Alumni Class Notes - Coastal Carolina University
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Class Notes

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Rebecca (Thompson) Godwin was awarded the 2023 Prose Fellow by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The author of Keeper of the House and Private Parts, she has received MacDowell and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. For 13 years, she taught literature at Bennington College in Vermont, before returning to her native South Carolina.

David Small, who taught and coached for 35 years, was inducted into the North Myrtle Beach High School Athletic Hall of Fame in October 2021.

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Richard (Ricky) Ferdon received national accreditation and certification as an interscholastic coach from the National Federation of State High School Associations in July 2022.


Gordon Mooneyhan recently published Seaboard Air Line Railroad Dining Car Cookbook. His two previous recipe books are Southern Railway Dining Car Cookbook and Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Dining Car Cookbook.

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Billy Hurston recently retired as athletic director at St. James High School. He taught and coached for 30 years in Horry County Schools.

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Douglas Dorman earned a Ph.D. in intercultural studies from Biola University in 2019. He recently published the book Kingdom Discipleship – Part 1: Being a Disciple.

William Drew retired after a 35-year teaching and coaching career in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Ellen Stalvey is a real estate agent with RE/MAX Coast and Country in Georgetown, S.C.

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Deborah A. Burroughs is the new chairwoman of the Burroughs & Chapin board of directors. She has more than 25 years of experience in the banking, finance, and real estate sectors.

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Maria Velez Campagna had her artwork displayed on billboards in the Charlotte, N.C., area. Her work was selected by ArtPop, a nonprofit that connects local artists with billboard advertising and other media companies to showcase their art in the Charlotte region.

Tracey Elvis-Weitzel as the director of libraries for the Horry County Memorial Library. A lifetime resident of Conway, she has Professional Librarian Certification from the South Carolina State Library and is a member of both the South Carolina and American Library Associations.

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Tommy Carter is the new chief technology and innovation officer at Richland School District Two in Columbia, S.C. He is a 25-year veteran of the district, where he has served as systems administrator, senior systems engineer, and director of information technology operations. He and his wife, Tammy, have three children.

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Pete DiMaio was promoted to chief operating officer at TravelBoom Marketing, a leading data-driven digital marketing agency for hotels, resorts, and vacation rental companies. A 15-year veteran of the firm, he previously served as its director of client services and senior account manager.

Adalia Ellis is an instructor of mass communication at Francis Marion University. She also owns a dance studio located in downtown Florence, S.C., where she teaches Afro-Latin-style dances, including salsa, bachata, and kizomba, to name a few. She also earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from CCU.

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Amber (Hathaway) Rogers is the founder and CEO of Palmetto Preschool, which has two locations in Myrtle Beach.

Dan Trumbower is a senior wealth advisor at Halpern Financial, a fee-only, independent, fiduciary wealth management firm in Rockville, Md., and Ashburn, Va. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional.

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Reverend Drew CollinsRev. Drew Collins is the rector at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Savannah, Ga. He is a doctoral student at Erskine Theological Seminary in Due West, S.C. He previously served as a hospice chaplain in the Charleston area.

Hawanya Amaker is a new assistant principal at Cayce Elementary School in the Lexington Two School District. She previously was a teacher at Wood Elementary School. Hawanya also earned a master’s degree from Webster University and a doctoral degree from South Carolina State University.

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Scott Boddery is an assistant professor in the political science department at Gettysburg College, where he recently received tenure status. Originally from Rochester, N.Y., Scott also has earned a Juris Doctor degree from Florida State University and Ph.D. from Binghamton University. He previously taught at Davidson College.

Chuck Hoffmann is the director of recreation and leisure services in Rumson, N.J. He is pursuing a master’s degree in recreation, sport, and tourism from the University of Illinois.

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LaChelle Carr is the Navy Child and Youth Programs installation director and school liaison officer for command fleet activities in Chinhae, South Korea.

Russell Meccia is a partner and wealth advisor at Ramapo Wealth Advisors in Ramsey, N.J. He previously worked at Wells Fargo.

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Chad Frazier is an area superintendent for Marion County (Fla.) Public Schools. He previously served as a turnaround principal for multiple schools with Lake County (Fla.) Public Schools. Last year, he was selected by the National Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals as Florida’s National Distinguished Principal. His wife, Whitney (Shearer), also is a 2004 CCU graduate.

Jason Noble is the managing director of South Carolina operations for Prime Capital Investment Advisors in Charleston, S.C. He holds the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) certification from Wake Forest University and the Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®) designation from The American College of Financial Services.

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Joe Henderson was promoted to deputy administrator for the town of Sullivan’s Island. He previously served as director of planning and zoning. His background includes working for eight years as a zoning administrator and interim planning director for the city of Conway, S.C.

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Stacy (Blair) Johnson is the executive director of Murrells Inlet 2020.

Mola Lenghi is a national correspondent with ABC News. He held a similar position with CBS News, where he reported across CBS Mornings, CBS Evening News, and its digital streaming service.

Kimberly Rothberg received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The program, administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, recognizes outstanding teachers for their contributions to the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science. She has taught for more than 15 years at Carolina Forest Elementary School in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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Kotie Kimble is a new assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Miami. He has 14 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience, including four years at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Adam Vrable was a Class of 2021 inductee of the Bay County Sports Hall of Fame. The former Chanticleer baseball standout is an assistant baseball coach at the University of Louisville.

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John Armbruster was promoted to lieutenant with the Lower Township (N.J.) Police Department. A nine-year veteran of the department, he graduated from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police Command and Leadership Academy in 2019. He and his wife, Adrianne, have three daughters.

Christy Everett is the CEO of Grand Strand Water & Sewer Authority, making her the first woman to lead the agency that provides water and sewer services to Horry County. She previously served the authority as chief operating officer. Born in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and raised in Socastee, Christy earned an engineering degree from Clemson University.

Kayla Fleming is an associate judge with the Conway Municipal Court. She began working for the court while she was a CCU student. 

Sean Kinsella was promoted to CFO of Vines Plumbing & Restoration, a full-service commercial/residential plumbing and damage restoration company located in Conway, S.C.

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Zack Byrd is the new head women’s golf coach at Purdue University. He spent the last four seasons at Ole Miss, serving as an assistant coach before being elevated to associate head coach following the team’s 2021 NCAA national title. He and his wife, Alison, have two daughters, Payton and Avery.

Jamie Fordham is the co-owner of The Factory Sports and Fitness Training in Hanahan, S.C. He is also a career and technical education business teacher at Goose Creek High School.

Ryan Hinkle is the director of federal sales at Hitachi Vantara Federal. He also earned an MBA from CCU.

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Frank J. Fiumecaldo, a Certified Financial Planner, is the founder and president of Aventine Financial Group LLC.

Jesse R. Ford is an assistant professor of higher education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His program of research uses culturally responsive frameworks to explore the influences of race and gender on the educational experiences of underrepresented populations in academia. Jesse also earned a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. in higher education from Florida State University.

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Brooke Donaldson and Candice Posey

Brooke Donaldson married Candice Posey on June 8, 2019, at her family farm in Hackettstown, N.J., with their four dogs in attendance. After 10 years of service as a guide dog mobility instructor with The Seeing Eye, Brooke is now employed at U.S. Bank as a UX design accessibility consultant working to make webpages accessible for people with disabilities. 

Amanda Laurent is the communications coordinator for the Banner Elk (N.C.) Chamber of Commerce. She also earned an MBA from CCU. She and her husband, Paul, own Epic Nature Tours, where they offer birding and nature tours locally and to exotic places around the world, such as Costa Rica.

Amanda Loach was recently promoted to director of learning services in the athletic academic affairs department at the University of Virginia. She previously served the department as a learning specialist. Amanda also earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from CCU in 2013.

Tyler Parker is the premium sales executive for the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

Adam Rice is the founder and CEO of ISI Elite Training. He opened his first facility in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 2011. There are now franchise locations in various cities in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida as well as in Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana, and California.

Rich Witten is the new head baseball coach at Florida International University. He previously worked for five seasons at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he served as hitting coach and recruiting coordinator.

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Jonathan Bennett Jr. owns Renewing Minds Mentoring and Counseling Services in downtown Conway. He is a licensed professional counselor, national certified counselor, and a certified anger management specialist. Jonathan previously held positions at A Father’s Place and The Center for Counseling and Wellness. He earned a master’s degree in counseling from Webster University.

Ryan O’Connor owns O’Connor’s Painting Service in Gaithersburg, Md.

Quinn Rogan is the assistant golf professional at The Woodcreek Club in Elgin, S.C.

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Justina Adorno plays the bartender named Nails in the FX Latino-led biker drama Mayans M.C., which chronicles a motorcycle gang based along the border of California and Mexico.

Andrew Bucklin

Andy Bucklin is the general manager and PGA teaching professional at Golf Lounge 18 in Danbury, Conn.

Drew Clayton has been promoted to director of golf at The Summit Club at Armonk (N.Y.). He previously served as the club’s assistant golf professional.

Blake Collins is the senior manager of event operations at NASCAR Mid-Atlantic’s Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

Sam Kennedy is the owner of Mind Over Matter, a meal prep service in Lutz, Fla.

Josh Pierce is the new head football coach at Lamar High School in the Darlington Country School District. He previously served as the program’s defensive coordinator and the strength and conditioning coordinator. Josh was named the school’s 2019-20 teacher of the year.

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Samantha Cutrona has been promoted to marketing director at Woodsboro Bank in Frederick, Md. She previously served the bank as a sales and marketing specialist.

Sam Fischer is the stadium experience manager for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. She oversees a team of 100 guest services employees. Sam earned a master’s degree in parks, recreation, tourism, and sport management from North Carolina State University. She previously worked for two Minor League Baseball teams: the Myrtle Beach Pelicans while she was a student at CCU, and then with the Asheville Tourists.

Michael Lawrence is a member of rock and roll group The Diamonds, which has performed with symphonies, in major concert halls, on cruise ships, and in casinos throughout the world.

Heather Schramm owns both HMS Metals (handcrafted artisan jewelry) and Forge Formed Training and Athletic Wear based in Howard Country, Md.

Patrick O’Brien is the program director at First Tee – Coastal Carolinas in Shallotte, N.C.

Alexis Van Moppes is a technical recruiter for Meridian Technologies, where she develops national sourcing and recruiting strategies designed to identify qualified IT candidates. She also earned an MBA from CCU.

Brandon Williams is a teacher’s assistant in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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Dano Ferons is the operations manager at Mad Mole Brewing Co., in Wilmington, N.C.

Brandon Jones is the head varsity boys’ basketball coach at Mattoon (Ill.) High School.

Chandler Parnell

Chandler (Parnell) and Daniel Lynam were married on Jan. 23, 2021. They met at CCU during a performing arts summer camp in 2005.

Katelyn McGlothlin is a senior sea turtle biologist at South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Care Center in downtown Charleston, S.C. Her background includes interning with the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center’s Stranding Response Program and Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program.

Bailey Turner owns and operates Wine & Design Myrtle Beach, which offers private and public paint and sip parties for all ages.

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Rachel Eckley is a research associate with the Southeast Fisheries Science Center’s Caribbean Fisheries Branch. She earned a master’s degree in marine science from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Alesha Pressley earned a BSN from Duke University School of Nursing, where she received the Ruby L. Wilson Excellence in Clinical Nursing Award. While at CCU, she was one of the very first student workers at CHANT411 and is credited with coming up with the name for the University’s information center.

Hannah Smith is a crime analyst with the Canton (Ohio) Police Department. She is a member of the Crime Center, which uses city-owned camera footage in real time and recorded video, license plate readers, and a wealth of other information gathered around the clock with the aim of cracking cases and preventing offenses. 

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Zachary Chestnut is a public safety officer in the College of Charleston’s Department of Public Safety.

Amanda Daneker is an assistant softball coach at CCU. The former Chanticleer softball standout previously served as a volunteer assistant coach for five years.

Calvin Joyner is the new associate director for student leadership in the Higdon Student Leadership Center at the College of Charleston. He previously was the director of student activities at Emory and Henry College in Virginia. Calvin earned a graduate degree at Walden University. 

Ariel Lasher is the town justice in Providence, N.Y., a Saratoga County town with a population of about 2,000 people. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Albany Law School.

Martin Melchor is the assistant women’s soccer coach at the University of Texas at Tyler. He previously worked as the head men’s and women’s soccer coach at Jacksonville College in Texas. Martin earned a master’s degree in athletic administration from Texas A&M University-Commerce in 2020.

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Josh Cale is the contract coordinator for the city of Charleston, S.C.

Cait Przetak is the communications coordinator for the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center in Charleston, S.C. She previously worked as a digital reporter for WCBD News 2.

Denver Smith has joined Butler Snow’s Charleston, S.C., office. He practices with the firm’s Tort, Transportation, and Specialized Litigation group. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina. During law school, he was a judicial extern for Justice Kaye Hearn of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

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Chandler Kryst is an R&B singer and is professionally known as Chan Luxe. He also is a talent acquisition specialist at Thrive Recruiting and Development.

Logan Larrabee is a new officer with the Dartmouth (Mass.) Police Department. She previously worked as a dispatcher and deputy for the Bristol County Sheriff’s office. Logan recently completed six months of training at the Boylston Police Academy.

Ian McDonough is a media coordinator at the Kimmerle Group, a New Jersey-based, multifaceted design, real estate, planning, development, and branding practice. He will assist the marketing team as a graphic and web designer, and a social media coordinator. He previously was an assistant studio manager at Farber Studio.

Brandon Stone has been promoted to engagement manager at the Middleton Place Foundation in Charleston, S.C.

Paul Zeuschner is the new head golf coach at Arnold High School in Panama City Beach, Fla., where he also works as the head golf pro at Shark’s Tooth Golf Club. 

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Jill Dudley was crowned Miss South Carolina 2022 in June. She will now compete in the Miss America pageant in December.

Sage Flowers is the new manager of corporate retention and expansion with the Austin (Texas) Chamber of Commerce.

Daniel O’Hara is the new town clerk for Pawleys Island. While at CCU, he was an intern with the University’s Georgetown RISE program.

Sean Rhodes is the game manager/facilities assistant in the College of Charleston’s Department of Athletics. He also is pursuing a master’s degree in sport management from the University of Florida.

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Alumni Profile

Whitney Daniels ’17 – Making magic

by Kristyn Winch

Fantasy became reality for Whitney Daniels ’17, thanks to a little faith, trust, and pixie dust.

Whitney Daniels

Whitney Daniels ’17 aboard the Disney Fantasy cruise liner.

The Coastal Carolina University vocal performance graduate has been a main stage performer for Disney Cruise Line since summer 2021. Daniels portrays Mary Poppins and Mrs. Potts in live shows aboard the Disney Fantasy, breaking down barriers with nontraditional casting and bringing joy to audiences as she flies above the crowd.

“My favorite part of my job is performing on stage and making magic with guests,” she said. “I’m really happy that theatre in general is getting in tune with showing people on stage the same way people look in the real world, and being able to be the first POC Mary Poppins on Disney Cruise Line is an honor. If I’m able to show one child in the audience who looks like me that they can do anything they set their mind to, that makes all the difference.”

While exploring new worlds on stage each night, from a London rooftop to a castle in France, Daniels is seeing new cities on land as well. 

“We got to visit San Juan, Puerto Rico, and I loved seeing all the colorful buildings and exploring historic places there,” she said. “It was also so much fun living in Toronto for over a month during our rehearsals. Even though it was freezing cold in the middle of January, it was a fun bonding experience with the cast.”

Daniels grew up Horry County and a graduate of Carolina Forest High School. She chose to attend CCU so she could live near family and to study voice with Ann Benson, D.M.A., who was Daniels’ applied voice teacher from high school through her time at the University. The professor made a tremendous impact on Daniels’ life. 

“She let me explore not only classical music, but also jazz and musical theatre. Being well-versed in all genres helped me find job opportunities post-graduation,” Daniels said.

Some of Daniels’ favorite performing opportunities at CCU included singing in the annual Pop 101 concerts and taking on operatic roles in The Old Maid and the Thief and Amahl and the Night Visitors.

“It was fun to play with both sides of my voice,” she said. 

Daniels, who also performed at Carowinds amusement park in North Carolina and played various roles in touring shows with Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, encourages fellow young alumni and current performance majors to take a chance on themselves, even when the opportunity may seem unreachable. Her Disney Cruise Line audition was submitted on a whim, a virtual audition at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She didn’t hear back from the company for over a year and was content to continue working in retail while live performances were on pause around the world. She was working on the floor as a manager at Ulta when she got an out-of-the-blue call from Orlando, Fla. She instantly knew it was Disney. 

“I saw it and said, ‘I’m gonna take a break real quick and get this call.’” The company asked her to submit some additional audition materials, and a few weeks later, she was offered her first contract with the cruise line. 

“I grew up watching Disney, learning all of the songs, dances, and dressing up like the characters I’d see on TV,” she said. “So being able to actually portray them now, and hang out with Mickey and the gang, truly feels like a dream come true.”

Learn more about Daniels at

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Alumni Profile

All in the family

by Kristyn Winch

While they grew up in the same household in Spartanburg, S.C., the Rutherford brothers all found a second home in Conway, S.C., as students at Coastal Carolina University.

All in the Family

The Rutherford brothers: Jordan ’13, Alex ’14, Ben ’17, ’22, Sam ’19, and Luke.

Jordan ’13, Alex ’14, Ben ’17, ’22, Sam ’19, and Luke all attended CCU, choosing varying majors and getting involved in a multitude of campus activities. From sharing knowledge on advising or class schedules to sharing meal swipes, the five brothers provided a built-in support system for each other. 

Their parents, Larry and Beth Rutherford, loved the family atmosphere of the campus, and appreciated the University’s open communication with parents as well as the variety of opportunities available for their sons. 

“As parents, what we liked about it is all five boys have different, varying degrees,” Beth said. “It was nice to have that multitude of degrees that could fit any one of our kids. We liked the proximity to Coastal – it’s only three and a half hours. We’ve now perfected the quickest route.”

Jordan, the oldest brother, was originally interested in CCU’s marine science program. He later switched majors to biology with a concentration in ecology and conservation, and he now works as a guest services supervisor and educator at the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville, N.C. 

“I get to use my major in my job now, and I do a little bit of everything, from working the front desk to educating student groups,” he said. 

Jordan was a part of the honors program, which was a big draw for him in selecting a school. While at CCU, he was a member of the quiz bowl team. One of his favorite memories was going to bar trivia at Crafty Rooster as “practice” with Alex after he came to campus. Ben also played trivia with his brothers. 

“I think the fraternity still owes me a round of drinks for knowing all of the dinosaurs in ‘Jurassic Park,’” Jordan said. 

Alex, who was a year below Jordan in school, studied communication. He is now a high school English teacher and wrestling coach in Beaufort, S.C. 

The two oldest brothers got an apartment together during their junior year and sophomore year, respectively. 

“It was nice to live with someone you actually know. We didn’t have as many issues as typical roommates might have,” Jordan said. 

Alex’s original major of choice was special education, but he changed his mind after Orientation. He majored in communication and minored in journalism. He thanks his professors for encouraging him to pursue education as well. 

“Choosing Coastal for me was kind of a no-brainer,” Alex said. “I went with Jordan to tour Coastal, and I immediately fell in love with it – just walking around campus, the atmosphere. At the time, Coastal was much smaller than it is now.”

Alex was very involved at CCU, as a member of the Student Government Association, Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, Relay for Life, and activities such as the first CINO Quest. 

“My mom signed me up for CINO Quest,” Alex said. “I was not excited about it. The letter came in the mail, and I tried to hide it, But I ended up having a really good time, and most of my best friends, the people I still talk to and hang out with, I met through CINO Quest.”

He worked as a staff member for the program the following summers. Brothers Ben and Luke also participated when they came to CCU. 

Some of his favorite memories are of going to events at CCU. He remembers the opening basketball game at the HTC Student Recreation and Convocation Center. He and his friends dressed up in suits with slicked back hair as the “Raffa Mafia” (to support Anthony Raffa ’12, a standout on the team at the time) and got free pizza and were featured on CCU’s social media. At another game, they all wore random Halloween costumes and were featured on ESPN. 

Jordan moved out of the apartment and Ben moved in with Alex just a few days after graduating from high school. Alex was a senior when Ben was a freshman. 

“Ben got a job with me that summer and started at Coastal in the fall,” Alex said. 

Ben was unsure about CCU at first, but ended up getting undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University. He started as an engineering major and “decided really quickly that that was not at all what I wanted to do.” He transitioned into an interdisciplinary studies major with a concentration on student affairs. 

“I created my own major when that program was kind of starting,” he said. “My major guided my career path. I’m still in higher education, and I plan to be here for quite a while.” 

Ben held various campus jobs during his undergraduate career, including working as an Orientation leader and in the Dean of Students office, and went on to work full-time at the University, working his way up the ranks in the Office of Admissions and Merit Awards. He is grateful to Travis Overton, CCU’s vice president for executive initiatives/chief of staff and former dean of students, for his mentorship.

Ben moved in with younger brothers Luke and Sam while they were at Coastal. He was traveling a lot while working as an in-state recruiter for CCU, so it was nice to have a place to crash while in town. He is now an academic advisor in the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration.

Ben met his wife, Jordan (Waite) ’18, while they were both CCU undergraduates. Waite is the University’s social media manager. The couple had a Chanticleer-themed rehearsal dinner before their wedding this fall. 

“My senior year was Luke’s freshman year, so I got to be on campus and help him out like Alex did for me,” Ben said. “After I graduated, Sam transferred in and I got to help him figure out his classes and help him get situated. While I wasn’t on campus as a student, I was still around, which was nice.” 

“I taught Ben all the secrets, then he taught Luke and Sam all the secrets, so by the time Luke came through, he was like the mayor of Coastal,” Alex said. 

Luke studied digital culture and design while at Coastal, where he studied abroad in Japan during a Maymester course and recreated some shrines in a virtual reality space. His class collected ambient sound and took 360-degree photos to bring the project to life. He serves as guest experience manager at The Vendue – Charleston’s Art Hotel in downtown Charleston, S.C. 

Ben Graduating

Ben ’17, ’22 celebrates earning his master’s degree with his family. Joining him are (from left) his mom, Beth, dad, Larry, and brothers, Luke and Jordan ’13.

Sam wanted to go to CCU after seeing his brothers go there and visiting so much. He started his college career at Spartanburg Methodist College, where he earned an associate degree in liberal arts. He transferred to Coastal in 2017 and graduated with an interdisciplinary studies major, with a focus on historical fiction. Ben helped Sam build his major and ensured he had the classes he needed to graduate on time. 

“He helped me get the classes I needed and build a more focused major,” Sam said. 

Sam enjoys writing and wrote for The Chanticleer student newspaper. He is writing a book, and has hopes of writing a screenplay in the future. 

The brothers all enjoy visiting campus now and wear their teal with pride. They are grateful for the support they all gave each other and are proud to be Chanticleers.

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