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Bulldog News

Bulldog Class Notes for May 21, 2024

Author: Sam Watson, Director of University Relations|Published: May 21, 2024|All News


Sharing Good News about Alumni of South Carolina State University!

Clyburn Biden

U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn

Class of 1961

President Joe Biden awarded U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Friday, May 3, 2024.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented toindividuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public, or private endeavors.
“Words cannot express the profound honor and gratitude I feel upon receiving the Presidential Medal ofFreedom. This recognition is not only a testament to my work, but also to the countless individuals whohave supported my journey; the giants who fought alongside me for justice, equity, and the pursuit of progress; and the support of my loving family,” Clyburn said.

Clyburn is the U.S. Congressman representing South Carolina's 6th Congressional District in the U.S.House of Representatives and Chairman of the Democratic Faith Working Group. He previously served as Assistant Democratic Leader from 2011 to 2018 and 2023 to March 2024, and House Majority Whip from 2019 to 2022 and 2007 to 2010, making him the first African American to serve multiple terms as Majority Whip. Clyburn has represented the state’s Sixth Congressional District since 1993.

He is a 1961 graduate of SC State.
Alongside his late wife. Dr. Emily England Clyburn, he has been a major benefactor to his alma mater. The university's Transportation Center bears his name, while the Honors College bears hers.

Dr. Lathan E. Turner

Classes of 1980 & 1982

The Eastern Carolina University Staff Senate and the Department of Human Resources bestowed emeritus status in April for 14 permanent status retired staff members who have made significant contributions to ECU through a long and distinguished record of service, dedication, leadership and innovation.
Dr. Lathan E. Turner was part of the Spring 2024 class. Turner was employed at ECU between 2000 and 2022. He also served in higher education at NC State, and Piedmont Technical College in Greenwood, SC. He is a native of Ninety Six, SC.

Dr. BerNadette Lawson-Williams

Class of 1995
The North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education,Recreation, Dance, and Sport Management has named Dr. BerNadette Lawson- Williams the recipient of the 2023 NC SHAPE College/UniversitySport Management Educator of the Year award.
Dr. Lawson-Williams is in her 19th year of professorial service at JohnsonC. Smith University (JCSU), where she is a tenured full professor of sport management, along with founder and coordinator of its Esports and Gaming Trifecta and fully online Sport Management programs, both the first of their kind at an HBCU.
Lawson-Williams’ commentary regarding sport management and esports/gaming academia has been presented at state, regional, national, international, and congressional-level conferences, published in publications such as the Washington Post Inc. Magazine, AndScape (formerly ESPN’s  Undefeated), and televised onNBC, ABC, and CBS. She was recently featured in an interview with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill on theGrio. Her research on the esports industry is featured in the 7th  edition of the Human Kinetics’ “Contemporary Sport Management” textbook, which is widely regarded as one of the most popular introductory-level sport management textbooks on the market, globally.

In 2020 and 2021, respectively, Lawson-Williams was named the recipient of JCSU’s Lonnie Parker “Innovation” Award and the Sit Lux award for receiving the highest student evaluation scores during the2020-2021 academic year. Last year, she was recognized by the Black Society of Sport Professionals andSTRIDE (Tepper Sports & Entertainment human resource group) for her contributions to the sport business community in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Lawson-Williams is also the recipient of the Who's Who Among America'sTeachers Award, the Who's Who in Black Charlotte Award, and the Health and Fitness Association's YoungProfessional Award.

Lawson-Williams graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree in physical education. After completing her M.S. in exercise and sport science with a concentration in sport administration from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, she returned to SC State, where she worked as an Instructor and assistant professor of physicaleducation.
She also developed academic programs in sport communication and physical activity management, the first in the state of South Carolina. She was also twice named the recipient of SCSU's Department of Health andPhysical Education’s "Teacher of the Year" Award and in 2007, she was inducted into the Physical EducationHall of Fame.
Lawson-Williams is the author of two books “Blossom Bee’s Golf Adventures” and “I Don’t Mean to SmashYour Tomatoes, Honey!” She earned a Doctorate with Honors in Sport Management from the United States Sports Academy and has completed post-graduate coursework at North Carolina Central University's prestigious School of Law.
Lawson-Williams is a proud fourth-generation SC State Bulldog. She recently established the Dr. BerNadetteLawson-Williams Academic Excellence Scholarship Award to recognize high-achieving students majoring in sport communication and physical activity management.

Jessica McCormick

Class of 2012

 Jessica McCormick has been named assistant principal at Orangeburg County's Mellichamp Elementary School. McCormick has served the Mellichamp family for 10 years.

She received her Bachelor of Science in elementary education and Master of Arts degree in counseling education from South Carolina State University.She also earned a K-12 school administration add-on from Gardner-Webb University.

At SC State, she was a member of the Marching 101 band. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity.

Dr. Ernest Cooper

Class of 2023
Dr. Ernest Cooper, assistant principal at Lake Marion High School, willbecome the Director of Lake Marion Technology Center in the Orangeburg County School District.
With a strong educational background and extensive leadershipexperience, Dr. Cooper is well-prepared for his new role. Dr. Cooper received his doctorate in educational leadership from South Carolina State University in
December 2023. He also holds a Master of Science in leadership in education administration from Capella University, an Educational Specialist Degree, a Master of Arts in criminal justice from Troy University, and a Bachelor's degree from St. Leo University.

Dr. Johnny Murdaugh

Class of 1991 

Dr. Johnny Murdaugh, who has been the Director of Lake Marion Technology Center since July 2019, will now take on the role of Director ofCope Area Career Center for the Orangeburg County School District.

Murdaugh earned his Doctor of Education in education administration from the University of Sarasota in December 2001. He also holds a Masterof Music with a focus on African American music from Northern IllinoisUniversity and a Bachelor of Arts in music performance with a minor in music education from South Carolina State University.

Eric Brown

Class of 1992

Orangeburg County School District is pleased to announce theappointment of Eric Brown as the new Principal of Marshall ElementarySchool, effective July 1, 2024.

Brown brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of excellence to his new role. He has been serving as the principal of Edisto Elementary School in OCSD for the past four years.

A 1992 graduate of South Carolina State University, Brown holds a bachelor’s Degree in marketing, amaster’s degree in elementary education, and a specialist degree in educational administration, all fromSC State.

With 25 years of experience in education spanning primary, elementary, middle, and collegiate levels,and 20 years in administration, Brown has led schools to achieve significant state and national recognition.

Under his leadership, schools have won numerous awards, including the State of South Carolina School of Promise Award, The State Department of Education Red Carpet Award (twice), The State of South Carolina Single Gender Initiative Award, The Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards, The National Associationof Professional Development Schools Distinguished School Award, The South Carolina Exemplary Writing Award, and the prestigious Carolina First Palmetto’s Finest Award.


Patricia Hampton

Orangeburg County School District is proud to announce the appointment ofPatricia Hampton as the new principal of Edisto Elementary School, effective July 1, 2024.
Hampton brings a wealth of experience and a strong educational background to her new role. She has been serving as the assistant principal of EdistoElementary School since July 2019, where she has played a pivotal role inenhancing student success and maintaining school safety. Her responsibilitieshave included conferencing with parents and guardians, acting as
Grade Book Administrator, Data Coach, and Benchmark Coordinator, as well as developing and maintainingsafety procedures that meet the diverse needs of students.

Hampton holds an Educational Specialist degree in educational administration, a Master of Education in counselor education, and a Bachelor of Science in elementary education with a minor in special education, all from South Carolina State University. Her expertise in effective communication, problem-solving, andclassroom observations has been instrumental in improving teaching practices and student learning outcomes.

Marvin Taylor

Class of 2009

A new principal has been named at Flowertown Elementary School. Marvin Taylor was approved by the Dorchester School District Two Board of Trustees as Flowertown's new principal on May 13.

 His prior role was assistant principal at St. Andrew's School of Math Science, and he was previously a teacher at North Charleston Elementary School from 2009 to 2014, assistant principal at Edmund A. Burns Elementary School from 2014 to 2018, and interim principal at Edmund A. Burns Elementary from 2018 to 2020.

Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from South Carolina State University and a Master of Education in Educational Administration from Capella University.

Dr. Bethany Giles

Class of 2001
Dr. Bethany Giles has been named interim superintendent of the Georgetown County School District effective July 1.
Giles currently serves as the Georgetown district’s deputy superintendent.
She has 23 years of experience in public education, all with GCSD. Prior to being named deputy superintendent in October 2023, she served innumerous roles, including assistant superintendent for academic and studentservices, executive director of secondary schools and athletics, principal ofCarvers Bay High and Brown’s Ferry Elementary, assistant
principal of Rosemary Middle, and as a teacher at Rosemary Middle.
A native of Georgetown County and graduate of Andrews High School, Giles holds a bachelor's degree in elementaryeducation from South Carolina State University, a master’s degree from The Citadel with a specialization in educational leadership, and a doctorate in educational leadership from SC State.

La’Kendra Garrett

Class of 2008

La’Kendra Garrett has been hired as the next principal of Robinson Elementary School in Kirkwood.

Garrett’s hire, which was approved April 29 by the Kirkwood School District Board of Education, is effective July 1.
Garrett has over 15 years of experience in education, and is currently serving as the assistant principal at Old Bonhomme and Reed elementary schools in the Ladue School District. She has also servedas the director of secondary summer school for Ladue, overseeing program operations, staff recruitment and student progress monitoring.

Garrett was also responsible for providing educators with professional development, instructional coaching and data analysis support. Prior tobecoming an administrator, she was a classroom teacher.
Garrett holds a doctorate in leadership in teaching and learning from Missouri Baptist University, and twomaster’s degrees from Columbia College and Capella University. She also holds an educational specialist degree, and she earned her bachelor’s in elementary education from South Carolina State University.

Mary Grace Wilkerson

Class of 1979

Mary Grace Wilkerson retired Dec. 30, 2023 from Winston-Salem (North Carolina) State Universitywhere she held the position of assessment coordinator primarily supporting educator preparation programs. 

Send Us Your Class Notes!

Are you an SC State graduate with good news to share? Tell us about career changes, promotions, awards, births of children and other important milestones. Email details and a headshot to Sam Watson, SC State director of university relations: