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Educator wins Erskine’s Distinguished Service Award

Fay Simpson Sprouse

Dr. Fay Simpson Sprouse ’84 received the Alumni Distinguished Service Award during Erskine’s Alumni Weekend celebration March 25-26. This year’s event offered a variety of activities, including a meet and greet in the newly renovated Alumni House with Erskine President Dr. Steve Adamson and his wife Von; a reception for alumni who served in the military or were enrolled in ROTC; “Back to Class” sessions with faculty members; and athletic events, games on the mall, and reunions.

The 2022 Alumni Association meeting, held in the chapel of Bowie Divinity Hall, was conducted by the organization’s president, E. Phillip Cook ’92, who welcomed alumni and offered brief remarks. Alluding to Erskine’s Latin motto, often translated “Knowledge joined with morals,” he noted that many scholars say it might be better rendered “Knowledge joined with a way of life.” He said that each of this year’s alumni award recipients “embodies the Erskine motto, applying the knowledge they have received at Erskine and throughout their lives in service to others.”

Erskine’s 18th president also spoke to the assembled alumni, saying that he grew up in a relatively small town and was glad to be in Due West. For Erskine, “being in Due West is an asset—it’s not a liability,” he said. The new president praised Erskine’s commitment to Christian education and characterized it as an “authentic Christian school staying true to its Christian mission.” He called Erskine “such a beautiful, such a rare place,” where students “not only grow intellectually, but also grow as human beings.”

Gifts of appreciation from the Alumni Board were presented to the president as well as to Dr. Tom Hellams ’83, who served as interim president following the departure of Dr. Robert Gustafson ’15.

Ashlee Hutto, right, with Tripp Boykin

Cook introduced Sprouse, who serves as superintendent of nearby Ware Shoals School District 51, and presented her with the Alumni Distinguished Service Award.

In his nomination of Sprouse for the award, Tom Martin ’69 noted that the Ware Shoals district “has never had [a superintendent] as good, and as good for the schools, the town, and the students, as Dr. Fay Simpson Sprouse, when measured by actual achievements in a time of sharply decreased revenue, attendance, and means.”

Sprouse was also praised for her contributions to her church and community. She has played the organ and directed the choir at her church, participated in such local charitable events as the Walk for Life, and has organized and managed massive food distributions in the Ware Shoals community.

Recalling her time as an Erskine student, Sprouse said she got married on Thanksgiving Day during her freshman year, describing this as “the best decision I ever made.” She congratulated the other awardees, welcomed Dr. Adamson, thanked God for giving her the gifts to serve others, and said of her alma mater, “Here, who you become is as important as what you learn.”

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award went to Ashlee Newman Hutto ’13, who grew up on a family farm, double majored in biology and political science, and is now building a rewarding career in agriculture. Chosen to participate in Clemson’s “Palmetto Leadership for the Environment, Agriculture, and Forestry,” she is active with her family in her church and community. An enthusiastic advocate for Erskine College, she was introduced by another Erskine enthusiast, Tripp Boykin ’92, who taught and coached her at Laurence Manning Academy, where he now serves as headmaster.

Brian Brock, right, with Hope Seymour

A member of the Erskine Facilities Staff, Brian Brock, was named an honorary alumnus. Coordinator for Alumni Relations Hope Crenshaw Seymour ’19 presented the award. “Brian displays his Christian faith in his work, in no small part through his attention to detail and his insistence on performing every task with excellence and care,” she said. “His pride in his work, his love for Erskine, and his love for serving people is always evident.”

Zach Davis, right, with Dr. Sanita Cousar

Alumni Association President-Elect Dr. Sanita Cousar ’77 presented Dr. Zachary Davis ’08 with the Erskine Service Award. Davis, who majored in chemistry at Erskine, went on to receive the Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Purdue University and is now an assistant professor of chemistry at Wofford College. Cousar said Davis, a former member of the Alumni Board, has displayed “selflessness and dedication to Erskine…in his wholehearted, enthusiastic promotion of his alma mater.”

Incoming members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors are Gary “Andy” Anderson ’95, Columbia, S.C.; Lloyd Kelso ’73, Gastonia, N.C.; Mary Elizabeth Land ’90, Abbeville, S.C.; Michael Noble ’99, Anderson, S.C.; Jim Rambo ’62, Laurens, S.C.; and Kenneth Robinson ’78, Greenwood, S.C.

Alumni Board members completing their service, including Carolyn Borden ’70, Amanda Dale ’96, Lee Day ’08, Jim Moore ’77, and Jess Richardson ’15, were recognized.  

“Alumni Weekend 2022 was a wonderful experience,” Cook said. “There were high levels of energy and joy on campus as alumni and friends reconnected with one another, and the Erskine staff and Alumni Board had lots of activities planned to keep everyone engaged. We look forward to even more next year and have already begun planning Alumni Weekend 2023!”

 

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