Spring Fling 2014

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USCL students blow off steam, honor instructors

By Reece Murphy

With the end of the year in sight, University of South Carolina Lancaster students, staff and faculty took some time to relax this week during the annual Spring Fling & Distinguished Teaching Award Celebration on Tuesday, April 22.


Both activities are organized and sponsored by the USCL Office of Student Life and Student Government Association, an event USCL Dean Dr. Walt Collins said is always a special time of year.

“Spring Fling is a time we set aside for the end of the year to recognize our outstanding faculty and staff, and we always look forward to it because it’s a day of fun and relaxation before exams,” Collins said.

Outgoing SGA President Tyler Reeves agreed.

“This is a way to reward students for all their hard work all year,” Reeves said.

During the event, students got to simply hang out with friends and have some pizza, play in a cornhole tournament or soak a professor in the dunking booth.

“It’s cool, a way to get people involved,” second year student Lauren White said of Spring Fling after trying to dunk Business Administration and Finance instructor Phillip Parker.

“It takes your mind off exams a little bit; lowers my blood pressure,” she said.

This year’s event featured a fundraiser sponsored by Burns Ford of Lancaster, which donated $20 to the Red Cross Upper Palmetto Chapter for each student who test drove a new Ford during its Drive 4 UR Community program.

With the opportunity to drive such kickin’ rides as a new Mustang GT or a F-150 Limited pickup, students ended up earning more than $5,000 for the Red Cross Heroes Campaign.

The 2013-14 overall Distinguished Teaching Award winner was Organic Chemistry Professor Dr. Fernanda Burke.

Burke said she was “completely shocked” to learn she’d even been nominated for the award, much less won. 

She said she was honored nonetheless and ventured to guess she was chosen because she believes in encouraging students in a difficult subject.

“People are afraid of taking that course,” Burke said. “I like to say I ‘make it accessible’ for students.’”

This year’s other award winners by category were: 

• Distinguished Teacher of the Year in Humanities – Assistant professor of theater and speech and Spanish instructor Marybeth Holloway 

• Distinguished Teacher of the Year in Business, Behavioral Sciences, Criminal Justice and Education – Dr. Nick Guittar 

• Servant’s Heart Award for service above and beyond the call of duty – Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Ron Cox


Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151