Five Wofford College students are spending the summer filling a void in the college’s recorded history, and their research will contribute to ongoing campus conversations. 

The students will collect stories from Black alumni, primarily from the late 1960s through the late 1980s, as the first part of a research project organized by the college’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Alumni interested in participating in the project are invited to contact Pruitt by email at or by calling 864-597-4046 to schedule an interview with student researchers. 

The Wofford project is one of 18 receiving “Reframing Institutional Saga” funding through the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), which is supported by the Lily Endowment. 

Projects funded through the NetVUE grants are charged with updating the history and missions of institutions based on today’s context. 

“This is the first of what we hope will be several projects to fill gaps in our institutional history,” says Dr. Dwain Pruitt ’95, the college’s chief equity officer. “We want to bring more people into the college’s narrative.” 

Pruitt, a historian, says the college’s archives document the arrival and graduation of Wofford’s first Black students, Al Gray ’71 and Doug Jones ’69, but there’s little else offering insight on the historical Black experience on campus. 

“In America, we are addicted to stories with heroes and happy endings,” Pruitt says. “In our history, we have the civil rights struggle and then there’s Martin Luther King Jr. as the hero who solved the problem of racism. That’s not how history works. Civil rights struggles are ongoing. Just because you have a victory on Sunday doesn’t mean you don’t struggle on Monday. The battle doesn’t stop in one day.” 

Interviews with Black graduates from 1989 to the present will be conducted during the 2023-24 academic year and during summer 2024. A history of Wofford’s Black students, faculty and staff will be published in fall 2024 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Wofford’s desegregation. 

Pruitt says recording the stories of Black alumni can help the college community gain a more complete understanding of its history and offer insight into today’s campus culture. 

Arrangements can be made to interview people through teleconferencing services if alumni live outside of Spartanburg. Plans also are being made to collect stories during Homecoming and other events when alumni return to campus. Alumni are encouraged to donate photos, memorabilia and publications for the college’s archives or loan materials that can be scanned.

The project’s student researchers are Daniel Brasington ’25, an economics major from Woodruff, South Carolina; Dani Emmen ’26, a sociology and anthropology major from Conway, South Carolina; Da’Juan Green ’24, a business economics major from Spartanburg, South Carolina; Zion Sampson ’26, a biology major from Aiken, South Carolina; and Laila Villeda ’26, an undecided major from Cumming, Georgia. 

The students will spend 10 weeks focused on the project. They will begin the summer reading books and articles documenting the college’s history beginning in 1964, when Gray arrived on campus. Pruitt says the students will be challenged to identify gaps in the integration narrative and will think through interview questions for alumni. The students will learn how to record oral history, ask questions and fact check while experiencing the art of storytelling and communicating ideas effectively. 

“This project is community driven, and I’m looking forward to meeting alumni who look like me,” Green says. “I also expect the satisfaction of knowing I made a little contribution to making the college’s history more inclusive.”