Tower at Glendale

The Santee Cooper Lecture Series

Wofford College and Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s state-owned utility, have formed a partnership to create a lecture series on sustainability and energy issues. Speakers spend time on Wofford’s downtown campus and at the college’s Goodall Center for Environmental Studies on the Lawson’s Fork Creek in Glendale, S.C.

The Santee Cooper Lecture Series on Sustainability and Energy Issues brings speakers from around the world, giving them a platform to discuss timely and pressing environmental issues with Wofford faculty and students, as well as students from the Spartanburg County public school systems and interested citizens.

The 2009-2010 Series  

  • 09/10/09 - Christine Ervin, President and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council  
  • 11/12/09 - John Doggett, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management and Sustainability, University of Texas-Austin  
  • 02/09/10 - Barry Lopez, Author and Texas Tech University's first Visiting Distinguished Scholar
  • 03/16/10 - 03/17/10 - "The Dam Symposium: Small-Scale Dams and Hydro From Three Perspectives"; John Seebach, Ginger Strand, Dr. Dave Hargett

     For more information about the 2009-2010 Santee Cooper Lecture Series please read the press release in Wofford's Newsroom.


The 2010-2011 Series  

  •  09/27/10 - David Gessner, award-winning author, spoke about his blog "Into the Gulf", chronicling the Deepwater Horizons oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. 
  • 10/28/10 - Will Wynn,  former two-time "green" mayor of Austin, TX, spoke on the topic of "Sustainability in Cities"  
  • 02/15/11 - "Energy Futures: a panel discussion", featuring energy industry executives, journalists, and academics.
    • Our Santee Cooper Lecture Series speaker, Richard Heinberg, was featured in a Spartanburg Herald Journal article on February 16, 2011.  Read it here

The 2011-2012 Series 

  • 11/30/11 - Rick Bass, an American writer and environmental activist, read from his books, Oil Notes and Heart of the Monster.  Please read the press release in Wofford's Newsroom  
  • 2/8/12 - Jack Byrne, Director of the Sustainability Integration Office at Middlebury College and Allyn Steele, Wofford's former Director of Community Sustainability, were on campus to discuss the current state of sustainability and higher education.  Please read the press release in Wofford's Newsroom. 
  • 4/24/12 - Tim Palmer, photographer and award-winning author of more than 20 books on rivers, conservation, and the environment, spoke on "Sustainability & Rivers." Please read the press release in Wofford's Newsroom.

The 2012-2013 Series 

  • 10/23/12 - Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, author of Between God & Green: How Evangelicals Are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change, spoke to students on the subject of evangelicals and the environment. Wilkinson is a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, where she specializes in organizational culture and behavior change.  This event was co-sponsored by the Santee Cooper Lecture Series and South Carolina Interfaith Power and Light.  Please read the press release in Wofford's Newsroom.

The 2013-2014 Series

  •  11/19/13 - Mary Berry, Executive Director of The Berry Center, New Castle, Kentucky.  Topic: "The Berry Center: Ideas on Sustainable Agriculture." Please read the press release in Wofford's Newsroom.  Also see our departmental newsletter for a write-up of her visit.

The 2014-2015 Series

  • 10/30/14 - Terry Gifford - Topic: "Sustainability and the Post-Pastoral"
  • Often the issue of sustainability is approached as dry field of numbers, charts and graphs. Join British poet and eco-scholar Terry Gifford to explore the idea and practice of sustainability in a different context, that of literary ideas, specifically the pastoral and post-pastoral, terms we don’t usually associate with net-zero metering, carbon offsets, and 350 parts per million.
  • A visiting scholar at the Centre for Writing and Environment at Bath Spa University since Jan 2011, Gifford retired from the University of Leeds in 2004 as Reader in Literature and Environment and Director of Research in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries where he taught Creative Writing. For twenty-one years, until 2008, he was Founding Director of the annual International Festival of Mountaineering Literature. He is also currently Profesor Honorifico at the Universidad de Alicante, Spain, where he co-supervises PhD students in ecocriticism and conducts research with staff in English. Author of seven collections of poetry, several books of ecocriticism, a collection of climbing journalism, he also edited the complete works of John Muir in two volumes, and has written or edited four books on Ted Hughes. 
  • Please read the press release in Wofford's Newsroom.  Also see our departmental newsletter for a write-up of his visit.
  • 4/16/15 - Courtney Mattison - Topic: "Uniting Art and Biology to Conserve Our Changing Seas"
  • Courtney Mattison is an Ocean Artivist (artist-activist) whose large-scale ceramic coral reef installations have been exhibited at science and art venues that include the headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, DC, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) in Washington, DC, and the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY.  She visited campus to discuss the interrelationships of art and science and the role of art in inspiring ocean conservation.

The 2015-2016 Series 

  • 10/20/15 - Dr. Orrin H. Pilkey, professor emeritus of geology at Duke University and Mary Edna Fraser, low country batik artist - Topic: "Global Climate Change: A Primer"
  • 7:00pm in Leonard Auditorium in Old Main Building
  • An internationally recognized expert on the geology of barrier islands, Orrin H. Pilkey is one of the rare academics who engages in public advocacy about science-related issues.  He has written dozens of books and articles explaining coastal processes to lay readers, and he is a frequent and outspoken interviewee in the mainstream media.  Here, the colorful scientist takes on climate change deniers in an outstanding and much-needed primer on the science of global change and its effects.  After, Pilkey turns to the damage it is causing: sea level rise, ocean acidification, glacier and sea ice melting, changing habitats, desertification, and the threats to animals, humans, coral reefs, marshes, and mangroves.  These explanations are accompanied by Mary Edna Fraser's stunning batiks depicting the large-scale arenas in which climate change plays out.
  • Please read the press release in Wofford's Newsroom and see our departmental newsletter for a write-up of their visit.  
  •  11/6/15 - Thrainn Fridriksson, a native Icelander, on an 18-month rotation as a Geothermal Energy Specialist with the World Bank, where he participates in Task Teams on preparation and implementation of geothermal projects in developing countries.  He has 11 years experience as a geothermal geochemist with the Iceland GeoSurvey, where he focused on geochemical production, monitoring, and exploration.  He has managed geothermal development projects in Nicaragua and East Africa, among others.  In this talk, he focused on his work with the World Bank while drawing on his broad experience in geothermal development. 
  • 2:00pm in Daniel Building, room 204
  • Please see our departmental newsletter for a write-up of his visit.

The 2016-2017 Series


Reimagining Infrastructure Event

  • 10/27/16 - Sarah Koenigsberg, filmmaker, photographer, and educator - Topic: Lecture and movie - "The Beaver Believers: Reconceptualizing Our Water Infrastructure in a Drying West" 
  • 7:00pm in Olin 101 (FW Olin Building)
  • Inspired by the work of place-based collaboratives, Koenigsberg founded Tensegrity Productions in 2008 in Walla Walla, Washington to pursue stories of environment, community, art, and climate change in the American West.  Her commercial clients include the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Grand Canyon Trust, and Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation.  As an educator, she teaches audio recording, photography, and video production, regularly partnering with Whitman College’s Environmental Studies Department and its biennial field studies program, Semester in the West.
  • 10/28/16 - Robert MacKimmie, beekeeper - Topic: "The Anthropomorphized YouTube Beepocalypse: Reclaiming Urban Bee Stewardship in the Post-Factual Age"
  • 5:00pm at Goodall Environmental Studies Center in Glendale, SC
  • After careers in museums and hi-tech, Robert MacKimmie has been stewarding bees in San Francisco, and the Bay Area, for 20 years. He transitioned to full time professional beekeeping in 2009, selling his “City Bees” hyper-local San Francisco honeys at several farmers’ markets, including the CUESA San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, a showcase for exceptional farm-to-table foods. Robert is concerned that non-treatment of the Varroa destructor mite is allowing serious bee viruses to evolve at ‘epidemic’ levels, which may soon threaten entire honeybee stocks. He uses effective organic-only methods to control parasites, and diseases, feeling that his most important work is in specialized queen breeding, and advanced teaching.
  • 10/28/16 - Dr. Nina Bergan French, CEO with Lucid Energy in Portland, OR - Topic: "Spinning Water into Electricity: A New Story about Hydropower"
  • 7:00pm at Goodall Environmental Studies Center in Glendale, SC
  • French is a successful energy industry entrepreneur with 36 years of experience in energy technology and business development. She founded and led Clean Coal Solutions, LLC and Sky+ Ltd. and managed energy-related projects for Sandia National Labs from 1981 to 1995. She holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and is a licensed professional engineer.
  • Please read the press release in Wofford's Newsroom.


For more information about the upcoming Santee Cooper Lecture Series please contact Chris Overcarsh in the office of the Environmental Studies program at Wofford College. 864-597-4967 or