Students studying outside the library

Alumna Dr. Paige West speaks at Wofford’s 162nd Commencement

Degrees conferred to 325 students; three honorary degrees, awards presented

Grads 2016 382x255
2016-05-15

SPARTANBURG, S.C.Dr. Paige West, a 1991 Wofford College graduate, professor of anthropology at Columbia University and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Barnard College, delivered the college’s commencement address today (Sunday, May 15, 2016) on the lawn of Main Building. Degrees were conferred to 325 graduates. Three honorary degrees and two teaching awards were presented.

With many students receiving two or more degrees, a total of 409 degrees were presented.

Honorary degrees were presented to M. Stewart Mungo, a 1974 Wofford graduate and a South Carolina construction and real estate developer; Esther Dyson, founder of the “Way to Wellville” movement; and Dr. John Pilley, professor emeritus of psychology at Wofford and owner and trainer of Chaser, the “smartest dog in the world.”

The Roger Milliken Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Science was presented to Dr. Charlotte A. Knotts-Zides, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, and the Philip Covington Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Humanities and Social Sciences went to Dr. Salley A. Hitchmough, professor of English.

The college also presented the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award to graduating senior Mashyaka Yves Engelmann, a computer science major with a minor in mathematics from Kigali, Rwanda, and Charles Horace (Charlie) Gray Jr., director of continuing education at Wofford and a 1972 alumnus.

Honor GraduatesThe student recipient of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award was senior Nancy Michelle Ford, a double major in intercultural studies and finance from Sylva, N.C. The non-student recipient was Judy Brewer Bradshaw, a Spartanburg philanthropist whose primary focus is the Pediatric Rehabilitation Program at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. Her granddaughter, Julia Ann Bradshaw, Wofford Class of 2014, accepted the award; Mrs. Bradshaw was unable to attend due to illness.

Three honor graduates – all with 4.0 GPAs and all recently initiated members of Phi Beta Kappa – were: Zachary Benjamin Morrow of Lancaster, S.C. (degrees in economics and mathematics, concentration in applied mathematics, summa cum laude); Colton Hunt Smith of Williamston, S.C. (degrees in Spanish and accounting, minor in history, summa cum laude); and Julia Marianne Smith of Sumter, S.C. (degrees in intercultural studies and psychology, summa cum laude).


Members of the Class of 1966 participated in the weekend’s activities, including a class reunion and participating in the processional and other events surrounding the Commencement Exercises.

 

Paige West West joined the faculty at Barnard College and Columbia University in 2001, the year after earning her Ph.D. in cultural and environmental anthropology at Rutgers University.

Her broad scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments. More specifically, she has written about the linkages between environmental conservation and international development, the material and symbolic ways in which the natural world is understood and produced, the aesthetics and poetics of human social relations with nature, and the creation of commodities and practices of consumption.

Since the mid-1990s West has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea. She is the author of three books and the editor of five more. She also has published many scholarly papers.

In 2002, West received the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology and Environment Junior Scholar award for her work; in 2004, she received the American Association of University Women Junior Faculty Fellowship and the American Council of Learned Societies Faculty Fellowship; in 2006, she received the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Fellowship; and in 2007, she was named a fellow by the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania. In 2008, she founded the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research, which is published by Berghahn Books; she also serves as editor. In 2012, she became the chair of the Ecology and Culture University Seminar at Columbia. Recently, she has served as the chair of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania and is the past president of the Anthropology and Environment Society of the American Anthropological Association.

In 2013, West delivered the Leonard Hastings Schoff Memorial Lectures at Columbia University. Last year, she became the co-director of the Pacific Climate Circuits project at the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University. This year, she was named a Distinguished Scholar by the National Social Environmental Synthesis Center and an adviser to the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) Science for Nature and People Initiative (SNaP).

In addition to her academic work, West is the co-founder and a board member of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small NGO dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in Papua New Guinea by Papua New Guineans. She also is the co-founder of the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in Papua New Guinea dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and western scientific knowledge. 

BIOGRAPHIES OF HONORARY DEGREE AND AWARD RECIPIENTS


Honorary Degrees
Stewart MungoM. Stewart Mungo
Mungo, a native of Columbia, S.C., earned a bachelor of arts degree in government from Wofford in 1974, then joined the family business begun by his father, a burgeoning home construction and real estate development firm known as the Mungo Co.

Working alongside his father and later his brother, Steven Mungo, a 1981 Wofford graduate, they built the Mungo Co. into a recognized national leader in the home construction and land management business. The company has developed more than 25,000 home sites and was the first developer in the area to include rolled curbs, garages and neighborhood amenities as a standard.

Mungo was the youngest person ever inducted into the South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame, entering in 2000, and the Mungo Co. frequently is recognized for its innovative neighborhood development. In 2012, Builder magazine selected the Mungo firm as “America’s Best Builder,” and the Columbia region’s Home Builders Association gave Mungo its Gordon Harrison Award, which is based on the highest of ethical standards.

Mungo and his family have been highly engaged and generous philanthropists at Wofford and around the state and region. For more than 40 years, no significant Wofford fundraising effort has taken place without generous leadership and support from Mungo and his family. At Wofford in the early 1990s during the effort to attract the Carolina Panthers to make Wofford their home for preseason training camp, Mungo stepped forward with a gift to fund the space in the new football stadium that would become the President’s Box for entertaining college guests at Gibbs Stadium. He and his family have provided significant support for scholarships and in recent years have funded space to house the college’s area for career guidance, entrepreneurial leadership and professional development, The Space in the Mungo Center, on the campus.

Mungo joined the Wofford Board of Trustees in 2001, concluding his term in 2013. In that time, he offered invaluable leadership in the areas of facilities planning and management, chairing the board’s Committee on Facilities.

Mungo and his wife, Deloris, are recognized leaders in environmental stewardship, are huge champions for animals and their safety, and are longtime leaders of the Harvest Hope Food Bank in the Columbia area. They are the parents of two grown children, Matt and Mary, both Wofford graduates.

Esther DysonEsther Dyson
Dyson has been named by Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful women in American business, and she is equally highly regarded in the worlds of technology and philanthropy. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1951, Dyson is the daughter of prominent mathematician Verena Huber-Dyson and physicist/futurist writer Freeman Dyson. Her father worked at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, where Dyson grew up – accustomed to having Nobel laureates at the dinner table.

She entered Harvard University at age 16, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in economics in 1972. In her early career, she wrote for Forbes and was a Wall Street securities analyst specializing in electronics and technology. In 1980, she founded EDventure Holdings, a pioneering information technology and new media company. Shortly thereafter, she took over an electronics industry newsletter and renamed it Release 1.0, which eventually became an industry leader in discussing topics around the then-evolving Internet. By the late 1980s, Dyson became an active investor in Eastern European technology ventures, became co-chair of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council, and head of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. In the latter role, she has helped mediate and inform public policy regarding privacy, encryption, trust and the assignment of Internet domain names. 

In 2013, Dyson, already a legend in the world of information technology, founded an organization known as HICCup, an initiative devoted to the improvement of health and quality of life within select communities of 100,000 people or fewer across the United States. HICCup launched a competition called “The Way to Wellville” in order to work in collaboration with local institutions within five communities each year to identify five health metrics and to work to improve statistics strategically and collectively over a five-year period. In 2014, Spartanburg was chosen as one of the communities to participate in this important initiative. Spartanburg’s metrics include: obesity prevention, care for the uninsured, health for the insured, kindergarten readiness and community pride. Wofford students are participating in this project in collaboration with other community partners.

Dyson’s work already is having a positive impact on Spartanburg, where she is a frequent visitor, as the “Way to Wellville” competition has put the community in the national spotlight for a number of investors.

John PilleyDr. John Pilley
At the remarkable age of 87, Pilley is still teaching and learning. Born in 1928 in Memphis, Tenn., Pilley earned the bachelor of arts degree from Abilene Christian University in 1950, the bachelor of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1955, the master of arts degree from Stetson University in 1964, and the master of science and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from Memphis State University in 1969.

Pilley’s career has included stints in Presbyterian ministry and school guidance before moving into college teaching while in graduate school in Memphis. He joined the faculty of Wofford College in 1969 in the Department of Psychology and enjoyed a career of 27 years here before retiring in 1996. As professor emeritus, Pilley has remained active in mentoring students, writing and research, and his most celebrated project – Chaser the border collie, known as the “smartest dog in the world” – has helped to propel Pilley – and Wofford College – to unprecedented levels of national and international visibility and fame.

Pilley was a popular Wofford professor who, among other things, helped students to understand and be introduced to the natural world and to the study of human behavior. An avid outdoors enthusiast, Pilley helped to found a student organization composed of lovers of the outdoors, and especially those with an affinity for whitewater kayaking. He famously has remained in close contact through the years – and decades – with former students and has performed their marriages, baptized their children, and filled the role of lifelong teaching mentor.

Among Pilley’s great interests was animal behavior, and how humans can engage with animals. He often was seen working with dogs – his personal pets, exercising and training them around the Wofford campus and involving students in his work. In 2011, already a decade-and-a-half into “retirement,” Pilley and Wofford psychology professor Dr. Alliston Reid published new research about the language abilities of Chaser. This article began a flood of attention on TV, the radio, magazines and newspapers as well as with the scientific community. In his research, Pilley was and still is quick to give significant credit to Wofford College as a unique place for a first-rate education and where one can attain outstanding and meaningful achievements in life. 

The article about Pilley and Reid’s work with Chaser, demonstrating that she recognized and understood more than 1,000 words, led to numerous television appearances, including the “TODAY Show” and “60 Minutes” with Anderson Cooper. In 2011 alone, according to Google, “Chaser” and “Wofford College” were linked together in stories and blogs more than 80,000 times around the world in at least 46 languages. Articles and mentions in publications continue in 2016. In 2013, Pilley worked with author Hilary Hinzmann to publish a book, “Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words,” which became a New York Times bestseller. Hinzmann became a devotee of Pilley in the process of writing the book, a project that took more than a year. He writes: “I, too, have benefited from John’s mentoring. Our collaboration challenged and enabled me to grow as a writer-editor and person in a way that few other experiences in my life and career have done. In my opinion, John Pilley exemplifies the best of the academy and the best of humanity, and fully merits an honorary degree in recognition of a lifetime of service to science and students at Wofford College.”

Algernon Sydney and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards

Sullivans 2016 nonstudentsJudy Brewer Bradshaw
Bradshaw, a native of Rocky Mount, N.C., received the Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, in March 2015 in honor of her commitment to the children in the Pediatric Rehabilitation Program.

She has supported the Spartanburg Regional Foundation since 1993 and in 1995 formed a relationship with children in the Pediatric Rehabilitation Program, which supports children with special needs in speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Bradshaw sponsors the annual Pediatric Rehabilitation Christmas Party each year.

Bradshaw’s husband, Charlie, created the Judy Bradshaw Children’s Foundation as a gift for her 60th birthday, which has grown to play a key role as part of the Spartanburg Regional Foundation. The Bradshaw Children’s Foundation funds specialized therapy equipment for children that is not covered by insurance. It has provided needs ranging from a wheelchair and lift, to a fine arts program or horseback riding for children in pediatric rehab.

Bradshaw also has volunteered her time with the Converse College Board of Trustees, the board of Thornwell Home for Children, the Junior League of Spartanburg and as an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Charles Horace (Charlie) Gray Jr.
After graduating from Wofford in 1972, Gray joined the college’s Admission staff, rising to lead the Admission program starting in 1977. He moved to head the Alumni and Parents Programs in 1995. He became the director of continuing education in 2015, creating the college’s popular “Lifelong Learning” program that has attracted more than 300 “students” to attend an array of innovative courses.

Gray is the longest currently serving staff member at Wofford, and through his 44 years at the college, he influenced the beginning of intercollegiate soccer, helped grow the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body, and sponsored, counseled and mentored thousands of students and their organizations.

He is a two-time Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International, has been a volunteer for Mobile Meals of Spartanburg for decades and has been recognized several times by Wofford’s Association of African-American Students (now the Multicultural Student Association) with their Martin Luther King Jr. Award. Friends established an endowed scholarship fund in his honor, a rare occurrence for a living person and an active staff member.

A native of Laurens, S.C., Gray and his wife, Susan, Wofford’s director of donor relations, are the parents of three adult children, Charles, William and Ginny Gray Pryor; Pryor is a 2005 alumna.

Sullivans 2016 studentsMashyaka Yves Engelmann
A native of Kigali, Rwanda, Engelmann is a computer science major with a minor in mathematics. He is a Bonner Scholar and spent most of his service learning commitment tutoring first-grade students in the ARCH program in the Arcadia community of Spartanburg County. He received one of Wofford’s highest honors, the John Bruce Memorial Award, during the recent Honors Convocation. The award is given by his peers to the senior Bonner Scholar who has best demonstrated an overall commitment to the program and its goals.

Engelmann, a Dean’s List student, also participated in lacrosse at Wofford. After graduation, he will be a software developer and financial analyst for C. Myer Corp. in Phoenix, Ariz.

Nancy Michelle Ford
Ford, a double major in intercultural studies and finance, is from Sylva, N.C. She also has a concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Set in Motion, a non-profit organization she created, “sets in motion a spiritual and physical life transformation” by delivering bicycles and bibles to communities in Nicaragua. The project received help from The Space in the Mungo Center at Wofford through its Impact and Launch Competition.

She spent a summer as a leader of a large development project with Red de Misericordia, a Christian non-profit orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

Ford is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is on the Wofford women’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams. She is a Dean’s List student.

Wofford College is one of 61 colleges and universities, most of them in the South, authorized to present the Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards. The recipients, a graduating senior and a non-student of each gender, are named and the awards presented annually during spring Commencement ceremonies.

Algernon Sydney Sullivan, born in Indiana in 1826, rose to success in New York City as a respected lawyer and a man who “reached out both hands in constant helpfulness” to others. The award bearing his name was established in 1925 by a Sullivan Memorial Committee and the New York Southern Society, which Sullivan had served as its first president. The award seeks to perpetuate the excellence of character and humanitarian service of Sullivan by recognizing and honoring such qualities in others.

The Mary Mildred Sullivan Award was created in 1940 by the New York chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to honor those who demonstrate the “spirit of helpfulness and an awareness of the beauty and value of the intangible elements of life.”

Teaching Award Winners

Roger Milliken Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Science
Charlotte KnottsZides Dr. Charlotte A. Knotts-Zides
Knotts-Zides, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, received her B.S. in mathematics from Guilford College, and both her master of science and her doctoral degrees in mathematics from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Prior to her arrival at Wofford in 1994, Knotts-Zides held internships with Siemens in Munich, Germany, and was a research fellow with the National Science Foundation Research Experience of Undergraduates.

She teaches at all levels of the curriculum in mathematics. She is noted for collaborative work in living-learning communities and for her very creative Interim projects that include tai chi and Chinese medicine, yoga and Indian philosophy, and family history and digital scrapbooking.

Knotts-Zides is governor of the Mathematics Association of America – Southeastern Section and has held numerous positions in that organization. Over her career, she has won numerous professional awards, including the Distinguished Service Award of the Mathematical Association of America – Southeastern Section. 

The Roger Milliken Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Science, funded by a $1 million endowment, provides a $50,000 prize – an annual award of $5,000 for up to 10 years – for use in pursuing professional development. The recipient must remain on the Wofford faculty to continue receiving the annual disbursement. This was the 12th annual awarding of the honor.

The award recognizes outstanding performance in the teaching of science. Full-time faculty in all science disciplines – biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, physics and psychology – are eligible. The recipient is selected by a three-person, off-campus committee composed of business and professional leaders in science from a list of nominees developed and approved by the college provost.

The late Roger Milliken, chairman and CEO of Milliken & Co., based in Spartanburg, S.C., was the longest-serving member of the board of trustees of Wofford and is the only person to have been named trustee emeritus. He died Dec. 30, 2010.

Science is a part of every student’s program at Wofford, and about 30 percent of the degrees awarded are to students majoring in one of the sciences. Wofford’s science programs and professors have been recognized nationally and internationally for innovation and excellence. The college has a well-respected pre-medical program, and many of Wofford’s graduates enter health care fields. More than 1,200 of the college’s more than 12,000 living alumni are involved in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and other health care fields. Professors and students are involved in research both at Wofford and other institutions and have made national and international presentations.

Philip Covington Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Humanities and Social Sciences
Sally HitchmoughDr. Sally A. Hitchmough
Hitchmough earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Sheffield in England, her master’s M.A. and her Ph.D. both from the University of Southern California. Her areas of specialization are 19th century British literature, feminist theory and post-colonial theory.

At Wofford, Hitchmough also co-directs the Gender Studies Program as well as the annual Conference on Gender, which draws students and scholars from the region. She is known for her insightful work on college committees and task forces as well as for her nurturing with first-year students as well as with majors in English.

The Philip Covington Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Humanities and Social Sciences is named in honor of Philip Stanhope Sheffield Covington, a beloved academic dean of Wofford College who served from 1953 to 1969. A graduate of Emory University, he joined the Wofford faculty in 1947 after earning a master’s degree at Duke University and teaching in public schools in Charleston, S.C. He was dean of students from 1950 to 1953 and served as acting president in 1957-58. In 1970 ill health forced him to give up his administrative duties, but he remained active as a professor of English until his retirement from the college in 1976. Wofford honored him with a doctor of literature degree in 1959 and with the title of dean emeritus. Covington was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Blue Key National Honor Society, Sigma Chi and Sigma Delta Psi.

The Covington Award winner, selected by the president and academic dean of the college, receives $5,000 per year for three years; one recipient will be named each year. The money may be used at the recipient’s discretion for travel, study or other professional development.

Retiring Faculty Members
The following faculty members, who are retiring at the end of this academic year, were recognized at Commencement. All have been granted emeritus status by the Wofford Board of Trustees:

Dr. Gerald A. Ginocchio, professor of sociology and anthropology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Dr. Richard M. Wallace, T.B. Stackhouse Professor of Economics, Department of Economics
Dr. Dennis M. Wiseman, provost and Reeves Professor of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures