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Something to Talk About Personal notes and news.

Chaucey Something To Talk About
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  • Mitzner leaves CCU for global travel

    March 4 2011

    Marissa Mitzner might have more bug bites on her legs then freckles, but backpacking through Southeast Asia is allowing her the experience of a lifetime, according to her online blog.

    Mitzner, Coastal Carolina University’s first sustainability coordinator, started her travels in Singapore this January. She and a friend, Jay Reno, have worked their way through Malaysia – stopping in Melaka, Kuala Lumpur (the capital) and Cameron Highlands. They’ve visited local villages, hiked through jungles and toured tea plantations and strawberry fields. 

    They made their way to Langkawi, an island Mitzner says has “crystal blue water and no humidity.” The two enjoyed Italian food from a “real Italian chef,” drank red wine and watched the sun set. They also made a stop in Koh Tao, Thailand, where Mitzner got scuba certified. She’s also taken a Thai cooking class in Thailand. 

    They’ve since moved on to Cambodia, where the two are fishing and visiting temples.

    Sleeping where they can, taking buses, renting scooters and walking a lot, the two are making their way toward Europe on a very tight budget. 

    Mitzner is keeping a detailed record of her excursion on a blog that she updates when Internet access is available. To read her blog, visit

  • Writing the South: a stellar conference of writers, historians, fans

    February 25 2011

    A roomful of historians, writers, poets, friends, faculty and staff of Coastal Carolina University paid tribute to the amazing career of Charles Joyner at the "Writing the South in Fact, Fiction and Poetry," a three-day symposium held in February.

    Three Pulitzer Prize winners, an Emmy recipient and 20 distinguished scholars of history were on hand to discuss their craft and honor Joyner, a CCU history professor from 1980 to 2006, a former president of the Southern Historical Association and author of "Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community," which has just been reissued.

    "In my adult life, I've become obsessed with history," said novelist Josephine Humphreys. "History just gives me a kind of inspiration I don't get anywhere else."

    Humphreys, who lives in Charleston, wrote a book of historical fiction titled "Nowhere Else on Earth" in 2000, based on the Lumbee Indians in North Carolina. Her earlier works were Southern novels set in the Lowcountry and praised for their keen sense of place. " She said she hated history as a child because it was all about presidents, treaties and battles. "Somewhere along the line, the teaching of history changed with this generation," she says, and history became interesting and palatable.

    The first early-morning panel opened with a conversation between Humphreys and three historians. Bertram Wyatt-Brown, visiting scholar at John Hopkins University and the author of 10 books, was one of them. He gave a tribute to the late C. Vann Woodward, a pre-eminent historian who focused on the South and race relations. (Woodward attended the first "Southern Writers of Fact and Fiction" in 1996, as did the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Styron.)

    Theodore Rosengarten and David Hackett Fischer were also on the first panel. Rosengarten, also of Charleston, won the National Book Award for his 1974 book, "All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw." 

    David Hackett Fischer of Brandeis University, best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History)," said, "Chaz [Joyner] has invented here a better way of writing a history book," referring to "Down by the Riverside," which has been called "the finest book ever written on American slavery."

    Other historians who participated included Dan T. Carter, Valinda Littlefield, James L. Peacock, Jack Bass, Natasha Trethewey, Raymond Arsenault, David Moltke-Hansen, Rod Gragg, Hank Klibanoff, Richard Carwardine, Anne Wyatt-Brown, John Inscoe, Dale Rosengarten, Daniel C. Littlefield, Eldred (Wink) Prince Jr., Robert Korstad  and Roy Talbert.

    Walter Edgar, best known for "South Carolina: A History," gave the final talk on "How to Teach South Carolina History."

    Joyner, who is now retired, was the first Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History and Culture and the founding director of the Waccamaw Center for Historical and Cultural Studies at CCU. He received the Humanities Council’s Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities for his contributions to public understanding of Southern history and culture. 

    The conference was organized by Vernon Burton, a distinguished Abraham Lincoln scholar and internationally known historian. Burton, who is president-elect of the Southern Historical Association, was formerly director of CCU's Waccamaw Center for Historical and Cultural Studies and is currently at Clemson University.

  • Bishop's Mass is first in new chapel

    February 25 2011

    Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, leader of the 113 Catholic parishes in South Carolina, celebrated the first Mass in the standing-room-only Ronald D. Lackey Chapel on Sunday, Feb. 20.

    Prior to the Mass, the bishop attended a CCU baseball game with President David DeCenzo, wife Terri and their daughters.

    Dan O'Reilly, adviser of the Coastal Carolina Catholics student group, performed on saxophone and guitar during the service with his wife, singer Lisa O'Reilly. Before the Mass, participants were treated to performances by the Coastal Inspirational Ambassadors Ensemble; the CCU Flute Choir, directed by Amy Tully;student saxophonist Zack Smith; and the CCU Choral Choir, directed by Terri Sinclair.

     It was the first religious service in the interdenominational chapel, which was recently dedicated. The chapel, located at the corner of University Boulevard and University Drive, is named for the late Ronald Lackey, who served as associate professor of religious studies and university chaplain before retiring in 1994. The idea for the chapel originated with Sarah and A. Edward Jackson of Myrtle Beach, who made a generous donation toward its construction.

  • CCU alumnus/actor Michael Kelly stars in new CBS show

    March 4 2011

    The new television show "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" debuted at 10 p.m. Feb. 16 on CBS. It features CCU alumnus Michael Kelly as a full-time cast member in the role of FBI special agent Jonathan 'Prophet' Simms. Kelly stars alongside Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo.

    Kelly was born in Philadelphia and raised in Lawrenceville, Ga. His original intention was to study law, but changed his mind after taking an acting elective at Coastal Carolina University. 

    Kelly has appeared in the feature films "Fair Game," "Changeling," "Law Abiding Citizen" and "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" His movies in 2011 were "Fair Game" and "The Adjustment Bureau."

    On television, Kelly starred in the mini-series event "Generation Kill," had a recurring role on "The Sopranos," and was a series regular on the updated "Kojak" with Ving Rhames. He has also guest starred on numerous television shows, including "CSI: Miami" and "Judging Amy,"  "Fringe," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Law & Order," "The Shield" and "Third Watch." 

    A lifetime member of The Actor's Studio, Kelly has performed in such plays as Arthur Penn's production of "Major Crimes," Theatre Studio's "Miss Julie," as well as in a production of "In Search of Strindberg" staged in Stockholm, Sweden.

  • Ward lectures on research in Mersa Gawasis

    February 18 2011

    Cheryl Ward delivered two off-site lectures last month focused on her continuing research at Mersa Gawasis in Egypt.

    She spoke on “Building Pharaoh’s Ship: Experimental Archaeology in the Red Sea” at the Martha Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology at Brown University on Feb. 7.

    Ward also delivered a seminar at Yale University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations on Feb. 18: "Going to the Great Green: Ancient Egyptian Seafaring on the Red Sea."

    Ward is director of the Center for Archaeology and Anthropology.

  • Nelljean Rice wins award for house renovation

    February 25 2011

    Nelljean Rice has been awarded the 2010 Quattlebaum Design Award from the City of Conway for her house at 1100 Ninth Ave.

    Rice, dean of University College, has lived in the house since she and her husband, the late Paul Rice, purchased it in 1988. Recent renovations added a master bedroom suite with bath and walk-in closet, an updated kitchen and a bedroom and bath for visits from her 92-year-old mother-in-law.

    Given to the owners of structures cited for outstanding restoration, new construction, landscaped design and signage, the awards are named for C.P. Quattlebaum, the first mayor of Conway whose descendants still own some architecturally significant structures in the town.

    Winners are nominated to the City Appearance Board by the Planning Department, said Michael Leinwand, planning director. The board then makes the decisions for each year's winners.

  • Songwriter Rice records new song

    February 25 2011

    Songerwriter Jesse Rice, son of Nelljean Rice, has a new song out on YouTube called "Damn Good Day To Be a Clemson Tiger" that was filmed in Conway. It'll be released by  iTunes soon.

    Check it out:

  • Tennis, anyone?

    February 25 2011

    Faculty and staff interested in creating a tennis league on campus are being sought. The six tournament courts will be available for limited use from May 1 through Sept. 1.

    All faculty/staff members, regardless of skill level (beginner, intermediate or advanced), are welcome to participate. There will be an opportunity for early evening play on lighted courts for those who work on campus during the summer.

    Depending on the interest, a tournament might be a possibility with other tennis clubs/leagues. In addition to the health value, the tennis play would provide an opportunity for recreation with other members of the campus community.

    E-mail Robert Bulsza at with your interest and availability.