SPARTANBURG, S.C. (courtesy converse.edu) — Converse University is pleased to welcome three new members to its esteemed Board of Trustees:
- Chris Cannon, Executive Chairman of Cannon Roofing
- Paul J. Coté of Spartanburg, SC, President/CEO at Coté Color Corporation
- Stinson Woodward Ferguson ’07; Of Counsel at The Anthony Law Firm
Chris Cannon has served as President/ CEO of Cannon Roofing from 2004 to 2021 and has served as Executive Chairman since 2021. Prior to 2004, Chris was Vice President of Cannon Roofing Co., Inc. from 1983 to 2004. Chris is a 1983 graduate of Wofford College with a BA in Accounting. Chris’ current/prior community involvement includes: Board Member of Cancer Association of Spartanburg & Cherokee Counties; Board Member of Spartanburg Day School (Board Chair & various Committee Chairs); Board Member of Converse College (Committee Chair); Committee Member of Spartanburg County Foundation Investment Advisory Committee (Committee Chair); and Board Member of the Cancer Division of Spartanburg Regional Foundation.
He is married to Converse graduate Cara Lynn Desern Cannon ‘84.
Paul Coté has been blessed to be surrounded by Converse women for the better part of his life. He is married to Nancy Bain Coté (’79) whose grandmother was a member of the Class of 1922 and whose cousins Page Irwin Lee and Mary Irwin were members of the Class of 1976 and 1980 respectively.
Paul earned his BS degree in Biology and Chemistry from the Citadel and his MS degree in Polymer Chemistry from Clemson University. He began his career as a chemist with Milliken and Company before joining his father in their family business, Coté Color Corporation, where he is now the President/CEO.
Paul has served as an Elder at First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg where he is also co-chair of the Stephen Ministers, is a member of the board at the Tom Hanna YMCA, and is past chair of the Spartanburg Day School board and a past member of the Investment Committees for both the Spartanburg Day School and the Spartanburg County Foundation. He was a founding member and past president of the Eastside Rotary Club and is a Paul Harris Fellow.
Paul and Nancy reside in Spartanburg with their clever Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Winston. They have two lovely daughters, Anna and Abby; a delightful son-in-law, Aaron; and two enchanting grandchildren, Evelyn and Alexander.
Stinson Woodward Ferguson, a 2007 Converse University graduate, is Of Counsel to Anthony Law Firm in Spartanburg and an Assistant Municipal Judge for the City of Greenville. Additionally, she is a licensed funeral director and serves as Vice President of Corporate Sustainability (previously Director of Organizational Development and Treasurer) for the J.W. Woodward Funeral Home, Inc. The Funeral Home, founded by Stinson’s great-grandfather in 1916, is the oldest, black, family-owned business in Spartanburg.
Stinson previously worked for Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. (HSB) as Special Counsel, practicing in the areas of environmental law and construction and utility litigation; as the South Carolina Energy Staff Attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) in Charleston; as an Associate Attorney for SELC, focusing on both energy and water law and policy issues; as Director of the Pro Bono Program for the South Carolina Bar; as an Associate Attorney for HSB, focusing on environmental matters, construction and utility litigation, commercial dispute litigation, and financial services litigation, advising and representing construction and utility companies, lending institutions, and healthcare providers. She also clerked for the Honorable Kristi L. Harrington, South Carolina Circuit Court, Ninth Judicial Circuit; and worked for the South Carolina Environmental Law Project in Pawleys Island as a Public Interest Fellow.
Stinson is a Certified Sustainability Consultant and a Certified Sustainability (ESG) Practitioner through the Center for Sustainability and Excellence, a leading boutique firm specializing in global sustainability consulting, coaching, and training. She is a 2022 Fellow of the Sustainability Leadership Initiative, an innovative leadership development program for future-minded leaders in South Carolina hosted by the Furman University Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities in partnership with Sustain South Carolina.
In 2021, she earned her Certificate in Sustainable Management from Duke University. In 2020, she earned her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification from Purdue University. She is a 2017 graduate of the Greenville Health System (now Prisma) Medical Scholars Program. In 2015, she graduated from both the Furman University Women’s Leadership Institute and the South Carolina Bar Leadership Academy. She is a 2014 Riley Fellow of the Diversity Leaders Institute at Furman University.
In 2012, she received her Master of Laws, Environmental Law (LL.M.), summa cum laude, from Vermont Law School, with a concentration in Energy Law and Policy. She earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2010, where she was the recipient of the Law School Public Interest Fellowship. She earned her Bachelor of Arts, French (B.A.), with a Minor in Business Administration, magna cum laude, from Converse University in 2007. She is a member of Gamma Sigma Honor Society for Arts and Sciences (criteria for selection based on Phi Beta Kappa standards) and Phi Sigma Iota International Honor Society for Foreign Languages. She is certified to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (2014) and has taught adult students from Asia, Europe, and South America.
Greenville Business Magazine recognized Stinson in 2020 and 2021 as a Legal Elite Honoree in Environmental Law. In 2018, she was recognized as an Upstate Black History Maker by 107.3 JAMZ FM Radio. In 2016, she was named Rotarian of the Year by the Rotary Club of Greenville; and a Black History on THE BLOCK honoree by 96.3 / 104.5 FM Radio. In 2014, she was named one of Converse University’s 125 Outstanding Alumnae, and Lawyers of Color, Inc. recognized her as one of their “Hot List” of 100 outstanding minority attorneys under 40-years-old.
Stinson currently serves on the Board of Directors for Ten at The Top (“TATT”), which seeks to foster trust and collaboration through partnerships and cooperation that impacts economic vitality and quality of life across Upstate South Carolina. In 2020, she was appointed by Greenville City Council to serve on the Green Ribbon Advisory Committee, which advises City Council on ways to develop and improve sustainability throughout Greenville.
She has served full terms on the Boards of Directors for the Converse College Alumnae Association; the Rotary Club of Greenville; the Greenville Housing Authority; Upstate Mediation Center; Warehouse Theatre; Lead Academy Charter School; and Opportunity Greenville for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. She previously served on the Judicial Election Taskforce for the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association; as an Upstate Coordinator for the Special Olympics for the Young Lawyers Division of the South Carolina Bar; as both a 13th and 7th Judicial Circuit Representative in the South Carolina Bar House of Delegates; as the inaugural Chair of the South Carolina Bar Diversity Committee; and as a subcommittee chair and member of the Judicial Qualifications Committee of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission.
She is a skilled and accomplished author – having been published both internationally and nationally by the American Bar Association; South Carolina Lawyer Magazine; the McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy; the Upstate Business Journal; and the Seattle Environmental Law Journal.
On behalf of Converse and the Board of Trustees, a heartfelt thank-you is extended to those members departing from the board:
- Debra Clements
- Phyllis Perrin Harris ’82
- Julie D. Staggs ’86
- Dwight Van Inwegen
- Dr. Kay E. Woodward
These members, who will join the vaulted ranks of our Trustees Emeritus, have served Converse with distinction and the campus community will remain forever grateful for the vision and passion that they have selflessly shared for Converse.