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, a 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 everyday, if not every hour!

Class of 1985

Chuck Toney earned an MA in English from Clemson University and then worked as a reporter and editor at community newspapers in Northwest Georgia before becoming press secretary for U.S. Representative Don Johnson from 1993-1995. After nearly two decades in higher education public affairs and senior administration, including serving as an assistant to two presidents at the University of Georgia, in 2014 Chuck became the leader of the higher education practice at Jackson Spalding, Georgia’s largest independent marketing communications firm.

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.

Darlene O’Dell received an MA in English from Clemson and then a PhD in American Studies and Women’s Studies from the College of William and Mary.  She taught at William and Mary for many years before retiring. In May 2014, she published The Story of the Philadelphia Eleven, the first book to document the story of the “Philadelphia Eleven” in first-person interviews.

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 1980

Henry “Corky” Strickland is a Professor of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. He writes, After graduating from PC and Vanderbilt Law School, I served as a judicial clerk for a federal judge for two years and then practiced several years for the Charlotte law firm of Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein.  I then joined the faculty of Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, where I have been a professor since 1988 (including a ten-year stint as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs).   I was recently selected to be the next dean of Cumberland and will assume the deanship in June [2014].”

Class of 1976

Dr. Curtis Tribble has returned to the University of Virginia as professor of TCV surgery after an eight-year great circle migration around the Southeast. He worked at UVA for nearly 30 years prior to his recent sabbatical.

Class of 1970

In September 2012, Judy Simpson Cook, a playwright, and director was profiled in The Charlotte Observer.

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.”

Class of 1961

Donald Kay, born in Anderson SC in 1939, received the B.A. degree magna cum laude from Presbyterian College in 1961; the M.A. degree with Phi Kappa Phi honors from the University of Tennessee in 1963; the Ph.D. degree from the University of Tennessee in 1967.  He served 15 years and rose from Assistant Professor to Professor of English at The University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa’s historic campus), and then spent five years at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and as a Visiting Professor at Lynchburg College before going to the University of South Carolina when his wife, Carol McGinnis Kay, who was Dean at R-MWC, became Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Music.  He spent 15 years at Carolina before retiring in 2003 as Director of Development Research.  As well as publishing over two dozen scholarly articles in such journals of The Philological Quarterly, he is the author of Short Fiction in “The Spectator” (University of Alabama Press) and Editor of A Provision of Human Nature: Essays on Fielding and Others published by the University of Alabama Press and Co-Editor of The Unknown Samuel Johnson published by the University of Wisconsin Press.  He was formerly the Executive Director of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) and Editor of The South Atlantic Review.  His son, David McGinnis Kay, an attorney in Atlanta, was a Presidental Scholar at the University of Southern California and later received a J.D. degree from Emory University.  Dr. Kay travels often—on Cunard and Holland America ships—and his favorite city is London, where he is a member of the Lansdowne Club.