Presbyterian College elebrates a True Blue Homecoming  

October 24, 2023

Presbyterian College warmly welcomed alumni back to campus this Homecoming Weekend to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments on and off campus.

Three events in particular were all about former Blue Hose – the annual ROTC Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the new McIntosh Athletic Center and Templeton renovations, and the annual Alumni Association Awards.

ROTC Hall of Fame

Retired Col. Jim Kennedy, Jr. ‘88 was the 2023 inductee into the Highlander Battalion ROTC Hall of Fame.

Kennedy retired in 2014 after more than 25 years of service in the U.S. Army, which included air defense artillery commands in Germany, Kuwait, and Pakistan, as well as assignments at the Pentagon. During his years of military service, Kennedy earned the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, and the Army Staff Badge.

Kennedy thanked the many people he served with – superiors and subordinates – who taught him valuable lessons about leadership and teamwork.

“I think of all the people who helped me get here,” he said. “Those who developed me with my technical and leadership skills and those who supported me – and us – in very tough times throughout our career, both professional and personal. They’re all role models that I respect and I want to emulate and make them proud. My name is on the plaque, but there are hundreds of names on that plaque, as well. You just can’t see them.”

In addition to this chemistry degree from PC, Kennedy earned a Master of Logistics Management from the Florida Institute of Technology, a Master of Military Arts and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Education from George Mason University.

Jim and his wife, Kimberly, a 1989 graduate of PC, have one daughter, Jamie Ann.

Championship Spirit ribbon-cutting ceremonies

PC celebrated the completion of its $8.2 million Championship Spirit capital campaign with a pair of ribbon cuttings for the brand-new McIntosh Athletic Center and the newly-renovated gymnasium in the Templeton Physical Education Center.

The MAC is a multi-purpose facility for PC’s acrobatics and tumbling, competitive cheer, and men’s and women’s wrestling squads. The Templeton project included new scoreboards and new video boards, new seating, and the newly-renovated Bob and Betty Strock Weight Room.

In addition to recognizing the anonymous gift honoring the Strocks and the seven-figure gift from PC alumnus John McIntosh ’61 to fund construction of the MAC, the college also unveiled permanent tributes to three storied figures from the Blue Hose basketball program.

The new video board on the east wall of Templeton has been named in honor of the late Dr. Fred Chapman, professor emeritus of economics and business administration. Chapman is remembered as a passionate supporter of Blue Hose student-athletes and a fiery presence in the stands, said alumnus Steve Crowe ‘73.

The video board above the homestand entrance was dedicated to former All-American point guard and South Atlantic Conference Hall of Famer Bret Jones ‘93. Introduced by his wife, Ashby Jones ‘95, Jones is best remembered for leading the Blue Hose to one of its finest seasons and a national ranking during his senior year under former head basketball coach Gregg Nibert.

Nibert, too, was honored at the ceremony in Templeton. PC’s all-time leader in wins for men’s basketball was acknowledged for delivering championships and national recognition as one of the finest small college coaches in the country.

In recognition of his contributions to the college’s athletic program, Nibert will forever be linked to the gym where he did most of his coaching, as the college announced that the court will permanently be known as the Gregg Nibert Court.

PC president Dr. Anita Gustafson thanked the many people who supported the Championship Spirit campaign and continue to support the college’s student-athletes.

“Many of our alumni who are here today were student-athletes themselves and nearly half of our student body are athletes,” she said. “So, today is possible because of the hard work and dedication and generosity of so many people who are here.”

PC Alumni Association Awards Ceremony

The college’s annual Homecoming tradition of honoring its most prominent alumni continued on Saturday morning.

The PC Alumni Association presented Robert Thomas ’94, the chief operating officer of Alice Company, a private investment firm in Easley, with the Alumni Gold P Award, the highest honor for a Presbyterian College graduate. Thomas joined the company in 2002 as its chief financial officer before taking the leadership reins in 2008.

As a lifelong Presbyterian, Thomas said PC has always been a prominent part of his life.

“As a child, I have a vivid memory of the PC poster on the bulletin board and in a room as I walked into the sanctuary for church,” he said. “That poster was the spark that led me to PC.”

Thomas added that his relationship with PC continues to yield new memories and new friends.

“Like many of you, I have great memories of my time on campus,” he said. “However, for me, the connection with Presbyterian College did not end with graduation. Over the last 30 years, I’ve been fortunate to meet and serve and worship with so many people who are friends and alumni of the college.”

Retired Brig. Gen. John T. Gentry, Jr. ’91 was presented with the Thomas Aurelius Stallworth ’55 Award for embodying the character traits of the late Rev. Dr. Tom Stallworth

Gentry, who retired this year as the assistant adjutant general for the Georgia National Guard, was responsible for soldier and equipment readiness of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 78th Troop Command headquartered at Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, Ga. He is the current chair of the ROTC Council for the Highlander Battalion and a member of the PC ROTC Hall of Fame.

His deployed combat assignments include Iraq in 2005-2006 and Afghanistan in 2009-2010 and he has numerous awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

Brigadier General Gentry now serves as the assistant county manager for Glynn County in Brunswick, Ga.He is married to the former Katherine Pope ‘91 of Washington, Ga.. They have two adult children, Anna, and Caroline.

Anna Wade Sumner ’11 and Jordan Archer ’14 were named Outstanding Young Alumna and Young Alumnus, respectively.

Sumner, PC’s Outstanding Senior in 2011, is an attorney with the Manning Law Firm in Greenwood and the senior assistant solicitor for the S.C. Eighth Judicial Circuit. She and her husband, Grayson, also a 2011 graduate of PC, have two children – Wyatt and Margaret Ellis.

Archer, a former member of the Blue Hose men’s soccer team, is the chief operating officer of Tryon Medical Partners, one of the largest independent medical practices in the Charlotte region. He resides in Charlotte with his wife, Chapman Dunbar Archer ’13, and their two daughters, Pressley and Drayton.

Dr. David Pinckney Berry ’68 was the recipient of the 2023 Dum Vivimus Servimus Award for living out PC’s motto, “While We Live, We Serve.”

A graduate of both the Emory School of Law and the Medical University of South Carolina, Berry served as a captain and brigade surgeon the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

An ophthalmologist, Berry had devoted much of his career to restoring and preserving vision for people in under-served areas with a goal of never denying medical care to those who can’t afford it. A former PC trustee, Berry has also served on the college’s Board of Visitors and has lead seven mission trips as a faithful member of First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg. He and his wife, Louisa, have four children and 10 grandchildren.

Photo: The McIntosh Athletic Center was formally opened during an Oct. 20 ribbon-cutting ceremony. Participants included (left to right) Langston Construction principal Evan Sowell ’06, Jerry Smith ’50, PC president Dr. Anita Gustafson, John McIntosh ’61, Tricia Lake Reid ’76, and Dr. Stan Reid ’74.