University of South Carolina

Verizon gift to help fund Cocky’s Reading Express

Verizon Communications has increased its support of Cocky’s Reading Express with a gift of $24,500, the largest gift to date to support the University of South Carolina’s student-led literacy program.

Accepting the award Oct. 23 at the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies’ Homecoming celebration were university president Dr. Harris Pastides; Ellen Shuler Hinrichs, executive director of the S.C. Center for Children’s Books and Literacy; and Dr. Samantha Hastings, director of the School of Library and Information Science.

“We at Verizon support Cocky’s Reading Express because we appreciate unique educational initiatives like this,” said Stan Bugner, Verizon vice president for public affairs, policy and communications in South Carolina. “And we think that the excitement that Cocky and the University of South Carolina students bring to young readers is a great way to foster interest in reading.”

Bugner said Verizon has “supported literacy programs all over the country for more than 20 years, and this is one of the most unique approaches we have seen.”

The gift will support visits by Cocky, the university’s mascot, and his student friends along South Carolina’s I-95 Corridor, as well as in the Midlands, Upstate and Lowcountry.

Cocky’s Reading Express was founded by student-government leaders at the University of South Carolina in 2005. Part of the literacy initiative in the School of Library and Information Science, the program has successfully taken the message of early literacy and delivered books to more than 11,000 elementary-school children in South Carolina.

For more information on Cocky’s Reading Express, contact Ellen Shuler Hinrichs at 803-734-8207 or, or visit the Web site,, and click on “Cocky’s Reading Express.”

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 11/17/09 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 11/17/09 @ 1:18 PM | Permalink



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