Actress Millie Ballinger, a member of the Erskine College Class of 1948, was honored March 7 with an exhibit, reception, and ceremony in the Bowie Arts Center.
Ballinger, a native of Troy, S.C., who resides in Clemson, has performed in nearly every playhouse and theater in the state, and has also appeared in television and film productions. Costumes, photo albums, posters, scrapbooks and other memorabilia from her acting career were displayed during the reception and will remain in the Bowie Arts Center through April 24.
Ballinger’s portrayal of the poet Emily Dickinson in William Luce’s play “The Belle of Amherst” can now be seen online.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said Ballinger’s sons have been friends of his since childhood, made a trip to Due West for the event. In brief remarks, Graham praised Ballinger as an example of a gracious South Carolina lady.
Acting President Dr. Brad Christie presented a plaque to Ballinger, the first recipient of the Award of Excellence in Visual and Performing Arts. Commenting on attendance at the event, Christie said he had met “more members of the Class of 1948 in one afternoon than in my previous 22 years at Erskine” and noted the presence of many of Ballinger’s friends and relations. Among them were her daughter, Due West resident Kitty Storey, the mother of John and Mac Storey, both 2003 Erskine graduates.
Ballinger recalled that her father once asked her what she planned to do with her life, and she told him she was “going to Hollywood.” Her father corrected her, saying, “No, you’re going to Erskine College.”
Vice President for Communications Cliff Smith spoke about Erskine’s upcoming 175th anniversary celebration at Homecoming 2014 and invited those in attendance to come back to Erskine for Alumni Day April 26 as well as for Homecoming Oct. 7.
Bowie Arts Center hours: 1-4 p.m. Mon. through Thurs., 2-4 p.m. Sun., or by appointment. Contact Ruth Burton, director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-379-8867.