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Volume 9, Issue 2 March 2017

In This Issue:


Minor Mickel Shaw, SCICU Life Trustee and Trustee of The Daniel-Mickel Foundation, was recognized for 50 years of support to SCICU.  (L-R) SCICU EVP Eddie Shannon, Minor Mickel Shaw, SCICU Board Chair Jim Reynolds, and Presbyterian College President Bob Staton.

SCICU Trustees Hold Higher Education Policy  Retreat  March 2-3

ISLE OF PALMS, SC -- College presidents and at-large trustees discussed trends and issues facing higher education at the 2017 Biennial Board of Trustees Retreat held at Wild Dunes Plantation March 2-3, 2017.

Dr. David Warren, President of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and SC Rep. Chandra Dillard (District 23, Greenville County) presented retreat participants with perspectives on federal and state changes and impact on higher education.

Dr. Joretta Nelson and Emma Jones with CREDO facilitated discussions with trustees and member college presidents regarding critical elements of institutional success and the ability to thrive and grow during times of change and challenge.

Minor Mickel Shaw, trustee at The Daniel-Mickel Foundation, was honored at the awards luncheon for the foundation's fifty (50) years of support to SCICU and independent higher education in South Carolina.  A tribute to The Daniel-Mickel Foundation is available here.

Columbia College President Beth Dinndorf, who previously announced a June 30, 2017 retirement date, was honored by the Trustees with a resolution.  

Trustees also honored Brenda Torrence, SCICU Vice President for Business Affairs, for her 29 years of service.  Torrence has announced an August 31, 2017 retirement date.

A gallery of photos from the 2017 retreat wlll be available soon on the SCICU website.


(L-R) Wofford President Dr. Nayef Samhat, SCICU President Mike LeFever, and Allen University Interim President Dr. Ernest McNealey meet with Sen. Lindsay Graham.

SCICU Participates in National Advocac y Day

WASHINGTON, DC -- Allen University Interim President Dr. Ernest McNealey, Wofford College President Dr. Nayef Samhat, and SCICU President Mike LeFever joined dozens of other independent college and university presidents in a day of advocacy on Washington's Capitol Hill. Armed with information and briefing materials prepared by the staff of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, these educators turned lobbyists visited their states' Congressional delegations in support of policies and funding that advance the mission of independent higher education.

The group representing the interests of the members of SCICU met with Senators Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott and Representatives Joe Wilson and Mark Sanford. Each of these Members of Congress are on committees that are crucial to shaping policy and funding for higher education.

(L-R) Allen University Interim President Dr. Ernest McNealey, Wofford President Dr. Nayef Samhat, Sen. Tim Scott, and SCICU President Mike LeFever

During their discussions with the four lawmakers and their staffs, the SCICU delegation touched on a number of important issues including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, campus-based student aid, FAFSA redesign, subsidized student loans, student debt, affordability and cost, and the roll-back of overly-prescriptive and restrictive regulations in the areas of teacher preparation, credit hour, gainful employment, and overtime pay.

The meetings have both short-term and long-term benefits for shaping policy. Within weeks of visits, the four Congressional members supported a joint resolution to block the Department of Education's 2016 teacher preparation regulations which were inflexible and did not reflect the cutting edge reforms in the profession.

After a day of running from one Congressional office to another, our president-lobbyists joined with their national colleagues and NAICU staff for a reception recognizing the launch of the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Congressional Independent College Caucus. Rep. Joe Wilson, a graduate of Washington and Lee University, was one of the first members to join the new caucus. Charleston Southern University alumnus Senator Tim Scott also is considering joining the caucus which is focused on celebrating the contributions that independent colleges and universities make to the educational, intellectual, economic, social and cultural life of our nation.


SC Budget First Draft Is A Mixed Bag
For Scholarship Programs

COLUMBIA, SC -  The House Ways and Means Committee did not include an increase for Tuition Grants in the first draft of the state's roughly $8 billion general fund budget. With $522 million in added money this year, the budget committee funded other statewide needs such as $100 million for the schools in the I-95 Corridor of Shame, $150 million for the underfunded state pension fund, and $82 million for Hurricane Matthew recovery costs. While it is very early in the budget process, this is the first year that the Tuition Grants program did not experience a recommended annual increase since the state began recovering from Great Recession in FY 2011.

Because there were no mega-jackpots this year to simulate lottery ticket sales, there was almost $18 million less in lottery funds available for programming. Lottery money is the primary source of funding for the state's merit scholarship programs-Palmetto Fellows, LIFE, HOPE, and Tuition Assistance-and the source of over $8 million for Tuition Grants. In order to fully fund the merit scholarships this year, the Ways and Means Committee had to increase funding in this program by more than $20 million to accommodate normal growth and an estimated 2,400 new students who will qualify for scholarships as a result of the state Department of Education changing its uniform grading scale from 7 points to 10 points beginning in August 2016.

The sudden expansion of the merit scholarship program left no lottery money to fund or increase other SCICU priorities such as Tuition Grants, PASCAL, and state need-based grants. On the bright side, many of the additional students who will qualify for a merit scholarship will take those scholarships to one of the 20 SCICU member colleges or universities. In FY 2016, more than 8,500 students attending a SCICU member school qualified for approximately $41.3 million in merit aid, and over 13,500 students received more than $36.5 million in Tuition Grants.

The budget bill will move to the House floor where we do not expect much to change. Once it is sent to the Senate, SCICU will get a chance to make our case before the Senate Finance Committee. 


SCICU Has Banner Fundraising Year During 2016

COLUMBIA, SC -- Fundraising by non-profits across the country has become more challenging than ever before; however, this was not the case for SCICU in 2016 as the association accomplished a record-setting year exceeding its fundraising goal by over $60,000. 

For the 2015-16 fiscal year, SCICU distributed over $649,000 to its 20 member colleges through the various programs. Leading the way was the SCICU Named Scholars Program that awarded $381,000 in scholarships to 277 students. The Named Scholars Program is funded by generous donations from corporations and foundations. In 2015-16, the following twelve companies/foundations had established scholarship programs at SCICU: Bailey Foundation, BB&T of SC, Colonial Life, Council of Independent Colleges, Duke Energy, Sanders Family Foundation, SCE&G/SCANA Corporation, SC Student Loan Corporation, Sonoco Products Foundation, UPS Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, and Williams & Fudge Foundation. Eligibility criteria for the scholarships are established by the donors with student selections made by the colleges.

In addition to the Scholars Program, $90,000 was awarded by SCICU to fund 36 student research projects through the SCICU Faculty/Student Undergraduate Research Program, and over $111,000 was distributed to our member colleges through the SCICU Unrestricted Giving Program. And our sponsors provided $32,000 in support throughout the year to other SCICU events and programs including the SCICU Business Partners Program, the Guidance Counselor Campus Tour, the Excellence in Teaching Dinner, the College Guide, and two SCICU Trustee meetings. 
SCICU's Executive Vice President Eddie Shannon attributed the success to the hardworking SCICU Development Committee, chaired by Lonnie Emard, and to the loyal and generous companies, foundations, and individuals that have supported SCICU over the years. SCICU has four 60+-year donors, five 50+-year donors, six 40+-year donors, and thirteen 30+-year donors. There is a level of loyalty and generosity from our donors that is unparalleled around the country. In addition, in 2015-16, SCICU again reached its annual goal of 100% giving participation by the Board of Trustees.

We say "thank you" to all of our generous donors and ask for your support again in the 2016-17 fundraising year that is currently underway. For prospective donors to learn more about giving opportunities at SCICU and to make a gift to any of our programs, visit our website at scicu.org and click on "Make A Gift" on the gold horizontal ribbon.  We will appreciate your support in making 2016-17 another record-breaking year.

Undergraduate Students Present Research Findings
At 2017 SCICU Research Symposium

SPARTANBURG, SC  - Forty-one undergraduate students representing twelve SCICU colleges and universities presented findings and results from their 2016 research projects at the 2017 SCICU Research Symposium held at Milliken & Company in Spartanburg on February 23, 2017.

Supported by generous sponsors and donors, SCICU awarded $90,000 in research grants to undergraduate student research projects in March 2016.  Research grant recipients were chosen based on professional evaluation of proposals.  Research commenced in April 2016 and concluded in December 2016.

A list of SCICU undergraduate research projects funded in 2016 may be viewed here.

SCICU thanks the following for their generous support of the 2016 Undergraduate Student Research Program and the 2017 Research Symposium:

2016 Sponsors and Donors

Belle W. Baruch Foundation
BlueCross BlueShield of SC
BMW Manufacturing Company
Bryan Family Foundation Endowment
Joan Sasser Coker
Russell D. Cook
The Daniel-Mickel Foundation
Mills B. Lane Memorial Foundation
SCICU Endowment Fund
TD Charitable Foundation

2016 Research Evaluation Committee

Dr. B. G. Stephens - Wofford College
Dr. Neval Erturk - Converse College
Dr. Steve Farra - Columbia International University
Dr. Richard Keen - Converse College
Dr. James Wetzel - Presbyterian College

2017 Research Symposium Host

Milliken & Company
Courtney Edwards - Director of Communications and Customer Experience
Jenna Gaze - Customer Experience Manager
April Morris and Jeff Crenshaw - Building Service Team
Mariah Morrissey - Bon Appetit Catering

2017 Research Symposium Technology Support

Gregg Moss - Moss Technology


Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr.

North Greenville University Names Gene Fant 
As Next President Effective June 1, 2017

TIGERVILLE, SC  -- The Board of Trustees of North Greenville University has elected Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., to serve as its next president.

"The Presidential Search Committee undertook a nationwide search with the assistance of the team of Price Harding, III, a partner and founder of CarterBaldwin Executive Search of Atlanta, Ga., a search firm with wide experience in higher education and especially in Christian higher education," said Bill Tyler, Chairman of NGU's Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee. "We evaluated nominations and applications from over 60 qualified candidates. In the end, it was about the candidate that would be the right fit for North Greenville and its mission."

Fant, 53, has a long record of leadership in Christian higher education, most recently at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"Lisa and I are profoundly humbled," Fant said, "to be invited by the Board of Trustees to serve alongside this marvelous faculty and staff in this Kingdom work.  North Greenville's Christ-honoring heritage has impacted our region and indeed the world since its beginning, and I look forward to leading the university as we follow God's calling on our shared lives."

Fant noted that he was attracted to the position by NGU's history of producing transformational leaders for church and society.

"Throughout my career, everywhere I go, I run into people whose lives have been touched by NGU and its alumni, students, faculty, coaches, and staff.  I hope to build on that solid foundation of influence and extend it into new areas," said Fant.

Fant will complete the spring semester in his current role as the Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Palm Beach Atlantic University, assuming his duties at NGU on June 1. 

Please click here to read more about Dr. Fant's background and future at North Greenville University.


Dr. Mark A. Smith

CIU To Welcome New President July 1

COLUMBIA, SC  -- An experienced and respected Christian higher education administrator has been named the seventh president of Columbia International University. The announcement was made following a vote by the CIU Board of Trustees on February 2 to confirm Dr. Mark A. Smith as president beginning July 1, 2017.

Dr. Smith comes to CIU from Ohio Christian University (OCU) where he served as president for 11 years, increasing enrollment from approximately 400 to 4,600 students during his tenure. In addition, under Smith the university opened 14 sites in rural areas for student learning and began offering online educational programs. Smith also directed $30 million in capital construction projects and the increase of university personnel from approximately 50 to 800 employees.

Prior to coming to OCU, Smith served as vice president for adult and graduate studies at Indiana Wesleyan University where he oversaw the doubling of enrollment from approximately 5,000 to 10,000 students in four years.

Smith succeeds Dr. Bill Jones who suggested to the CIU Board of Trustees that Smith be considered for president. At each board meeting for the past seven years, the board has requested Jones submit the names of potential candidates in case something ever happened to him. Jones says when he turned 60 years old, 18 months ago, he began to pray more intensely about who one day would replace him as president. Not long after that, he had a providential conversation with Smith at a conference the two were attending. Smith had a simple question: "Would there be a role for me to play at CIU?"

Please click here to read the rest of the article regarding Dr. Smith's selection as president by Columbia International University.


Dr. Marlee Marsh (3rd from right) and Dr. Edna Steele (2nd from right) with student researchers at the SCICU 2017 Research Symposium

SCICU Undergraduate Research Program
Has Multi-Generational Impact
Among Students and Faculty

COLUMBIA, SC  -- The SCICU Undergraduate Student/Faculty Research Program was started in 1995 to give students opportunities to participate in professional research projects.  However, the far-reaching impact of this program spans generations through both students and faculty at SCICU member colleges and universities.

Marlee Marsh was the first Converse College student to be awarded a research grant in SCICU's Undergraduate Research Program.  At that time, Marsh conducted her research under the mentorship of Dr. Edna Steele, an assistant professor of biology and member of the Converse faculty since 1997.  Marsh graduated from Converse in 2002, earned her doctorate at Clemson, and joined the Columbia College faculty in 2012.

Fast forward to 2017, and Dr. Marsh and Dr. Steele meet again at the 2017 SCICU Research Symposium on February 23, 2017 at Milliken & Company in Spartanburg.  Both professors  sponsored and mentored students in the 2016 SCICU Undergraduate Student/Faculty Research Program and accompanied their students to the 2017 SCICU Research Symposium.

Dr. Marsh stated that "I would not be where I am today if it weren't for [my undergraduate research with Dr. Steele]. I wasn't considering being a college professor, but Dr. Steele encouraged me to research with her over the summer. Because of it I went to grad school and learned that I enjoyed teaching. I ended up doing what she's doing, at a women's college teaching and mentoring young scientists. I still consider her a mentor and we correspond regularly."

Dr. Steele was proud to see her protégé's students carrying on the lineage of mentored research.   "Alumnae like her are how I measure my success."

In addition to sponsoring and mentoring students in research projects, Dr. Marsh was selected to receive Columbia College's 2016 SCICU Excellence In Teaching Award.


SCICU curates news from its twenty member colleges and universities.  Click here to read college news on the SCICU website.

The following is a sampling of recent member college news:




The Business Partners program provides a convenient marketplace in which SCICU member colleges and universities can preview offerings tailored to the needs of the higher education community in South Carolina.

SCICU recognizes the following Business Partners for their renewals:

Directory - Click  here  for a complete list of Business Partners, or access information on individual Business Partners via the links shown below.

ABM Building Solutions, LLC  | Acumen IT, LLC | Affinity LTC, LLC (Genworth Financial) American Student Assistance Aramark Higher Education | Blackboard Inc.  | CapinCrouse LLP | Church Mutual Insurance Company | Coleman Lew + Associates | Collegiate Financial Services Craig Gaulden Davis | CSI Leasing, Inc. e-Procurement Services, LLC | e2Campus |   eBridge Business Solutions LLC | eDocHome.com | Elliott Davis Decosimo | ETC Consulting, LLC Find Great People, LLC | First American Education Finance | Gillis Specialty Adverstising | Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA | Howard Techonology Solutions HRP Associates, Inc.  | Hypersign, LLC INSITE |   McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture | Metadata IT LLC Metz Culinary Management | Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting | National Mangement Resources CorporationPioneer College Caterers Pollock Company | Professional Insurance & Investment Associates | Purple Briefcase | S2K | SC Student Loan Corporation | ScholarBuys | Sodexo | Spirit Communications | Stalwart Systems Group | STEM Premier | The Payments Company Total Comfort Solutions | UnitedHealthcare Student Resources | Verizon | Vulcan Materials Company | Walsh Consulting Group LLC | Winthrop Resources IT Leasing | Wyche, PA

SCICU is a member of the Coalition for College Cost Savings (CCCS). This organization, comprised of 33 member organizations in 30 states, serves more than 900 higher education institutions and over 3 million students across the United States. The organization and staff are dedicated to helping private higher education institutions improve processes and reduce costs through collaboration.

All SCICU member colleges and universities have access to CCCS's national contracts and services. More information on this important benefit may be found here.

News & Notes is published by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc.  Please send all comments or questions to SCICU President & CEO Mike LeFever at mike@scicu.org or 803-799-7122.  Mailing address: PO Box 12007, Columbia, SC 29211.