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Jim '56 & Inez Golden

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Giving from the heart- Inez and Jim Golden ’56 establish endowed scholarship through their estate plans

The GoldensWofford was a life-changing experience for Jim “Goldie” Golden ’56, and he and his wife, Inez, want to make sure that others have the same opportunity to build on Wofford’s old gold and black foundation.

The Goldens recently named the college as a beneficiary of their wills with the proceeds of the estate designated to endow a scholarship for a Wofford student who is preparing for a career in the ministry or other Christian vocation.
Their scholarship agreement ends with the Golden’s request that recipients of their scholarship “PASS IT ON” after they graduate.

“This last part says a lot about these folks,” says Smith Patterson ’67, former director of gift planning for the college. ”Jim and Inez represent the heart of our alumni base, and there is no question that their generosity comes from a love of the college and a desire for it to continue its mission of educating the leaders of tomorrow.”

Jim came to Wofford in 1952, recruited by Coach Joel Robertson on the advice of James Ellerbe “Daddy” Neal ’53, one of Golden’s closest friends and one of the most decorated basketball players in Wofford’s history.

“Everyone thought I would go to Newberry College,” says Golden, “ but I wanted to be on my own for a while.” According to Golden, there were five young men who enrolled in Wofford that year from Newberry, including Sam Maw ’56, Wesley Hipp ’56, Bennie Coon ’56 and Jim Wiseman ’56. Hipp and Coon were Golden’s roommates.
Once at Wofford, Golden met fellow students who influenced him and contributed to the Wofford experience — Jerry Richardson ’59, Charlie Bradshaw ’59, Jessie Cooksey ’53, the Rev. Talmage Skinner ’56, Don Fowler ’57, Ray Eubanks ’56, Walt Sessoms ’56 and Russell King ’56, just to name a few.

“Wofford transformed us,” says Golden. “The athletic program instilled some discipline and confidence in us, and many of the men who graduated during that era went on to become accomplished leaders in our community.”

Also while at Wofford, Golden joined the Tennessee Dew Drops, a band of Wofford students that sometimes toured with the Sam Moyer’s Glee Club and became local celebrities for their music, costumes and personalities.

“The Dew Drops were the glue that held it all together for me,” says Golden. “Even after graduation we got together for reunion weekends. We’re still really close.”
After leaving Wofford Golden spent several years in the Pacific with the Army then worked in the chemical and printing industries. He met his wife, Inez, while he was working in Savannah, Ga. A friend introduced them because he said at 6‘ 6”, Golden needed to find a tall girl. Inez fit the bill, and they married in 1963.
“The Lord has been good to us,” says Inez Golden, who explains that they established the scholarship at Wofford for two reasons — to help a student in need and to memorialize Jim’s parents. The Goldens are establishing a similar scholarship in memory of Inez’s parents at Newberry College, where Inez worked for 12 years as an executive assistant to two presidents.

“Jim could have been a minister,” says Inez Golden. “He served as an chaplain’s assistant in the Army, worked at the Lowman Home (a Lutheran retirement home in Columbia, S.C.), and had a minor in psychology at Wofford.”
Although he chose a different career path, Golden used his gift with people to bring out the best in his employees. That’s one reason Jerry Richardson and Spartan Foods tried to recruit him over the years.

Golden finally said yes and joined Spartan Foods as a division manager of Quincys for the last 15 of his working years. The Goldens moved to Spartanburg during that time and adopted a Boston Terrier puppy.
“His name was Sparky (after Spartan Foods) and it fit,” says Golden. “He was frisky…. He was my best buddy.”

The Goldens continue to surround themselves with gold and black flags and memorabilia, and few things please them more than hearing Wofford news and visiting with Wofford friends. Originally they shied away from any sort of personal recognition or publicity for their gift to Wofford, but Patterson convinced them to share their example of generosity so that it might inspire others and further benefit Wofford.

“It’s a blessing for us to be able to do this for Wofford,” says Golden. “I grew into the Wofford experience and enjoyed every minute of it. I want the same for future generations.”


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