College of Charleston honors seven alumni

December 6, 2017

The College of Charleston Alumni Associated recently honored seven alumni whose accomplishments in their chosen fields have brought honor to the College of Charleston. Hosted by the College of Charleston Alumni Association and presented in partnership with the College of Charleston Foundation, this event honored these alumni by showcasing the impact they have had on society and by celebrating the role the College has played in their lives.

The following seven distinguished alumni will be honored:

 Emily Molony Swanson ’89 and Steve D. Swanson ’89 (Alumni Award of Honor)

Emily and Steve Swanson graduated from the College of Charleston in 1989. Emily majored in biology, and had a successful career as an investigator for the Food and Drug Administration. Steve was a math major and an Honors College graduate. He co-founded Automated Trading Desk and became CEO in 2001. The company was acquired by Citigroup in 2007, and this gave the Swanson’s an opportunity to support philanthropic causes close to their hearts.

Steve had received a full scholarship to attend the Honors College, and the couple felt it was important to give back to the school that had given them so much. In 2012, the Swanson’s gave $2.25 million to the College for Honors College scholarships. This is still the largest alumni gift in the College’s history. The scholarships are used to attract the best and brightest students from across the country to the College of Charleston.

The impact the Swansons have had at the College and in the Charleston community is immeasurable. In 2016, they were named Charleston’s Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. They were recognized for their generosity, exemplary leadership and commitment to encouraging philanthropic leadership in others.

 Stephanie B. Wheeler ’03 (Distinguished Alumna or Alumnus Award)

Stephanie Wheeler graduated from the College of Charleston Honors College with degrees in biology and theatre in 2003. She earned her master’s degree in public health at the University of Cape Town in South Africa in 2007 as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, and her PhD in health policy and management from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2010. She then joined the faculty of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill and is now an associate professor with tenure in health policy and management.

Dr. Wheeler’s research is focused on understanding and improving cancer care quality, access, equity, and value. She is expert in, and teaches, economic, epidemiologic, and systems modeling to support better healthcare decisions. Her work has examined the comparative effectiveness of cancer screening interventions in vulnerable populations; disparities in treatment among cancer patients; financial toxicity of cancer treatment; and cost-effectiveness of various treatments and policies across clinical domains.

Her work has led to more than $10 million in research funding, 87 peer-reviewed publications, and over 100 public presentations. Dr. Wheeler received the prestigious 2017 Early Career Public Health Research Award from the national Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health and the 2017 Hettleman Prize for Scholarly Achievement.

Quentin E. Baxter ’98 (Alumna or Alumnus of the Year Award)

Quentin E. Baxter is a native Charlestonian who comes from a family of drummers. He earned his B.A. in Music Theory and Composition from the College of Charleston in 1998, and is an adjunct professor of Jazz Percussion in the Department of Music at the College of Charleston.

Baxter is the owner, producer, composer, and recording engineer for Baxter Music Enterprises; an international performing and recording artist with René Marie, Freddy Cole, and Ranky Tanky; a founding member of Jazz Artists of Charleston; and musical director for the Charleston Jazz Initiative.

Well-known for bringing Charleston’s vibrant jazz traditions around the world, Baxter had an incredible year in 2017. He received the Eddie Ganaway Distinguished Alumni Award, named for the College’s first African-American graduate, and received his second Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Sound of Red, with vocalist/composer, René Marie. Mayor John Tecklenburg of Charleston proclaimed April 25, 2017, as “Quentin Baxter Day” in honor of his contributions to the “city, state, country and world in the arena of jazz music.” He was announced as a recipient of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award, South Carolina’s highest award in the arts, recognizing outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in the Palmetto State. In September, Baxter was inducted into the Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame in Savannah, GA. He also produced and performed on the debut CD release of Ranky Tanky.

Donald F. Schneider ’12 (Young Alumna or Alumnus Award)

Donald Schneider came to the College of Charleston from Bedford, N.Y., majoring in economics and minoring in political science. Following graduation in 2012, he interned for Paul Ryan in the U.S. House of Representatives and worked for a think tank while earning a master’s degree in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University.

In 2014, he joined the U.S. House of Representatives’ Budget Committee, then chaired by Paul Ryan, as an economist and budget analyst. His interest in politics and his degrees in economics prepared him well as he assumed the role of senior economist for the House Ways and Means Committee in 2015. The Committee‘s jurisdiction encompasses tax policy, international trade, health care, Social Security, and welfare. In his role as senior economist, Schneider advises the Chairman and the committee staff on a variety of economic issues including tax policy, macroeconomic modeling of fiscal policy, the debt limit and budgetary matters.

In 2016, Schneider was named to Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 list of professionals to watch in the field of law and policy. He is currently playing a key role in ongoing tax reform efforts. He credits School of Business professors at the College of Charleston with fanning his interest in economics. 

Bobby R. Creech Jr. ’86 (Howard F. Rudd Jr. Business Person of the Year Award)

Bobby Creech earned a degree in business administration from the College in 1986, and has been a practicing CPA in the Charleston area since 1988. He is the Partner-in-Charge of tax and business advisory services for the Charleston office of WebsterRogers LLP, and the Partner-in- Charge of the firm’s estate and trust group. Creech is currently on the Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board, where he serves as treasurer and a member of its executive committee. He is past chairman of the South Carolina Board of Accountancy, past president of the South Carolina Association of CPAs, and has served on the ethics and nominating committees of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

His dedication to his profession is matched only by his devotion to his alma mater. Creech has been actively involved with the College of Charleston for many years, having served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Cougar Club Board. He has been a member of the College’s Accounting and Legal Studies Advisory Board since 2010, and has volunteered countless hours to the School of Business and the accountancy programs over the years. This award recognizes his significant contributions to both his profession and the College of Charleston.

Deborah Deas ’78 (Pre-Medical Society’s Outstanding Service Award in Medicine)

Deborah Deas grew up in Adams Run, SC, where she saw the challenges in education, employment, and health care faced by underserved populations. She earned a degree in biology from the College of Charleston in 1978, a master’s degree in public health from the University of South Carolina in 1979, and an M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1989. Following a residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at MUSC, she completed a fellowship in adolescent substance abuse research with the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

She then joined the faculty of the MUSC College of Medicine, where she worked for over two decades. In 2001, she became the first African-American on faculty to be granted tenure.

In 2014, Deas served as interim dean of the College of Medicine and professor of psychiatry at MUSC before joining the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine as the Dean and CEO for Clinical Affairs in 2016. The school’s mission is to train a diverse physician workforce, and develop research and programs to improve the health of medically underserved populations – a cause for which she has advocated throughout her career.