Meet the Voorhees 2019 Hall of Fame Candidates

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Meet the Voorhees 2019 Hall of Fame Candidates

November 01, 2019

Voorhees College will induct five new members into the Hall of Fame during the 17th annual Hall of Fame banquet on Friday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m. in the Leonard E. Dawson Health and Human Resources Center. 

The Voorhees College Hall of Fame, created as a prestigious membership, is reserved only for the elite Voorhees College alumni. The Hall of Fame recognizes and honors alumni who have been trailblazers over the years in their prospective careers and community. Also, they are dedicated and loyal supporters of the institution. 

Dr. Terriyln C.
Rivers-Cannon

Dr. Terriyln C. Rivers-Cannon is a social worker who motivates, empowers, and inspires all those who she comes in contact with on a local, state, and national level. Rivers-Cannon was recently named the 2019 National School Social Worker of the Year by the School Social Workers Association of America (SSWAA). She is also the first Georgian, first African-American, and first African-American female recipient of this award. 

Rivers-Cannon has devoted the last 18 years to improving the lives of Georgia’s school-aged population. Her role is that of a child advocate, providing appropriate interventions and services that helps hundreds of children and families each year who are at risk for educational failure. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Voorhees College and earned a master’s degree in social work from Florida State University. Also, Rivers-Cannon earned a doctorate in educational leadership and a specialist degree in leadership from Argosy University. 

In 2016, she received the Women of Distinction’s Excellence Award, in 2014, she was profiled and featured in the 15th edition of Who’s Who in Black Atlanta- Leaders in Academia, and in 2013, she received the National Association of Social Workers-GA (NASW) Social Worker of the Year award in recognition of her demonstration of exceptional professional qualities that stood out beyond the expectations of her job/profession. 

Rivers-Cannon is a Savannah, Ga. native who is married to retired Army Veteran, and the proud mother of two sons. www.voorhees.edu 

Bernice L. DeLoach

Bernice L. DeLoach retired in 2006 from Westinghouse Savannah River Company. In 2010, she decided to attend school and become a State Certified Nursing Assistant. DeLoach currently works part-time with the Savannah River Site Employee Association, and she is a certified substitute teacher for the Aiken County Public School District 

DeLoach is very involved in the Aiken community, serving others to give back and bless those in the community. She has spent time volunteering with the Aiken County Voter & Election Commission to register residents to vote. She accepted the opportunity in 1983 to become a Clerk / Poll Manager in her Precinct #60 Gem Lakes, which was once the largest precinct in Aiken County with more than 3500 registered voters where she continues to serve. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Voorhees College. While attending Voorhees, DeLoach joined the Voorhees College Concert Choir under the leadership of Director John Wesley Hunter and Pianist Paulette B. Green. She also joined the Ladies Social Club. 

DeLoach earned a second bachelor’s degree in theology from the Christian Life School of Theology. Also, she attended classes in Atlanta for Actors, Models & Talent for Christ, and graduated in the 2015 Shine summer class in Orlando, Fla. where she was listed in the Top 25 Mainstream Singers, over 700 students performing before national talent agents of recording artists and movie producers. 

DeLoach is a member of the Savannah River Site Retiree Association Board of Directors, the Voorhees College National Alumni Association, where she previously served as president, the Voorhees College Board of Trustees (2004- 2006). Additionally, she is a public advocate, We Care Residential Inc., since 2014. 

She is an Aiken, S.C. native who is married to Tyrone DeLoach, a 2019 Voorhees graduate. They are the parents of a daughter, Daphne, a 2002 Voorhees graduate, and a son, Selwyn (Christie). They also have four grandsons; Christian, Chandler, Chase, and Walker. 

Wilhelmenia Joyner
Jefferson-Priester

Wilhelmenia Joyner Jefferson-Priester, a high school teacher in Elloree, S.C., relocated to Brooklyn N.Y., where she taught for over 25 years in city daycares and the public school system. She spent most of her career at PS 56, as a third-grade teacher. 

Jefferson-Priester has served faithfully in many community organizations, the Decatur St Block Association, Youth in Action, Family and Community Leaders (FCL), and is a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) life member. Claflin University has given her accolades for her alumni participation and charitable giving. 

Jefferson-Priester attended Voorhees High School from grades 9-11 before completing her high school education at Orangeburg Wilkinson. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Claflin University and a master’s degree from Long Island University. 

In 1952, she became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., at Claflin University, and recognized as a diamond life member. She served in several leadership positions within the sorority and has been recognized by the Delta Alpha Zeta Chapter in Brooklyn, N.Y. as Soror of the Year. She is a chartering member of the Upsilon Rho Zeta Chapter in Bamberg, where she has been a leader in receiving chapter awards and state recognition. 

She is a Bamberg, S.C. native who is married to Willie Priester. Jefferson-Priester has five children, fourteen grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren 

Councilwoman
Janie Anderson
Cooper-Smith

Councilwoman Janie Anderson Cooper-Smith is the first African-American woman to be elected to the Orangeburg County Council. She represents District #5, a position she has held for nearly 24 years. A former vice-chair of the county council, she has been a member since 1995. She has been a trailblazer in education. In 1999, she retired after 30 years of teaching. After she retired, she accepted a position as an adjunct professor at SCSU. 

Cooper-Smith and former Orangeburg County Council chairman John Rickenbacker had a vision for a year-round recreational facility. They included the funding for the Orangeburg County Aquatic Center (YMCA) in the 2004 Penny Sales Tax Referendum. She was a vital member of the team that planned the design and construction of the center. Also, Cooper-Smith led the effort to generate public support for the center. The Orangeburg County Aquatic Center (YMCA) is now a “state of the art” facility. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Voorhees College and a master’s of education degree from South Carolina State University (SCSU). While at SCSU, Cooper-Smith earned her certification as a high school principal, a reading teacher, and as an education administration specialist. 

In recognition of her many years of service to the community, she has received numerous awards Educator of the Year, Governor’s Distinguished Award, Who’s Who Among American Teachers, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award, Lower Savannah Council of Government Board Member of the Year (She is the first recipient of this award.), The YMCA Community Ambassador Award, the South Carolina Alliance for Mobile Infrastructure Rural Elected Official of the Year, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Elected Official of the Year, to mention a few. 

Cooper-Smith is a Denmark, S.C. native who is married to Wallace Wendell Smith, a United States Air Force retiree. They are the proud parents of six children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. 

Dr. Leroy Staggers

Dr. Leroy Staggers was recently named the tenth president of Morris College. He has been a part of the Morris College family for more than 25 years. Dr. Staggers joined the faculty of Morris College in 1993 as an associate professor of English and was later appointed the chairman of the Division of Religion and Humanities and served as director of faculty development. 

For 16 years, he served as the academic dean and professor of English. As academic dean, Staggers worked on all aspects of Morris College’s on-going reaffirmation of institutional accreditation, including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). 

Staggers earned a bachelor’s degree from Voorhees College. He earned both his master’s and doctorate degrees from Clark Atlanta University. Additionally, he completed the Institute for Educational Management (IEM) Program at Harvard University. 

Before coming to Morris College, Staggers served as vice president for Academic Affairs, associate professor of English, and director of faculty development at Barber-Scotia College. Further higher education experience includes chairman of the Division of Humanities and Assistant Professor of English at Voorhees, and instructor of English and reading at Alabama State University. 

Staggers is a Kingstree, S.C. native who grew up in Salter, S.C. He is a member of Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church (JMBC), where he served for five years as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the JMBC Christian and Academic School. 

For more information, visit www.voorhees.edu or contact Stephanie Kluttz, director of alumni affairs, at 803-780-1062 or at skluttz@voorhees.edu.