Last week we finished what I think are the best 18 hours at SCICU.
At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18 we held the SCICU Excellence In Teaching Awards Dinner at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Each campus names an award recipient who demonstrates the inspiring instruction and commitment to students for which SCICU member institutions are rightly known. Each recipient receives a framed award certificate and a $3,000 professional development grant and are recognized at a dinner in their honor.
What makes the SCICU Excellence In Teaching Awards Dinner so special is that it’s a family affair. Professors typically are recognized for their achievements at academic conferences that families and friends don’t attend. They’re warmly welcomed at our awards dinner â€“ all the hard work that goes into the planning and execution pays off when we see the recipients’ guests smiling broadly and beaming with pride.
Just a few hours later SCICU participated in Higher Education Day at the S.C. State House. About 90 students and staff from SCICU member institutions joined those from public universities and technical colleges to thank legislators for their support of need-based aid “the Tuition Grants Program gives students the opportunity to attend the private college or university that best meets their academic goals and career aspirations.
Travelling early in the morning from all over the state, the students, our best ambassadors for higher education, by 9 a.m. had fanned out over the Blatt and Gressette legislative office buildings and State House wearing their college colors and large red “Thanks for my Tuition Grant!” stickers. They met with legislators who had previously received thousands of handwritten letters of thanks from our students for the Tuition Grants Program. Among the 12,000 Tuition Grant recipients are those from every county in South Carolina.
The students from all three higher education sectors gathered in the balcony of the House of Representatives to be recognized from the floor by Rep. Tim McGinnis (R-Horry), the chair the House Higher Education Subcommittee of the Education and Public Works Committee.
The students then moved to the steps of the State House to meet with Gov. Henry McMaster and receive a proclamation declaring April 19, 2023 as Higher Education Day in South Carolina. Each sector had a student speak on its behalf. Kylah Montgomery, a junior at Benedict College, spoke eloquently of the importance her Tuition Grant has played making her college education possible. Gov. McMaster graciously took the time to chat with the students and join them for countless photos.
By noon the students had grabbed their box lunches and were heading back to campus. In just 18 hours we saluted great professors, celebrated with their families, gathered with inspired students who met with, and impressed, our state’s leaders.
My deepest thanks to the campus staffs, and our team at SCICU, for making this great day happen.