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Wofford celebrates 2008 highlights

2008 Highlight SPARK
2008-12-18

SPARTANBURG, SC - Wofford College had much to celebrate in 2008, with national accolades, institutional and individual accomplishments, and enhanced academic programs. Here are just some of the 2008 highlights. Be sure to read full stories in the Wofford Newsroom, and check out our videos from 2008 in Sights and Sounds.

Community of Scholars
After a successful three-year start, Wofford’s innovative undergraduate research program, the Community of Scholars, has been funded again for two more years with a $300,000 grant from the Fullerton Foundation. The summer program involving some 20 students plus faculty researchers, has been revamped for 2009 to include community outreach elements and innovative use of technology. Dr. G.R. Davis was named director of the program.

Largest first-year class
Wofford class of 2012, with 416 first-year students, not only was the largest incoming class in the college’s history, but was exceptionally well-prepared. Brand Stille, vice president for enrollment, says these students come from 27 states and six countries, including such faraway places as Rwanda, Tanzania and New Zealand. More than half ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class. The middle 50 percent scored 1145-1330 on their SAT.

Summer program success
Wofford was a hotbed of activity throughout the summer, with an enhanced summer school program that included housing in The Village and exciting new academic programs. The innovative Shared Worlds youth reading and writing program drew participants from around the country, and even one from Japan. Summer school realized a substantial increase in enrollment.

Village housing recognized
The Village, Wofford’s apartment-style housing for its senior students, was named the top “Dorm of Distinction” in its category by University Business Magazine. The complex also was featured in the winter issue of Sandlapper magazine.

Success Initiative SPARK!s
Larger-than-life puppets and 150 local youngsters from the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Spartanburg highlighted the Creative SPARK! Parade in downtown. It was the first offering of SPARK!, a new collaboration between Converse and Wofford designed to inspire dynamic and creative work among local college students to be shared with the community.

Study abroad ranked #5
The emphasis Wofford places on study abroad experience earned the college a fifth-place ranking among the nation’s top baccalaureate institutions in the percentage of students receiving credit for study abroad, according to Open Doors 2008, an annual report published by the Institute of International Education.

Ayers celebrates 20 years
Mike Ayers was honored for his 20 seasons as head coach of the football team, and the football team had great success on the field, with a 9-3 record and making it to the first round of the NCAA FCS playoffs. Ayers also, at press time, was in the running for the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.

Two students receive Fulbrights
Claudia Winkler and John Wood, who graduated in May, were named this spring as Fulbright English Teaching Assistants, working in Germany.

Environmental Studies approved
The Environmental Studies Program, approved to begin in Spring 2009, is designed to build a diverse community of participant-scholars who appreciate the human and natural dimensions of landscape, who are familiar with the ways in which scientists, politicians, artists, business leaders, social scientists, scholars, poets and writers approach the environment, and who seek to become informed, lifelong stewards of the natural world.

Goldey receives honors
Dr. Ellen S. Goldey, professor of biology, was elected a 2008-2009 SENCER Leadership Fellow by the National Fellowship Board of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. She also was named a Teagle Foundation scholar.

Baker honored with Teszler Award
Vernon Baker, the only living African-American recipient of the Medal of Honor for valor during World War II, received the Sandor Teszler Award for Moral Courage and Service to Humankind and an honorary degree. The award represents the highest ideals that the Wofford community espouses, and it carries with it an honorary degree, a citation and a $10,000 cash award.

Brown creates Math Academy
Tramaine Brown, a sophomore, founded and coordinated the Math Academy at Cleveland Elementary School, bringing more than 50 Wofford students and faculty to serve as one-on-one mentors. The program helped earn Brown a 2008 Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Finney honors ‘Thinking Men’
Poet Nikky Finney was commissioned by Wofford to write her poem “The Thinking Men,” commemorating the enslaved workers who built Main Building. She read the poem at a spring convocation. A video of her reading and an interview will air on SCETV on Jan. 21.

Milliken impact
Spartanburg business leader and longtime Wofford benefactor retired after serving 48 years on the college board of trustees. For the first time, Wofford bestowed the title of trustee emeritus, giving Milliken the honor. Also, the college named its 170-acre national arboretum, which encompasses the entire campus, the Roger Milliken Arboretum at Wofford College. The tradition of holding Roger Milliken Day each October, the month of Milliken’s birth, and planting a tree in his honor was begun.