Capital Rotarians went to historic Columbia College on Oct. 31 for a tour and briefing from president Dr. Carol Moore. She outlined plans to promote entrepreneurship and workforce development, noting that 51% of new business startups are headed by women. The college’s Institute for Leadership & Professional Excellence houses a McNair Center for Entrepreneurism – one of six such centers across the nation – for undergraduate and graduate students. Moore envisions a “consulting agency” approach where students with proper faculty guidance would work with businesses, combining academic knowledge and real-world job experience. Moore also spoke about plans for redevelopment projects at college-owned properties in adjacent neighborhoods, noting these would benefit students and nearby residents alike. Columbia College senior Marisa Thornton (left foreground) led Capital Rotary’s campus tour. Also pictured are club members (front row, from left) Mark Timbes, Ione Cockrell and Andy Markl; (back row, from left) Abby Naas, Philip Flynn, Paul Gillam, Daniel Moses and Austin McVay. Capital Rotary’s visit was part of the club’s Fifth Wednesday program featuring local field trips in place of a regular weekly meeting.
Capital Rotary Club members John Guignard (standing left rear) and Rowland Alston (standing right rear) helped deliver new paperback dictionaries to this Arden Elementary School third-grade class as part of the club’s participation in The Dictionary Project. The project – begun by a non-profit organization in Charleston in 1995 – aims to help young people become good writers, active readers, creative thinkers and resourceful learners. Capital Rotary donated dictionaries to some 900 students in 12 Richland County District One schools for 2018. Over the past 14 years, the club has distributed personal dictionaries to 14,000 students in the Columbia area. A number of other Rotary clubs in South Carolina and throughout the country are Dictionary Project sponsors. One of Rotary International’s major goals is improving basic education and literacy for adults and young people.
Lou Kennedy, President and CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, spoke to the Columbia Capital Rotary Club on Wednesday, September 5th. An avid Gamecock fan, Ms. Kennedy detailed Nephron’s move from Florida to South Carolina and its growth over the last five years. Currently employing over 800, Nephron has become an anchor for the Midlands’ economy while being actively involved in the community. She described Nephron’s newest endeavor in providing hospitals with ‘short-supply meds’ and filling a nationwide need. Ms. Kennedy gave a personal story on perseverance that resonated with club members.
Columbia College is reawakening the “pioneer spirit” from its founding 164 years ago and is focused anew on meeting community and educational needs, according to president Carol Moore. Dr. Moore (at left in photo with Rotarian Felicia Maloney) was Capital Rotary’s Aug. 15 guest speaker. She said the private liberal arts women’s college is expanding programs to include partnerships with Midlands Technical College, Benedict College, Northeastern University, non-profit organizations and business and industry. Evening and online offerings will grow in the areas of entrepreneurship and workforce development. “Columbia College has always been about experiential learning – applying learning out in the community,” Dr. Moore said. The school also supports the City of Columbia’s revitalization goals for North Main Street. With more than 40 years of education experience at six institutions of higher education, Dr. Moore holds BA and MA degrees in biology from Montclair State University and a doctorate in marine biology from Northeastern University. She came to Columbia College in September 2017 and was named president in January 2018.
New Capital Rotary member Catherine Mabry (center in photo) is welcomed to the club’s ranks by president Philip Flynn and sponsor Chris Myers. Mabry, who handles community outreach for Shives Funeral Home, received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Alabama. She previously worked in retail positions and in physician services at Baptist Medical Center and Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. A member of and current elder for Eastminster Presbyterian Church, she is married to commercial realtor Hank Mabry, a former Rotarian, and the couple has two adult children.
Crawling through Viet Cong tunnels during his Vietnam War service was always an exercise in potential danger, according to C.W. Bowman, Capital Rotary guest speaker for June 27 (at left in photo with club member Chris Myers). Bowman – a draftee shipped overseas in January 1967 – was a point man, demolition-man and tunnel rat who cleared and destroyed underground complexes that could conceal hospitals, training areas, storage facilities, headquarters and barracks. Bowman said the dirty duty’s hazards included not only booby traps and enemy troops, but also snakes, spiders, scorpions and ants. Typically, he faced these dangers armed only with a flashlight and a .45 caliber pistol, plus a healthy dose of caution. Bowman served two tours in Vietnam and earned a Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal, among other awards. He later was a drill sergeant at Ft. Jackson. A native of Bordentown, NJ, Bowman has lived in South Carolina since 1973.
Blockchain – the technology behind Bitcoin – has potential uses far beyond digital currencies. That’s what Capital Rotarians heard from May 30 guest speaker Dr. Dirk Brown, shown with club member Walker Williams (left in photo). Brown is faculty director of the University of South Carolina’s McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise. He has extensive experience in digital media and electronic technologies, operations and marketing. Brown said that currently, most people use a trusted middleman such as a bank to make a transaction. But blockchain allows consumers and suppliers to connect directly, removing the need for third party validation. Using cryptography to keep exchanges secure, blockchain provides a giant spreadsheet or “digital ledger” of transactions that everyone on the network can see. This network is essentially a chain of computers that must all approve an exchange before it can be verified and recorded. Brown said blockchain technology can work for almost every type of transaction involving value, including money, goods and property. Its potential uses are almost limitless, and blockchain could also help reduce fraud because every transaction would be recorded and distributed on a public ledger. It’s also virtually impossible to hack. “We now have a secure way to make value exchanges with strangers without a central authority,” Brown explained. “The future is here for blockchain and cryptocurrency, but most of us are just now realizing it.” Brown has a bachelor of science from Queens University in Canada, with post-graduate degrees from San Jose State and Cornell University, where he earned a doctorate in materials science.
Donors to the Rotary Foundation are supporting positive change for communities around the world, according to Deborah Burt, a Bluffton Rotarian since 2007 and Capital Rotary’s guest speaker on April 25. Burt (at right in photo with Felicia Maloney) is Paul Harris Society chair for District 7770 in eastern South Carolina. Society members donate at least $1,000 yearly to the Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable fund for world understanding and peace programs. Burt said the Paul Harris Society – named in honor of the Chicago attorney who founded Rotary in 1905 – was established in 1999 and has about 20,000 participants worldwide. There are 315 Society supporters in District 7770, including seven in Capital Rotary. Burt said the Columbia area club also has 56 Paul Harris Fellows – giving at least $100 annually to the Foundation – plus 40 Benefactors – those who’ve arranged for $1,000 donations from their estates – and four Bequest Society members giving $10,000 or more via estate planning. Over the years Capital Rotarians have contributed a total of $315,667 to the Rotary Foundation. Burt noted the Foundation’s cost effectiveness means about 91% of the money goes for programs rather than administration.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club has earned district recognition for its communications efforts in 2017-2018. Pete Pillow (in photo with president Blake DuBose at left and District 7770 Gov. Gary Bradham at right) received a “Service Above Self Award” as Public Image Chair, while the club was a “Public Image Media Award” winner for medium-sized clubs. District 7770 is comprised of 80 clubs and about 5,000 Rotarians in 25 eastern counties of the state. Pillow posts photos and news on the club’s website and Facebook pages, prepares a monthly e-newsletter and issues press releases to local and district media. He is a retired journalist and public information officer who joined Capital Rotary in 2006. In the past 2½ years the club has distributed 170 news releases, had 12,000 website visitors and reached 11,000 people through social media.
Today’s students today have a greater capacity for learning and applying what they know to real world issues than ever before, according to Lexington/Richland District Five school superintendent Dr. Stephen W. Hefner. But public education’s challenges include solving a persistent teacher shortage and helping families with social/emotional issues that cause stress, anxiety and depression. Hefner (seen speaking to Capital Rotarians as club member Bryan Goodyear looks on) led Richland District Two for 16 years before joining District Five in 2011. During his career he’s seen school responsibilities expand in (1) serving needs of special education students; (2) fielding, equipping and coaching over 150 athletic teams; (3) offering full-day and four-year-old kindergarten; (4) building and maintaining facilities; (5) providing nursing services for a daily average of more than 600 students; (6) meeting breakfast, lunch and afterschool nutritional needs; (7) communicating with a diverse population where English is a second language for nearly 800 students; (8) technology becoming essential for teaching, learning and assessment; (9) ensuring safety with school resource officers and 360 practice drills scheduled yearly; and (10) dealing with a “generational change” in employee and family attitudes that focus primarily on lifestyle.