Erskine alumni and friends came to the Due West campus Saturday, March 30, for Alumni Day 2019, enjoying fellowship, family activities, recreation, and reunions.
Several awards were presented at the Alumni Association meeting, held this year in the bright and colorful setting of Bowie Chapel and conducted by Angie McNeill Grooms ’77, outgoing president of the Erskine Alumni Association.
The top honor bestowed by the Alumni Association, the Alumni Distinguished Service Award, recognizes service to one’s church, community, profession, and alma mater over a lifetime. Joseph H. “Chip” Sherer, Jr. ’89, who has served since 2007 as president of Bonclarken, the ARP denomination’s conference center in North Carolina, was this year’s recipient.
Paul Bell ’84, director of alumni affairs and strategic giving, presented the award, praising Sherer’s “business acumen and administrative skills, coupled with his commitment to servant leadership.”
Sherer has served Erskine in various capacities—as admissions counselor, assistant director of admissions, and athletic director—and has volunteered with the Annual Fund and the Gold Campaign. He said he was honored to accept the award on behalf of his many family members who have served Erskine over the years.
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award, for alumni of the past 15 years who have begun making a positive and encouraging impact, was given to Blair Christie ’08, a special education major who minored in music and voice and was well known on campus for her vocal talents. She was a counselor at Camp Joy during summer breaks, and this influenced her career path. She served as a special education teacher for five years, and later was an advocate for adults with spinal cord injuries.
Alumni Board member Shawn Marler ’08, who presented the award, said Christie spent time as a musical performer with the Sight & Sound Theatre in Lancaster, Pa., but “God led her back to special needs ministry, showing her that performance was not really the passion of her heart.”
She now manages Bitty & Beau’s Coffee in Savannah, Ga., which employs adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). She leads a staff of 16, coaching them to become less reliant on manager support.
The Erskine Service Award, given to honor faithful volunteer service to Erskine, was given to retired missionary Dr. Jo Ann Griffith ’56. Presenting the award was Herb Jordan ’68, president-elect of the Alumni Association, presented the award. “In a very quiet and unassuming way, Jo Ann has been a faithful and generous contributor to Erskine, not only of funds but of her time,” he said.
Young Professor of Chemistry Dr. Howard Thomas, who has taught at Erskine since 1976, was named an honorary alumnus, along with his wife, the late Penny Thomas, who passed away recently. His daughter Emma was on hand to honor her parents, accompanied by her husband and four children.
Alumni Board members rotating off this year were recognized, and included Jim Bradford ’71, Tripp Boykin ’92, Barry Eller ’70, Rob Kuykendall ’94, Trip McGill ’82, and Steve Southwell ’80. Also honored was outgoing secretary Ashley Weyer ’97.
Herb Jordan presented several nominees for the Alumni Board of Directors—Carolyn Borden ’70, Jim Moore ’77, and Sanita Savage Cousar ’77, and all were approved by the assembled alumni.
The Class of 1969, celebrating their 50th reunion, presented a gift of outdoor furniture to the college, which will be used in the Winnie Morrison Phillips Pool Facility.
See more photos of Alumni Day here.
See further information about the activities of the day here.