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College of Information and Communications

    Eight CIC faculty and staff retire in 2020

    In December, eight longtime CIC employees retired: Jill Chappell-Fail, Ernest Wiggins, Madonna Stoehr, Cecile Holmes, Debi Wallace, Lisa Sisk, Karen Mallia and Carol Pardun. We caught up with a few of them to look back on their careers and find out what’s next. 


    JILL CHAPPELL-FAIL, Senior Information Resource Consultant

    Favorite Memory
    “There are so many great memories, it’s hard to decide. One particularly sweet moment: I participated in graduation for my MLIS degree in December 1999. After shaking hands with Dean Fred Roper and President John Palms, I stepped off the stage at the Carolina Coliseum, dizzy and overwhelmed by the crowd. My eyes fell on the SLIS faculty dressed in their regalia and cheering for me at the tops of their lungs. Bolstered by their smiles and spirit, I got back to my seat without tripping over my gown and heels. Never before had I ever felt so proud to be a Carolinian.”

    Future Life Plans
    “Pre-COVID, I’d always envisioned spending retirement as one of the little old ladies on the tour bus. Reality check, post-COVID, I plan to work on my dwelling, travel when allowed, attend as many concerts and festivals as possible and enjoy the family and friends I have left.”


    KAREN MALLIA, Professor

    Favorite Memory
    “I truly cannot say I have one singular favorite memory within my time here at the University of South Carolina. There are so many memories that stand out that I cannot just pick one defining memory because there are a lot of different memories for different reasons and I cherish that.”

    Future Life Plans
    “I want to continue exploring and to shift into a lower gear because I’ve spent the last 40 years of my life going full tilt. I am looking forward to having a little bit more opportunity to follow serendipity somewhere.”


    LISA SISK, Senior Instructor

    Favorite Memory
    “When I announced my diagnosis of primary progressive aphasia was the most important memory. The outpouring of support was very humbling. My colleagues outdid themselves with offers of help and assistance.”

    Future Life Plans
    “I am teaching as an adjunct this fall semester. I hope to continue teaching as long as I can.”


    DEBI WALLACE, Student Services Administrative Assistant

    Favorite Memory
    “I just enjoyed working with the students — they were my everything. I loved being the first face they saw and saying ‘Sweetheart, how can I help you?’ My theory always was if you cannot be helpful to students, then you don’t need to work at Carolina. I wanted to be students’ home away from home and a place of safe haven.”

    Future Life Plans
    “Learning to enjoy life again without my students.”


    ERNEST WIGGINS, Associate Professor

    Favorite Memory
    “I’ve been here for nearly 30 years, so I have lots of great memories. One that comes to mind is the time at the end of a semester that I wasn’t entirely pleased with. Some semesters are like that. You never fully get into the groove. It was the last lecture in the Honors section of the Survey of Mass Comm course, I believe. I remember working particularly hard on that lecture. It’s just as important to end the semester on the right note as it is to begin it properly. I don’t recall what I said — the specifics are lost to me — but when I looked up from my notes at the end, the class started clapping. It was a little surreal. Who does that? That hadn’t happened before and it hasn’t happened since. To this day, I haven’t a clue why they did it but I was really touched.”

    Future Life Plans
    “I have several projects I’m working on for my own edification — writing some creative pieces, developing my photographic skills (I’m not good, but I enjoy it), traveling the state to visit towns that are close to disappearing and recording what I find, reading much more for pleasure than for work. I’m an old-school reporter. So many things interest me. I won’t have any trouble keeping busy.”


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