SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Wofford College Alumni Association will honor two individuals and a group of community leaders during the college’s annual Homecoming Weekend. The annual awards ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, in the Papadopoulos Room of the Papadopoulos Building on campus. It is free and open to the public.
Benjamin W. Ingram IV, Class of 2005, will receive the Young Alumnus Award. Maj. Gen. Rodney O. Anderson, class of 1979, will be honored with the Distinguished Service Award. The Northside Voyagers will receive the Distinguished Citizen Award.
Ingram, winner of the 2014 “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions, is a business control specialist with the Bank of America in Charlotte, N.C. A native of Florence, S.C., he is a 2001 graduate of Wilson High School and received his B.S. in mathematics, summa cum laude, from Wofford and his M.S. in mathematics from the University of South Carolina.
At Wofford, Ingram was awarded the Charles E. Daniel Scholarship, the John Q. Hill Mathematics Department Award and the Heart of the Terrier Leadership Award. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. He was captain of the College Bowl Team, which was the first Wofford team to compete at the College Bowl National Championship Tournament. There, he received the 2005 Pat Moonen Sportsperson Award and was the third highest individual scorer in the nation. At USC graduate school, he was a member of Pi Mu Epsilon and was a teaching assistant instructing undergraduate classes in mathematics.
In 2013, Florence City Council awarded Ingram a key to the city. He has been a volunteer math tutor and on-air newspaper broadcaster with the S.C. Commission for the Blind’s radio reading program. He also volunteers with the National Academic Quiz Tournaments and the Pee Dee Academic Challenge Tournament.
During his regular season appearances on “Jeopardy!” he won eight games, tying him for the seventh best performance in the history of the show and winning him $177,534 and a spot in the Tournament of Champions. The tournament win garnered him another $250,000. He holds the record for the most consecutively correct Final Jeopardy! responses and is the eighth biggest winner in “Jeopardy!” history.
The School Foundation of Florence School District 1 honored Ingram this fall with the 2015 Distinguished Graduate Award. Ingram is the son of Susan Ingram of Florence and the late Chip Ingram.
Anderson is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army, retiring in 2012 after having served as deputy commanding officer of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. After a 33-year military career, Anderson settled in Fayetteville, N.C., and started his own consulting business. He continues to mentor young soldiers and works with the community to help soldiers leaving the military settle and start small businesses. One of Wofford’s most distinguished military officers, Anderson grew up in the 1960s on a produce and cotton farm near Elloree, S.C. As an African American, he lived desegregation and went on to earn a scholarship to attend Wofford. He joined the Reserved Officers Training Corps and went to Airborne School during his junior year, learning to parachute out of low-flying aircraft. During his career, Anderson served two years as the executive assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. He spent 15 months in Afghanistan. Anderson has been a frequent visitor to campus and the Southern Guards Battalion of the ROTC based on campus.
The Northside Voyagers group is composed of local community leaders Wanda Cheeks, Sylvia Means, Anita “Phoenix” Miller, Deborah “Debby” Moore, Kelly Richard, Tony Thomas and Gail D. Wilkins. As part of the Northside Initiative, a major downtown Spartanburg redevelopment effort across North Church Street from Wofford’s campus, a group of residents came together in 2013 to serve as community leaders. This group, which came to be known as the Northside Voyagers, was created to help ensure that Northside residents are informed and have a voice in all discussions regarding the redevelopment efforts in their community. The Voyagers’ strategic goals include: encouraging residents to live healthier, more active lives; identifying individuals who serve as community assets in an effort to empower them; finding opportunities through partnerships to educate community members; assisting the elderly; and fostering an atmosphere where residents take pride in the appearance of their community. Wofford is a major partner in this effort and is presenting this award in recognition of the Northside Voyagers’ successful efforts in fostering a community that can and will be a model for others – one that is dedicated to the prosperity and welfare of all its residents through partnership.