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The amazing impact of gift planning

Meet some students who have benefited from endowed scholarships established through planned gifts.

The Benjamin Wofford Society, formerly the Legacy Society, recognizes those individuals who have made the ultimate expression of their faith in the college by remembering Wofford in their estate plans. Few people have the opportunity to leave the kind of legacy that Benjamin Wofford did; however, more than 160 years after his death, we honor Wofford alumni and friends who follow his example and make a lasting impact on the Wofford community through membership in the Benjamin Wofford Society.

The impact of the William J. and Allene Neely Bennett Endowed Scholarship on Matt Watts ’08 

A year ago at this time, Matt Watts ’08 was leading health programs for children with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver: how to brush teeth, how to handle peer pressure, how to garden and cook, how to stay safe on the Internet, how to form healthy relationships ... you name it, he taught it. Now he’s using the many tools he’s developed through the years to continue his service to children as assistant site director of the Cole Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.

“During my time at Wofford, I was a resident assistant. I discovered a passion for mentoring younger people so that they live healthy, fun and enriching lives,” says Watts. “I knew then that I would choose a career that impacts youth. I want to support youth who need it ... to make sure that their today is better than their yesterday and that their tomorrow is even better than today.”

After Wofford, Watts worked in youth ministry for two years at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C. While there he made contact with the United Methodist Church in Tanzania. He lived there a year with the Morogoro United Methodist Church. In 2012 he moved to Denver, Colo., to be a part of the African Community Center, a group that worked with refugees who settled in the area. He has been with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver since 2013.

Watts, who held a William J. and Allene Neely Bennett Endowed Scholarship at Wofford, says that the financial support he received to attend Wofford makes his current life and work possible.

“I’m grateful because the scholarships I had to attend Wofford allowed me to get a great education and not walk out of college with too many loans,” says Watts. “I did not have to forgo my dreams and passions for the sake of money.”

Watts married Nicole Golder Watts on Aug. 1, 2015. Both are committed to enriching the lives of children daily in Denver.

The impact of the W. Dean Cannon ’50 Endowed Scholarship on Steven Cornelier ’17 and Brandon Curtis ’17 

Steven Cornelier ’17 and Brandon Curtis ’17 have a lot in common. They’re both from Florida, both juniors at Wofford, both defensive ends for the Terriers and both recipients of the W. Dean Cannon ’50 Endowed Scholarship.

Cornelier transferred to Wofford to pursue more rigorous academics and play football for the Terriers. An accounting and finance major from Jacksonville, he was named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll and has served as an FCA student leader. 

“I would not have been able to attend Wofford without my scholarship,” says Cornelier. “Wofford has been good for me, especially the professors. They are so helpful and accessible.”

During the past summer, Cornelier completed a management internship with Waffle House. He says it was hard work, but the lessons he learned were invaluable. After graduation, Cornelier will be working with Live Oak Bank in Wilmington, N.C.

When Curtis, a business economics major from Bushnell, began looking at colleges, he knew he wanted to attend one that would provide him with the best academics, not just a great football program. He found his fit at Wofford.

“I’m sorry that Mr. Cannon has passed away, because I would love to thank him and tell him how much I appreciate his trust in me and Wofford College,” says Curtis. “I wish I could have gotten to know him.”

In addition to his involvement with the college’s athletics program, Curtis has served as a summer counselor for Black Boys of Distinction, a mentoring program for young African-American men held on Wofford’s campus each summer. He says all of his experiences at Wofford have helped him grow and mature.

“A Wofford education makes you look at both sides of everything,” says Curtis. “I was shy when I first came to Wofford, but thanks to caring coaches and professors, I can now talk about anything with anyone. I’m grateful.”

The impact of the W. Emory Burnett Endowed Scholarship on Stacey Mangan ’15  

Stacey Mangan ’15 has been using her experiences during her time at Wofford to aid her in the classroom. The former cross-country student-athlete is now teaching social studies at Byrnes High School in Spartanburg, S.C. During her time at Wofford, Mangan was able to compete in collegiate athletics, study abroad and create and implement a fitness program for students at Arcadia Elementary School.

Mangan says that none of this would have been possible had she not received the W. Emory Burnett Endowed Scholarship. “I would not have been able to attend Wofford, and I would have lost the opportunity to grow as a person in so many different forums,” says Mangan. “My whole Wofford experience was meaningful, and through my professors’ support I emerged as someone who was ready to take on the education world.”

The impact of the S. Hart ’31 and Margaret Bishop Booth Endowed Scholarship on Ashley O’Cain ’16  

Despite being a Wofford legacy, Ashley O’Cain ’16 never understood her grandfather’s diehard support of the college until she visited the campus during her senior year of high school. O’Cain, a biology major from Greenville, S.C., says that from the moment she stepped on the campus, “the sense of community was evident.” Now in her senior year, the S. Hart ’31 and Margaret Bishop Booth Endowed Scholarship recipient has flourished and tried her hardest to give back to the community.

O’Cain always has been passionate about music and has spent a large portion of her college career in the music program. She is currently involved in Wofford Singers and in Goldtones. She is a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity and also has participated in The Space to Impact competition with a project meant to provide glucose monitors for Type 1 diabetics in areas with limited medical access. She is thankful for her scholarship because it has allowed her to receive an education without putting a huge financial burden on her parents.

The impact of the Sarah S. Butler Endowed Scholarship on Sheron Mathew ’17 

Sheron Mathew ’17 chose Wofford because of the college’s academic reputation and the small student-to-faculty ratio. “I really value the time spent with my professors,” he says. “The open communication and academic challenge that they offer are very important to me.” Mathew, a biology and Spanish major from Spartanburg, serves as vice president of APO service fraternity. He co-chaired the Wofford Dance Marathon to raise funds for the Greenville Children’s Hospital. He started his own freelance photography business, Shisam Productions, and works as a photographer for the Bohemian, Wofford’s yearbook.

Mathew, a Sarah S. Butler scholar, has worked as a volunteer intern in the emergency room at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. He plans to attend graduate school to become a physician’s assistant after he graduates from Wofford.

New faces in gift planning & advancement 

This year Smith Patterson ’67 and Ed Story, two longtime staff members of the Office of Advancement, celebrated their retirement. Patterson retired as director of gift planning after 25 years of loyal service to Wofford College. Story rounded out a successful career in higher education development at Wofford, serving as associate vice president and director of development for 23 years.

“We deeply appreciate the loyal service of both Smith Patterson and Ed Story,” says Dr. David Wood, senior vice president for advancement. “The campus community will benefit from the fruits of their labor for generations to come.”

Lisa Harrison De Freitas ’88 has taken over as the new director of gift planning at Wofford. She brings 26 years of experience in the field of advancement to her new role. She is eager to meet with the Wofford family to talk about ways planned gifts can be mutually beneficial to the college and individual donors.

Contact Lisa De Freitas 
Papadopoulos Building, Wofford College 

Other new faces in advancement include Dina Roberts and Matthew Roos, both leadership gift officers. Roberts joined the Office of Advancement in May. She worked in communications and development for Auburn University, her alma mater, and Tulane University. Roos previously served as director of alumni affairs at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. He is married to Lynze Roos, the head coach of Wofford’s volleyball team.

by Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89 and Kelsey Aylor ’18

Spring 2016