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Giving above and below the waterline

by Andrew Raak ’08

Back when I was walking around the campus as an undergraduate, the thought of having my name attached to a building seemed an impossibility. I never had goals of becoming so wealthy that I could donate enough money to erect a building or facility on campus that would bear my name. Fortunately, however, I have since realized that money isn’t the only gift that makes a difference. 

While working as the captain and dive coordinator for a local PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) 5 Star resort in Murrells Inlet, two under-graduates approached me with an idea of starting a new scuba diving club on campus. Mike Flannery and Tim Carrara sought my guidance on setting up a club, the Aqua League, that would be a fun and exciting way to grow the dive community on campus.

I thought that this might be a great way to begin my philanthropic donations to the University. With a campus of over 10,000 students and a large marine science program, the competition to enroll in the University’s scuba course can leave some students dry. So, the founders of CCU’s Aqua League created the appropriate channels to allow new members to obtain scuba certifications. With that system in place, the new club exploded, soon becoming one of the largest on campus. I donate my time to assist this terrific club in an advisory role.

This initial effort to give back to the University that had given me so much was so gratifying that I began to wonder how else I could continue to help and possibly inspire the next great marine scientist. When I heard that CCU was building the much-needed science building (Swain Hall), I contacted the Office for Philanthropy.Again, any monetary donation I could make would be only a drop in a bucket, so I had another thought. 

Over the years I have developed my hobby of underwater photography to the point that my work has been recognized internationally. For my initial donation, I selected a number of prints that focus on local marine life along the South Carolina coast, and these framed pictures now hang on the walls of the new Swain Hall. I’ve pledged to continue to give new images each year to create an ongoing gallery. Hopefully these images will inspire students on campus to achieve great things in order to protect the ocean that we love.

Philanthropy does not always have to be written on a check. As the old saying goes, “No matter how small the gift, it’s the thought that counts.”

See more of Raak’s work on his website at www.RaakBottomImaging.com.

Alumna’s gift benefits counseling outreach services

Counseling outreach services at CCU have expanded, thanks to a donation from Teresa Reed-Barnette ’97. Her $30,000 gift supports the recently named Teresa Reed-Barnette Counseling Outreach Office and The COAST (Counseling Outreach Advocacy Student Team). 

The COAST provides a wide variety of information on mental health and other wellness-related topics; internship opportunities for students interested in the helping pro-fessions; opportunities to get involved with peer educators and the Women’s Resource Cooperative; and collaboration with student clubs and organ-izations and members of the campus community. 

According to Chris Donevant-Haines, assistant director for counseling services and outreach coordinator, Reed-Barnette’s generosity has already helped the office reach thousands of CCU students, faculty and staff in a variety of ways, from creating posters to adding new programs and enhancing existing programs on the topics of sexual violence prevention, education and awareness.  

A former chemist at Bath & Body Works, she is the owner of Teresa’s Candles and Scents. Two years ago, Reed-Barnette and her husband Doug, the CEO of Player Management International, made a $30,000 donation toward a microbiology lab in the Swain Hall science building.