1960s—1980s Alumni

Class of 1988

In 1997, Jackie Kee Barnette earned a master’s in Reading Education at the University of Central Florida and now teaches Intensive Reading, English, and AP Language & Composition at Astronaut High School in Titusville, Florida.

Class of 1986

Mary Louise (Missy) Gaston Wells earned an MA in Secondary English Education from the University of Central Florida. She is currently teaching 11th  grade honors English, AP Language and Composition, and IB English HL at Jones High School in Orlando, Florida. Mary Louise was named the Orange County Teacher of the Year in 2003 and was subsequently named a finalist for Florida Teacher of the Year. Jones High, an historically black high school in the inner city, is about as different from PC as you can get, but thankfully the flexible thinking required by multiple classes under Dr. Neal Prater, Dr. Jim Skinner, Dr. Rachel Stewart, and the late Mr. S. Allen King prove helpful every day, if not every hour!

Class of 1984

After graduation, Kevin Meredith worked as a newspaper reporter/editor/photographer for seven years (1985-1992). He received an MBA and then did marketing and public relations for an ad agency and several technology firms (1994-2001). Since 2001, Kevin has worked at a visualization software firm, selling and marketing SpeedTree, which brings trees to video games and movies, such as Grand Theft Auto IVAvatar, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. He’s also won awards for journalism, technical writing, and poetry.

Class of 1983

David Corley received an M.Ed. in English Education from Converse College and works at Laurens District 55 High School, where he teaches or has taught British Literature, AP Literature, and journalism. He has been LDHS’s school and district teacher of the year and has also received the South Carolina Scholastic Press Association Advisor of the Year. Additionally, he has written a number of teachers’ guides for Random House Publishers, including guides to Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, Obama’s Dreams from my Father, and most recently Gaines’ The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

Elaine Hawkins has been with State Farm Insurance for nearly 22 years.  She started her career as an Auto Claims Adjuster, promoted to Supervisor, then to Superintendent, and now Claim Section Manager in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Class of 1970

In September 2012, Judy Simpson Cook, a playwright and director, was profiled in The Charlotte Observer; you can read that article here.

Class of 1969

After serving in the military, Mike LeFever earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina and went to work in SC state government. During his 28-year career, he was the director of four different state agencies and served as deputy chief of staff for cabinet affairs and executive policy and programs under Governor Jim Hodges.  After working several years in governmental relations with a regional law firm, Mike became president and CEO of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities in 2008. At SCICU he lobbies for state financial aid for students attending the 20 private non-profit colleges in the state, including PC. SCICU also raises money for scholarships and promotes the values and benefits of a liberal arts education.

Class of 1968

Jerry Mebane is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he also served as Chair of the English Department, Associate Dean and Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and Director of the University Honors Program.  Jerry earned his Ph. D. at Emory University, and he is the author of two books and a number of articles on Renaissance literature and culture, especially Shakespeare.  In recent years he has pursued interdisciplinary research on Christianity, Pacifism, and Principles of Justice in Warfare, including work on Shakespeare’s Henry V.  In retirement, Jerry spends as much time as possible with his wife, Carol (also a PC English major), his children, and his grandchildren, but he is also continuing his research on literature, religion, and warfare, and he enjoys doing public speaking on those topics.

Class of 1965

In an update to Dr. Thompson, Dr. Neal Prater, Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of English, reported about PC English graduate Walter Wells, “who served in various capacities (editor, managing editor, and executive editor) with the International Herald Tribune“. PC awarded him with an honorary degree sometime in the 1970′s or 80′s; he also gave the commencement address that day in which he praised the liberal arts education he got at PC and argued against specialization. In 2006 he was awarded the French Legion of Honor, a rare award for someone not French. Dr. Prater added, “Walter insisted that all the education he needed to run an international newspaper was the education he got at PC (he was a really great English major) and the experience he earned as editor of The Blue Stocking. He never took a journalism course in his life and over the years urged us to resist the temptation to introduce journalism courses into the English department offerings.”