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Wofford College to present awards during Homecoming

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Wofford College National Alumni Association will honor two graduates and a friend to the college on Oct. 16, during Homecoming Weekend 2004 activities.

James Blair, Class of 1983, executive director of the Miller Child Development Center in San Antonio, Tex., will receive the Alumni Distinguished Service Award. Receiving the Young Alumnus of the Year Award will be Russell Raines, Class of 1993, a health care executive and a prominent community volunteer in Texas and South Carolina. Tad Brown, executive director of the Watson-Brown Foundation in Thomson, Ga., will be recognized with the Distinguished Citizen Award.

During the Homecoming 2004 weekend, Wofford College again will emphasize its relationship with the Spartanburg community by taking its celebration downtown with reunions at area restaurants as well as a street party that has quickly become tradition. In 2003, the college held its first downtown street party and reunions, deemed successful despite rainy weather.

A new aspect of Homecoming is “Classes Without Quizzes: Wofford’s Mini Alumni College,” offering alumni the opportunity to explore a variety of topics with the college’s faculty and staff.

“We’re extremely excited about continuing our downtown reunions and street party, and about adding some new elements to Homecoming 2004,” says Debbi Thompson, director of special alumni projects. “Our ‘Classes Without Quizzes’ offers an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with their ‘college days’ while learning something fun and interesting. The central city restaurants are wonderful places to hold our reunions, showcasing what a terrific downtown Spartanburg has.”

Homecoming Weekend will begin with the “Classes Without Quizzes,” to be held from 3:30-5 p.m. in various locations on campus. Private reunions will be held that evening in restaurants and other venues in downtown Spartanburg, along with a Wofford-only Street Party and Pep Rally on Magnolia Street.

Saturday’s activities will include the Academic Reception. Converse College will host a tent reception for Wofford/Converse couples.

After the football game against Western Carolina University at 1:30 p.m., the annual Terrier Ball will be held at 7 p.m. in the Benjamin Johnson Arena, featuring food, entertainment, and live and silent auctions. Tickets to that event are available for $50; call 597-4090. All proceeds go to support scholarships for Wofford student-athletes.

Here is the full schedule of Homecoming 2004 events:

Friday, Oct. 15
8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. – Registration and ticket pickup for registered participants, Papadopoulos Building.

3:30-5 p.m. – “Classes Without Quizzes: Wofford’s Mini Alumni College.” (Open to alumni only.)
• “A Small Friend, Carl Sandburg’s Guitar: Music, Poetry and Narrative” with Jhon Akers
• “Say It Ain’t So, Mona: A Discussion of ‘The DaVinci Code’” with A.K. Anderson”
• “The Alumni Book Experience: Chattooga: Descending into the Myth of Deliverance River” with John Lane (full)
• “Digging God: Archaeology and the Bible” Byron McCane
• “The New World of Genetics-based Cancer Therapeutics” with Robert Moss
• “Recounting and Catalog in the History of the Psychology Department at Wofford” with John Lefebvre, Cecile McAninch, David Pittman and Alliston Reid
• “A Walk in the Wofford Woods” with Doug Rayner
• “Wofford College: Who were we? Who are we? Who will we be?” with Carol Wilson (full)

6:30-9 p.m. – Reunions for members of various classes at various Spartanburg downtown restaurants and venues. (Open only to class members and their guests.)

8:30-11:30 p.m. – Street Party and Pep Rally, Magnolia Street between Dunbar and St. John streets. (Open to Wofford community members only; $5 per person, ID required.)

Saturday, Oct. 16
8-10:30 a.m. – Alumni Executive Council Meeting, Montgomery Room, Burwell Building. (Open to members only.)

9 a.m. – Baseball Reunion and Old Timers’ Game. Registration at Zach’s, Campus Life Building. Game begins at 10 a.m. at Russell C. King Field. For information, contact Brandon McKillop, (864) 597-4497 or mckillopbs@wofford.edu. (Game open to public.)

9 a.m. – Women’s Soccer Reunion and Alumnae Game. Registration at Zach’s, Campus Life Building. Game begins at 10 a.m. at Snyder Field. Contact Amy Kiah, (864) 597-4153 or kiahab@wofford.edu. (Game open to public.)

10-11:30 a.m. – Academic Reception, Great Oaks Hall, Acorn Café, Roger Milliken Science Center. (Open to public.)

11-11:30 a.m. – Alumni Awards Presentation, Papadopoulos Building. (Open to public.)

11 a.m.-1:15 p.m. – Lunch on the lawn of Main Building. Music from the 60s, 70s and 80s provided by Special Edition. Adults, $15/person; children, $8/person. (Open to campus community only.)

Noon-1:30 p.m. – President’s Club Brunch and Terrier Ball Preview Party, Benjamin Johnson Arena, Campus Life Building. (Open to President’s Club members only.

1:30 p.m. – Kickoff, Wofford vs. Western Carolina, Gibbs Stadium. Tickets are $20/adults, $10/children ages 3-12. (Open to public.)

4-6:30 p.m. – Fraternity Receptions, The Row. (Open to student members and alumni only.)

4-6:30 p.m. -- Alumni of Wofford’s Association of African American Students (AAAS) Reception, AAAS Lounge, Burwell Building. For information, contact Darrin Goss at (864) 597-4043 or gossd@wofford.edu. (Open to alumni and guests only.)

6 p.m. – Men’s Soccer vs. Appalachian State University, Snyder Field. (Open to public.)

7 p.m.-midnight – The Terrier Ball, Benjamin Johnson Arena, with music, food, silent and live auctions. Tickets are $50/person. For ticket information, call (864) 597-4090. (Open to public.)

Sunday, Oct. 17
10:30 a.m.-noon – Reunion of Presidential Seminar Alumni. Brunch in President’s home. Contact Amanda Gilman, (864) 597-4010 or gilmanaf@wofford.edu. (Open to Presidential Seminar alumni only.)

11 a.m. – Homecoming Worship Service, Leonard Auditorium, Main Building. Led by Chaplain Ron Robinson. (Open to public.)

11 a.m. – Men’s Soccer Reunion and Alumni Game. Registration at Zach’s, Campus Life Building. Game at noon at Snyder Field. Contact Matt Kern, (864) 597-4126 or kernmc@wofford.edu. (Game open to public.)

For information on Homecoming Activities, contact Debbi Thompson at (864) 597-4208 or thompsondn@wofford.edu.

BIOGRAPHIES OF AWARD WINNERS:

James Blair
Alumni Distinguished Service Award


Blair came to Wofford from Hayes High School in Birmingham, Ala., and became one of the most outstanding basketball players in Wofford history. His #44 playing jersey was retired in 1983, and in 1994, he was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame. Returning to Birmingham in 1991, he became the executive director of the Caring Helps Another Make Progress (CHAMP), a special program for at-risk, inner-city middle and high school youth in the same neighborhood where Blair grew up.

Since 1993, Blair has been the executive director of the Miller Child Development Center in San Antonio. He has worked tirelessly to improve the early childhood education curriculum and to provide mothers and fathers with specialized training in parenting. He has been particularly successful in forming partnerships with the Junior League, San Antonio Area Foundation, Frost National Bank, IBM, AT&T, Fort Sam Houston and Kelly Air Force Base and other entities. Based firmly on the philosophy that “love makes all the difference,” the center is considered a national model.

Blair and his wife, Shawana, have five children, Telica, Shamia, Clayton, Lindsey and Jasmine. They are leaders in their church, Second Baptist, and Blair’s community involvement includes Omega Psi Phi fraternity and 100 Black Men of America.

Russell Raines
Young Alumnus of the Year


After completing his graduate degree, Russell Raines became an administrative fellow at Texoma Medical Center in Dallas, Tex. His work in establishing a comprehensive medical, surgical, and dental facility along with a network of physicians and hospitals to care for the uninsured resulted in the hospital receiving the 1999-2000 Texas Hospital Association Excellence in Community Service Award.

Raines, who returned to Spartanburg in 2001 and now lives in Inman, S.C., formerly was an administrator with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. He attends First Baptist North Spartanburg, is vice chairman of Mobile Meals of Spartanburg, and serves in several other civic organizations.

Active supporters of Wofford for many years, Raines and members of his family made a significant financial contribution in 2003 to make possible a link between the campuses of the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center and the college that is called “The Liberty Trail.” Included in that project is a signature water feature, “The James R. Gross Cascading Steps.”

Tad Brown
Distinguished Citizen Award


Following in the footsteps of his distinguished grandfather, the late Walter J. Brown of Spartanburg, Tad Brown has made significant contributions to improving the quality of life in the Upstate, and across the South. After his graduation from Florida State University, his early career was spent as an executive in Spartan Radiocasting Co., which included Spartanburg’s WSPA radio and television stations, noted for public service leadership and news coverage in a highly competitive and fast-growing market.

After the family sold its interests in the mass communications business several years ago, Brown became head of the Watson-Brown Foundation in Thomson, Ga. In addition to operating several house museums, the foundation awards the majority of grants to programs, usually associated with the humanities, within colleges and universities and publications by scholarly presses. Areas of interest include history, literature, law, agricultural education and historic preservation. Wofford is the beneficiary of dozens of Watson-Brown Scholarships as well as a $1.4 million grant for the restoration of historic Leonard Auditorium in Main Building, which will begin this winter.