SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Wofford College recently celebrated the service of four trustees that rotated off of the college’s board while welcoming new members elected by the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Thomas L. Bower III, R. Howard Coker, Dr. English C. Flack and B. Shawan Gillians are the college’s new trustees.
“Our trustees offer a strategic vision and an ability to think through the complexities of directing a residential liberal arts institution,” says Dr. Nayef Samhat, Wofford’s president. “We are fortunate to have a deep pool of dedicated leaders with expertise in a breadth of areas. They spend invaluable time thinking about Wofford’s future while caring deeply about the Wofford community and the student experience right now.”
The new board members are filling the seats vacated by Laura J. Hoy, Stewart H. Johnson, L. Leon Patterson and J. E. Reeves Jr., who completed terms as trustees of the college in June. The election of new trustees was delayed until the Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church met virtually in October.
The conference also re-elected Justin A. Converse, Jimmy I. Gibbs, The Rev. William F. Malambri, Jodie W. McLean and James C. Meadors to new four-year terms as trustees.
The board’s officers for the 2020-2021 academic year are Chair Corry W. Oakes, Vice Chair Christopher A. P. Carpenter and Secretary the Hon. Costa M. Pleicones.
The Rev. John Hipp, a trustee since 2011, died in October. Hipp’s seat will be filled next year when the S.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church meets in the summer of 2021.
Wofford College has 31 trustees and follows the wishes of the college’s founder Benjamin Wofford, whose will requires that board members be elected by the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Wofford College’s recently elected trustees:
Thomas L. Bower III, a 1974 Wofford graduate and a resident of Gainesville, Ga., is president and CEO of Clipper Petroleum. A graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, he sits on a number of civic boards including Georgia’s Oilmen’s Association, United Community Bank of Gainesville and the Wofford Terrier Club. He has been active in youth athletics coaching and mentoring for years.
Howard Coker of Hartsville, S.C., is president and CEO of Sonoco. He is a 1985 graduate of Wofford, and he holds an MBA from Wake Forest University. Previously, Coker served as senior vice president, Global Paper/Industrial Converted Products for Sonoco. He is active in community and wildlife organizations, having served on the board of Coker College and the Byerly Foundation.
Dr. English C. Flack, a 2000 graduate of Wofford and a resident of Nashville, Tenn., is a pediatric cardiologist and serves as medical director for the Middle Tennessee affiliate of Project ADAM, a national non-profit supported by Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University that empowers schools and communities to be prepared for sudden cardiac arrest. She’s also an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She earned a medical degree at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Shawan Gillians, of Charleston, S.C., is director of legal services and corporate secretary for Santee Cooper. She has served on the college’s Presidential Advisory Council and a number of civic boards. A 2004 Wofford graduate, she has a law degree from The College of William & Mary School of Law and an MBA from the University of South Carolina.
Wofford College, established in 1854, is a four-year, residential liberal arts college located in Spartanburg, S.C. It offers 27 major fields of study to a student body of 1,764 undergraduates. Nationally known for its strong academic program, outstanding faculty, study abroad participation and successful graduates, Wofford is recognized consistently as a “best value college” and is among the New York Times’ “Top Colleges Doing the Most for the American Dream,” a ranking based on accessibility for low- and middle-income students. The college community enjoys Greek Life as well as 19 NCAA Division I athletics teams.