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winter 2018

Legal eagles and true Terriers

Matt ’10 and Kinli Bare Abee ’08 make Wofford proud.

As an assistant attorney general Kinli Bare Abee ’08 made legal history in October by securing the first human trafficking conviction in South Carolina.

“This is a big deal not only for the attorney general’s office but for the state of South Carolina,” says her proud husband, Matt Abee ’10. “This conviction is a huge step forward in bringing justice to countless victims of what the South Carolina attorneygeneral says is the ‘fastest-growing crime in the United States.’”

Matt is no slouch in the legal field either. A third-year civil defense attorney with Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, he is licensed to practice law in South Carolina and North Carolina out of the firm’s Columbia office. He serves on the board of South Carolina Victims Assistance Network and recently litigated an international child abduction case in federal court. Matt and Kinli also volunteer as coaches on the University of South Carolina School of Law Mock Trial team, taking the team to nationals for the first time in university history.

Still, they took time out of their hectic schedules to carry on a most important tradition—their annual Homecoming tailgate, which also celebrates their Homecoming weekend engagement on the stage in Leonard Auditorium.

“My parents didn’t go to Wofford, but they haven’t missed a Homecoming since I was a freshman,” says Matt. “Kinli’s family is the same—that’s a huge testament to the effect that Wofford can have on people. That’s why we host this huge tailgate every year, and it’s definitely a family affair.”

Kinli’s niece, Payton, wouldn't miss it for the world. She has been attending Wofford's Homecoming since Kinli was a first-year cheerleader for the Terriers. “When she was 4 or 5 she used to tell me, ‘Aunt KK, I want to go to Wofford because I already know everyone there,’” says Kinli. “Now she’s a sophomore in high school, and Wofford is at the top of her list.”

For the Abees, the tailgate tells just part of the story. Matt, who served as Campus Union president, still enjoys being a voice of support for Wofford students. He advises Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and helped raise funds for the new Greek Village. Kinli is a national Zeta Tau Alpha officer and remains involved in Wofford’s chapter. She also helped with the Greek Village project. Both contribute annually to the college, making both unrestricted and Terrier Club gifts, and they also have included Wofford in their wills.

“We believe our support of Wofford has to be a combination,” says Matt. “We want to do what we can financially, but sometimes it takes boots on the ground.”

Kinli says she and Matt love being at the point in their careers where they can give back. 

“Staying involved at Wofford is important to us,” she says. “We want to be active and engaged because the college is doing such great things.”

According to Matt, he and Kinli both owe their Wofford experiences to family and the support of complete strangers who believed in providing life-changing experience for all Wofford students. 

“We want future generations of Wofford students to have the same experiences we had, or better,” says Abee. “We give to pay it forward and because it’s fun. In the end, it's always about what's best for the students.”

by Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89