Named Gift Honorees 2017
AAUW of South Carolina
In 2014, Carol stepped up to take the leadership position of AAUW of SC. At the time she was active in the Charleston AAUW Branch but relatively new to the state organization. With her usual commitment to leadership and commitment to issues of importance to women and families, Carol quickly got the state organization moving in new directions that brought increased awareness of AAUW.
Under her leadership and dynamic ability to work in the nonpartisan political arena, AAUW has stretched itself. A streamlined organization structure and use of modern technology have allowed AAUW of SC to communicate with even larger numbers of supporters in a timely and productive fashion.
Carol inspires others! She is so committed to the issues and causes that take up her hours and days. That commitment encourages us all to be better AAUW members, better AAUW leaders, better AAUW advocates and better citizens in our individual communities.
As she steps down from this leadership position in June 2018, Carol can know that she has truly made a difference in the future of both our organization and in the future of girls and women of South Carolina.
Pat has held many positions in the Gaffney Branch and filled several leadership positions on the AAUW of SC state board. She previously served as state treasurer for several years then agreed to return to the position of Financial Officer for the state organization when others had to step down. Throughout her service, Pat has provided the timely and professional financial information necessary for the Board to handle its fiduciary responsibilities. We thank her for her many years of service to AAUW of SC.
AAUW of Beaufort
AAUW of SC honors the Beaufort Branch for the phenomenal success of its STEM Career Day for middle school girls in their community. The 59 middle school girls from Beaufort County who attended had a fun day of activities and speakers from STEM career. This annual program encourages young women to explore the sciences, technology, engineering and math at a time in their lives when interest in these areas wanes. Cosponsors of the program are the University of South Carolina and Beaufort County Public Schools.
Research reveals that girls are underrepresented in the rapidly growing and expanding STEM fields. Survey results from the Beaufort program revealed that the students improved their understanding of STEM fields and the opportunities for careers.
Doris has been a regular volunteer at the Aiken Historical Museum for about 30 years. She stated that during this time, she has learned a lot of history and met many interesting people. She not only leads tours and lectures at the Museum, but as an active member of the Synagogue Adath Yeshurun, she generously educates many people in Aiken about Judaism by leading Synagogue tours and explaining customs and practices of the Jewish faith. She is a member of the South Carolina Historical Society, the Sisterhood at the Synagogue, and the “Nose in a Book” Club. As that name suggests, Doris is an avid reader and can usually be found with a book in her hand.
Doris was a member of AAUW for several years and said that she really enjoyed it because she met many remarkable women. Actually, Doris is one of those remarkable women upon whose shoulders current AAUW members stand.
Keisha Lloyd-Kennedy and Daniel Lloyd, Jr.
Keisha, a product of the Aiken County School System and a graduate of the University of South Carolina and Clark-Atlanta University, established the Lloyd Kennedy Charter School in Aiken, SC as the County’s first Charter School in 2002. After a few years of working with the students in her first charter school, Ms. Kennedy noted the large number of her students who were gifted in the performing arts: visual art, dance, drama and singing. Because most of these children would not be able to receive any private training for their talents, she received a second charter school grant for the Aiken Performing Arts Academy.
After working a few years trying to garner financing to build a joint facility for these schools, Keisha’s father, Daniel Lloyd, Jr., took over the process full-time, working to secure the funding needed. After two additional years of tireless work by Mr. Lloyd, The Daniel Lloyd, Jr. Educational Complex was completed on about 10 acres of land in Aiken. The schools have been functioning successfully for fifteen years and located in their own buildings for the last eight years. We applaud Ms. Kennedy and Mr. Lloyd for their dedication and hard work to provide public schools of choice to the Aiken County School system.
Georgenia “Jeannie” Matthews
Georgenia is a teacher of children with special needs at Aiken High School. She works daily as a champion for special needs students, an often forgotten group of young people at the high school. She knows her students, their parents, their strengths, their struggles, and the laws. For this, we recognize Jeannie Matthews as an amazing woman and a stellar teacher.
At the age of 30, Jeannie returned to school and earned her GED. Beginning her college degree at age 40, Jeannie took a job as a paraprofessional, then worked for the next ten years to earn her degree and teaching certification from USC Aiken, ultimately earning her Master’s in 2010.
In 2007, Jeannie began the career of her dreams. She was offered a job at Aiken High School working with CDOC (Career Development and Occupational Credential) students. CDOC students, because of their special needs, will not earn a diploma, but instead will acquire training towards independence and skills that will allow them to participate in the work place. Because special needs students may stay in school until they are 21, Jeannie often has the opportunity to work with a student for seven years. With the goal of making her students literate and productive members of society, Jeannie educates, nurtures, advocates and sets free those young people who can fly. While many teachers would find her job and her students too difficult or too demanding, Jeannie relishes in their successes.
Patrick is our Aiken County Public Schools’ District Teacher of the Year. A mathematics teacher at Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School, he teaches seventh grade math, Pre-Algebra, and ProTeam. His ProTeam class is a new option which focuses on building character, developing leaders, and exploring teaching as a future profession. During his eighth year in Aiken County and teaching middle school, and his third year teaching at LBC, Patrick was the only male teacher among the five finalists for District Teacher of the Year. He serves daily as a role model for his students and works to enrich our community.
Jeffrey and Leland Reynolds
Jeffrey and Leland grew up in Trenton, SC and attended high school in Aiken at St. Angela Academy. They both graduated from Clemson University in the late 1970’s and shortly thereafter moved their families to Aiken. Their father started H.G. Reynolds Construction Company in 1948; then in 1986, Leland and Jeffrey Reynolds became the shareholders. They moved the home office of the construction company to Aiken in 1990. They have three sons who are now included in their third-generation business. Leland and family are active members of St. John’s Methodist Church and Jeffrey and his family are active members at First Presbyterian Church. It is the Reynolds brothers’ generosity which allowed our AAUW Aiken Branch to continue our tradition and host our 57th annual Books-N-Things Fair. Their generous spirits enabled us to continue to promote both literacy and education in Aiken and often enrich our community.
Sharon is our honoree in recognition of her contributions to our community which are fundamental in promoting the well-being of our community and for her lifelong efforts to promote literacy in our community.
Sharon, President of the United Way of Aiken County since 2007, led the “Be a Bunny” initiative, along with Project Vision, a home repair project for low income seniors and a School Tools initiative for area students. In addition, she has overseen record fundraising budgets for 45 critical need programs within Aiken County. Sharon’s talents are many, diverse and far-reaching, with the goal of improving the lives of others.
Graduating at the top of her law school class, she became the General Counsel for the Graniteville Company and later Corporate Vice President of Human Resources for Avondale Mills.
She has been President of the Aiken County United Way for 11 years and serves on the Board of the United Way Association of South Carolina.
Sharon is a strong advocate for literacy within Aiken County where she facilitates two dynamic programs for children. Her belief in the importance of reading extends beyond her job. Sharon is a Paul Harris Fellow of the Aiken Rotary Club where she is Chair of the Rotary Readers Program.
Holly Mims Westcott
We honor Holly posthumously, after a life filled with a love of literacy. Holly was born in Columbia, and she died in Aiken in October, 2017. She was a loving wife, mom, and grandmother, as well as an avid reader. She loved the arts, enjoyed traveling with her husband of 40 years, Warren, and volunteered in many different organizations. She was a member of AAUW for several years and served as the Aiken Branch’s Publicity Chairman. Warren took great pictures of our events, and then Holly spread the word in the community to many news outlets.
Holly supported and corresponded with abandoned and abused children in Bolivia and corresponded with a death row inmate in the Federal Prison in Nashville, TN. She taught school, and in retirement volunteered in schools. She instilled a love of reading, learning, and the arts in her own children and grandchildren.
Holly is still greatly missed by our branch, and she is remembered as an advocate of all the things that AAUW represents.
Richard “Rick” Wilson III
Rick quickly won the respect of our branch by his applying his first-class work ethic to the receiving and handling of the donations to our Books-N-Things Fair this year.
Rick grew up in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, where he graduated with honors from The Colony High School. He graduated from The Collins Community College with an Associate’s Degree and then Rick attended The College of Charleston, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in history.
In 2011, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Upon completion of four years of service, he was honorably discharged from the Air Force and is currently being processed by the S.C. National Guard for Officer Candidate’s School. Lucky for us, Rick moved to Aiken to be with his grandparents, Brigitte and Richard Wilson. Both are active and long-standing members of the AAUW Aiken Branch, and Rick was quickly drawn into work for our Books-N-Things Fair fundraiser.
We appreciate and value Rick’s hard work and his meeting our donors with genuine respect for their contribution to the support of education. We congratulate him and wish him our very best as he pursues his future with the military service.
Dr. Rebecca Cooper
Rebecca served in the Savannah, Georgia schools for most of her career. She began as an elementary classroom teacher. As her work progressed, she served as an elementary principal then moved on to become Administrative Coordinator of Elementary Schools. Toward the end of her career, Dr. Cooper moved to the Glynn County, GA schools where she retired as Assistant Superintendent.
Once Rebecca graduated from Savannah State University with a B.S. degree in education and a M.S. degree in reading from The University of Bridgeport she began serving the schools of Savannah, GA. Her learning continued with an Education Specialist degree from Georgia Southern University, and a Doctor of Education degree from Nova Southeastern University.
A move to Beaufort, SC led Rebecca to active involvement in the Beaufort Branch of AAUW. Since 2010, she has participated in the programs and work of the Branch. While serving as President, she led the movement to bring STEM to the young girls of Beaufort School District. Her encouragement and inspiration became the impetus of the first middle school level STEM workshop developed and led by member, Laura Burcin. The cooperation and collaboration that both Rebecca and Laura developed with the Beaufort County Schools has become a model for South Carolina.
Many non-profit organizations have benefited from Rebecca’s willingness to serve on their boards. Those from her past include the United Way, The Girl Scouts of America, The American Red Cross, and the Y.M.C.A. She currently serves on the King-Tisdell Museum.
This community spirit showed when Rebecca was asked and ran for the Beaufort County School Board. Even though she was a little known candidate, her campaign resulted in an impressive show of support from the voters of her district. Her participation in the Savannah and Glynn County, GA Leadership Programs had served her well. Rebecca is also active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Rebecca continues her learning through the Beaufort County Senior Leadership Program.
Claire M. Bush
Claire joined AAUW when she met some members and was impressed by their intelligence and forward thinking. She has held offices in almost all of the branches she’s been a member of, including Treasurer and President. She says she has 40 years of membership and no regrets.
Claire grew up in New Jersey to a family who valued education. Five of her parents’ children have post-graduate degrees and they are still learning every day. Claire’s undergraduate degree was in Mathematics from Michigan State University and her graduate degree is an MBA from the University of Michigan. She worked for Ford Motor Company in various departments in Dearborn and Detroit for over 20 years. Her final position was in the Jaguar/Land Rover divisions of Ford in Mahwah, NJ, as Manager of the Production Support of IT.
Claire joined the Charleston Branch several years ago and saw the need for a newsletter. She jumped in and has been publishing our Low Country Newsletter ever since. We proudly honor Claire Bush for her leadership and technical ability, and especially, for production of the AAUW Charleston area monthly newsletter.
Richard (Rick) Wilson III
The youngest of our Named Gifts Recipients is Richard (Rick) Wilson,
who won the respect of our branch by his applying his first class work ethic to the receiving and the handling of the donations to our Books-N-Things this year.
Rick grew up in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, where he graduated with honors from The Colony High School. He purchased his first car with his earnings from his first part time job and continued to work to pay his tuition until he graduated from The Collins Community College with an Associate Degree.
After graduation he moved to Aiken to be with his grandparents, Brigitte and Richard Wilson. In 2011, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. On completion of four years, he was honorably discharged from the service. He then attended The College of Charleston, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in history. He is currently being processed by the S.C. National Guard for Officer Candidate’s School.
We appreciate and value Rick’s hard work and meeting our donors with genuine respect for their contribution to the support of education. We congratulate him and wish him our very best as he pursues his future with the military service. Leland and Jeffrey Reynolds grew up in Trenton, S.C. and attended High School in Aiken at St. Angela Academy. They both graduated from Clemson university in the late 1970’s and shortly thereafter moved their families to Aiken. Their father started H.G.Reynolds Construction company in 1948, then in 1986 Leland and Jeffrey Reynolds became the share holders. They moved the home office of the construction company to Aiken in 1990. They have 3 sons that are now included in this 3rd generation business.
Leland and family are members of St. John Methodist Church and Jeffrey and his family are members at 1st Presbyterian ChMildred Finch
Mildred completed her MSLS at UK in 1971. She then became Director of Technical Services at the Spartanburg County Library. Soon, thereafter, Dr. Jo Ann Lever of Converse College invited her to join the Spartanburg Branch of AAUW.
In 1975 Mildred became Director of Technical Services for the Richmond County Library and became a member at the Columbia Branch of AAUW. A few years later she moved to Richmond, VA to become Director of Technical Services at Henrico County Libraries and became a member of the Richmond Branch AAUW. While in Richmond, she served two terms on the VA State Board as Division Treasurer.
Returning to Spartanburg in 1996 she joined the Spartanburg Branch AAUW again and then the Gaffney Branch AAUW in 2004. She has also served two terms on the AAUW of SC State Board, most recently as Education Foundation Chair.
Beth Evans Lindsay Jones
The Greenville Branch honors the life and legacy of Beth. “Beth Evans,” as she was known to her family and friends, passed away peacefully on January 26, 2018, “having lived a magnificent life of 90 years.”
She was a Life Member of AAUW, having joined the Greenville Branch in 1950 following graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree from Greenville Woman’s College (the “Zoo”), a part of Furman University. At a time of limited opportunities for women in the sciences, Beth Evans entered the health services field as a Medical Technologist, certified by the American Association of Clinical Pathologists.
Beth Evans devoted her life to helping others. Among her many accomplishments, having travelled with her husband, Ed, to more than 70 countries and 49 states, in 1969 they were instrumental in establishing Furman University’s Study Away Program, which today hosts foreign study programs in 30 countries. Beth Evan’s obituary reads, “Beth Evans was a brilliant mind, a joyful spirit, a devoted mother, and a loving wife. She touched many lives and brought solace, goodwill, and renewed confidence wherever she went.” What better testimony!
Doris moved to Greer in Greenville County five years ago from near Watertown, NY, where she had been a member of the Jefferson County Branch of AAUW since 1978. She retired from a career in public school administration and served for 15 years on the Black River, NY, Village Board including 8 years as mayor. She was the incoming president of the Jefferson Community College Board of Trustees at the time of her move to SC.
Doris is excited to be a part of the revitalization of the historic Greenville Branch. She enjoys the AAUW Book Group and has volunteer affiliations with Greenville Literacy, the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Program, the League of Women Voters and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Rock Hill Branch
Rock Hill Rising
Rock Hill Rising evolved out of four women’s experience of the Women’s March – both in DC and in Charlotte. They felt inspired by the magnitude of worldwide participation on January 21, 2017, in taking a stand for women and progressive ideas, and believed it was time to create a space for progressive minds in Rock Hill and York County. What they saw that day was that they are not alone. Rock Hill Rising is an effort to build community, and to use their energy to create positive change. We are nothing if we do not act, and this was their opportunity to act in community with one another.
Its Mission Statement reads: Rock Hill Rising is a non-partisan community group of like-minded thinkers committed to taking a stand for those American values we hold dear – the values of integrity, diversity, and equal rights for all. We seek to be a pro-active, positive, inclusive force for social justice, community building, collaboration, and advocacy. We stand with and for those who are marginalized in this current political climate including women, people of color, the LGBTQA community, our immigrant neighbors, and the environment.
Rock Hill Rising has collaborated with AAUW on many occasions to encourage women to run for office and to encourage reading proficiency with a book drive.
Early Learning Partnership of York County
The Early Learning Partnership of York County (ELP) was established in 1998 as a United Way initiative called Success By 6. South Carolina ranked 48th in overall child well-being and like many children in our state, York County’s children entered school unprepared to learn. Our children lacked an environment necessary to promote healthy development and basic foundational skills for learning and the potential for a successful academic career. Literacy programs such as Born to Read, Reach Out and Read and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library were established.
Four Family Resource Centers were created in 2002 to serve children within each of the four York County school districts (Clover, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, and York). Beginning in the fall of 2003, a free medical clinic for uninsured children began opening in these centers and operating on a daily rotating schedule. The United Way and Success By 6 decided that the programs now administered by ELP would be better managed by an independent corporation with its own board and decision making authority. To that end, ELP was spun off with its own nonprofit status in 2005.
ELP partnered with AAUW Rock Hill to promote reading proficiency by presenting a panel discussion open to the community.
West Forum at Winthrop University
The West Forum began in 2002 at the University of South Carolina in Columbia by former Governor John C. West. It transferred to Winthrop University in 2008. In his career the former governor, and then professor, worked to highlight the importance of civic education and citizen participation in South Carolina and around the world. Governor West also wanted a means for South Carolina students to learn about civic engagement and political issues in the state. He envisioned the West Forum as a place where students could be informed about issues and trained to fill important positions in the state in the future.
Governor West recognized the importance of globalization and also localization. He took measures to promote responsible political leadership in South Carolina in that regard. Winthrop’s initiative to “Live, Learn, Lead” complements Governor West’s initiative to prepare the next generation of citizens and leaders for the challenges that they will face. The West Forum seeks to promote leadership and educate students to become engaged and effective citizens of South Carolina
The John C. West Forum at Winthrop University is now a partner with the College of Charleston to bring the NEW Leadership Summer Institute to South Carolina. The purpose of NEW Leadership South Carolina is to educate college women about the political process and to inspire them to consider careers in public service. South Carolina ranks 47th in the percentage of women in the state legislature, and women are underrepresented on public boards and commissions and statewide offices as well.
NEW Leadership South Carolina is a residential program that gives college women the knowledge and skills to become effective leaders in politics, public policy and public service. During the four-and-a-half-day Institute, participants will meet women leaders, learn about women in American politics, and develop and practice leadership skills through panel discussions, workshops, and hands-on projects. After the Summer Institute, participants are encouraged to continue to develop public leadership skills and become involved in community affairs.