The president and executive director of the S.C. Commission on Higher Education is Capital Rotary’s newest member. Rusty Monhollon (at left in photo with sponsor Bryan Goodyear) moved from Missouri to the Palmetto State in 2019. He previously served as assistant commissioner for academic affairs in Missouri’s Department of Higher Education. A native of Topeka, Monhollon taught U.S. history at Washburn University there and at the University of Kansas. He also taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia, at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Friends University in Wichita and Hood College in Frederick, MD. He was a summa cum laude Washburn graduate and earned his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Kansas. In addition to service on a number of academic boards, committees, commissions and organizations, Monhollon has been a Scout leader, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and a member of Missouri’s Columbia South Rotary Club. He was a welder/machinist before attending college.
The EarlyAct Club at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Columbia had an active holiday season and is planning projects in January and February, too. For details, see this recent posting on the Rotary District 7770 website. The club was established by Rotary clubs in the Columbia area earlier this school year. EarlyAct is a service organization for elementary students ages 5 to 13. It develops character and leadership skills closely linked to the ideals of Rotary International.
Local clubs are the “heartbeat” of Rotary International, but need training to grow stronger and more effectively serve their communities. That’s the message Capital Rotarians heard Nov. 20 from guest speaker Tom Ledbetter (shown with Capital member Neda Beal), head of District 7770’s Rotary Leadership Institute programs. The institute is a learning experience consisting of separate sessions in three parts: (1) exploring Rotary’s roots, engaging members and creating service projects; (2) strategic planning, team building and attracting members; and (3) public relations, effective leadership strategies and club communications. Developing leaders is key for service clubs to get and retain younger members. Ledbetter said District 7770’s Rotarians average 58 years old. “Aging out” impacts a club’s ability to conduct events and projects that advance the goal of “service above self.” Noting that “it’s not your father’s Rotary anymore,” Ledbetter said persons ages 25-45 must be engaged in worthwhile activities before they’re willing to make a commitment. He believes Leadership Institute training would benefit every new Rotarian in his or her first two years of membership. Ledbetter is a charter member and past president of the West Metro-West Columbia club and is associate vice provost with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Educational Support at Midlands Technical College.
Sophia Bertrand (right), new leader of the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club, is welcomed to a Capital Rotary meeting by president Abby Naas (left) and Neda Beal, liaison to the USC group. Bertrand, a senior studying experimental psychology with minors in Spanish and neuroscience, plans a career in occupational therapy. She’s involved Mind and Brain Institute research and takes part in the Capstone Scholars Program, Capstone Connectors Mentoring Program and Peace Corps Prep Program, plus Off Off Broadway Amateur Theater. She’s a Freshman Seminar Class peer leader and is active in church groups. Rotaract clubs are open to adults ages 18-30 interested in community service, in developing leadership and professional skills, and who enjoy networking and social activities. USC Rotaract was formed in 2010-2011 under the sponsorship of Spring Valley Rotary; Capital Rotary assumed sponsorship in the past year.
Sponsor Neda Beal fixes a Rotary pin on Sean Powers’ lapel, symbolizing the recent University of South Carolina Honors College graduate’s induction into Capital Rotary club. Powers earned his BA in Business Administration in May, majoring in operations and supply chain, marketing. He’s CEO and president of Pinkish Flamingo Incorporated, a start-up apparel company, and president of The Local Company, LLC, which will be opening a coffee shop called Local Coffee and Tap. Powers was founder, CEO and president of EClubSC, a 40-person educational programs and events management team. He also had supply chain analyst internships with Boeing and BMW. He’s been a member of the Growth Summit, the Columbia Worlds Affairs Council, the Dean’s Council at USC, and was service chair and scholarship chair for Alpha Kappa Psi professional fraternity.
Capital Rotary saluted its outgoing president and swore-in 2019-2020 officers and directors at a club assembly June 26. In Photo A, incoming president Abby Naas recognizes Philip Flynn’s 2018-2019 service with a past president’s gavel and plaque. In Photo B, the incoming club leaders are (seated, from left) director and community service chair Catherine Mabry; president Abby Naas; director Ione Cockrell; director and Rotaract liaison Neda Beal; (standing, from left) treasurer Bryan Goodyear; director and sergeant-at-arms Andy Markl; secretary Austin McVay; president-elect Ben Carlton; past president and Rotary Foundation/International chair Philip Flynn; (not pictured) membership chair Lee Ann Rice and director Paul Gillam.
Blake DuBose (right in photo), immediate past president of Capital Rotary, receives a plaque from current president Philip Flynn after being named the club’s Rotarian of the Year for 2018-2019. The citation recognizes DuBose’s leadership for a Global Grant Project to construct an elementary school in Africa. Capital Rotary is partnering with the Rotary Club of Sunyani East in Ghana on the building that’s being funded by a combination of local donations, a Rotary District 7770 contribution and a matching grant from The Rotary Foundation. DuBose, a graduate of Newberry College, is president of DuBose Web Group, a website design and development firm he began in 2007.
Capital Rotary president Philip Flynn recognizes at-large director and service chair Neda Beal for continuing Rotary Foundation donations that support world understanding and peace programs. Beal is now a Paul Harris Fellow Plus-Five giver (signifying an initial $1,000 donation with five additional gifts at the same amount). In 2016 Beal was named the club’s Rotarian of the Year for her guidance of local community service, literacy and volunteer projects.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary received high honors from District 7770 on June 19 for charitable giving and overall achievement of goals. In Photo A, assistant district governor Eric Davis (right) presents a citation to Tony Thompson, chairman of the club’s CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Trust) Fund campaign. Capital Rotary ranked 4th out of 79 clubs for per capita CART giving. The CART initiative began in South Carolina over 20 years ago. Monies contributed support cutting edge, high-impact research aimed at preventing or finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. In Photo B, club president Philip Flynn (left) receives a Club Leadership Citation patch from Davis, emblematic of Capital Rotary’s successful participation in local and district community service projects and for contributions to Rotary International’s worldwide humanitarian outreach programs during the 2018-2019 program year. This past April, Capital Rotary was named “Club of the Year” among those similar in size in District 7770.
University of South Carolina professor Dr. David Shields brought a tasty message as Capital Rotary’s June 5 guest speaker. Shields (flanked in photo by Rotarians Chris Myers at left and Ann Elliott) tries to revive the best-tasting produce and grains from Southern history and bring them back to the dinner table. He said these essential ingredients of delicious and distinctive foods have become nearly extinct, giving way to crops that are more economical to grow, ship and prepare but not as mouth-watering. A revival of Lowcountry farming and interest from chefs has created a demand for heirloom grains and vegetables. Shields has published more than 80 articles and a dozen books based on research into the antebellum South’s crops, meals and the cooks who prepared them. He also chairs the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation board and the Slow Food: Ark of Taste for the South project, called “a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction.” A native of Maryland, Dr. Shields received his undergraduate degree from William and Mary and his PhD from the University of Chicago. He was appointed a Carolina Distinguished Professor in 2014.