SPARTANBURG, S.C. (courtesy smcsc.edu) — Spartanburg Methodist College is often recognized for its close-knit, friendly atmosphere. Some would even call it a family-like atmosphere, which fits just right for recent graduate Adrian Cathcart. He celebrated with his family after receiving his associate degree in education at this year’s commencement.
The family atmosphere for Adrian is more than a feeling, it is reality as his wife, Candace, is also an SMC graduate, and this fall their son, Cameron, will attend SMC. It’s also one of the main reasons he chose to pursue his education there.
“I initially chose SMC because it was close to home, but I also really liked the atmosphere and personal attention,” Adrian said. “What sets it apart is the small class sizes because you get the one-on-one attention and the professors go the extra mile to help you succeed.”
That connection to the college also inspired him to return this spring to attend the commencement ceremony, even though he officially graduated in 2020. With the restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s commencement was canceled; but the college invited all 2020 graduates to return this year to share in the commencement experience.
“I was excited that they invited us to walk at graduation this year and wasn’t going to miss it,” Adrian said.
His wife Candace also chose SMC initially because it was close to home and many of her friends were attending. After starting at SMC out of high school she had to postpone her studies. When she decided to return to college later in life, she went right back to SMC and graduated with her psychology degree in 2011.
“SMC was great and an all-around wonderful experience,” she said. “It was at SMC that I decided on psychology as a major. My advisors and Jill Johnson were major influences in my decision to further my education at Converse College and pursue a BA in psychology.”
Today, that inspiration and influence have led Candace to her calling as a counselor specializing in grief support, anxiety, depression, and negative self-image issues at her own practice, C&C Counseling Associates. She is also a therapist at Safe Homes Rape Crisis Coalition, working with victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Like his wife, Adrian plans to continue his education, attending SMC’s online program to earn his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and history to become a history teacher. He’s excited that SMC has added the bachelor’s degree programs, something Candace wishes they had when she attended.
It’s also something that both parents are excited is available for their son, Cameron, who will be starting at SMC in the fall. He is excited to carry on the family legacy and get the SMC experience for himself.
“My parents often talk about how it laid the foundation in helping them achieve their goals, and I’m looking forward to meeting new people and being on my own,” he said. The Dorman High School grad will be pursuing his associate degree before deciding on his future education plans.
Adrian and Candace are proud to have Cameron follow them to SMC and think he is making an excellent choice for his future.
“I think he recognizes the impact SMC has had on us and where we are today,” Candace said. “Education is very important to us and it’s great to see your son making good decisions and modeling behaviors that you consider meaningful.”
Choosing SMC is something Adrian and Candace also encourage other students to consider.
“I want the students who are thinking about choosing SMC to understand what the college is about, which is you the student,” Adrian said. “They have your best interest at heart, and you won’t be just a number in somebody’s grade book.”
Candace echoed those thoughts, saying, “SMC is a great school, with great people and great support systems and opportunities to enhance your future.”
The Cathcarts have a special bond with SMC which they look forward to continuing through Adrian’s and Cameron’s continued studies this fall.