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On Tuesday, September 26, Spartanburg Community College celebrated the relocation of the College's School of Business to the SCC Downtown Campus, welcoming community leaders, elected officials, SCC students and business graduates, to the new location to discuss the value of this strategic move to Spartanburg's thriving downtown.
"Today we celebrate a new page in the history of the Evans Academic Center - the move of our business programs in the heart of Spartanburg at our SCC Downtown Campus - so our students can benefit from studying and learning in a vibrant business district," explained Henry C. Giles, Jr., SCC president. "This facility is a special place for Spartanburg, and it is magnificent. But, more importantly, it has been a vital part of our community and produced many graduates who have been, and are, leaders in Spartanburg, South Carolina and our nation. I wonder if, 95 years ago, the founders of this grand building - Dr. J. Frank Evans, Spartanburg County superintendent, and Mr. Henry Jenkins, architect - visualized the impact this building would have on our community today?"
Giles added that moving the College's business programs - accounting administrative office, marketing and management - was at the request of the business faculty. "They are excited about opportunities to work with local businesses to ensure that our students are prepared for their future, and so they can continue their education at one of our great partner institutions - Converse College, Wofford College and "The George" at USC Upstate.
Renee Trammell, SCC's School of Business chair, said, "There are multiple business entities here - for-profit and non-profit organizations - so we are taking knowledge out of the confines of a textbook - the business, legal, medical, financial organizations that are here - and connecting all those facets that tie very closely into the programs we offer. Our move is the dichotomy of old meets new - the historic meeting the innovative; beautiful, gothic architecture meeting busy, urban streets.
"Standing in these hallways it's easy to envision the past. Standing in our classrooms and computer labs, talking with our students and faculty, it's easy to envision the future," adds Trammell. "We are here to serve and partner with the community. Our goal is to provide well-equipped and well-prepared graduates to local employers. Most of our SCC graduates remain in the area, and keeping that talent local will benefit all of us. Talent retention perpetuates economic growth: some SCC graduates will choose to pursue their four-year degrees at some point in the future, so their dreams don't even stop with us."
Trammell adds that the new location will also make it easier for employers to visit the School of Business to meet students, and in turn, allow students to take advantage of internships and job shadowing opportunities with these employers.
Guest speakers at Tuesday's event included Max T. Hyde, Jr., attorney/owner of Hyde Law Firm and Spartanburg City Councilman-elect for District 4, and Ben Stubbs, SCC business graduate and the Outreach/Veteran Treatment Court Coordinator with Upstate Warrior Solutions.
Speaking to students, Hyde asked said, "We can write our own scripts for our lives. What do you want your life to look like? We have a choice. Who do you want to be? What do you want your life to look like? I'm reminded of people who have walked these halls, these last decades, people who have sat in these same places. We have a whole spectrum of people who have accomplished and achieved from the highest spectrum - SC supreme court justice, doctors, singer, philanthropists. But, we all have to look within to find the truth - you have to remember who you are. That's the essence of education - knowing who you are and being confident in your own skin.
"Why does it matter that the business school has come downtown? This is a place where you can find yourself and know who you are," explained Hyde. "Even though we live in this digital age, people still matter, relationships matter. But, it's important to go where the jobs are. Now you are downtown, you can walk out these doors and cultivate relationships: you can have an internship; you can have a part-time job a few hundred yards away; you can go to lunch with a mentor. You are in the right place at the right time. Make it count."
Ben Stubbs, SCC graduate and the outreach/veteran treatment court coordinator with Upstate Warrior Solutions, shared his personal experiences of attending college after completing military service and SCC's influence on his educational pathway. When introducing Stubbs, Renee Trammell said, "Next summer Ben will have graduated with an associate degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree within four years - all while remaining debt free utilizing the Post 9/11 GI Bill."
Stubbs attended SCC and graduated in 2016 with an associate in arts degree, transferred to USC Upstate where he graduated in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in exercise science and business. In addition to working with Upstate Warrior Solutions, which is housed at the SCC Downtown Campus, Stubbs is also pursuing a master's of business administration degree with an emphasis in entrepreneurial innovation from Clemson University and will graduate in summer 2018.
"When I entered SCC I was set on studying physical therapy because of injuries and surgeries I experienced during my deployment. But, after taking SCC business classes, I decided to study business," explained Stubbs. "The SCC classes I took definitely laid the path for where I am today. I can't thank everyone at SCC enough for helping me as a student, and helping me today in my position with Upstate Warrior Solutions
"Moving the School of Business programs to our Downtown Campus has been a wonderful opportunity for our students, faculty and staff given the growth and synergy that's going on in the City of Spartanburg right now," explained Trammell. "Our faculty felt strongly that this move would be a natural fit for our programs, and so far, we have not been disappointed. Learning in the historic Evans Academic Center has really been motivating for our students."
Photos from the event are available for download at the following link: