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Four receive Sullivan Awards at Wofford commencement

Sunday, May 22, 2005

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – A retiring Wofford College vice president and professor, along with a Spartanburg community leader and two Wofford graduating seniors received the Mary Mildred Sullivan and Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards during the college’s 151st Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 22.

Wofford College is one of about 50 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.

Dr. Larry T. McGehee, vice president for planning and marketing and a professor of religion at Wofford, and Jennifer Evins, a Spartanburg community leader, received the non-student awards, while graduating seniors Emily Carolyn Sandifer of Hopkinsville, Ky., and Martin Allen Smith of Union, S.C., also were recognized.

McGehee arrived at Wofford in 1982 as vice president for development and professor of religion. From 1971 to 1979, he was the chancellor of the University of Tennessee Martin campus; in 1979, he became special assistant to the president for the UT system.

A native of Paris, Tenn., McGehee holds a bachelor of art degree in English literature from Transylvania College in Lexington, Ky., where he served as director of alumni and church relations and assistant admissions director. He earned his bachelor of divinity, master of arts and Ph.D. degrees in religious studies from Yale University, where he studied as a Danforth Fellow. He served at the University of Alabama from 1966-1971, including administrative positions as executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs, plus faculty rank as an associate professor of American studies.

At Wofford, McGehee coordinated the preparation of the 1987 Master Plan, titled “To Improve Quality,” a major factor in moving the college ahead over the past 15 years. He will retire from Wofford College at the end of August.

McGehee is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. He has held numerous positions in a number of national education organizations, including the Board of Higher Education of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the American Council on Education. He is an ordained minister in the Disciples of Christ Church.

McGehee is author of a newspaper column, “Southern Seen,” which has been published in 140 newspapers in eight states since 1982. He recently published a compilation of the best of those columns in a new book, “Southern Seen: Meditations on Past and Present.”

He and his wife, the former Elizabeth (Betsy) Boden, have two adult daughters.

Evins, who came to Spartanburg in 1988 as a field representative for Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority to colonize the chapter at Wofford, recently spearheaded a $35 million fundraising campaign for the planned Spartanburg Center for Arts, Science and History. In her professional career, she has worked in sales and marketing for a several local companies, including WSPA-TV News Channel 7 and WASV-TV Channel 62, JB White Department Store and McMillan Smith & Partners Architects.

She is chairman of Spartanburg’s Cultural Facilities Planning Committee, co-chairman of the capital campaign to build the culture center, immediate past chairman of the Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, a member of the President’s Advisory Board at Wofford, a member of the advisory board for First Citizens Bank, a member of the steering committee for Spartanburg Share the Vision and a member of the board of visitors of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

She has served a number of other local organizations, including the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, the Junior League of Spartanburg, the City of Spartanburg Human Relations Commission, the Piedmont Interstate Fair Association, president of Ballet Spartanburg, the Cleveland Park Restoration Campaign, the Spartanburg Humane Society, the Spartanburg Historical Society, Regional Hospice and the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. She is a 1996 graduate of Leadership Spartanburg and has served for two years as the program chair for Leadership Spartanburg.

In 2004, Evins received the David W. Reid Award. She and her husband, Spartanburg attorney Alex Evins, received the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Wofford College National Alumni Association in 2002. She received the Distinguished Service Award from the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in 1999. She also was recognized for her service to the community by the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce in 2003. She received the Service to Mankind Award from the Spartanburg Uptown Sertoma Club in 2003 and was named the 1997 Young Careerist by the Spartanburg Business and Professional Woman’s Club. She and her husband have two children.

Sandifer, the daughter of Greg and Dana Sandifer of Hopkinsville, is a graduating senior majoring in biology. She recently was inducted into the Blue Key National Honor Society. She is an Anna Todd Wofford Scholar, a dean’s list student, and a member of Twin Towers and Kappa Delta social sorority.

Sandifer was named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll as a member of Wofford’s women’s golf team. She also is a member of Wofford’s Pre-Dental Society and Honor Council, and she serves as a resident assistant and a Wofford Ambassador. She has participated in the Emerge Leadership Program, the Cultural Affairs Committee, the Orientation Staff, the Social Affairs Committee and the Judicial Court. She was a site leader at Habitat for Humanity for the College Town College Service Initiative in 2005 and has assisted local dentists at the Free Dental Clinic in Greenville, S.C. Among her other service, Sandifer participated in the Service Learning Interim in 2002, providing services to TOTAL Ministries, Second Presbyterian Church Soup Kitchen, Mobile Meals and Habitat for Humanity. At Wofford, she has organized the Twin Towers Halloween Carnival and has volunteered for Terrier Play Day, Sunny Saturday events with the Charles Lea Center and other projects.

She plans to attend the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in Louisville, Ky., beginning in the fall.

Smith, a graduating senior majoring in biology, is the son of Carol and Wilbur Smith III of Union, S.C. He recently was inducted into Wofford’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. He also is a member of the Blue Key National Honor Society. He is a Benjamin Wofford Scholar, a Dr. and Mrs. George Price Scholar and participated in the Presidential Seminar this year. He is a dean’s list student.

He has been a volunteer and intern at the Miracle Hill Mission, serving meals and speaking at chapel services. A third-year resident assistant, Smith is actively involved in Campus Ministry programs, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Campus Outreach. He is an independent student representative on the Greek Life Task Force. Smith also participated in a two-month summer mission trip to Pretoria, South Africa.

Smith plans to attend the Medical University of South Carolina beginning in the fall.

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.”