Getting to know...Claire Myers
You might say that Claire Myers, assistant to the president, has Wofford in her blood. After all, her brother attended Wofford. Which is only natural since her father attended Wofford. Which again was only natural since her grandfather attended Wofford.
“My grandfather, Govan Thompson Myers Sr., graduated from Wofford in 1932,” Myers proudly asserts. “As a football player, he was recognized as the Most Valuable Player, was first team All-State, and earned a spot on the All South Atlantic Team. He was one of three seniors in Senior Order of the Gnomes, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and he was the commencement speaker his senior year. As one of 12 siblings, his persistence and hard work brought him to Wofford and I know he would be proud that we all followed in his footsteps.”
“My father, Tommy Myers, graduated in 1966. He’s a HUGE Wofford football fan. He and my mother, Harriett, attend every home game and many away games. They were actually in Tampa this past weekend and he will be attending the upcoming game in Wisconsin.”
“My brother, Van Myers, is a lawyer in the Lancaster area who graduated Wofford in 1998. It was great to have him here as a senior when I was a freshman. He is married to my wonderful sister-in-law, Cecilia, and they have a 2-year old son, Christian, who we all adore.“
But Claire is the first in the family line to work at Wofford. Upon graduating in 2001, she took a job as a manager with Abercrombie & Fitch, working in Columbia, S.C., Augusta, Ga., and then Greenville, S.C. That’s when fate stepped in and brought her “home.”
“I ran into Amanda Gilman from Wofford’s President’s Office and she told me they were looking for someone,” says Myers, who oversaw as many as four assistant managers and 60 part-time employees at A&F. “The management job had taken its toll – bad hours, too much stress – and so I took a job working for David Beacham (vice president for administration) and then eventually Dr. (Benjamin B.) Dunlap.”
Little did she realize how much her previous job would help her in her current one. She laughs when asked which job is more hectic, managing 60 part-timers or the schedule of one man who is constantly on the go.
“Making a schedule every week for college kids was crazy,” she says. “I just hoped they would show up for work. Dr. Dunlap rarely ever stops working, though, so it’s hard to even compare the two.”
A trained multi-tasker, Myers has fit right in working for Dunlap. When asked for her funniest story, she explains how some mistakes do happen when several things are going on at once.
“In my top desk drawer I have my official nametag and an extra one for Dr. Dunlap,” she explains. “At last year’s commencement, we were helping the platform party to robe before the ceremony began. I had been there a while when a co-worker pointed at my nametag that read ‘Bernie Dunlap.’ I must have reached in and grabbed the wrong one without looking at it. I still get a hard time about that one, even though he walked right past me himself and didn’t notice it.”
It was one of the few times Dunlap hasn’t stopped to ask Myers her opinion on something.
“I think the thing I love most about my job is that I’m working for someone who not only asks your opinion on lots of things, but genuinely wants to know your opinion as well as the opinion of a variety of people in the Wofford community, regardless if the issue is big or small.
“When faced with a problem, I admire the fact that he not only asks trustees their opinion, but he will often ask his own assistants, a vice president, faculty members, and the student assistant that we have working on that particular day. I think that’s amazing. We are lucky to have a college president that puts so much thought into each and every decision that he is faced with.
“He’s very professional. We come in and we get our jobs done. But he’s also interested in what’s going on in our lives and genuinely cares about our well being. You don’t find that everywhere.”
Myers first met Dunlap while taking his creative writing class as a student at Wofford. Creative writing is one of her many passions. What are the others?
“I’m getting married in November,” she beams. “I have a cocker spaniel named Addie who we love and who keeps us entertained. I love going to football games, being outdoors, and going to my parents’ lake house on Lake Wateree.
“I also love to travel. My parents took my brother and me all over the United States as children and then to Europe when we got a little older. I believe that my love for traveling began then and I’m grateful that my parents gave us those experiences. As a student here at Wofford, I traveled to South Africa, Belize and learned to sail on the British Virgin Islands.”
But she’s just as happy spending time with family and friends, and that goes for her Wofford family, too.
Myers shares a secret about working for a man who loves the English language.
“Sometimes,” she laughs, “Dr. Dunlap uses words that we have to write down and Google later to find out what they mean. He’s brilliant and I learn something new every day.”
There’s no doubting what Myers means to her boss, though. After all, her dedication to him and to Wofford College is in her blood.