UNION COUNTY — Members of the faculty, staff and student body of USC Union were among attending and taking part in the investiture of Dr. Susan Elkins as Chancellor of the University of South Carolina’s Palmetto College.
The investiture ceremony took place on June 20 in Rutledge Chapel on the USC main campus in Columbia. Among those attending was USC Union Dean Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert who said the campus faculty, staff, and student body was well-represented with several members playing active rolls in the ceremony.
“Our Assistant Librarian Derrick Means carried the medallion Dr. Elkins was presented with during her investiture,” Taylor-Colbert said. “Our Student Government Association President Candice Owens and Vice President Kayce Edwards were ushers.”
Taylor-Colbert said that Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Dr. Stephen Lowe also attended as did Adjunct Faculty member Bill Taylor and Mike Cassels. She said Taylor and Cassels were attending in their capacity as members of the Palmetto College Board of Visitors.
Local residents Gus and Helen Diamaduros were among those in the audience for the ceremony.
Taylor-Colbert said that USC Union Assistant Professor Dr. Jolie C. Fontenot also took part in the ceremony delivering the following speech of greeting in her capacity as a representative of the Faculty Senate:
I took a philosophy in ethics class during my junior year. We had a final I will never forget. A few multiple choice items, which weren’t so bad, followed by an essay question. “A man steals oranges from his wealthy neighbor to feed his malnourished children. Define the ethicality of the act according to the systems of Kant, Mill, Nietzsche, and Aquinas showing the differences between them. Then define it by your own system. Be brief.” I can still recall the wave of confusion followed by a fervent muttered prayer to the good Lord or two. I have never been happier to earn a B- in a class in my entire life.
What, you might ask, does this have to do with Chancellor Elkins? Plenty. I like to think of this story as also representing the mission she has to create Palmetto College.
First, Chancellor Elkins was hired last February and given an ambitious agenda that had to be accomplished in a short amount of time. And my, what a remarkable job she’s done. I had no doubt that if she were sitting beside me in the classroom in 1989, she would have anticipated the question. She would have been prepared, put her pen to the paper, and would have been the first one to turn in her paper and leave the room. An A paper.
It isn’t just her skill as an administrator that matters.
Second, I’ve worked closely wither Chancellor Elkins for the past year. She has brought a personal touch to her work that has touched many.
In May of this year, at the graduation for Union’s students, she asked me to introduce her to some of the students and visitors. I didn’t have much to do, as she already knew our SGA officers. In fact, she introduced me, to many people — including Summer Yarborough’s cousin. Chancellor Elkins made her way through the crowd, and talked to every student she could. And they were touched. And so was I. She didn’t leave the area until 9:00 that night, when after working all day, she drove five hours to Tennessee to see her Mother and made it back to Columbia on Monday. Dr. Elkins is a woman of tremendous energy, and her personal interactions with those around her — particularly the students — is a joy to watch.
The Regional Campus Faculty Senate looks forward to the challenges we face in making Palmetto College’s future a bright one. With her leadership, commitment to faculty governance, and zeal for her mission, I have every reason to believe that the future, challenges and all, will be a bright one.
Taylor-Colbert said she was pleased with the ceremony and with Elkins and her vision for regional campuses like USC Union and the future of the Palmetto College.
“It was an amazing event,” Taylor-Colbert said. “It was an affirmation of our new leader and her vision for our growth as regional campuses and our involvement with the online program.”
Taylor-Colbert described Palmetto College as “a collaborative effort to offer bachelor degrees online” in the following areas:
• Business Administration
• Criminal Justice
• Elementary Education
• Human Services
• Liberal Studies
• Organizational Leadership
• RB-BSN Nursing
Taylor-Colbert said that USC Union offers the Liberal Studies and Organizational Leadership programs, both on campus and online through Palmetto College. She said students have the option of either taking the courses in classroom equipped with a two-way conferencing system that allows them to interact with the professors at USC Columbia teaching the courses or they may take it online.
Currently six professors at USC Union are teaching courses online through Palmetto College and 50 students are taking them either in the classroom or online.
To find out more about Palmetto College including financial aid opportunities visit its website at palmettocollege.sc.edu.