolina Synod, and God Bless Newberry College. Happy Newberry College Sunday!


For more information on Newberry College Sunday and how to participate, please contact Pastor Ernie Worman at, or Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement Whitney Metz at


Newberry College Receives $2.5 Million Stadium Gift

September 8, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has received a $2.5 million anonymous irrevocable pledge agreement to support the construction of the Athletic and Academic Achievement Center at historic Setzler Field.


The gift will be used to begin the second phase of the college’s stadium project, which will be built on the visitor side of Setzler Field. The facility will include locker rooms for the football, lacrosse and field hockey teams, coaches’ offices, classrooms, team meeting rooms and other student-athlete support space. The projected cost of this 18,000-square-foot facility is approximately $4.5 million.


“This is a most generous gift, and it is a game changer for our College,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “This facility will benefit all of our students, as it is designed to be multi-functional with the inclusion of three to four state-of-the-art classrooms. We need to raise additional funds to commence construction of Phase II, but thanks to this generous gift, hopefully others will follow and we can put a shovel in the ground soon.”


The total estimated cost of the stadium project remains approximately $10 million. There will eventually be a third and final phase, on the home side of the stadium, where a new press box, seating, concessions, a hospitality suite, storage and restrooms will be built. The projected cost of this final phase is $3 million.


“The timing of this gift could not be better,” said Robert Best, chair of the Board of Trustees and a 1971 graduate. “In the midst of the confusion and anxiety caused by the coronavirus and the losses in the stock market, we have an anonymous donor make the type of gift that will propel Newberry College through these difficult times and allow us to emerge stronger than ever.”


In March, the college announced a $500,000 gift from the Younts family to complete the Melvin and Dollie Younts Athletic Performance Center, a 6,750-square-foot athletic training and sports medicine facility at the north end zone of Setzler Field. The gift was added to the family’s previous $1 million matching pledge.


Newberry College has now raised over $30 million toward its Scaling the Summit capital campaign goal of $35 million. The college is also currently raising funds to construct the Nursing and Health Science Center, to be located on the corner of College and Evans streets.


“This anonymous donor makes the stadium project a reality, and it is now incumbent upon us to raise the money to make the Nursing and Health Science Center a reality as well,” Scherrens added.


Pictured: Possible rendering of Athletic and Academic Achievement Center. Source: McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture.


Newberry College Ranks No. 1 for Least Student Loan Debt

September 3, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College graduates have the least student loan debt per borrower out of all private and public four-year colleges and universities in South Carolina, according to a report recently released by LendEDU.


According to the report, the college’s $18,587 average debt figure places Newberry College at No. 1 in the state and No. 32 in the nation, based on data for the graduating class of 2019. This figure is well below the state’s overall average debt per borrower of $31,902. Newberry climbed to the top of the list after capturing the No. 3 spot in last year’s LendEDU rankings.


“This is who we are,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “This ranking shows Newberry’s focus on affordability in action. It also shows the ability of our students to get a high-quality education and pursue graduate studies or a career without being saddled with high student loan debt.”


Earlier this year, the Newberry College Board of Trustees announced a renewal of the college’s Tuition Promise, which freezes tuition for incoming first-year students for their four years at Newberry College. In the 2019 academic year, the college awarded $18.5 million in institutional financial aid, with 96.4% of students receiving institutional assistance.


“Newberry College continues to lead the state and region by opening the doors of higher education to more students,” said Christopher Harris, dean of enrollment management. “We are proud to offer generous financial aid packages to our families because they provide access to a high-quality private college education.”


In 2019, U.S. News & World Report named Newberry College one of the South’s top 10 most affordable institutions for the fourth consecutive year.


Horn Describes Two New North American Flower Species

September 1, 2020


NEWBERRY — Dr. Charles Horn, professor of biology, has described two new species of aquatic plants native to North America, segregates of a group Horn elevated to species level over 30 years ago. His findings were recently published in the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.


The first species, the Missouri roundleaf mud-plantain, has blue flowers and is found in the southern Great Plains — Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. The second, the few-flowered roundleaf mud-plantain, has white flowers, is less common and found on the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to North Carolina. These plants grow in water or in wet soil, such as freshwater marshes and river margins.


The two were originally described as varieties of the bouquet mud-plantain, a species found in a wide geographic range from New Jersey to Texas, then in South America from Venezuela to northeastern Brazil and Argentina. Previously described as a variety of the kidneyleaf mud-plantain by German botanist August Grisebach in 1879, Horn officially defined the bouquet mud-plantain as its own species in 1986, the same year he joined the Newberry College faculty.


“As time has gone by, we’ve developed new techniques, new methods, new insights, and of course, more field trips,” Horn said. “In the last three or four years, I’ve been collaborating with a variety of other folks, including some botanists in Brazil. And we’ve developed sort of a new take on what is a species. And so, the result was that we have now officially described two new species of the group referred to by the common name, mud-plantain.”


Missouri roundleaf mud-plantainDespite being native to the southern Great Plains, Horn added that a small population of the Missouri roundleaf mud-plantain can be found in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area, likely transported east. “Someone could have had it in a boat, a bird could have eaten the seed and flown, it could be a variety of different things, or the plants could have been there all along and nobody ever noticed them.


“This isn’t just a matter of, ‘here’s where they grow, and the result of their nutrients mean they’re going to look different.’ So, there’s something clearly more than just simply that they look different where they grow.”


Horn said these discoveries have been part of an on-and-off project for the last 30 years. “When I did my dissertation back in the 1980s, I said, these things look a little different, but I don’t have enough material to feel confident that they are different,” he said. “And so I put it on the proverbial back-burner, and then as I went out and did some more field trips and gathered more information, I was able to reach the conclusion and work out the details, and that’s what I’ve been doing for about the last year-and-a-half.”


In 2017, Horn also worked with Brazilian botanist Marco Pellegrini to define two other species of aquatic plants native to southern Brazil.


The botanist, ecologist and educator related the process of defining a species to his work in the classroom. “In my classes I talk about what is a species and point out different ways of looking at things, and so the idea is you have to come up with a valid argument and present your perspective on things and gather facts, and from those facts you come up with your conclusion.


“As knowledge moves forward, instead of having everything figured out, we now have more questions, so that’s the fun, that’s the challenge as we look at education, and in my case, at the biology of plants.”


Horn’s ongoing research includes the presence and distribution of native and rare species of azaleas of the southern Appalachians. Since 2000, he has focused on the rare May-white azalea, first described as a species in 1999. The flower is found only in South Carolina, with 65 populations in 13 counties, mostly found in the Broad/Congaree Watershed within Laurens, Newberry and Union counties.


In 1986, Horn established the Newberry College Herbarium, a collection of over 25,000 dried and documented plant specimens from the piedmont regions of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, along with collections from the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, and Guyana. Existing specimens from the Newberry College Herbarium assisted in determining where the May-white azalea could be found. He has since returned to his research to determine how this species has changed over the last decade.


“You never know what you’re going to find as you’re out there walking around, and it’s always a puzzle,” he said.


Horn said several students have enjoyed the opportunity to assist in his azalea research over the past three summers, with financial assistance from a program of the U.S. Forest Service.


“I’ve had students who are excited about getting out in the field, walking through the woods, and possibly getting a little dirty, all in the name of science.”


Horn spoke to the implications his research has on the field and on the subject he has passionately taught for over three decades.


“In the field of plant biology, one of the questions that always comes up is, ‘How many species are on planet Earth? Have we documented all those species?’ And a lot of people feel that, ‘these botanists have been working in North America for 300 years, we’ve gotten every species identified and observed and we have them clearly understood.’ The answer is no.


“The bottom line is, this is an ongoing process as we discover new things, go to new places, we have to always reevaluate, ‘how does this fit in with what we already know?’”


Newberry College Homecoming to go Virtual

August 6, 2020


NEWBERRY — To limit the presence of off-campus visitors and reduce the risk of the spread of illness, Newberry College has announced that this year’s Homecoming celebration will move online. Additionally, all scheduled in-person reunions associated with the event have been postponed.


The virtual events will take place Oct. 12-18.


“We miss our alumni being on campus,” said Whitney Metz, assistant vice president for institutional advancement. “This was a tough decision to make, but we know that the changes we make this year will lead to one of the best and most anticipated celebrations next year.”


In lieu of the in-person celebration, the Newberry College Alumni Association will hold virtual events and reconnection opportunities. These include social activities, remote reunion gatherings, opportunities to hear from leading alumni and faculty, and more.


Alumni registration will be held online, and participation will be free of charge. More details will be announced as soon as they are available.


For more information, click here.


For details on how Newberry College is adapting to the new normal, click here.


Newberry College Announces Phased Return for Fall

July 31, 2020

NEWBERRY — The Newberry College Board of Trustees has approved plans for a phased return to campus to begin the fall semester. The plan pushes back residential student move-in, reintroduces students to campus in phases, and launches classes online for the first three weeks of the term.


“Each phase will gradually reintroduce students while minimizing the number of visitors and guests on campus,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “This plan allows students to return slowly and safely and gives the College an opportunity to assess and make adjustments as necessary.”


Residential students will begin returning to campus on Aug. 14, with international students, select student-athletes, nursing students and other approved groups. The following three weekends will welcome all other students back to campus.


Fall classes will begin Aug. 17 as scheduled, launching virtually and phasing into in-person instruction by Sept. 8. If students feel unsafe or uncomfortable returning to campus during the phased return, they will be able to apply to continue virtual learning after Sept. 8. Students may also return to campus after the initial return if they choose, and may be assigned housing based on availability.


“We know the best learning environment is created with in-person classroom instruction in a supportive, reaffirming residential community,” said Scherrens. “As a campus community, we all must remain agile as we do everything possible to ensure a safe and healthy campus environment. We look forward to welcoming our students back to campus soon.”


For full details on the college’s return to campus, please click here.


The college previously announced that all students and employees will be required to wear face coverings in shared spaces. Small tours of campus have resumed for prospective students and families. Last week, the South Atlantic Conference delayed the start of all scheduled competition for the 2020 fall sports season until Sept. 26, and limited teams to conference-only play.


South Atlantic Conference Pushes Back Fall Sports Competition to Sept. 26

by Christian Stryker, South Atlantic Conference - July 24, 2020


ROCK HILL, S.C. — Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and in the best interest of the health, safety, and well-being of the student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans, and our campus communities, the South Atlantic Conference Presidents Council has made the decision to delay the start of all scheduled competition for the 2020 fall sports season until Sept. 26. This includes men's and women's cross country, field hockey, football, men's and women's soccer, and volleyball. Further, teams will compete in conference-only competition and teams may begin preseason practice, per NCAA bylaws, for these sports during the fall 2020 semester, provided health and safety conditions allow these activities.


"The decision to delay the fall sports season was not an easy one to make," said Dr. Maurice Scherrens of Newberry, Chair of the SAC Presidents Council. "However, we feel this is the best course of action as it allows our institutions time to develop best practices for a safe return to campus and competition for our student-athletes. We will continue to assess the ever-changing situation, as we are dedicated to ensuring our student-athletes the opportunity to return to campus in the safest environment possible."


Fall competition schedules for the spring championship sports of baseball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, softball, and men's and women's tennis may also not begin prior to Sept. 26. In regard to the 2020-2021 winter sports of men's and women's basketball and men's and women's indoor track and field and wrestling, those seasons remain unchanged at this time.


"This was a very difficult decision, but one we feel has the best interest of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans in mind," SAC Commissioner Patrick Britz stated. "We all understand the desire everyone has to get back out there and play games, but the health and safety of our student-athletes take precedence over playing at this time. It is our responsibility to ensure their safety above all else. While this does not guarantee our fall sports will be able to compete during their traditional season, a delayed start gives us the best chance to continue to monitor the situation."


The SAC leadership will continue to assess the NCAA, federal, state, and local developments and provide updated revisions as further information is available.


View this article on the South Atlantic Conference website.


Newberry College Announces Spring 2020 Dean’s List

July 20, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced its Dean’s List for academic achievement during the spring 2020 semester.


The list comprises 477 outstanding students who represent 23 states, the District of Columbia and 27 countries.


The honor is awarded each semester to full-time students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher for the term.


Click here to view the Spring 2020 Dean’s List.


Psi Chi Honor Society to Establish Newberry College Chapter

July 16, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College will be home to one of the newest chapters of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology.


The society’s stated purpose is to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship, and to advance the science of psychology. Chapters not only recognize academic achievement by granting membership, but also enhance curriculum through sponsored programs and activities, promote community service and offer benefits for careers after college.


“We are excited to bring this opportunity to our students,” said Dr. Sara Peters, interim chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “Psi Chi provides excellent resources for students wishing to pursue careers in psychology and engage with others who share an interest in psychological science.”


Initiation for the chapter’s charter members is expected in early October.


Psi Chi joins other academic honor societies at Newberry College, including Blue Key Honor Society, the National Society for Leadership and Success, Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society, and similar organizations for criminal justice, English, history, mathematics and sociology.


Founded in 1929, Psi Chi boasts over 1100 chapters at colleges and universities all over the world, and is affiliated with the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.


Newberry College Announces Website to Prepare for Safe Fall Return

July 9, 2020

NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced a new website to serve as a go-to information resource ahead of the institution’s safe return to on-campus instruction. The site lists guidelines and plans for students, families, faculty, staff and visitors to return to campus while minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19.


The website, available at this link, will be updated regularly as new details become available. Fall classes are set to begin Aug. 17.


“At least for now, we are living in a new normal, and the question is not so much whether we should go back to school and work, but rather how,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “We hope this website will be a useful resource on how we are preparing to return to campus safely while providing the quality education, accessible value, and sense of community for which Newberry College is known.”


Plans for the safe return are being spearheaded by a task force which comprises college officials and health care professionals from inside and outside of the institution.


The website provides the community with updates on the college’s efforts to enhance campus spaces to ensure social distancing, along with guidance for individuals to help reduce the potential spread of all illnesses, including COVID-19. The site offers insight into how living and learning on campus will look, how Wolves athletics is adapting, a timeline for returning to campus and other policies part of the college’s commitment to health and safety.


“We can and will create an environment that allows for a safe fall semester, but each member of the Newberry College family must be responsible and follow established guidelines for community health,” said Scherrens.


The college previously announced that all students and employees will be required to wear face coverings in shared spaces. Small tours of campus have resumed for prospective students and families. All on-campus group events, including summer camps and private functions, have been suspended through July 31.


Newberry College Appoints Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Inclusivity

June 16, 2020


NEWBERRY — Dr. Maurice Scherrens, president of Newberry College, announced Friday the appointment of the President’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusivity. The task force is designed to bring together campus leaders to ensure that equity and inclusivity remain key focuses for the college.


“Last week, I wrote to you about being transformational leaders in our community; specifically, advancing diversity and inclusivity across our campus, and creating opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to engage in meaningful dialogue on issues surrounding racism, violence and hatred,” said Scherrens. “Now is the time to put actions behind our words.”


The task force will build on the initial work of the diversity and inclusivity strategic planning team to address four competencies identified by the National Association for Campus Activities: Knowledge and Practice, Culture, Engagement and Composition, and Advocacy and Social Justice.


Solutions already discussed include reviewing the institution’s core curriculum to ensure deep and meaningful learning opportunities for students, strengthening Dufford Diversity and Inclusion Week, held annually in the fall, and providing professional development on equity, inclusion and justice. This would involve an enhanced culture of communication, expanded campus resources, and coordinated training with campus security and city and county law enforcement.


The task force will be co-chaired by Dean of Students Sandra Rouse and Dr. Sid Parrish, vice president for academic affairs. They will be joined by a select team of faculty and staff members from multiple areas of campus, along with student and alumni representatives.


“Through their efforts, Newberry College will reaffirm that the pursuit of academic achievement interacts with a commitment to diversity and inclusivity, and that embracing inclusivity can transform our campus into a more compassionate and effective learning environment,” said Scherrens.


Newberry College’s Bridge to Big Ideas Awarded Teagle Foundation Grant

June 16, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced that Dr. Naomi Simmons, associate professor of sociology, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation to support the Bridge to Big Ideas summer program. The free program for local rising high school seniors will be held July 27 through Aug. 7.


The New York-based foundation, which promotes and strengthens liberal arts education through grant initiatives, will fund the program’s move entirely online for the 2020 session due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


“I am so grateful for the opportunity the Teagle Foundation has given us to expand this program and to continue to engage students in our community with the liberal arts,” said Simmons, creator and coordinator of the program.


The summer seminar offers Newberry County’s rising high school seniors an intellectually rigorous college-style experience. This includes the opportunity to work with Newberry College professors and student mentors, complete college-level work and put classical and contemporary works into perspective with their own observations and experiences.


This year, the program will be held entirely online. Participants will be provided with laptops and daily, locally prepared lunches, all at no cost to students. Successful completion of the 10-day program also guarantees admission to Newberry College.


“This program has a unique philosophy of college readiness,” said Simmons. “We structure discussions and activities that encourage independent thought, and we build confidence by providing an opportunity to practice skills in critical thinking and effective communication. By the end of the program, these students know they have the capacity to be successful in college.”


Simmons added that she and her team will continue to develop the program into a fully residential format for future summers.


Bridge to Big Ideas was launched in 2018 with funding from the Grant-McDonald Foundation, which will continue to provide the Great Books series supplied to all participants, and will assist in providing instructional technology for the 2020 session. With this program, Newberry College belongs to a consortium of similar programs at Carthage College, Columbia University and Yale University.


The program is open to all rising high school seniors in Newberry County. For more information, contact or


Op-ed: It is Up to All of Us to Bring About Change

by Dr. Maurice Scherrens, President of Newberry College - June 1, 2020


Dear Newberry College Community,


This weekend, we saw protests across the country denouncing the killing of George Floyd, which came on the heels of the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery. These protests mark a culmination of countless acts of racism and brutality endured by black men and women throughout this country. Millions of people across the world have lifted up their voices in anger, rightfully outraged at how systemic racism is allowed to persist. Every single day, people of color wake up with the fear of physical harm or unfair treatment for no reason other than the color of their skin. Their voices need to be heard, and actions need to be taken, to ensure that this brutality comes to an end.


Our thoughts go out to George Floyd’s family and to the families of all those victims of violence based on racism and hatred. These acts serve as a stark reminder to all of us that the racial division that has kept us from reaching our full potential as a country continues to haunt us today.


Today we reaffirm our support of the black community, and we commit to being more action-oriented in our support. We must eliminate the atmosphere that continues to sow the seeds of grief, fear and loss into the lives of our black brothers and sisters. This is not what a family does. This is not what family members allow to happen to other family members. 


With this coronavirus pandemic, we all wish for re-openings and a return to normalcy. But as former President Barack Obama shared recently, “normal” for millions of Americans has meant suffering daily discrimination, whether in our criminal justice system, our education system, our health care system, or simply jogging down the street. Let’s imagine a new normalcy, one in which these inequities, which we have allowed to continue, are reversed. One in which differences in skin color are embraced give us strength and bond us together toward our common goals. One in which we treat others as we want to be treated ourselves.


To make this happen, those in positions of power and influence must become more selfless, and must develop systems of enhanced inclusivity. And it is up to all of us to bring about change. The journey starts with an honest self-examination, the desire to listen to those who have lives and experiences different than ours, and then a sincere commitment to eliminate any signs of discrimination, unfair treatment or inequity based on race. Often, uncomfortable conversations are keys to healing and allowing others to feel valued and understood.


At Newberry College, we can be leaders in these transformational efforts. We must engage each other in thoughtful dialogue, and we must educate ourselves about the harmful impact that racism has on our fellow Americans. In this pivotal time, multiple Newberry College departments will engage in advancing diversity and inclusivity initiatives across our campus. We will enhance the anti-discrimination training we provide to our faculty and staff. We will afford our students increased opportunities to engage in meaningful dialogue on issues surrounding racism, violence and hatred.


In closing, I am reminded of these meaningful verses from Ecclesiastes: ”There is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven … a time to heal … a time to mourn … a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together … a time to love … a time for peace.” This is our time to turn injustice into justice, and hatred into love. We can build a community where diversity and inclusivity permeate who we are and what we do. Let it start today, and let Newberry College lead the way.


Praying for peace and justice,




Dr. Maurice Scherrens


Newberry College Announces Fall Plans

June 1, 2020

NEWBERRY — Newberry College has laid out more detailed blueprints for a return to campus this fall, including a postponed commencement for spring and summer graduates, preventive modifications to campus facilities and a revised academic schedule.


The announcements come after the college’s Board of Trustees shared a preliminary action plan May 7 for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. There have been no cases of COVID-19 on the college campus.


“We are truly looking forward to beginning the fall semester in August as scheduled,” said President Maurice Scherrens in a statement to the campus community. “In preparation, we are taking measures to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff in this ‘new normal’ of the coronavirus era. This means learning, living and working in a clean, socially distant environment. Our small and secure campus is conducive to this.”


Under the current plan, fall semester will begin on Aug. 17, and will omit the annual midterm break to end on-campus instruction by Thanksgiving. The change seeks to reduce unnecessary travel for students and end the semester earlier.


Residence halls and some classrooms will be reconfigured to maximize social distancing, and campus spaces will undergo regular deep cleansing and sanitation to prevent any potential spread of illness. A number of small living-learning communities will be created in several of the college-owned houses that adjoin the campus. For dining services, meal times will be staggered, self-serve meal lines will be eliminated, and dining spaces will be expanded. While the majority of classes will be taught in-person, the college will also hold some courses online in a hybrid format to reduce the number of people in classrooms at one time.


Special commencement exercises for spring and summer graduates will be held Sept. 19, also Lutheran Day, before the anticipated Bishop’s Trophy football game against Lenoir-Rhyne University slated for that evening. Specific information regarding location, time and tickets will be announced late July. Any graduates unable to attend in September will be invited to walk at commencement in December.


While further guidance for fall sports is expected soon from the NCAA and South Atlantic Conference, the college plans to begin the athletic season as scheduled.


Following fall semester, the college intends to reintroduce a J-Term, a month-long semester, with classes beginning Jan. 4, 2021. Further details will be announced later this summer.


“I want to emphasize that Newberry College is known and loved for its in-person, personalized instruction, and as long as health and safety can be maintained, we will come back safe and strong,” said Scherrens.


Dining services and all structured events on campus have been suspended through July 1.


Peters Earns SCICU Excellence in Teaching Award

by Shay Shealy West, South Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities - May 22, 2020


COLUMBIA, S.C. — An eight-year member of the Newberry faculty, Dr. Sara A. Peters, associate professor of psychology, is Newberry College’s 2020 SCICU Excellence in Teaching award winner.


Dr. Peters holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology with an emphasis in quantitative psychology from the University of South Carolina. Her dissertation was entitled “The Relevance of Sarcasm in Resolving Ambiguous References in Spoken Discourse.” Peters also earned an M.A. and B.A. in experimental psychology, both from the University of South Carolina.


The Council of Independent Colleges recognized Dr. Peters’ excellence in teaching with her selection for the 2019 Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) program. Peters was one of 20 professors chosen nationwide to explore strategies for incorporating vocational exploration into curriculum and student mentoring.


Since joining the Newberry faculty in 2012, Dr. Peters has taught a variety of psychology courses, including research methods and statistics. Dr. Peters also mentors undergraduate students in research projects. Her students have presented their research findings at the Carolina Undergraduate Social Science Symposium and the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA).


Dr. Peters has published work in Frontiers in Psychology, the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Bilingualism: Language and Conversation, and The Conversation website. “Why is sarcasm so difficult to detect in texts and emails?” – Dr. Peters’ piece featured on The Conversation website – has been shared widely.


“Dr. Peters does an excellent job of connecting classroom learning to meaningful research,” said Dr. Vinetta Witt, chair of Newberry’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “She recognizes that student learning is connected to active engagement, and therefore designs meaningful projects with the opportunity to present the results publicly. Her ingenuity in seeking research projects illustrates the passion that she has for ensuring her students have opportunities to prepare them to compete in the labor market as well as graduate school.”


This article originally appeared on the South Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities' website.


Newberry College Appoints Feaster-Johnson as Housing Director

May 20, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced that Sherrigan Feaster-Johnson has been appointed director of housing and residence life, effective June 1.


“We are proud to welcome Ms. Feaster-Johnson as head of housing and residence life,” said Dean of Students Sandra Rouse. “With her dedication and experience, she will be a great addition to the team.”


Feaster-Johnson comes to Newberry from the University of South Carolina, where she has served as assistant director of residence life since 2007. She has also served as a residence life coordinator and taught first-year seminars for the university.


“I am delighted to join Newberry College as the director of housing and residence life,” said Feaster-Johnson. “My goal is to be a servant-leader who anticipates the needs of the students and staff by creating a culture of care, and maintaining our campus as a place they can call home.”


Feaster-Johnson holds a master’s degree in college counseling and human development from Radford University, and a bachelor’s in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina.


Newberry College Academic Departments Recognize Outstanding Students

May 15, 2020


NEWBERRY — Several Newberry College academic departments announced their student honorees as the 2019-2020 academic year drew to a close.


The departments of music, sciences and mathematics, and social and behavioral sciences have each awarded departmental honors to outstanding students. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person award presentations have been postponed.




  • Outstanding Graduating Music Major: Kayleigh Riser, of Chapin
  • Department of Music Service Award: Ian Jones, of North Charleston, class of 2019


“Each year, we honor exceptional graduating seniors with two awards. This year, we recognize Kayleigh Riser and Ian Jones for their abilities and accomplishments,” said Dr. Chris Sheppard, chair of the department. “We are grateful to have had each student here and know they will accomplish great things in the years to come.”


Sciences and Mathematics

  • Outstanding Environmental Studies Major: Bruce Edmonds, of Columbia
  • Outstanding Biology Education Major: Tristan Simpson, of Leesville
  • Outstanding Forensic Biology Major: Jacob Fulmer, of Batesburg
  • Outstanding Pre-Professional Biology Student: Sikander Nielsen, of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Outstanding Biology Major Service Award: Andrea Getz, of Newberry
  • Outstanding Senior Biology Major: Mariah Lee, of Seaford, Delaware


  • CRC Press Achievement in Chemistry Award: Gregory Gerber, of Frederick, Maryland
  • American Chemical Society Undergraduate Research Award: Cody Lathrop, of Lexington
  • Western Carolinas Section of the American Chemical Society Newberry College Outstanding Chemistry Senior Award: Cody Lathrop
  • PolyEd Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Senior Award: Kelsey Havird, of Newberry
  • Outstanding Chemistry Major Service Award: Megan Clark, of Newberry


  • Outstanding Outreach in Mathematics Award: Dragana Petkovska, of Kriva Palanka, Macedonia
  • Outstanding Achievement in Mathematics Award: Dragana Petkovska
  • Pi Mu Epsilon, Honorary National Mathematics Society, S.C. Theta Chapter: Michelle Doby, of Lithonia, Georgia 


“We are proud of all of these deserving students and look forward to all of the great things that they will accomplish in the future,” said Dr. Bret Clark, chair of the department. “We regret that we cannot pay tribute to them this semester with a formal ceremony, but we hope to honor all of them in one form or another.”


Social and Behavioral Sciences, Senior Departmental Honors

  • Ashlie Brickle, a psychology major from Cope
  • Austin Brinson, a criminal justice major from Pickens
  • Selice Daley, a psychology major from Bluffton
  • Dante Meade, a political science major from Prosperity
  • Tara Pittman, a criminal justice major from Chapin


“The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences awards departmental honors annually to students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of academics and leadership, civic engagement on or off campus, and independent research,” said Dr. Vinetta Witt, chair of the department. “These students have engaged in purposeful enhancements in their community with tenacity while maintaining the integrity of our core values and vision.”


The department will host an informal social for the student honorees before commencement exercises on Sept. 19, Witt added.


Newberry College Appoints Grooms to Student Engagement, Greek Life

May 11, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced that Kenntrail Grooms will serve as director of student engagement and Greek life.


The 2007 Newberry graduate has returned to his alma mater from Benedict College, where he was assistant director of student activities and new student programs.


"In my collegiate and professional careers, I can personally attest that student engagement played a vital role by providing me with necessary skills to build a successful future," said Grooms. “As director, I will strive to provide the best experience for our students, because student engagement and academic and athletic success all go hand-in-hand.”


Grooms was heavily involved during his time as a Newberry College student. He was a member of the marching band, Metoka Galeda Gospel Choir, the Newberry College Singers, and he remains a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He also served as a new student orientation leader and resident advisor.


After earning a bachelor’s in psychology, Grooms served as a case manager for Westview Behavioral Health Services, as a counselor for LRADAC in Columbia, and as leadership development specialist at Benedict College.


In his community, he has volunteered with the Alston Wilkes Society Columbia Youth Home, the C.A. Johnson High School Family Literacy Initiative, and the South Carolina 4-H Program. He is an active member of Grace Christian Church in Columbia.


“We are proud to welcome Kenntrail back to Newberry College to fill this vital role,” said Dean of Students Sandra Rouse. “His drive, experience and love for the college will allow him to make a lasting impact on our students’ experience.”


In addition to his Newberry College degree, Grooms holds a master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis in mental health from Webster University.


Newberry College Board of Trustees Reviews Reopening Game Plan Options

May 7, 2020

Exterior of Holland Hall

NEWBERRY — Newberry College’s Board of Trustees has reviewed a preliminary action plan for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year this fall, following a spring semester marred by the COVID-19 pandemic.


“If the spread of the disease continues to decline and the campus receives advice and counsel from the health professionals that reopening is allowable,” said President Maurice Scherrens, “Newberry College will be ready to enter into this ‘new normalcy’ with a safe and secure environment, committed to creating an effective and exciting learning and co-curricular experience. We will open Newberry strong.”


The college plans to begin the fall semester with classes on campus as scheduled in August, with modifications to ensure social distancing and other provisions for the health of students and employees. The administration also presented models with differing enrollment levels and with different semester start dates. While no cases of COVID-19 have been identified on campus, the models were presented amid uncertainty regarding the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential effects on student enrollment and operations.


The college intends to offer some courses online to ensure a safe campus environment, however most courses will be taught with fewer than 20-25 students in the classroom with adequate physical distancing. In addition to redesigning living spaces in the residence halls to increase social distancing, the college will create a number of small living learning communities in several of the college-owned houses that adjoin the campus. The college will also reconfigure the cafeteria and increase dining space by utilizing outdoor dining and enhancing the indoor dining venue.


“Out of adversity comes opportunity,” said Rob Best, 1971 Newberry graduate and chair of the board. “And we see a perfect opportunity for the College to emerge from this stronger and safe.”


The board also reaffirmed the college’s capability to continue social distancing protocols, in large part due to its 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, compared to larger universities. College officials have already initiated cleaning and intense sanitation of campus facilities and are developing a health clearance protocol for all incoming and returning students, faculty and staff. 


“Uncertainty requires institutional agility and a state of readiness for a number of different options. We are prepared for these different scenarios, but today, we fully expect to start on time in the fall under a ‘new normal’ brought on by COVID-19,” said Scherrens. “Newberry College is well suited to maintain a safe environment for students, faculty and staff. College life will be different, but the learning environment will remain vibrant and the social life of our students will be re-imagined.”


Newberry College Student Government Awards Faculty and Staff Honors

April 30, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College’s Student Government Association has announced its annual picks for faculty and staff members of the year, recognizing dedication and service to the college, its students and its mission.


Dr. Tracy Power, assistant professor of history and college archivist, has been named Professor of the Year. Retha Hair, custodial services, has received the association’s Sadie Crooks Award. The honors are usually presented at the college’s awards convocation in the spring, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, both honorees are expected to be formally recognized later this year.


Power arrived at Newberry in 2014, after having served as a historian in the State Historic Preservation Office at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History from 1986 until 2013. In addition to his role as a professor, he has worked extensively to document and preserve Newberry College’s history. In October he received the South Carolina Archival Association’s Program Innovation Award for his work in establishing the Newberry College Archives.


“SGA chose Dr. Tracy Power as Professor of the Year because students speak about him with great admiration and enthusiasm,” said Akio Brown, president of the Student Government Association. “Dr. Power communicates with students in and outside of the classroom and genuinely enjoys making connections with students. Students feel valued and appreciated by Dr. Power. This is something we take pride in at Newberry College.”


According to tradition, Power, as Professor of the Year, will address graduates at commencement in December.


Hair, of Little Mountain, has served at Newberry since April 2013. She is known for carrying out her duties with a smile and a kind word to students, faculty and staff alike. She has garnered many accolades over her seven years for her dedication, work ethic, attendance and love for the college and its students.


“SGA chose Retha Hair for the Sadie Crooks Award because she is one staff member who students always see smile or hear say, 'good morning, how are you doing, or how are classes going?'” said Brown. “Retha Hair is one who goes above and beyond in her service to Newberry College and all the students appreciate her and her hard work.”


“We are fortunate and incredibly proud to have these dedicated individuals serving the College and its students,” said Dr. Sid Parrish, vice president for academic affairs. “It means a great deal that these awards come directly from the student body, as the ultimate testament to a job well done.”


Pictured: Hair (left) and Power (right).


Op-ed: Seven Days, Countless Pieces, One Newberry College

by Lori Ann Vinson Summers, Vice President for Institutional Advancement - April 24, 2020


Dear Newberry College Family,


Over the past month, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the world change in real time. We have seen everyday life altered in a way we haven’t seen since World War II. And with it, we have seen people, businesses, and educational institutions rise to the occasion with courage, determination, and generosity. Most importantly, for better or worse, we have learned the vital role each piece plays in making up the whole, whether the whole is a family, a college, or a society.


That’s why I’m writing you today, to let you know how important you are as a member of the Newberry College family. Whether you are an alumnus or alumna, a student, a parent, a faculty or staff member, or a friend of the College, everything you do matters. And we have planned a series of events to show you how vital you are to making Newberry College whole: Scarlet & Gray Week (May 3-9, 2020).


This year, our Scarlet & Gray event has been extended to an entire week to allow ample opportunity to garner the financial support we need to make an immediate impact for students who, now more than ever, need help to achieve their college success. What’s more, since we can’t physically be together to celebrate the end of the school year and the festivities that should come with it, this is a perfect opportunity to share our Newberry College pride when it is needed most.


This isn’t just any other week. Scarlet & Gray Week is the week for Newberry College. In fact, the members of the Board of Trustees are so invested in this initiative, that they have pledged to personally match gifts made for Scarlet & Gray Week, dollar-for-dollar. So, your gift has literally twice the impact.


So, I personally invite you to show your support in three big ways:

  • Participate each day of the week on social media (click here for details)
  • Give a meaningful gift of any size in a way you choose: online here, via text (send “ScarletandGray” to 41444), or by mail (Newberry College, 2100 College St., Newberry, SC 29108)
  • Share your love for Newberry College with your family and friends


In closing, words can not fully convey how grateful we are for you and for your continued support. You are an essential part of Newberry College, just as I hope Newberry College remains an essential part of you.


Remember this May 3-9: Seven days, countless pieces, one Newberry College.


Hail Scarlet and the Gray,


Lori Ann Vinson Summers

Vice President for Institutional Advancement


Newberry College Esports Expands Playing Field

April 22, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College’s up-and-coming esports program has announced an expanded slate of competitive title offerings.


Coordinator and head coach Terrence Knock said “Fortnite” and “Madden” will be available for intercollegiate play beginning with the fall 2020 semester. The titles join “League of Legends” and “Overwatch” to meet the interests and existing skills of current and prospective students.


"We must be adaptable to what the students want, and what's going to drive interest in our program,” Knock said.


“Madden,” a long-running football video game series played primarily in the spring, is especially popular among traditional athletes. The addition offers the opportunity for fall and winter athletes to compete virtually in their off season.


The program has also added “Fortnite,” the popular battle royale that first hit the market in 2017. The game, whose intercollegiate season is primarily fall, can be played across platforms, meaning players using PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 can compete against each other simultaneously.


The program will also add four new gaming stations, allowing more flexibility in structured practices and increasing the program’s player capacity from 15 to 23.


Esports, like traditional sports, offers structured practices and training, strategy and skill building, and scheduled competitions. Scholarships are available for “Fortnite” and “Madden” players just as they are for those of “League of Legends” and “Overwatch.” The program is also fully coeducational.


"Esports doesn't draw distinctions between the genders,” Knock said. “There is something here for everybody.”


The program, established at Newberry College in summer 2019, is supported by the National Association of Collegiate Esports.


Younts Gifts Additional Funds to Name Athletic Performance Center

April 15, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced that it will name its new athletic performance center, to occupy Setzler Field’s north end zone, in honor of upstate philanthropists Melvin and the late Dollie Younts.


The announcement comes after the Fountain Inn couple’s namesake foundation agreed to an additional $500,000 in matching gifts raised for Newberry’s stadium project. This additional gift allows for the naming rights on the project and now totals $1.5 million in total commitments from the Younts family.


“We are so grateful to Melvin and the Younts family for their generous support of Newberry College, our mission, and our vision for the future,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “We are proud to name our north end zone project in recognition of all that their support has meant to Newberry College.”


The Younts family is regarded as one of South Carolina’s leading supporters of higher education, having supported initiatives at numerous other private and public colleges and universities.


“Melvin’s generosity is a real game changer for us,” said Director of Athletics Ralph Patterson. “We are honored that he shares our vision and enthusiasm to build a first-class stadium, and we hope that his passion to help inspires others.”


The college broke ground on the new facility in September, launching the first phase of additions and renovations to Setzler Field. The 6,750-square-foot center will include a 3,000-square-foot weight room, 2,000 square feet of athletic training space, a medical examination room, office space, a locker room for game officials and public restrooms. The stadium’s scoreboard will have a new home on the front of the athletic performance center.


Completion of the project is expected in time for the football and field hockey seasons this fall, and for men’s and women’s lacrosse in spring 2021. The second phase of the stadium project will include an athletic field house on Setzler Field’s east side.


Newberry College Announces Bachman Scholars

April 9, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced the 14 newest members of the prestigious Bachman Honor Society.


Each year, the society inducts seniors in the top 8% for GPA, and membership is one of the highest academic honors awarded by the college.


The society has welcomed the following students:



  • Briana Clontz, an elementary education major from Hickory, North Carolina
  • Chelsey Cunningham, a biology major from Franklinton, North Carolina
  • Robert DuBose, an accounting major from Chapin
  • Luke Gibson, an accounting major from Albemarle, North Carolina
  • Kelly Gunter, a biology major from Batesburg
  • Mariah Lee, a biology major from Seaford, Delaware
  • Claus Lehland, a business administration major from Bergen, Norway
  • Vojin Manojlovic, a business administration major from Podgorica, Montenegro
  • Sikander Nielsen, a biology major from Skodsborg, Denmark
  • Dragana Petkovska, a mathematics major from Kriva Palanka, Macedonia
  • Tara Pittman, a criminal justice major from Chapin
  • Kayleigh Riser, a music education major from Chapin
  • Phoenix Roberts, a physical education major from Lavonia, Georgia
  • Elise Utne, an accounting major from Yorktown, Virginia


The society was founded in 1962 by members of the Newberry College faculty who were also members of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. The society is named for the principal founder of Newberry College, the Rev. John Bachman.


The honor is usually presented at the college’s Awards Convocation in April, but due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, the inductees will receive their certificates by mail and receive recognition at commencement later this year.


The date for the spring commencement ceremony, postponed from May 9, is to be announced.


Newberry College Enacts Additional Measures to Ease Student Burden

April 9, 2020

NEWBERRY — Newberry College has enacted a new wave of measures designed to ease the academic burdens placed on its students by the ongoing spread of COVID-19. There are currently no cases of COVID-19 on the college campus.


In a Thursday message to students and families, President Maurice Scherrens announced the following changes:


The faculty has adopted a pass/unsatisfactory grading option for the spring semester. The policy will allow students to choose whether to receive a standard A-F grade or a pass/unsatisfactory grade in one or in multiple courses. Grades of “P” and “U” will have little to no effect on a student’s GPA. Academic advisors will help students determine the best decision to meet their individual goals and needs.


May Term and summer courses will be taught online. Students will continue to receive support through the college’s Center for Student Success, virtual tutoring and expanded academic coaching.


To prevent the spread of illness, all camps and other summer activities that bring large numbers of people to campus have been canceled.


“I am in awe of the adaptability and the resilience shown by our students, faculty and staff,” said Scherrens. “Every day I see more examples of the genuine concern that is being shown for others. To the Wolf Nation, I am proud that we are all in the same pack as we overcome this pandemic and make Newberry College better than it has ever been.”


For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, click here.


Three Newberry College Alumni to be Inducted into Educator Hall of Fame

April 6, 2020


COLUMBIA, S.C. — All three of this year’s South Carolina Educator Hall of Fame inductees are Newberry College alumni. Dr. Chester Floyd, Dr. John Hudgens and the late Dr. Charlie Williams will be honored with this distinction by the South Carolina Foundation for Educational Leadership for their service to public education.


Floyd, a former Newberry baseball player from Florence County, graduated in 1965 with a degree in mathematics. He taught math and coached basketball at Barnwell High School after graduation, and in 1969, he became the school’s principal at age 25. He served as principal of Clover High School from 1971 until 1973, when he was appointed assistant superintendent for York County District Two. He went on to serve as superintendent of Florence District Five, Lexington District One, Berkeley County School District and Lexington District Three, respectively, until his retirement in 2015. He earned the American Association of School Administrators’ Distinguished Service Award in 2010.


Hudgens began his teaching career directly after graduation in 1960, teaching at Orangeburg High School before becoming an elementary school principal. In his public education career of over 35 years, he also led four high schools, notably as the first principal of Richland Northeast High School. He served as superintendent of Richland District Two for nine years until his retirement in 1994. Hudgens returned to Newberry College as interim president on three separate occasions. In 2011, he was inducted into the Newberry College Athletic Hall of Fame for his achievements in baseball, basketball and football. He is a recipient of the American Association of School Administrators’ Distinguished Service Award.


Williams earned his bachelor’s degree from Newberry College in 1950 before beginning a lifelong career in public education. He was elected to three consecutive terms as South Carolina’s state superintendent of education, serving from 1979 to 1991. As the state education chief, Williams is best known for his considerable contributions to the Education Improvement Act of 1984, which provided additional funding for state educational initiatives. He also implemented a full-fledged statewide kindergarten program, and expanded adult, gifted and talented, and vocational education programs. Williams was honored by his alma mater with an honorary doctorate in 1982. He died in September 1998.


Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, the inductees will be honored at next year’s gala, set for March 12, 2021.


Pictured (left to right): Dr. Chester Floyd '65, Dr. John Hudgens '60 and Dr. Charlie Williams '50


Newberry College to Renew Tuition Promise

March 30, 2020


NEWBERRY — The Newberry College Board of Trustees has voted to renew the college’s Tuition Promise, a program which freezes tuition for incoming freshmen for their four years at Newberry. The measure passed unanimously.


“The program is something that makes sense and seems to resonate with students and parents, and it takes the issue of unpredictable tuition costs out of the equation,” said Rob Best, a 1971 graduate and chair of the Board of Trustees. “You really have to look at not just one year of college, but four years, and when new students and families come to Newberry, they know their tuition rate is locked in for their college career.”


The board enacted the program in 2019, freezing tuition rates for the incoming class of 2023, as well as transfer students. With positive feedback, the college decided to renew the program as a vital part of its focus on accessibility and affordability.


“Newberry has been at the forefront of affordable, high-quality college education for many years,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “Our commitment to our students and their families, especially during these turbulent times, is stronger than ever, and the Tuition Promise is just one of the many ways we fulfill our mission.”


It is worth noting that, while the Tuition Promise does not apply to room and board costs and fees, each student’s tuition rate stays with them when they return for their second, third and fourth years at Newberry.


“It’s a program we are committed to,” said Christopher M. Harris, dean of enrollment management. “It’s something that has become a key benefit of going to Newberry College, and it’s an important part of the overall Newberry experience.”


Newberry College has repeatedly been named one of the most affordable colleges in the southeast. The college took the No. 6 slot in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 list of Best Value Schools among regional colleges, holding its spot in the top 10 for the fourth consecutive year.


Newberry College Extends Virtual Learning

March 27, 2020

NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced that it will continue holding all classes online through the end of the spring semester, due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19. The term ends May 5 with final exams. There are currently no cases of COVID-19 on the college campus.


“The health and safety of our community is our top priority, and I have full confidence in our students, faculty, and staff to finish this academic year strong,” said President Maurice Scherrens.


In response to the pandemic, the college has significantly limited the number of students on campus and provided each with plenty of room in accordance with social distancing measures. The college has also allowed as many employees as possible to work from home, while maintaining limited services for the students who remain.


The college has also announced that each student will have regular, direct communication with someone in the campus community, including faculty, staff and alumni, who will check in to make sure students have everything they need to be successful in the virtual learning environment.


“We are here to support our students, and distance doesn’t change that,” said Scherrens.


Commencement exercises, originally scheduled for May 9, have been postponed. Graduating seniors will receive their diplomas on time in the mail, and the administration is meeting with the Student Government Association to discuss ceremonial options for a later date.


Newberry College to Streamline Admission Process Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

March 26, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced a test-optional admission application for students unable to take or retake the ACT, SAT or English proficiency tests.


The announcement comes amid the cancellation of testing opportunities due to the spread of COVID-19. The change is effective through the end of the fall 2020 admission cycle.


“We want to do what’s best for our prospective students and families in these turbulent times,” said Milena Velez, director of admission. “And right now, this means making the application process as accessible to all students as possible.”


With College Board and Educational Testing Service canceling testing dates for ACT and SAT, respectively, through the summer, many students across the country will be unable to appear for their college entrance exams. Taking these limitations into consideration, Newberry College has decided to allow prospective students to submit personal statements in lieu of standardized test scores. The statements will allow students to demonstrate their interest in Newberry College, as well as their ability to be successful in a selective collegiate setting. This measure applies to students who students who did not have an opportunity to retake the test for a higher score, as well as those who are unable to provide scores at all.


For international students who were unable to provide scores for an English proficiency test, such as TOEFL or IELTS, the college will allow a virtual interview with an admission counselor to stand as a substitute.


The Office of Admission has also announced that it will review unofficial high school and college transcripts for conditional admission. With many schools and colleges closed or operating with limited services during the pandemic, this change will allow students to submit electronic copies of their official or unofficial transcripts to complete their applications. However, official transcripts are still due prior to the beginning of classes in August.


“We are committed to making the admission process accessible to all students who hope to attend Newberry College this fall,” said Christopher M. Harris, dean of enrollment management. “In these unprecedented circumstances, we will continue to work closely with our incoming students and their families to ensure a seamless academic transition to college.”


Please click here for more information, frequently asked questions and applications.


Newberry College Nursing Grads Achieve 100% First-Time Pass Rate on Licensure Exam

March 24, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College’s entire class of December 2019 nursing graduates has passed the NCLEX-RN nursing licensure exam the first time. This is Newberry’s third 100% first-time pass rate since May 2018.


“We could not be prouder of our fall cohort of nursing graduates,” said Dr. Susan Ludwick, chair of the Department of Nursing. “At a time when qualified, compassionate nurses are needed, especially in South Carolina, our students have demonstrated once again that they are up to the task.”


The NCLEX-RN is a standardized exam used by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to assess the readiness of new nursing graduates to enter the profession. The board uses the percentage of students’ first-time successes to help measure the effectiveness of nursing education programs.


Over the last year, the Newberry program celebrated high marks from the South Carolina Board of Nursing, strengthened program admission requirements and welcomed a swell of student interest. The program’s average first-time pass rate during the 2018-19 academic year was 95%, higher than the state average, and 100% of nursing graduates earned their licenses.


“We are fortunate and proud to have such an excellent nursing program at Newberry,” said Dr. Sid Parrish, vice president for academic affairs. “We look forward to the continued success and lasting impact these students will bring to the health care field.”


Newberry’s nursing program is relatively new, having been established in 2009. In its first decade, it has become one of the most popular majors, leading to capacity expansions and the addition of the online RN-to-BSN program in 2017. The degree-completion program allows working registered nurses to earn their bachelor’s degrees online in as few as 12 months.


As part of its capital campaign, the college is also planning to construct a 12,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art health and nursing facility at the corner of College and Evans streets.


Newberry College Changes Operations Due to Threat of COVID-19

March 13, 2020


NEWBERRY — Out of an abundance of caution, Newberry College has announced changes in campus operations due to the threat posed by the recent COVID-19 outbreak. There are currently no known cases of COVID-19 on the Newberry College campus.


From March 16 through March 18, classes will be canceled as campus prepares a transition to virtual learning, with classes convening online from March 19 through April 3. The College will make a decision regarding plans moving forward by March 31 at 4 p.m., based on how the situation unfolds.


Students will hear from professors regarding the specifics of each course’s remote operation. All online classes already scheduled will continue as normal. 


Residential students, in consultation with the Office of Residence Life, may elect to go home if they are able to do so safely, and if doing so would not impede their ability to fulfill their academic responsibilities. In any event, residence halls, dining, academic support, and other limited services will be open and available for those who remain.


All structured student and campus activities have been canceled until further notice. Newberry College and the South Atlantic Conference have canceled all athletic competitions and practices for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, including all spring conference championships.


Throughout the coming days, the College’s emergency response team will continue to monitor the situation, maintaining constant contact with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and other health and safety officials. The College will regularly reassess the situation and decide the best course of action moving forward.


In the meantime, regularly updated information and a frequently asked questions page are available here.


Newberry Students Earn High Accolades at Speech & Theatre Competition

February 24, 2020


LANCASTER, S.C. — Students representing Newberry College’s speech and theatre programs participated in the South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association’s annual State College Festival Competition, taking home individual trophies in multiple categories.


The event was held Feb. 15 at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.


“I am proud of our team and their high achievements,” said Pat Gagliano, professor of theatre and speech. “SCSTA is an opportunity to showcase our outstanding work, and once again, our team did not disappoint.”


Caleb Lawrimore, a senior from Newberry, won the Triathlon Award for the second consecutive year. The award is the highest individual prize, given to the student with the highest combined score in theatre, performance studies and public speaking events. This is the fifth time in nine years a Newberry College student has won the award, following wins in 2019, 2018, 2014 and 2012. Lawrimore is also the first student in association history to win the award more than once.


Senior Nigel Johnson, of Manning, earned first place honors in impromptu speaking for the third consecutive year and in prose interpretation for the second consecutive year.


Senior Justin Messersmith, of Stevensville, Maryland, took second place in prose interpretation in his first festival showing.


The students worked under the direction of Gagliano and Mandy Butler, associate professor of theatre.


Individually, Newberry team members placed in the following competitions:

  • Audition Monologues: Lawrimore (second)
  • Impromptu Speaking: Johnson (first)
  • Informative Speaking:  Lawrimore (second)
  • Poetry Interpretation: Johnson (second)
  • Prose Interpretation: Johnson (first) and Messersmith (second)
  • Storytelling: Lawrimore (first)


Newberry College Announces Winners of Third Annual W. Darr Wise Piano Competition

February 20, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced the winners of the third annual W. Darr Wise Piano Competition, held Feb. 15 on the college campus.


Jennifer Centa, a high school sophomore from Simpsonville, took first prize in the senior division, which comprises grades nine through 12. In addition to a monetary prize, Centa will receive a $5,000 music scholarship should she choose to attend Newberry after graduation.


Henry Sun, an eighth grade student from Greer, won first prize for the junior division, covering grades six through eight.


Centa and Sun are both students of Greenville-based teacher Lisa Kiser, a member of the piano faculty at Anderson University.


Taking the respective second and third prizes in the senior division were senior John Wang, of Central, a student of Clemson University’s Dr. Linda Li-Bleuel; and sophomore Caleb Jennings, of Newberry, a student of Newberry College accompanist and organist Alice Ramirez.


Rounding out the junior division were Mount Pleasant eighth grader Harry Ding, a student of Charleston’s Irina Pevzner; Greer sixth grader Andrew Ning, another Kiser student; and honorable mention Eric Sun, a sixth grader from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and a student of Durham-based Terry Correia.


The competition was officiated by Dr. Sarah Masterson, associate professor of music at Newberry College, and Huger Caughman, class of 2000, organist at Newberry’s Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.


The event was named for longtime college organist and professor W. Darr Wise, who served as a member of the Newberry College faculty from 1956 until his retirement in 1998.


“Darr Wise has long represented musical excellence, professionalism, and superb teaching," said Dr. Chris Sheppard, chair of the Department of Music. "All the while delivering those things with a kind smile.”


Pictured (L-R): Eric Sun, Andrew Ning, Harry Ding, Henry Sun, Caleb Jennings, Jennifer Centa. Photo credit: Dr. Sarah Masterson.


Newberry College to Hold 63rd Annual Jazz Festival

February 18, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College will host its 63rd annual Jazz Festival in conjunction with the 23rd annual South Carolina Band Directors Association Jazz Performance Assessment. The event will be held Feb. 29 on the college campus.


A record 273 students from 53 middle and high school jazz ensembles will perform for judges’ assessments throughout the day, divided by midday performances by the Newberry College Jazz Big Band and two all-state jazz bands. Click here to view the day's complete schedule.


“I’m so happy that Newberry College can continue to provide this opportunity for students in middle and high school jazz bands to perform, receive critiques and hear other groups,” said Dr. Jerry Gatch, director of bands. “The members of the all-state jazz bands have a chance to work with, and learn from, some of the greatest jazz educators in the field.”


The Newberry College group, under Gatch’s direction, will perform with world-renowned trombonist Steve Wiest. Wiest played and wrote arrangements for Maynard Ferguson’s big band in the early 1980s and directed the University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band from 2008-2014.


“Steve Wiest is going to blow everyone away with our group,” said Gatch.


The all-state bands, made up of high school students who competitively auditioned for their seats, will rehearse and perform under guest clinicians Dr. Phil Thompson and Jim Warrick, respectively. Thompson is a professor emeritus of music and former jazz director at Winthrop University. Warrick is a jazz educator with experience at middle, high and collegiate levels, including a 27-year stint at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.


Judge-rated performances will occur throughout the day in the Alumni Music Center and in Wiles Chapel, with the all-state bands performing in Wiles Chapel at 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., respectively. The Newberry College Jazz Big Band will follow at 1 p.m.


The festival and concerts are free and open to the public.


The Newberry College Jazz Festival is one of the longest-running in the nation, having begun in 1958. The festival has been held in conjunction with the association’s event since 1998.


Photo: World-renowned trombonist Steve Wiest. (

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