UNION — Dorothy Rodgers Porter, 67, is a student known by many nicknames at USC Union and she happily answers to them all. She recently said “I have 200 grandchildren at USC Union.”
Mrs. Porter has been instrumental in helping her family members attend college. Over the last 15 years she has encouraged grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and a son-in-law to attend USC Union. Bobby Holcombe, USC Union Director of Financial Aid, asked her why she did not go back to college and she told him that she was too old. Immediately Holcombe began to plant the seed of confidence that no one is ever too old to learn.
One day she reached out to Holcombe for assistance and made the decision to attend USC Union. During one of their meetings she explained how proud her parents would be if they knew she was going to college. Holcombe told her that when she graduated, he would take her to her parents’ grave to place flowers in honor of her college degree.
One of the nine children born to Fred and Maggie Rodgers, Mrs. Porter is the first one to graduate with a college degree. Most of her adult life Mrs. Porter worked in textiles at Union Mill, Milliken Plants and JP Stevens. After a career in textiles she worked as a Home Health Care worker. She has two children and is the proud grandmother to five grandchildren, three of whom have earned college degrees and two are still in public school.
She has enjoyed many hobbies through the years such as dancing, cooking, gardening reading, writing and taking care of her grandchildren. Today she still loves to read and write. During the years 2006 through 2014, she has undergone three surgeries at MUSC, one at Wake Forest Medical Center, and one at Duke. While recovering, she still attended college with the help of her family. Many people would have given up but she persevered and received her Associate degree from USC Union in May 2017.
She has been a member of New Emanuel Chapel Baptist Church since she was nine years old. Her parents, many family members and friends are buried in the church cemetery that dates back to the late 1800’s. As she and Holcombe made their way to her parents’ gravesite she pointed out many graves over 100 years old and talked about the history that has been made in the civil rights movement.
What is next for Mrs. Porter? She will work on her Bachelor’s Degree from Palmetto College.