UNION COUNTY — Three individuals will be honored for their contributions to the success of USC Union during Thursday morning’s Founders’ Day celebration.
Susan Jett, HR Officer/Dean’s Assitant at USC Union, announced Monday that Herbert C. Adams, John J. Duffy, and Martha Pacolet Sarratt Whitener will be honored during an 11 a.m. ceremony in the Main Building Auditorium. Jett said that Regional Campus Dean Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert will begin the ceremony by welcoming those in attendance. She said that three members of the Union-Laurens Commission on Higher Education — Chairman Col. Richard Denton, Secretary-Treasurer Brenda Childers, and commissioner Patricia Crane — will also participate in the ceremony.
The ceremony will include an unveiling of the portraits of the honorees which will hang in the Central Building Community Room. Jett said that the honorees have each chosen the persons who will unveil their portraits with Duffy choosing his two grandchildren, Roslyn Cleary and Mark Thomas; Whitener her daughter, Martha Walker; and Adams A.C. Fennell, a member of the USC Board of Trustees, and Harry Agnew.
A reception will follow the ceremony.
Founders’ Day is annual event which honors those who have contributed to the growth and development of USC Union. Jett said this is 18th Founders’ Day the campus has held.
Each of those to be honored Thursday have, like previous honorees, been heavily involved with USC Union over the years.
Herbert C. Adams
Herbert C. Adams, a native of Laurens, S.C., served as president of his senior class at the University of South Carolina. Upon graduating with a degree in Business Management in 1964, Adams became a Sales Representative for Phillips Petroleum Company. In 1965, he began a long career with The United Agency, Inc., becoming President and Manager until 1999. He then served as a Consultant for Correll Insurance until 2007.
Adams returned to the University of South Carolina in 1984 as a member of the Board of Trustees. In 2000, he was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and in 2004, Adams became Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He was named Chairman Emeritus in 2008.
Adams has earned numerous honors and awards, including JC Young Man of the Year in 1970, the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award in 1980, the Laurens Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow in 1990, the Distinguished Service Award from the University of South Carolina Upstate in 2009, and the USC Athletic Department’s Garnet Award in 2012.
Adams has provided exemplary leadership for the USCU in Laurens. As Dean Taylor-Colbert says, “Adams’ wisdom and guidance during the recent relocation efforts in Laurens have been crucial for our success.”
Adams is a member of First Baptist Church in Laurens, S.C., where he has served as a Sunday School Teacher and Deacon. He has also served on the Board of Trustees for the S.C. Baptist Ministry for the Aging. Adams believes that there are two things that are invaluable in a person’s life — faith and education, and he has devoted his life to those two things.
Adams is married to Gwendolyn Thomason Adams. They have three daughters — Dale Adams Shadden, Tara Adams Dean, and Kate Adams Orcutt — and 10 grandchildren.
John J. Duffy
John J. Duffy, a native of Charleston, S.C., is a 1952 graduate of the College of Charleston. He earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History from the University of South Carolina. Duffy began his administrative career at the University of South Carolina in August of 1959, becoming the first Resident Director of the USC Beaufort Regional Campus, a position he held until 1966. In 1977, he was named System Vice President for University Campuses and Continuing Education. In 1988, he was named Chancellor for University Campuses and Continuing Education, a position he held for four years. He became Vice Provost and Executive Dean for Regional Campuses and Continuing Education in 1992, and in 1994, Duffy was named Interim Dean for Applied Professional Sciences. He retired in 1998.
Duffy has received numerous honors and awards over the course of an illustrious career. These include Beaufort’s Young Man of the Year in 1965, The Garnet and Black Award for outstanding contribution to the University campus in 1970, the Guigard Lecturer in 1973, the South Carolina Association for Continuing Higher Education’s Continuing Educator of the Year in 1983, and the Black Faculty and Staff Association’s Affirmative Action Award in 1994. Duffy is also a member and past president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Southern Historical Society, the South Carolina Historical Association, and the Caroliniana Society. As a scholar, he has numerous publications about Southern and South Carolina History, including “The Secession Convention” and “Charleston at the Turn of the Century.”
Duffy enjoys traveling the world and has visited such places as Ecuador, Indonesia, Cuba, and Ireland, a place that holds a special place in his heart, as it is the birthplace of his grandmother. Duffy was married to Marcia Tinkham Duffy for 47 years. Since her passing, he enjoys visiting with his three children — John, Eleanor, and Katherine — his four grandchildren and three great grandsons. Duffy currently lives with his daughter, Eleanor, her husband, and thirteen-year-old daughter. Eleanor states that he “continues to read dusty tomes about history,” and also enjoys answering his granddaughter’s history questions.
Martha Pacolette Sarratt Whitener
Martha Pacolette Sarratt Whitener, known affectionately to her friends and family as “Packie,” was born in Union, South Carolina, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Sydney Gilbert Sarratt. Whitener attended public schools in Union and graduated from Winthrop College (later Winthrop University) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. While at Winthrop, she received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award for outstanding student leadership.
Whitener became a public school English teacher in Gastonia, North Carolina and continued her teaching career as her husband’s military career took them to a variety of locations around the United States, including West Point, New York and Hawaii. Her husband, Col. William J. (Jack) Whitener was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he later served as Chief of Staff. Following his retirement from military service, the couple made Union their home. Col. Whitener became Dean of USC Union in 1977 and served until 1984. Positive memories of his tenure as dean remain in Union, but he stated in a newspaper article following his retirement: “I couldn’t have done it without her. We entertained over 4,000 people here at the house on college business. She was the best hostess imaginable.”
Whitener’s career led her to become actively involved in numerous civic, educational, and philanthropic activities. She served on the State Board of Trustees (overseeing Francis Marion University, Lander University, and the College of Charleston) from 1985-1988. Thereafter, she became the first woman President of the Lander University Board of Trustees. Her philanthropic efforts include support for the Timken Sports Complex in Union, the Barrett/Whitener student scholarship, and the Union Events Center.
Each day Whitener gives of herself to the community where she was born. In Union she has served as President of the Union County Music Club and the Union County Historical Society, and as a board member of the Union County Arts Council. Whitener is also engaged in mission work through Grace United Methodist Church. Her active life includes a morning work-out with current USC Union students at the local YMCA. Martha Pacolette Sarratt Whitener is the epitome of servant leadership and a role model for generations of USC Union women.