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From the Dean

Bob Bentley
A Few Last Words … Maybe

Journalism alumnus Bob Bentley may not have been larger than life — though he was burly enough. He just was life. In the decade over which he shared his journalistic experience and stories, I can't recall Bob not smiling, engaged and ebullient — a word journalists do not use lightly. Editors won't let us.

Bob BentleyBob's half century as a journalist ended April 26. He was 73. Bob had retired a decade ago after a stint at the Index-Journal in Greenwood, but retirement was just a formality preceding the next busy phase in his life which included being one of the most active alumni of our School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Bob served on advisory boards, championed the college's Alumni Society, contributed annually to the Dean's Circle fund and joyfully cajoled others to do the same.

Bob's memorial service in Greenwood was replete with stories of his personality and penchant for taking charge. He'd lined up family, friends and journalists — our former colleague Dr. Henry Price among them — to share memories. He delivered instructions to those he'd personally selected and struck a bargain. Whoever was last standing would deliver the other's eulogy.

Cancer is the culprit in this tale. Bob was open about it, fought it hard and, briefly, thought he might have had the fight in hand. Only a few weeks ago, he told a number of us the cancer had demanded a rematch. It came sooner and harder than Bob had hoped.

Like an editor laying out tomorrow's paper, Bob had prepared for it. He wrote his own obituary, describing himself as "an innovative journalist whose newsroom career began with writing obituaries and concluded with this one."

His career as journalist and editor took him from the newsroom of The State in Columbia to points as distant and distinct as Trenton, N.J., Miami and Fort Myers, Fla., El Paso, Texas, and Bakersfield, Calif. Readers of The State will know that Bob never stopped writing, as his letters to the editor appeared frequently. His self-described retirement was one in which he "never relinquished his writing role, contributing contemplative columns and feisty letters" to publications as diverse as USA TODAY and "his beloved weekly McCormick Messenger."

Bob Bentley was, as one of his eulogists noted, a "managing editor to the end."

Charles Bierbauer

Bierbauer signature



Alumni News

Durant Earns Disney’s Black Achiever Award

DurantRosalyn Durant, broadcast ’99, is the 2012 recipient of the Disney ABC Television Group’s Black Achiever in Industry Award. Durant, who currently serves as vice president of ESPNU and ESPNHS, was honored for her achievement at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, as part of the Harlem YMCA’s 2012 National Salute to Black Achievers in Industry.

Durant, School of Journalism and Mass Communications distinguished alumni honoree in 2010, began her career at ESPN as a college intern in 1998 before joining the network full-time as a coordinator. She was promoted to vice president of ESPNU in 2008.

The Black Achievers in Industry Awards program was launched by the Harlem YMCA to honor African-American women and men for outstanding contributions to their industries and communities and to motivate minority youth by providing positive role models.


Till Promoted to Assistant News Director at WIS TVTill

Shana Till, broadcast ’06, has been promoted to assistant news director at Columbia’s WIS TV. Till joined the NBC affiliate in 2010 as an executive producer.

After graduating from USC, Till began her TV career in Charleston at WCSC as a producer, and had a similar role at WSPA in Spartanburg.

Till is an Emmy-nominated journalist with awards from SCBA Star and SC Associated Press for spot news, newscast and documentary.


McPherson Takes Director Position with Chamber of Commerce

McPhersonSusan Vaughan McPherson, advertising and public relations ’82, has joined the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce as director of governmental affairs and regionalism. In her new position, McPherson, who previously worked at International Paper, serves as a liaison to local government officials and their staffs to advocate business friendly platforms on behalf of the Chamber and its members.

McPherson has more than 35 years of experience in the field of public, employee, media and government relations. Most recently, she worked with International Paper's Eastover Mill for 28 years and is a former member of the Chamber Board of Directors.


College News

Cocky’s Reading Express Partners with South Carolina Young Lawyers for Reading Celebration

Cocky’s Reading Express has partnered with the Young Lawyers Division of the South Carolina Bar to provide a week of reading events in South Carolina schools May 7-11. During the weeklong Reading Celebration, Young Lawyers will read to students in schools in 12 different Judicial Circuits with Cocky and the CRE crew joining for many of the reading events. Reading Celebrations was featured on Greenville’s Your Carolina television show on April 9.
Watch the video


SLIS Welcomes Two New Faculty Members

The School of Library and Information Science will welcome two new faculty members this fall. Dr. Dick Kawooya, who obtained a PhD in Communication and Information from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2010, joins the library school after serving as a senior lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies. Dr. JingJing Liu join SLIS from Southern Connecticut State University, where she has taught information technology, information organization, and foundations of library and information science. Liu received her Ph.D. in Information Science from Rutgers University in 2010.


School News

Galardi Earns Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award

GalardiThe University of South Carolina presented its top honor, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, to senior public relations major Christina Galardi during the university’s annual Awards Day ceremony on the Horseshoe Thursday, April 19.

Sullivan awards are given each year to one graduating woman and one graduating man for outstanding achievements, campus leadership, exemplary character and service to the community. The award, given at 15 colleges and universities across the country, is named for the 19th-century New York lawyer and philanthropist.

Galardi, the 2011 USC Homecoming Queen and a member of the college’s street team, was also recently named the USC 2012 Outstanding Woman of the Year.
Read more about Galardi’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award


Graduate Student to Study in Brooklyn this Summer

MLIS student Konni Shier will spend summer in the city — New York’s Brooklyn borough — to study the industrial waterfront and the Brooklyn Bridge as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities program.

Shier, who’s an adjunct English instructor at Midlands Technical College, was one of 300 educators selected to participate in the program that is aimed at enhancing the teaching of history, literature and other subjects in the liberal arts. Shier completed the MLIS program in summer of 2011 and is currently working to obtain a school media and library certificate.
Read more about Shier’s summer plans arrow


USC Students Selected as Finalists in National Competition

Advertising junior Maddie McDowell and her teammate Chris Beauregard, a senior entertainment management major, have been named a finalist team in the 2012 Media Plan Case Competition. As part of the Washington Media Scholars Foundation’s Media Scholars Program, the national competition gives undergraduates valuable learning, career and scholarship opportunities. McDowell and Beauregard will travel to Washington, D.C., in June for the competition finals held during Media Scholars Week.


Visual Communications Students Earn Recognition in Photography

Two visual communications seniors have earned awards from the South Carolina News Photographers Association. Dustin Glendinning has been named the South Carolina Student Photographer of the Year while Aaron Middeke, last year’s award winner, was named runner-up. In addition, visual communications juniors Jeremy Aaron and Lee Walker have been awarded a Magellan Scholars grant for a photography project this fall. The students will document people and places across South Carolina.


Upcoming Events

May Carolina Alumni Weekend
May 10-12
University of South Carolina campus

May Carolina Alumni Weekend is a Carolina springtime tradition that offers innovative and relevant exhibits, lectures, tours and receptions. Make plans to join us and let the natural beauty of the University of South Carolina campus inspire you this spring! For more information, contact Jane Lavender at janel@carolinaalumni.org or 803-777-4112.

Roll with Cocky's Reading Express
Saturday, May 12 - 9:45 ­ 11 a.m.
Greene Street

Cocky's Reading Express continues to roll to advance literacy in many ways. You are invited to come check out the program's new bus, donated by BP earlier this year, and hear updates on how CRE has gone from fun reading with Cocky to the layered aspects of literacy that include health, nutrition, family and financial literacies. Cocky will be there, too! RSVP to taylorem@mailbox.sc.edu or 803-777-7118.


Alumni Spotlight

Frank Ponce

By Joshua Joiner, SJMC Graduate Student

Though he may no longer work directly in the mass communications field, J-school alum Frank Ponce is still finding ways to use his education and background in communications while pursuing a career as a film producer.

PoncePonce, a 2009 graduate who majored in journalism and minored in media arts, plans to call on his background and education quite often in the coming months as he uses a $100,000 grant from the South Carolina Film Commission in leading the production of the short film Theo.

“It’s a bit different route than most film producers may take, but I wouldn’t trade my mass comm background for anything,” said Ponce, a native of Ruby, S.C., who was recently announced as the recipient of the SCFC’s annual grant that’s aimed at attracting more film production to the state. “Having the background I do, I feel like I’ve used it often in film making, and I’m really looking forward to using it in the production of Theo.”

Inspired in part by South Carolina astronaut Ron McNair, who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle crash, Theo will tell the story of an 8-year-old boy whose astronaut father is tragically killed in a space accident. The film is currently in the pre-production stage with filming set to begin either late this year or early 2013.

The majority of the film’s production will be completed in conjunction with the University of South Carolina’s theater department. While the film will use a large amount of studio production and visual effects, a large portion of the filming will take place in South Carolina.

For Ponce, Theo is the first major undertaking since he decided to take the plunge and move to Los Angeles last year to pursue a film career. A former commercial producer at WTOC in Savannah, Ga., Ponce hopes Theo will be a springboard for his career in Hollywood.

“I’m excited and a little nervous at the same time,” said Ponce, who plans to showcase the film at a number of film festivals before launching a campaign to promote the film online. “It’s a great honor for any filmmaker to receive the grant from the South Carolina Film Commission, and it’s a great opportunity for me personally. Producing a film is a long process, but I’m looking forward to seeing where this may take me.”


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May 10-12
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A Time Capsule. Last seen in the Carolina Coliseum a few decades ago. If you have any information leading to the recovery of our time capsule, please contact Elaine Taylor (taylorem@mailbox.sc.edu)


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