Presbyterian College celebrated the achievements and contributions of alumni and PC faithful at the College’s annual Alumni Awards on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Phyllis Staton was surprised with the 2018 Honorary Alumna Award at the ceremony.
The award recognizes a person who did not attend PC, but who has always regarded PC as his or her alma mater, and by doing so, has brought honor to the College.
“I have never been more surprised,” she said. “I thought, ‘There’s no way this is happening. I don’t deserve this honor.’ I can hardly talk about it. I get so overwhelmed with emotion.”
Attending the awards ceremony was meaningful to her not only because of her award, she says, but because of the stories of the many alumni who filled Edmunds Hall during the morning ceremony.
“PC, I think, prepares and develops students to be the best that they can be and our annual alumni ceremony is evidence of that,” she said. “When you see how successful they’ve been, and what a positive difference they’ve made in the world, it’s powerful.”
Phyllis Staton along with her husband, PC President Bob Staton ’68, embraces all that is PC. With her personable nature, she remains connected with students and members of the campus, as well as the community.
“Since we came to PC in summer of 2015, I felt like I was home,” Phyllis said. “I feel it everywhere I go, on the campus and in the community. I love interacting with the students. Being with them is fun and uplifting. To watch them as they grow and mature is amazing.”
Dr. Don Raber, provost, says Phyllis’s “energy and enthusiasm for PC are only matched by her commitment to and support of our students.”
“With her infectious smile and sharp wit, she is a vibrant presence on campus, and both she and Bob have made a tremendous difference over the last three years with their love for the institution and their dedication to seeing PC succeed,” Raber said.
Phyllis said one of the many highlights of the year is Freshman Move-In Day when she and the president work among volunteers to welcome and move students into their new residences. They host a reception at the President’s House that evening to get better acquainted with the students and also to give students an opportunity to mingle with their new classmates. The Statons support numerous campus and athletic events and open the doors of the President’s House to not only guests and alumni, but also to students.
“We feel like it belongs to them and to the school, and we love to see them enjoy it,” she said. “It’s just all those little unique moments whether you’re in the community or you’re on campus; they seem so glad to see you. It warms your heart and makes you feel good. I like that they think we’re approachable. They are the reason we are here.”
Phyllis’s service extends beyond campus. She is involved in several civic organizations and is president of the Rotary Club of Clinton.
“Rotary’s motto ‘Service Above Self,’ parallels PC’s motto, ‘While we live, we serve,’” she said. “I often see PC students volunteering throughout the community. Not only is it our motto, but they walk the walk, and I’m proud of them.”
Along with being in training to become an elder in the First Presbyterian Church, and serving on the College Ministries Committee, she is also a part of the following organizations:
- Laurens County Cancer Association, board member
- Clinton YMCA, board member
- United Way of Laurens County, board member
Originally from Columbia, Phyllis Staton is a retired healthcare professional from Palmetto Health where she served as the manager of the Breast Centers. In 1991, while at Palmetto Health she co-founded the Walk for Life, a signature fundraising event at the hospital that heightens awareness for breast cancer. The event is still held every October.
“I lived in the same town and worked at the same place most of my life and never imagined that at this point in my life I would have the opportunity to come to PC and play even a small role in the lives of the students and this community,” she said. “Now there’s nowhere I’d rather be or nothing else I’d rather be doing than being here with Bob doing this!”