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Carolina's Promise

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Reprinted from Spring 2012 InterCom
By Laura McClure


Donors across the nation are keeping a promise — a promise to change the face of Carolina. Colleges at the University of South Carolina are setting their own goals for the university's capital campaign, Carolina's Promise. The College of Mass Communications and Information Studies has set the goal of raising $11.5 million by 2015 to benefit both the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the School of Library and Information Science. Donations will assist the funding of faculty development ($500,000), undesignated funds ($500,000), student scholarships and fellowships ($2 million), program enhancements ($2.5 million) and capital improvements ($6 million), which will include outfitting a new building for the J-school.

Meet a few of our donors:

DonorsMimi and Tom Cunningham

Mimi Cunningham, a USC alumna, reflects on the move to the Carolina Coliseum when she attended the university, saying, "It was new and modern, but it's not new and modern anymore, and the opportunity to contribute to the new building is wonderful." Mimi and her husband, a North Carolina State University alumnus, have given $50,000 to the J-school's building project.

The former executive director of community relations at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Mimi Cunningham earned her bachelor's degree in journalism in 1968 and her master's degree in journalism in 1975.

When she was a student, she was grateful for the scholarship she received from the South Carolina Press Association to help fund her education. These kinds of opportunities are what motivate the couple to donate. Mimi Cunningham says, "We very much believe in giving back because we had educational experiences that prepared us for wonderful careers. Giving back is a very important aspect of our lives."

Jack Bryan

School of Library and Information Science alumnus Jack Bryan says, "You can either talk about the problems, or you can help solve them." During the last decade, through his numerous donations to SLIS, Bryan has focused on another of his mottos, "Don't forget where you came from." He completed his master's in librarianship in 1974 and received a librarianship specialist degree in 1986. While working with the attorney general's office for 35 years before retiring, Bryan always remembered his Carolina connections. He has made contributions toward several of the goals established by the SLIS, funding fellowships and scholarships through endowments, and most recently, he decided to make annual spendable gifts.

Bryan has many reasons for donating, but he says, "Simply, I think education is a vehicle to make life better." Among his contributions to the college is a scholarship in honor of his nephew, Jonathan, and in memory of his best friend's son, Kirt, both special needs children. His nephew will never be able to attend college, but Bryan hopes to give others the chance to receive an education not simply because of the opportunities that come from it, but because of the struggles that result from a lack of education.


Eleanor & Dodson Barineau

The story began when a young soldier serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson crashed a USC mixer. Dodson and Eleanor Barineau wed in 1949. Eleanor passed away in December 2009, but her husband and their two children, John and Libby, keep her memory alive. Wanting his donation to "mean something," Dodson Barineau donated $50,000 for the SJMC building initiative in memory of his late wife. He donated to the building initiative because, he says, "We heard about the needs for a new building and thought contributing to the funding of it would benefit faculty and students at USC for years to come."

Eleanor Barineau, from Bennettsville, S.C., was a proud South Carolinian and USC alumna. The 1946 graduate was involved in numerous campus activities and clubs while in school, serving as editor of The Gamecock and Garnet and Black and as president of her sorority, Kappa Delta.

"Journalism allowed my mother to have a great interest and impact in the world," says John Barineau. Later, she served as chair of the Covington, Va., United Way, Red Cross Emergency Services and was co-recipient, with Dodson, of the Covington Kiwanis Persons of the Year in 1973. John Barineau says, "She was extremely active in civic affairs, where the communications skills gained at South Carolina were major assets, allowing unusual success for a woman in the South."

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