VC Digest February 2016


February 2016  

President Sellers honored at Orangeburg Massacre ceremony

Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr. was honored at the 48th Annual Commemoration Ceremony of the Orangeburg Massacre on Feb. 8 at South Carolina State University in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium.

The Orangeburg Massacre occurred on Feb. 8, 1968 and was the result of racial tensions and segregation which led to protests on State’s campus. Three students, Delano Middleton, Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond loss their lives and 27 others injured.

Dr. Sellers, one of the injured, was the only one arrested from the massacre and spent seven months in jail charged as a rioter. Twenty-five years later he was pardoned by the governor of South Carolina.

The ceremony’s theme this year was “Social Change Inspires Freedoms,” featuring keynote speaker Rev. Joseph Darby, a fourth generation minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

He directed his message toward current college students advising them that it is not too early to create change, informing them that the protestors from the massacre who fought for their cause were the same age as most of them are today. 

“You have to join the battle for social change and walk in the footsteps of who we honor today but the change has to go beyond self.”

Dr. Sellers was presented a Social Justice Award, along with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People-Orangeburg Chapter, for their bravery and efforts during such a significant time.

Alumnus becomes an adjunct instructor free of charge to the institution

Voorhees College graduate Tishiro Inabinet is giving back to his alma mater by teaching the College Dynamics course every Wednesday at 3 p.m. at no cost to the institution.

College Dynamics is a course designed to provide advantages of attending the institution and methods to achieve college success to first- time college students.

Inabinet said alumni can give back to Voorhees in other ways besides money such as giving their time.

He has been involved with hosting several events on campus especially during Homecoming in order to assist with bringing funds to the institution and unifying alumni.

“I want current students to understand if they apply themselves, they can receive a quality education and have an enjoyable time at Voorhees. While I attended Voorhees, I handled my studies, but I was also active socially and made lasting relationships.”

Inabinet is a native of Orangeburg, S.C. and graduated from Voorhees in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. During his time at the institution, he joined the Eta Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and participated in the Student Government Association.

He graduated from South Carolina State University with a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling in 1998 and is currently a clinical counselor for the South Carolina Department of Corrections and a sergeant first class in the United States Army National Guard.

Presidential thoughts on the value of HBCUS

Voorhees College President Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers. Jr. plans to retire at the end of the year and will soon be on his legacy tour: Replenish our spirit, Restore our hearts. Below he sheds light on the value of Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs), especially Voorhees College.

Voorhees College aims to produce100 percent good citizens. Our students become Black doctors, scientists, teachers and entrepreneurs and if it had not been for Voorhees, many of them would have never been able to receive a bachelor’s degree.

Today, there are 107 HBCUs and according to a recent study commissioned by the United Negro College Fund, HBCUs as a whole produce 70 percent of all Black doctors and dentists, 50 percent of Black engineers and public school teachers and 35 percent of Black lawyers.

According to Leonard Haynes, senior director of institutional services for the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, HBCUs have not received much financial support as they should and could achieve a lot more with the necessary resources.

“Black colleges instill a sense of purpose and a nurturing environment for its students. If Black colleges did not exist, they would have to be created.” 

Sellers said that giving back to an HBCU can really help these institutions take students to even greater heights.

“HBCUs continue to nurture and develop the minds of students but also provide an environment for students to ‘affirm’ there identity and existence.”

Voorhees held a rural economic summit

The South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus had a rural economic summit at Voorhees College Friday, Feb. 19.

The summit covered topics such as challenges of rural economic development in this region, South Carolina automotive and manufacturing opportunities and workforce development within rural communities. 

In addition, there was also a student panel discussion moderated by Rep. Justin T. Bamberg, where students stated their issues and concerns about educational barriers toward enhancing their career goals.

The event, which was spearheaded by Sen. John L. Scott, Jr., enabled business and community leaders the opportunity to discuss current workforce needs.

“Our first economic summit was a great success,” said Sonia King Gass, vice president for institutional advancement. “I would like to thank all of the business and community leaders for taking part in this event.”

Rev. A. Jeremiah Wright gave a black history lesson to Voorhees  

Voorhees College’s Black History Month Culminating Event featured Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., former pastor of President Barack Obama, on Feb. 25.

Vivica A. Fox visited Voorhees to campaign for Hillary Clinton

Actress, entrepreneur and producer Vivica A. Fox came to campus on Tuesday, Feb. 9 to campaign for democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton.

Voorhees Biology professor published her thirteenth scientific article

Zhabiz Golkar, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, Division of Health and Natural Sciences, has her latest article published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases on the ebola virus. 

In the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Golkar’s article, “Inhibition of Ebola Virus by Anti-Ebola miRNAs in silico,” will be featured in this month’s issue. The journal previously published her work in 2014 for her article, “Bacteriophage Therapy: A potential solution for the antibiotic-resistance crisis.”

Her other research article, “CRISPRs/Cas9 May Provide New Method for Drug discovery and Development” was published in the Journal of Cells and Developmental Biology. This is Golkar’s fourth scientific article published since she joined Voorhees College.

Golkar’s research has allowed her the opportunity to submit a full chapter, “Utility of potent anti-viral microRNAs in Emerging Infectious Diseases” for the book, RNA Interference, which could be used as an approach to down regulate genes in order to alleviate disease pathology.

Golkar earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, a master’s degree in clinical microbiology and a doctorate degree in molecular biology.

“Through my research and teaching, I have learned it is necessary to develop our values and social responsibilities,” Golkar said. “Referring to Bill Gates, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’ so I pass my knowledge on to my students.”

Golkar joined the Voorhees College family in 2014 in the Division of Health and Natural Sciences following her postdoctoral scholars program as a molecular biologist funded by the Department of Defense at Claflin University.

Emergency Management majors want to bring interest to the major

Since the emergency management majors attended the 18th annual higher education symposium this past summer in Maryland, they have been working to bring more awareness about the program to Voorhees College.

Since February 2016, Voorhees students have been training with the Savannah River Emergency Operation Center (EOC) on site and via classroom tele-communication. This bridges the research and practical divide on important emergency management topics.

Emergency Management Associate Professor Rodney Boyd recently was invited to be a judge for the 45th Annual South Carolina Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, which was held at the University of South Carolina.

Boyd said he hopes to bring symposiums and programs such as this to Voorhees so people can come to the campus and learn about the institution and what it can offer future students.

“Hopefully our efforts have sparked that special interest in a student who will elect to attend Voorhees College and become a scientist or research in the future.”

Progress continues on the new Voorhees College Living and Learning Activity Center