2010 Ought to be Better


Happy New Year. And, depending on how you count, a warm new decade. Even if you are a purist who starts the decade at 2011, let’s get beyond the “Aughts.”


The prevailing sense is that the first decade of the third millennium was dismal. It started with the dread that a “Y2K” millennium glitch was going to throw all our computers back a century and into chaos. Of course, that did not happen. It might have been better had we been frozen in time at 1-1-00.


Instead we got the courtroom confusion of the 2000 presidential election, 9/11, pernicious and insidious terrorism, two wars, and the burst bubbles that cratered  banks, markets, housing, jobs and a lot of hopes. Need I mention the near implosion of media. The awful Aughts?


Not entirely. Life rides through tumult the way a ship weathers a stormy sea. It pitches and yaws, trying to hew to a manageable course. Our university has weathered draconian budget cuts—still weathering them. Yet, the university has grown in size and stature in the past decade. Our college has stabilized and grown since the 2002 merger, moving to the cusp of improved facilities in the new decade.


Since 2000 we’ve acquired cool tools—iPhones and their assorted cousins—and funky ways to use them—Twitter tweets. We’ve taken to driving hybrids. We’re reorienting toward a sustainable, rather than disposable society.


A decade is both a brief and a substantial passage of time. I changed course in 2002 to come to the university. Where has that time gone? All my grandchildren were born since 2000. The Aught Eight!


The Aughts ought to have been better. But whether we call this “two-thousand-ten” or “twenty-ten”—a debate not worth ten seconds—let’s move on swiftly and decisively.


Happy New Year from all of us to all our alumni and friends.





Alumni News



Alumna Takes Journey to China


Sumner McLain Bender, ’07 public relations major, has traveled to China to teach English to elementary, middle and high school students in Xi’an with the Gallop English School. Sumner is studying Mandarin and adjusting as a foreigner in a city of 8 million people. Sumner expects to be in the city of the famed terracotta army at least through August.


Sumner Bender


No Horsin’ Around Here


Journalism alumna Susan Ford Craft, ’70, recently compiled the most precise and detailed writer’s guide to horses ever created. She was commissioned for this project by the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation (LRG-AF). The LRG regularly receives requests from authors in need of truthful equestrian knowledge to incorporate into their work. Craft put together a guide that includes equestrian facts, figures, distances, writing rules while reflecting the true equestrian experience. Craft is a historical fiction author and initially contacted the Guild while doing research for her current work, The Chamomile, set in Charleston during the American Revolutionary War. The main character in her book makes a journey on horseback from the coast of SC to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.  


Alumnus Honored By South Carolina Outdoor Press


Pat Robertson, ’61 journalism major, was recently recognized for his work in the outdoors communication field by the South Carolina Outdoor Press (SCOPe). He was awarded the SCOPe Gene Smith Lifetime Achievement Award and the SCOPe Service Award, which has been renamed “The Pat Robertson Service Award.”


Robertson was the founding president of SCOPe in 1988 and again in 2006-07, and is currently Chairman of the Board. He is an avid hunter and fisherman and has judged more than 50 AKC licensed beagle field trials.  



Faculty Spotlight



Lisa SiskFaculty Spotlight on Lisa Sisk


If it is true that we are products of our respective childhood experiences, it is no surprise School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) professor Lisa Sisk describes her own childhood as being “perfect.” In her eight years teaching in SJMC, Sisk has become respected for her commitment to students and high ideals. She is a favorite with her students due to her nurturing nature that has followed her through a lifetime and has shown up in multiple ways.


While working at Manning, Selvage & Lee Sisk created the Midwest public relations campaign for the first Earth Day, has worked with non-profits and healthcare and cites her two adult children as the most important part of her life. Did we mention she served as a federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator for 15 years helping orphaned and injured wild animals?


Sisk, who says she used to be “a bit of a flower child,” chose to major in mass communications at Lindenwood College in St. Louis and subsequently earned a master’s degree in journalism here at USC.


After arriving in Columbia, Sisk was the executive director of the Wildlife Coalition of the Midlands and worked in the raptor rehabilitation center at the Riverbanks Zoo.  She later worked with Richland School District Two in community relations before landing in corporate communications with Blue Cross and Blue Shield. She taught as an adjunct professor in SJMC for several years before going full-time in 2005.


Now Sisk teaches upper-level public relations classes including public relations writing, public relations campaigns, the Atlanta Maymester class, Camp Carolina and the graduate MMC communications campaigns class.  Sisk is a two time recipient of USC's Mortar Board honor society's Excellence in Teaching Award. Sisk began working with SJMC’s alumni magazine, InterCom, two years ago and just recently began overseeing its production by incorporating it into a class. You can see her class’s Fall 2009 issue by clicking here>.


Student Spotlight


Chess SchmidtStudent Spotlight on Chess Schmidt


Need a unique calendar for the New Year? No worries. Chess Schmidt, second-year School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) graduate student and president of Library and Information Science Student Organization (LISSA), has the perfect one for you!


The third issue of “The Mildly Attractive Men of SLIS” calendar quickly sold out its first printing, but a second printing will soon be available for purchase. Each issue features current male students in SLIS.  This year’s theme is iconic films.


Schmidt and LISSA coordinate the production and marketing for this annual fundraiser. Proceeds from this year’s calendar will send members to the American Library Association (ALA) conference in Washington, DC.


Schmidt said that his best experience so far in SLIS was attending the ALA conference last year in Chicago. He was a staff volunteer and got to assist with setting up sessions and big events throughout the week. Schmidt hopes that many members can have the opportunity to attend this year’s conference with the money raised from calendar sales.


Schmidt never expected to end up at SLIS. Though he always enjoyed the library atmosphere. He graduated from Furman University with a degree in Theater Arts and plans to receive his master’s degree in May 2010 with a focus on reference work within academic libraries.


LISSA is a professional, social and service organization composed of students and alumni of SLIS. As a student chapter group of ALA, LISSA provides its members opportunities for professional growth, networking, leadership and service to the community. Membership in LISSA is open to any student enrolled in SLIS, as well as SLIS alumni.


If you would like to purchase a calendar, please visit>.


For more information on LISSA, please visit>.

Donor Spotlight


Tom SutherlandDonor Spotlight on C. Tom Sutherland


By Larry Di Giovanni, University Advancement


Twenty years in the U.S. Army brought Carl T. “Tom” Sutherland to retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1978 and to the then College of Library and Information Science to prepare for his second, equally challenging career. He worked in Records Management at the Savannah River Site near Aiken as senior librarian, helping thousands of fellow employees find volumes supporting research and development at the site laboratory. Savannah River is a U.S. Department of Energy nuclear energy facility.


Sutherland said his second 20-year career would not have been possible without the “critical” master’s education and training received as a graduate student at the University of South Carolina.. He decided the best way to give back would be to create an MLIS scholarship, endowed as the C. Tom Sutherland Scholarship Fund.


“The master’s education I received at the School of Library and Information Science was outstanding because it prepared me to begin a job in any sort of library, including a special library like the one at the Savannah River Site,” he said.  He also spent time as a librarian at Augusta College (now Augusta State) and the Medical College of Georgia.


Sutherland earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Georgia. He was commissioned as an Army officer in the 82nd Airborne Division, part of an impressive military career that included 1st Infantry Division staff service in Vietnam and three years in Oslo, Norway with NATO.


Now retired in Augusta, Sutherland serves as Secretary-Treasurer of the Augusta Kiwanis Club, and volunteers as a docent at the Morris Museum of Art. He has also been active in activities surrounding the Augusta-Richland County Historical Society and the Augusta Civil War Room. He has narrated the Veterans’ Day Service for the Historical Society for the past decade and served as co-chair of the 225th Anniversary of the Battle of Augusta.


Sutherland served as President of the South Carolina Library Association, the South Carolina Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, and the Central Savannah River Library Association.



Spring Career Fair
Friday, February 26
The Marriott Courtyard
1 – 4 p.m.

The Spring Career Fair allows students and professionals to interview with employers from the Southeast for summer and fall internships and jobs. If interested in recruiting as an employer please click here to register: Register>

If interested in attending as a recent grad, please use the following link to register: Register>


Carolina Day at the Statehouse
Wednesday, March 24

It's time to "Step Up" and show your support of higher education! You can make a difference on Carolina Day at the Statehouse, March 24, 2010!

Those wishing to participate should register by March 17. A $15 donation is required to defray the cost of lunch. For more information and to register: Register>

© College of Mass Communications and Information Studies | University of South Carolina.
This newsletter is published once a month by the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies. If you wish to contribute a story or idea to this, please contact Elaine Taylor.If you do not wish to receive this message in the future, please contact Elaine Taylor.