VC Digest


VC Digest - Jan/Feb/March 2018

l-r. Dontavious Patrick, James Watson

Two Voorhees athletes qualified for the 2018 NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championship

Voorhees College track and field athletes James Watson and Dontavious Patrick qualified for the 2018 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Indoor Track and Field Championships, which was held in Pittsburg, Kan.

Watson qualified because of his status as a double qualifier for winning the triple and high jump competitions during a recent meet at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va.

During the national championships, Watson said he was able to experience what it was like to nationally compete.

“I gained perspective on what I need to work harder on to be prepared for the outdoor season,” Watson said. “My coach is highly skilled and continues to push me to achieve more. With his advisement and my practice efforts I know this is only the beginning.”

Track and Field Coach Jeffrey Hughes said he is proud of Watson’s accomplishments and said Watson’s work ethic will allow him to progress throughout his college career.

“Watson has great potential to become a national champion. I want him to one day become a nationally known track star who received his start at Voorhees College. This was his first time at nationals, so now he knows what to expect,” Hughes said.

Watson, a freshman majoring in sports management, is a native of Huger, S.C.

Patrick qualified by jumping 14.19 meters in the Triple Jump during a former competition at the Sanford Invitational in Birmingham, Ala. He recently recovered from an ankle injury and managed to secure a spot in the championships.

At the national championships, Patrick finished 14 out of 26 athletes in the Triple Jump tying at his personal best. He said he appreciated the experience and wants to score higher the next time.

“Last year, during the Indoor National, I earned the status of All-American. I did not accomplish the title this time, but now I will work to set a higher personal best,” Patrick said.

Hughes said he is extremely proud of Patricks’ accomplishments and said he has shown great grit and determination.

“Patrick found a way to qualify for nationals after returning from a recent injury, showing how high his drive is and that he will not let anything stop him. His work ethic has carried over from last year, and he continues to build upon it,” Hughes said.

Patrick, a sophomore majoring in sociology, is a native of Atlanta.

Because of Watson’s status a double qualifier and Patrick jumped 14.19 meters, there marks have also made them eligible for the 2018 Penn Relays as well. Penn Relays is the largest track and field competition, outside of the Olympics, where college and university athletes compete with professional athletes from all over the world in a televised event.

Voorhees student selected to participate in the 2018 Morgan Stanley HBCU Markets and Modeling Day

Voorhees College student Shiloh Grovner recently participated in the 2018 Morgan Stanley’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Markets and Modeling Day at their headquarters in New York.

The purpose of the event is to allow students the opportunity to explore the financial services industry, become familiar with the firm’s business and culture, network with leaders across the firm, and gain valuable technical and markets-focused insight through interactive workshops.

Grovner said she was introduced to international investment banking, corporate banking, and financial markets. She also heard employee testimonials about their individual journeys to becoming members of the Morgan Stanley Family.

“I attended a panel discussion and received suggestions for using resources in and outside of the classroom to broaden my learning. They emphasized the importance of internships and going after a career because of your passion not always the money,” Grovner said.

She said one of the most rewarding takeaways from the experience was meeting current employees she could identify with.

“The employees were not much older than I and did not sugarcoat how the workforce really is once a student graduates. They told us information we could relate to and encouraged us to work hard to get where we want to be in life, but expect challenges,” Grovner said.

Grovner said the experience opened her eyes and motivated her to reorganize her path once she got back to campus.

“I’m grateful I got to go to New York and hope more Voorhees students can participate next year. Now that I’m back on campus, I can use the knowledge I’ve gained to strengthen my academic and extracurricular activities,” Grovner said.

Morgan Stanley is a global leader in executing transactions in cash equity and equity-related products for institutional clients around the world. The products include common stocks, global depository receipts and exchange-traded funds.

Grovner is a sophomore business administration major and native of Grovetown, Ga. She is a member of the Voorhees College Choir, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and was recently inducted into the W. Franklin Evans Honors College.

All of Grovner’s domestic travel expenses to and from New York were covered by Morgan Stanley.

Voorhees VP gets inducted into 2018 MEAC Hall of Fame

Charlene Myers Johnson, Voorhees College vice president for enrollment management and student affairs/director of athletics, will be inducted into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Hall of Fame on March 8 in Norfolk, Va.

Johnson, former athletics director at South Carolina State University, (SCSU) joined the Voorhees family in July of 2017. She is among five individuals to be enshrined in the 2018 Class during a special ceremony at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel.

“I am honored to be receiving such a prestigious award,” Johnson said. “I’ve always had a passion for athletics, and it has been the driving force throughout my career. I bring that same effort to Voorhees College athletics and will work tirelessly to help elevate the program here.”

A native of Fairfax, S.C., Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and a master’s degree in counselor education from SCSU.

Johnson spent more than 30 years in athletics at her alma mater, serving as an assistant coach, head coach, associate athletics director, and athletics director. She received a number of honors and awards during her tenure at SCSU, where she remains the only woman to serve as an athletics director, a position she held for 12 years before retiring in 2014.

She has been a trailblazer in athletics as she became the first woman appointed to a full-time coaching position at her alma mater in 1983. She later became the first woman to serve as Chairperson of the Directors of Athletics Association in the MEAC and was presented the league’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2014. Johnson has also served on several NCAA Committees.

During her coaching stints at SCSU, Johnson helped Lady Bulldog teams to several conference titles and earned MEAC Coach of the Year honors in tennis and volleyball. During her tenure as athletics director, many of the facilities were upgraded, attendance at athletic contests and revenues increased, and academic enhancement was strengthened.

As a player at SCSU, she helped the Lady Bulldogs win the 1979 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Division II National Championship. Johnson she was inducted into her alma mater’s Hall of Fame in 1998 and received special recognition as a member of the 1979 championship team in 2000.

Johnson is married to attorney Virgin Johnson Jr., and they have a daughter, Taylor, a son, Virgin III, and, a grandson, Kason.

Voorhees to Compete in 29th annual Honda Campus AllStar Challenge National Championship Tournament

l-r. Donavon K. Joe, Christina Marie Donovan, Dr. Ronnie Hopkins, Terrianna McCullough, Nicholes W. A. Porchea

After participating in a National Qualifying Tournament (NQT), Voorhees College will compete against fellow Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) at the 29th annual Honda Campus All‐Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament (NCT) on the American Honda Motor Co., Inc. campus in Torrance, Calif. From April 7-11.

Teams from 48 HBCUs will go head‐ to‐head in the National Championship of America's premier academic quiz for top HBCU students. Voorhees has the opportunity to win the HCASC top prize ‐ a $75,000 institutional grant from Honda.

Voorhees will be represented by team captain, Nicholes W.A. Porchea, a senior majoring in health science from Shiloh, S.C., Terrianna McCullough, a senior majoring in mass communications from Lamar, S.C., Christina Marie Donovan, a sophomore majoring in mass communications from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Donavon K. Joe, a junior majoring in emergency management from Paterson, N.J. Dr. Ronnie Hopkins serves as the team’s coach.

Hopkins said the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge has a 29-year-old history of supporting our nation’s HBCU students. “It is quite an honor that our students at Voorhees College will actively participate in the national competition. I truly believe they will appreciate and embrace the HCASC mantra, ‘Friends for Life,” Hopkins said.

The Honda Campus All‐Star Challenge is a year‐round program that includes campus engagement, intramural play, qualifying tournaments and culminates with the National Championship Tournament. The fast‐paced competition highlights students' academic prowess and ability to answer questions about history, science, literature, religion, the arts and pop culture.

As a result, students expand their scope of knowledge, learn teamwork and sportsmanship, travel to California to represent their schools at the National Championship Tournament, and develop a bond with their fellow competitors. HCASC's active alumni group also supports students with networking and mentorship opportunities post‐graduation.

Porchea said as captain it is crucial he enforces the team to strengthen their skills, so they are prepared for competition. “We have spent time and effort studying and practicing and I am confident we are ready. As the leader, it is important to be calm, dedicated, and effective at handling various situations at any given moment,” Porchea said.

McCullough, who serves as Miss Voorhees College 2017-2018, said she wants to make sure Voorhees is recognized. “It has been a while since Voorhees has been in competition, and I want people to know what we have to offer. Our team is blessed, gifted, and talented,” McCullough said.

Joe said this is the moment he has been waiting for since the qualifying tournament. “My teammates and I, regardless of the results, will be able to say we gave our all and competed. Dreams and dedication are a powerful combination,” Joe said.

Donovan said she is looking forward to competing and experiencing what it is like to participate in a national tournament. “I am excited about going to Los Angeles to compete. I will have an opportunity to meet and network with students from the other HBCUs,” Donovan said.

President W. Franklin Evans said our students have an opportunity to showcase their academic talents and Voorhees College at the HCASC national competition tournament. “This is an example of a scholastic opportunity that we encourage our students to take advantage of. Many schools competed in the qualifying tournament, but we proved ourselves ready for the national level,” Evans said.

Honda has supported and celebrated America's HBCUs for more than 25 years. Since 1989, Honda Campus All‐Star Challenge (HCASC), one of Honda's largest and longest running philanthropic initiatives in the United States has impacted the lives of academic superstars from across the country. Since 2003, Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB) has provided eight top HBCU marching bands with a once‐in‐a‐lifetime opportunity to deliver a dynamic performance on a national stage.


Voorhees Receives $20,000 Walmart Foundation Grant

Voorhees College was recently awarded a Walmart Foundation mini grant of $20,000. Administered through United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Institute for Capacity Building (ICB), Voorhees is among 12 grant recipients this year to receive funds to assist with reaccreditation efforts.

Of the 12 institutions, Voorhees is among six selected by UNCF to use its $20,000 grant toward preparation for its reaffirmation of accreditation, a customary ten-year process required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Voorhees’ regional accrediting body.

The mini grants will provide technical assistance from content-area experts, which will better prepare Voorhees to document its success in educating students, maintain full accreditation upon completion of its review.

President W. Franklin Evans said the institution appreciates the Walmart Foundation for being a UNCF supporter. “As a UNCF member institution, the Walmart Foundation grant allows Voorhees to build our capacity, preserve our historic legacy, and continue to provide a quality education to our deserving students,” Evans said.

Dr. Ronnie Hopkins, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said currently the grant has aided the institution in convening campus specialists and enlisting external expert consultants to collectively examine the institution’s Fifth-Year Interim Report.  He said the comprehensive review provided early identification of existing or projected problems in the construction and presentation of the critical documents which ultimately determined Voorhees College’s status of accreditation with SACSCOC.

“The UNCF Institute for Capacity Building provided support that maximized the reality of Voorhees retaining successful accreditation membership with SACSCOC. Voorhees is elated to report that upon review by the SACSCOC Off-Campus Reaffirmation Committee, SACSCOC was satisfied with the financial stability presentation and documentation and required no additional information or monitoring report,” Hopkins said. “Additionally, Voorhees College is pleased to announce that SACSCOC has not placed Voorhees under any sanctions, restrictions, or probationary period, and the College remains duly accredited.”

Over the last decade, the Walmart Foundation has granted more than $4 million to UNCF, which includes the recent announcement of $500,000 to support UNCF’s ICB, a network-wide initiative that helps strengthen member historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax said the Walmart Foundation has made a significant investment in UNCF’s HBCUs. “Through the continued investment in UNCF’s Institute for Capacity Building, which supports our member HBCUs including Voorhees, Walmart is ensuring that our institutions are given the proper tools to function, to train and equip faculty and staff, and to best serve students who will become leaders of tomorrow,” Lomax said.

As a result of targeted implementation activities, anticipated outcomes include improved fiscal operations and processes, improved staff competencies and capacities, timely report submission and full compliance with the accrediting body. Taken together, these help to ensure Voorhees is providing a quality education and has sufficient facilities, faculty, staff and other resources to accomplish its mission.

Voorhees is ranked in the 2018 U.S. News and World Reports

Voorhees College was ranked in the U. S. News and World Report as one of the 2018 Best Regional Colleges in the south and one of the 2018 Best Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs).

Regional colleges are schools ranked by regions: north, south, Midwest, and west that focus almost entirely on the undergraduate experience. These institutions offer a broad range of programs in the liberal arts which according to U.S. News, account for less than half of bachelor’s degrees granted, in fields such as business, nursing, and education.

According to U.S. News, increasingly, the nation’s top HBCUs are an appealing option for applicants of all races. Many HBCUs now actively recruit Hispanic, international and white students in addition, to African-American high school graduates.

President W. Franklin Evans said he would like to see Voorhees at the forefront and become the premier institution of the south. “Voorhees is ranked as one of the best HBCUs and regional colleges. We are working diligently to continue to raise the bar and develop the most efficient higher learning institution for our students,” Evans said.


l-r. Kimberly Eagle, Keandre Johnson

Two Voorhees students Win First Place in a National Research Competition

Voorhees students Keandre Johnson and Kimberly Eagle, recently won first place for both their oral and poster presentations in a national research competition during the National Dr. Lonnie E. Mitchell Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Behavioral Health Summit.

The summit was sponsored by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration was held in Charlotte, N.C. Johnson led the presentation on the topic “Ethnic Differences of Drug Abuse in College”. In this study, 3,000 students across the nation were surveyed on their usage of marijuana, prescription opioids, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine.

Among the findings it was found that about 25% of African-American college students used marijuana while the usage among Hispanics and Caucasians was about 40%. In addition, the study found Hispanic females had the highest use of prescription opioids.

Johnson a senior, is a biology and chemistry major from Charleston, S.C. She is a Career Planning Initiative (CPI) ambassador, vice president for the Pharmacy and Health Club, choreographer for all-college worship services, and secretary for Golden Touch Organization.

Eagle did a presentation on “Alcohol Abuse in College Students – Ethnic Differences.” In this study, 2,600 students across the nation were surveyed and categorized as non-drinkers, causal drinkers, binge drinkers and alcohol dependent.

The study found that 35% of Caucasians binge drink as compared to 25% of Hispanics and 15% of African American college students. African American and Hispanic males drink more than females while Caucasian males and females mirror each other’s drinking habits.

Eagle a freshman, is an emergency management and homeland security major from Augusta, Ga. She is a CPI ambassador.

Both Johnson and Eagle were accompanied by Faculty Mentor Dr. Joseph De Soto MD, PhD, DSSc, FAIC, department chairperson for science, technology, health and human services.

“Our students take pride in their research and findings and it was displayed during the behavioral health summit. Both Johnson and Eagle have represented the department and Voorhees College well and now their research efforts can continue from a higher scope,” De Soto said.

W. Franklin Evans Honors College 2018 Induction Ceremony

Voorhees College held its annual honors college induction ceremony where 45 students were inducted into the W. Franklin Evans Honors College. This year’s keynote speaker was Alice Carson Tisdale, first lady of Claflin University.

In addition to being the first lady, Tisdale serves as the director of The Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College at Claflin. She spoke to the Voorhees community about this year’s ceremony theme, “The Promise.”

She advised students to focus on the vision and the promise of their individual futures. Tisdale said promise and vision may be small words but they have big meaning. She said students today need to open their eyes, imagine, and act.

“I was introduced to the Jim Crow laws at an early age not realizing the significance of an education until later. It was my promise to be instrumental in uplifting others carry in order to carry out my own vision through teaching,” Tisdale said.

Tisdale said when she was a college student she realized her former teachers were preparing her all along to study hard in order to conquer the world and overcome life’s challenges.

“My teachers gave me visions and assurances. Back then, I was disadvantaged and at risk as a young African-American woman and was unaware. Education puts a whole new perspective on life instilling self-worth, promise, and the ability to leave my mark in the world,” Tisdale said.

She encouraged the students to open their eyes. Tisdale said to the students they are the future leaders of tomorrow.

“You all are what we have been looking for to change some of the issues of today such as racism, voting, gun control, sexual identity, and gender inequality. The list goes on and on and as HBCU students you have a certain kind of magic and abilities to make some extraordinary changes,” Tisdale said.

Then Tisdale said students need to imagine the endless opportunities they can achieve from their predecessors.

“Think of the first black film director, president, actress, astronaut, who were all inspired by a vision and they laid the foundation down. I encourage you all to imagine the vision of what it takes to become the people that change social injustices,” Tisdale said.

Finally, Tisdale said after you have opened your eyes and imagined your visions, it is then time to act on them. She said it is one thing to want or wish for things in society to be different, but it is another to actually do something about it.

“Students do not be discouraged. As long as you get your education and assume your positions to fulfill your promises you will be on the right track. It is not about the size of the dog in a fight, but the size of the fight in the dog,” Tisdale said.