COLUMBIA, S.C. (courtesy columbiasc.edu) — Columbia College is pleased to announce the appointment of five new members to the Board of Trustees and Robin Waites as vice chair/secretary. Robin is the executive director of Historic Columbia Foundation, and she serves under Board Chair Ben Rex, CEO of Cyberwoven, a Columbia-based web, brand, and marketing firm. These strategic additions to the board come at an exciting time for the college, as it recently appointed a new president and is poised to embrace a new vision that serves as a foundation for its growth and leadership in our state and region.
“Having recently joined Columbia College, I cannot express enough how excited I am to welcome and work with our new board members,” shared President John Dozier. “They add extraordinary value to what is already a dynamic board through the leadership, deep knowledge (in their respective fields), commitment to the mission of Columbia College, and diversity that they individually and collectively share with us. This is most important at a time when we are creating and executing a vision for the college that will enhance our ability to provide a liberal arts education that prepares our graduates to be leaders in their communities while also being highly competitive and sought after in our global marketplace.”
The newly appointed board members, Vivia Lawton Fowler (’76), Scott Graves, Anthony Jackson, Sara Snell Whitaker (’99), and Jada Willis, bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise in varying industries across the Midlands. In addition to the new board members, the college welcomes new Alumni Association President Nan Cannon LaFitte (’87), literacy coach for Forest Lake Elementary in Richland School District 2. Each new board member’s devotion to education, innovation, and community service aligns perfectly with Columbia College’s commitment to delivering high-quality academic programs and fostering a dynamic learning environment.
Vivia Lawton Fowler (’76) is the former president of Wesleyan College in Macon, GA, and is a former professor of religion at Columbia College. Currently, Vivia serves as the minister of Epworth United Methodist Church in James Island, S.C. Scott Graves is the president of the Private Business Division – BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, where he is responsible for the strategic direction and financial and operational performance of all commercial lines of business as well as all support areas. W. Anthony Jackson is the president of Baptist Hospital with over three decades of experience in the healthcare industry. Sara Snell Whitaker (’99) serves as the staff associate for Affiliate Services for the Municipal Association of South Carolina where she provides support for five of the affiliate programs offered by the association. Sara has also served as the executive director of alumnae relations at Columbia College and is a graduate of Columbia College with a bachelor’s degree in English. Jada Willis serves as people strategy consultant for JW Consulting, LLC and has established herself as a thought leader on remote work, team productivity, and transforming company culture. Jada is also the author of “Pantless Nation: HR Guidance for Mastering Remote Work” and the host of the international podcast, “HR after Dark: Solving the People Problems that Keep You UP at Night.”
As Columbia College’s governing body, the board is responsible for the educational mission and fiscal policies. Board members are elected by the South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, serve a term of four years, and are eligible to serve up to three consecutive terms.