Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

From international scholarship recipients to a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Wofford students, alumni and faculty hit it big in 2016

Wofford has eventful year of accomplishments and accolades

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A grant from the Aspen Institute Stevens Initiative allows Wofford students in Dr. Courtney Dorroll class in the MENA program to Skype with partners in the Middle East-North Africa region

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Two Wofford College students received international study abroad scholarships, an alumnus was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and other students, alumni and faculty racked up awards and accolades during 2016, highlighting the college’s academic programs and influences.

Student accomplishments
Juniors Aleah Qureshi of Sanford, Fla., and Tim Lindsey of Spartanburg received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study abroad during the spring of 2017. Qureshi will travel to Ecuador while Lindsey will study in South Africa. (

Senior Victoria Biggers of Clover, S.C., was named the first J. Lacy McLean and Sterling L. Smith Student of the Year by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Inc., providing her with a $3,000 scholarship. (

Phillip Habib, a junior from Goose Creek, S.C., ran a successful last-minute write-in campaign – mostly on social media – for commissioner on the Berkeley (S.C.) County Soil and Water Commission, making him the current youngest elected official in South Carolina. (

Junior Punam Mulji was named Wofford’s 33rd Presidential International Scholar by President Nayef Samhat. She is majoring in biology with an accounting minor. (

Faculty achievements
Dr. Peter L. Schmunk, the Mr. and Mrs. T. R. Garrison Professor of the Humanities at Wofford College, was recognized with the 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award, presented by the South Carolina Independent College and Universities (SCICU). The award honors his effective leadership and mentorship inside and outside of the classroom. Schmunk teaches in the Department of Art and Art History. (

George W. Singleton, the John C. Cobb Endowed Chair in the Humanities, was the 26th recipient of the prestigious John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence. Singleton has published seven collections of short stories, two novels and a writing advice book. In 2015, he was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers. (

Dr. Sally A. Hitchmough, a professor of English, received the 2016 Philip Covington Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Humanities and Social Sciences, presented at Commencement 2016. (

Dr. Charlotte A. Knotts-Zides, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, was awarded the Roger Milliken Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Science at Commencement 2016. (

Dr. Erin R. Corrales-Diaz, visiting professor in the Department of Art and Art History, and Dr. Kimberly A. Hall, assistant professor of English, were selected as NEH Summer Scholars from a national applicant pool to attend one of 23 seminars and institutes supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. (

Alumni accolades and activities
Ashlyn Keightley, a 2016 graduate from Hendersonville, Tenn., received an appointment in the U.S. English Language Teaching Assistantship Program in Austria through Fulbright Austria. She majored in English, German and theatre. (

Donovan Hicks, a 2016 graduate from Spartanburg, was selected as one of a dozen members of the 2018 Class of George J. Mitchell Scholars by the US-Ireland Alliance. He is Wofford’s first Mitchell Scholar. He will spend a year of post-graduate study in race, ethnicity and conflict at Trinity College in Dublin beginning in September 2017. He recently completed a research stay at the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality and is a federal analyst at Deloitte. (

James Scott, a 1997 graduate from Mount Pleasant, S.C., was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, one of the country’s highest awards for achievement in journalism, literature and musical composition. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book “Target Tokyo.” (

Liz Hutchens, a 2009 graduate with a degree in theatre, appeared on the popular game show “Jeopardy!” with Alex Trebek. She is a registered nurse at Carolinas Healthcare System in Pineville, N.C. (

Jonathan Franklin, a 2016 graduate from Columbia, S.C., published an essay in Diversity & Democracy magazine, a publication of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, titled “Discovering the Change Agent in Me.” The essay ( is based largely on his senior honors thesis for his minor in African/African-American Studies at Wofford, “The Understanding of a Single Story: Identities Amongst Black Students at Predominantly White Institutions.” He presented a speech on the thesis at the Bonner Scholars Senior Presentations of Service and Learning and credits his academic work with helping him discover and develop his civic identity. Franklin majored in English and humanities.

Enhanced academic programs

Wofford added new majors, minors and programs to provide students with courses of study that mirror changes in the world in which they live. The Department of Government became the Department of Government and International Affairs, offering majors in both programs. The Department of Sociology added Anthropology to its name and now offers majors and minors in the combined subjects. A concentration and minor in film and digital media was added this academic year to prepare students to be reflective, sophisticated users and analysts of all media, whether as journalists, critics, entrepreneurs, artists, educators or researchers. During 2015-16, a program in Asian Studies was added; its interdisciplinary curriculum builds upon strengths in various fields of study to offer diverse avenues of inquiry and investigative methods relevant to Asia. The program in classical civilizations, also added last year, allows students to investigate Greek and Roman cultures and their social, political, historical, artistic and intellectual legacy. Also added in 2015-16 was the program in Middle Eastern and North African studies (MENA), which offers students an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Middle East and North Africa. (

Grants received to enhance Wofford programs

Wofford College received a two-year grant from the Aspen Institute Stevens Initiative to use virtual exchange to increase cross-cultural understanding and equip young people to participate in a global economy. The project is led by Dr. Courtney M. Dorroll, assistant professor of Middle Eastern and North African Studies. The Stevens Initiative is a public-private partnership designed to increase people-to-people exchange between youth in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa as a lasting tribute to the legacy of Ambassador Chris Stevens. (

Wofford received a $173,487 grant through the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) Program of the U.S. Department of Education to advance the study of the Middle East and North Africa. The two-year project, “Strengthening the Impact of the Middle Eastern and North African Program at Wofford College,” will be directed by Dr. Philip C. Dorroll, assistant professor of religion and a faculty member in the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Program. (

Wofford was awarded a $75,000 planning grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to further its efforts to identify and advance academic civic engagement at the college in a project called “Strengthening Academic Civic Engagement with Educational Technology.” (

The TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, donated more than $6,000 to Wofford’s “Growing Greener” program, a partnership of Wofford’s Goodall Environmental Studies Center and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Upstate. It provides an after-school science education and leadership program for young students. (

Rankings and academic guides

Wofford College was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. The college was recognized in all four categories of the Honor Roll: General Community Service, Interfaith Community Service, Economic Opportunity and Education. The recognitions highlighted various programs, including the college’s interfaith initiatives, academic community engagement, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, Bonner Scholars program, partnerships with community members in the Arcadia and Northside communities, and the High Impact Curriculum Fellows program. (

Wofford was named to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of the Top 300 Best College Values of 2016, coming in at #116 and ranking as the top South Carolina institution on the overall list as well as the list of liberal arts colleges. Wofford also earned the #61 spot on the magazine’s list of 100 best values in private liberal arts colleges. (

The Princeton Review named Wofford one of the nation’s best colleges for students seeking a superb education with great career preparation at an affordable price in its book “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck.” (

Wofford was named to Forbes magazine’s “Best Value Colleges 2016: The 300 Schools Worth the Investment,” ranking 134th. The list is based on tuition costs, school quality, graduation success rates and post-graduate earnings. (

For the second consecutive year, Wofford was selected as South Carolina’s “Hidden Gem” by the website College Raptor, a site designed to help students and parents select colleges or universities based on comparisons of available financial aid with student academic and career goals. (

Wofford was among Money magazine’s “50 Best Liberal Arts Colleges,” coming in at #48. The college is the only South Carolina institution on the list. (

Wofford is one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review, which featured Wofford in the new 2017 edition of its flagship college guide “The Best 381 Colleges.” (

Wofford improved its ranking among the top national liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 edition of “America’s Best Colleges,” going from #82 to #77 among liberal arts colleges and universities across the nation. Wofford also was ranked #47 in the “Best Value National Liberal Arts Colleges” list, the only South Carolina institution on the list of 55. Wofford also is #80 in the “High School Counselors Ranking of Liberal Arts Colleges.” (

Wofford continues to be recognized as a national leader in study abroad participation, ranking #9 in the Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange’s list of the top 40 baccalaureate institutions in the percentage of students studying abroad for credit. Wofford is the only South Carolina institution on this list. Open Doors also ranked Wofford #21 in the total number of study abroad students among its list of the top 40 baccalaureate institutions. (