Spartanburg Community College honored President Henry C. Giles Jr. on Thursday afternoon, June 18, at a retirement celebration where a surprise announcement was made naming the College’s Central Campus in Giles’ honor.
Dr. Tim Hardee, event emcee and president of the South Carolina Technical College System announced to guests, “By unanimous approval from the Spartanburg County Commission for Technical & Community Education and the SC State Board for Technical & Comprehensive Education, effective immediately, the SCC Central Campus is now named the SCC Giles Campus.”
Giles, who has served as SCC’s president since 2012, will retire on June 30 after serving SCC for 50 years. The SCC Central Campus - now the Giles Campus - was the first location for the College, opening in 1963 as Spartanburg County’s Technical Education Center. Over the years the College has grown to become Spartanburg Technical College in 1972 and Spartanburg Community College in 2006.
“Mention the name Henry C. Giles, Jr. to Upstate South Carolina residents, particularly those involved in higher education and economic development in Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties, and a well-respected professional comes to mind– a man of integrity, commitment and devotion to educating individuals while simultaneously sustaining our state’s economy through innovative workforce development initiatives. Henry has advocated for educational and workforce development opportunities for Upstate residents, SCC and the South Carolina Technical College System for 50 years. His focus has always been how can the faculty and staff, together, better serve students,” explained Hardee. “I have had the opportunity to work with Henry and the 15 other technical college presidents each month when we met in Columbia to plan and discuss work for the system. Presidents in our system have listened to Henry’s wisdom, his suggestions and ideas. Henry’s influence on the other 43 counties across our state has been significant, and we are so appreciative for the work he has done here in the Upstate and across our state.”
Resolutions were presented to Giles by business leaders from Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties citing his many contributions over the years. Accolades were shared by the following:
County Resolution - Mr. Quay Little - Vice Chairman, Cherokee County Council
County Resolution - Mr. Manning Lynch - Chair, Spartanburg County Council
County Resolution - Mr. Frank Hart - Supervisor, Union County
Chamber Resolution - Mr. Allen Smith, President/CEO and Ms. Katherine O’Neil, Chief Economic Development Officer, Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce - Chamber Resolution
Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation, Resolution - Mr. P. Mike Forrester - SCC Vice President, Economic Development and SC House of Representatives, District 34, and members of the Spartanburg County Delegation
Recognition Plaque - Ms. Janie Ivey - SCC Instructor and Faculty Advisor for SCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Student Honor Society
Mr. Bill Barnet - Former Spartanburg Mayor, Community Business Leader
Dr. Russell Booker - Superintendent, Spartanburg County School District 7
Mr. Jeff Horton - Former Chair, Spartanburg County Council
Introduction of Special SCC Student Guest to Pres. Giles - Mrs. Linda Hannon, Chair, SCC Foundation Board and Mrs. Bea Walters Smith, Executive Director, SCC Foundation, introduced SCC student Herve Butoyi, the first recipient of the President Henry C. Giles Jr. Memorial Scholarship for Education
“Astronauts, physicists, programmers, musicians, technologists, doctors, caterers, engineers, lawyers and all the other professions that make the world go around have one thing in common – a good teacher who gave light to their dreams. Today we say farewell, to one such teacher – Henry C. Giles Jr., president of Spartanburg Community College,” explained Sonny Anderson, chairman of the Spartanburg County Commission for Technical & Community Education. “For almost 51 years, Henry Giles has been a faithful employee of the College, leading and serving our students, faculty, staff and residents of Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee Counties. Throughout his tenure –1969 until 2020 – Henry has been part of the life-blood of this college, day-in and day-out, teaching, directing and working on behalf of those this college serves.”
Dr. Russell Booker, superintendent of Spartanburg County School District 7 shared, “Henry has been a vital fabric to what we do. He meets often with the superintendents from Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union on a regular basis. I think in recent years, in my role as a superintendent in district seven, what I've really come to appreciate is the collaboration, launching some wonderful partnerships. I think about the time Henry and I talked about the Viking Early College and the Spartanburg County Early College High School, the need for students to be able to start taking more dual credit courses and earn an associate's degree. He's always been willing to innovate and because of that leadership, we've been able to really touch the lives of some children and families.”
“I think all of us want our work to matter and we want to know that it had an impact on people,” explained Allen Smith, president/CEO, Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “Henry, every single year has mattered, and every single year you have made an impact on this community, the trajectory of this community, the future of this community, but most importantly, you made an impact on its people and it matters. You will be missed. I highly respect what you've been able to do professionally, but more than that, I'm happy to call you friend.”
Expressing his thanks to attendees Giles said, “The reason the College has been able to do so many things that I am getting credit for today, is not because of me but because of the faculty and staff, the retirees. They are the ones who do this work that allows me to get this credit, they are the ones who have made a difference for this college. It is bittersweet that I am retiring, but I have served the college for almost 51 years because of three things: SCC is a great place to work, I have worked with a lot of great people, and together we have all made a difference in the lives of so many people – all of which are the glue that binds an institution together.”
Before being named the sixth president of SCC, Giles served as interim president as well as vice president and executive vice president of business affairs for 18 years. He was responsible for the financial management of the College during the majority of his SCC tenure. Giles was instrumental in facilitating the purchase of the Evans Building in downtown Spartanburg, now the SCC Downtown Campus, as well as the creation and expansion of the Spark Center, as an invaluable economic development tool for Spartanburg County. He also held College positions as program manager, vice president for development and vice president for academic affairs. Giles brought a tenacious fiscal responsibility to all endeavors, which resulted in the College receiving favorable audits and maintaining balanced budgets over the years, thereby positioning the College today to serve more than 6,000 students across five campuses throughout the three-county service area.
Dr. Michael Mikota was named SCC’s seventh president, effective July 13. Mikota currently serves as president at Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter, SC.
Photos from the celebration are available for download at the following link:
www.flickr.com/photos/SCC Giles Campus