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Wofford College has received a $500,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation.


Wofford receives $500,000 Mellon Foundation grant

 Wofford College has received a $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to revitalize its general education curriculum, providing more creative and collaborative approaches to the student experience.

 “This generous support from The Mellon Foundation will allow Wofford’s faculty to pilot the new concepts they have been developing, then assess their success as part of the ongoing process of reviewing general education at Wofford,” Dr. Michael J. Sosulski, provost. “The Wofford community knows that meeting the needs of tomorrow’s students involves careful deliberation and planning.”

 Earlier this year, the faculty approved further exploration and experimentation with the general education curriculum, the core courses that all students are required to complete. “The Mellon Foundation grant will be crucial to helping Wofford achieve its ambitious curricular goals by removing barriers – conceptual and financial – to experimentation and growth,” Sosulski says. “With the grant, the college will pilot and test some of the concepts approved by the faculty while continuing to discuss, assess, refine and approve those deemed effective.”

 The Mellon Foundation has agreed to support Wofford’s work on general education through this three-year, $500,000 grant in a variety of ways, including providing funding for faculty to design and pilot new courses or to enhance existing ones and to experiment with creative teaching methods and collaborate in new ways; providing faculty with the opportunity to dedicate time, especially during the summer, to creative curricular development in general education; allowing Wofford to create new faculty leadership roles in general education; facilitating the faculty and staff’s reimagining of Wofford’s approach to pre-major advising and adviser training; enhancing Wofford’s ability to support faculty who are interested in professional development in teaching and scholarship; and enhancing the college’s ability to share work within the broader academic community.

 “The generous support of The Mellon Foundation comes at an opportune time as Wofford finds itself in the midst of some historic changes,” Wofford President Nayef Samhat says. “A top 100 national liberal arts college, Wofford has a bold new strategic vision for our future; energetic new senior academic leadership; steady enrollment; a strong endowment, with a promising campaign in its early stages; and a highly engaged faculty and staff that has eagerly co-authored that ambitious vision for the college’s future.”

 Eugene Tobin, a senior program officer at The Mellon Foundation, says, “The Wofford faculty’s deep investment in teaching, advising, scholarship and community service leaves little time for the kind of self-reflection and collective deliberation that are essential to sustaining a residential intellectual community. As the college prepares to renew the general education curriculum and adopt stronger undergraduate research, civic engagement and study abroad programs, this grant will renew, stimulate and inspire the faculty and administration’s deliberations and planning.”

 In 2014, The Mellon Foundation provided Wofford with a $100,000 grant to enhance the general education curriculum to renew emphasis on writing and further integrating information literacy, undergraduate research, electronic portfolios and the digital humanities. Also, in 2013, the foundation gave Wofford and Converse College a joint grant of $75,000 to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their library services in the digital information age. 





Santa’s Shoppe announced for November 17 - 19

 The Junior League of Spartanburg (JLS) recently announced the 29th year of Santa’s Shoppe, an annual fundraiser, which will be held at the Spartanburg Expo & Event Center at 6655 Pottery Road the weekend before Thanksgiving.

 Santa’s Shoppe is the annual fundraising event hosted by the JLS to raise money to benefit local community projects. It is because of fundraisers like Santa’s Shoppe that the JLS has been able to support local educators for the past 31 years with the Mini-Grants for Teachers program wherein funding up to $1,000 is provided to Spartanburg teachers to enrich their students’ classroom experience.  Proceeds from Santa’s Shoppe also support the development of women leaders for our community and the JLS’ literacy initiative of Read and Dine programs at Chapman and Hendrix Elementary in the spring of 2018.

 Special events surrounding Santa’s Shoppe include Sip & Shoppe – an exclusive evening of stroller-free shopping, wine, and appetizers in a relaxed festive environment perfect for gathering together with friends.  Sip & Shoppe will be held on Thursday, November 16th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door, and include another one-day access to Santa’s Shoppe for additional shopping. 

 Following Thursday night’s special event, Santa’s Shoppe kicks off in earnest on Friday, November 17th, and continues through Sunday, November 19th. Featuring more than 70 specialty merchants and boutiques from across the Southeast and a café for a mid-shopping snack break, the event is an ideal one-stop-shop for holiday gift buying. Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door; one Santa’s Shoppe ticket provides access to all three days of Santa’s Shoppe shopping. Doors are open from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 noon - 5 p.m. on Sunday. 

 On Saturday, November 18th, parents and children are invited to join Santa Claus at Cookies with Santa for a picture with Santa, crafts, and cookie decorating. Santa will be present at three distinct Cookies with Santa sessions – 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.  Tickets are $10 per child; accompanying adult enters free.

 Tickets to Santa’s Shoppe can be purchased from Junior League of Spartanburg members, at the JLS office on 615 East Main Street in Spartanburg, or from select local retailers (list to be available on JLS website). Sip & Shoppe tickets can be purchased online at the JLS website, at the JLS office, or from select local retailers – Laura’s Boutique, Olive and Then Some, Almost Pink, and Thompson’s Famous Name Brand Shoes. Cookies with Santa tickets are available online through the JLS website. Please call the office at 864-583-5842 with inquiries.  






Spartanburg artist Daniel Zongrone has been awarded a $10,000 ArtsXcelerator Grant for the idea of installing a STEAM Garden on the City of Spartanburg’s Southside, at the former site of of the city’s Swim Center.


Daniel Zongrone awarded the first ArtsXcelerator Grant from Chapman Cultural Center

Chapman Cultural Center recently announced that Spartanburg artist, Daniel Zongrone, has been awarded the first $10,000 ArtsXcelerator Grant. This is a brand new grant from Chapman Cultural Center and it is the largest grant ever to be given to a single local artist from the non-profit. The ArtsXcelerator Grant was inspired by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge that Spartanburg won in 2015.

The ArtsXcelerator Grant is unprecedented because it is an arts grant directly linked to the Spartanburg Community Indicators Project. The Indicators Project is a collaboration of local Spar-tanburg organizations who report on the progress of key indicators around critical issues facing Spartanburg County. Their goal is to inspire dialogue and strategy that will lead to changes in the community and ultimately improve the quality of life for all Spartanburg Country residents.

Jennifer Evins President/CEO of Chapman Cultural Center says, "ArtsX was originally a giving society founded in 1997 to encourage young leaders to support local arts through the annual United Arts Campaign. Over the years, they have raised over $100,000. Now twenty years later, ArtsX is a grant making panel made up of young donors who are given the opportunity to read all the applications and select  the winning local artist and project. Research shows that millennials and younger generations want to have direct involvement in how their funds are being used to improve their community and this is one way we do that in Spartanburg County."

Melissa Earley, Impact and Outreach Director for Chapman Cultural Center says, "We know that artists are big thinkers and creative problem solvers. We wanted to tap into that by offering a substantial grant to an individual artist that would allow them to make the largest impact possible in Spartanburg County. Linking up artists, non-profits, and other stakeholders will help us to move the needle forward on real issues here locally in our community." 

Zongrone submitted and won the grant with his idea of installing a STEAM Garden on the City of Spartanburg's Southside, which is currently identified as a "food desert." He is aligning his project to six of the seven indicators: civic health, education, public health, natural environment, social environment, and cultural vitality. Zongrone is partnering with Project Hub, School District 7, Spartanburg Science Center, Hub City Farmers Market and other collaborators for the planning and execution of the project.   

Grant recipient and artist, Daniel Zongrone, says: "For me art is functional through education and inspiration. It should also reach across generations to touch both children and adults. Art is Magic! This project incorporates my three main objectives,  1.Education 2. Art 3. Inspiration" 

The STEAM Garden will be located on land that belongs to District 7, at the former site of the City of Spartanburg's Swim Center. This location will serve as a bridge between the Downtown and Southside areas of Spartanburg, improving the vitality of both neighborhoods by creating connections between individuals, schools, and organizations. 

STEAM is an educational approach that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics in a collaborative way to guide student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The STEAM Garden will work closely with Carver Middle and Mary H. Wright Elementary to further their STEAM educational programs.  

Carver Middle School Principle, Nicole Thompson, says: "The STEAM garden will provide our students with a unique learning experience and help them develop a sense of pride for their community. The garden will bring students and community members together and afford each person the opportunity to foster new relationships." 

The main structure on the site will be a large gazebo that will collect rain water via an inverted roof, diverting the water to a reservoir under the structure. Project Hub will be heavily involved in the construction process of the garden. It will be surrounded by five to six areas to install different types of vertical edible gardens. Adopt-a-plots for individuals or groups to maintain will also be available on the site. 

The project is set to begin construction in the next couple of months with a completion goal of Summer 2018. Learn more about the project on Project Hub's website and sign up to receive updates. Visit: http://projecthubspartanburg.com/steam-garden/