Saturday, May 22, 2010

Coker Luau a nice break in the day and week

There was a special break in the routine of Coker on May 21 as faculty and staff gathered for a Spring luau -- a luncheon gathering that allowed people to get to know each other a little better, out of the office. It looked from watching those gathered that this luau lunch was a great success.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Two Coker College students get research fellowships | SCNow

Two Coker College students get research fellowships | SCNow

The link above is a story about two Coker students who have won National Science Foundation fellowships for summer study. Both of these students are student athletes and both major in biology. Just a quick note congratulating them and their Research mentor, Dr. Joe Flaherty.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Internships -- Little things make such a difference

In the Communication Department at Coker we require at least three hours of internship as part of the major. This is an important requirement because it gets students into real world situations so they can better understand how communication works. This summer I have a few students doing some internships and the importance of these experiences continues to resonate.

Just one story about this. One of the very valuable internships for our students has been with Audrey Childers at the Darlington County School District. When it comes to external communications, internal communications, crisis communications, promotional communications, I am not sure anyone in our area has more daily experience than Audrey. She is also an excellent on-the-job professor. This summer I am the faculty coach for an English major who is working with Audrey. He sent me his first week's journal the other day and he is already learning so much. Remember, he is an English major and has not yet taken any media writing or pr courses. But, he has now noticed that writing for news is different than the other writing he has done. Here is an excerpt:

"I emailed my draft to Audrey. After she read it over, she called me into her office to discuss what should be changed. Some things to improve upon are: catching the audience’s attention with the first sentence, relating what the event means to all students, and obtaining quotes that are critical to the story. Despite all of these comments, they were very easy to correct in my draft. I was surprised at how different this style of writing was from academic and creative writing. The goal of this type of writing, as Audrey explained, is to explain the situation to an audience as simply and succinctly as possible. What surprised me from studying other press releases was that a paragraph could literally be one sentence, which would never be allowed in other forms..." That was only one of about 16 important things he was learning his first week on the job.

I really love internships for our students and hope that we continue developing opportunities like the one with the Darlington County School District where able students are able to get involved with real work and see how communication does make a difference in organizations.

Coker people are traveling in Paris

There is a good size contingent of Coker people in Paris right now. They are doing a two-week study abroad. All of what I know about the trip is from Facebook. So,what do I know?

First, it has been cloudy and rainy for most of their trip and from the looks of the pictures -- it is cool to cold. Everyone is wearing hats and seems bundled in heavy coats.

Second, students really will go to Paris and then head to McDonalds for McNuggets. And, then, they will even put that photo online.

Third -- When dancers, and artists and historians mix on the trip everyone seems to get much more from the experience than they ever imagined.

There is another group from Coker in Ireland now too but I have not yet heard about any of their experiences. I know they will come back steeped in Irish literature.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Coker hires new VP for Advancement

The following note was sent to staff and faculty by Coke's director of marketing and communications, James Jolly pointing the way to a press release about Tom Giffin becoming the new VP for Advancement at Coker. He is succeeding Frank Bush, who will be retiring in the next few months.

Here is note:
Thomas W. Giffin has been named Coker College’s new Vice President for Institutional Advancement. He was formerly a Senior Director of Development at Clemson University. At Coker, Giffin will oversee the college’s fundraising and alumni initiatives and report to the president as an administrative officer...

Full news release:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Coach Jenny Finora To Lead Lady Cobras in Basketball

Hate to be taking the easy way out on Coker Experience blog lately but sharing Christian's stories seems to be effective:

Coker Hires Finora to Lead Women's Basketball
by Christian Stryker, SID Coker College
Read this article on the web at
HARTSVILLE, S.C. - Coker College is pleased to announce the hiring of Jenny Finora as the new Head Women's Basketball Coach. Finora will take the reins for the Lady Cobras after the retirement of Carol Meegan.
A native of North Vernon, Indiana, Finora comes to Coker after a year long stint as a professional player and coach in Iceland. Finora played for the KR Basketball Club, while also coaching three of the KR Basketball Club's junior teams. As a player, she was a Iceland Express All-Star team selection and a member of the Powerade Cup Champions team and the Champion of Champions Cup team. As a coach in Iceland she was in charge of three junior teams, including organizing and planning practice and tournament schedules for all three teams, as well as coaching three players to become All-Star team selections.
"Jenny is a rising star in the world of women's basketball," said Coker President Dr. Robert Wyatt. "We are very fortunate to have her joining our team, with her enthusiasm and passion for coaching; we feel she will be a great asset to Coker."
Prior to her time in Iceland, Finora served as the assistant coach and interim head coach at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and she has also has experience coaching at the high school level, as well as serving as an instructor at various camps and clinics throughout the country. She earned her bachelor's degree and her master's degree from the University of Kentucky, earning a B.A. in Health Communication in 2005 and a M.S. in Kinesiology and Health Promotion in 2007. A four year member of the Wildcats women's basketball team, Jenny was a team captain, helping lead her team to the third round of the NIT in 2007 and the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2006. She holds the record for free throw shooting percentage (86.0), while ranking third all-time in three pointers (162) in her career at UK.
"I am very excited and honored to be the next head women's basketball coach and join the Coker College family," said Finora. "The staff and faculty are amazing, as well as the campus. This is a very exciting time for Coker women's basketball."
Finora inherits a Lady Cobras basketball team that finished the 200 9-10 season with a record of 3-24 overall and 2-20 in Conference Carolinas play, placing them 11th in the conference standings. She will have some big shoes to fill with five seniors graduating, including Coker's All-Time leading scorer Henna Koponen.
"With the community's support we will bring this team back to the top," added Finora. "The potential is limitless. I am looking forward to preparing the athletes to excel not only in the classroom and on the court but, also developing them as successful young women after college."
Visit for the latest news and info on Cobras Athletics.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coker College Announces New Athletic Director

News Release from Coker College about 9:45, May 3rd

Coker College Names Griffin Director of Athletics
by Christian Stryker, SID Coker College
Read this article on the web at
HARTSVILLE, S.C. - Coker College president Dr. Robert Wyatt announced today that following a national search, Lynn Griffin has been selected to lead the Coker College Athletic Department as the College's Director of Athletics. Griffin come s to Coker after spending the past seven years at the University of Indianapolis serving as the Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Compliance Coordinator and Senior Woman Administrator.
The 2008 National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) Administrator of the Year, Griffin has more than 12 years collegiate administrative experience, including the direct oversight of 11 sports at Indianapolis, with nine of those teams winning Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Championships, or advancing to the NCAA post season during her time.
Dr. Wyatt expressed his confidence that Griffin is an exceptional person to lead Coker athletics to great things. "We are thrilled to have Lynn join the Coker family. I am very excited by her commitment to helping us build an athletic program of which we can all be proud and one that exemplifies the model embodied by the NCAA Division II "Life in the Balance" platform of preparing student-athletes for th eir careers after college."
Griffin is also a member of two NCAA (women's basketball and swimming and diving), as well as being an active member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the NACWAA. She was also a member of the Indianapolis faculty; serving as an instructor in the Sports Management department.
"Coker College is extremely fortunate to name Lynn Griffin as their next Director of Athletics," said Dr. Sue Willey Director of Athletics at Indianapolis. "She has phenomenal qualifications and is one of the hardest working people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. It has been a privilege to work with her over the past seven years. There is absolutely no doubt that Lynn's leadership abilities will take Coker Athletics to new heights. This is a sad day for Greyhound Athletics but we are all excited for Lynn's new position and wish her the very best."
Prior to her time at Indy, Griffin had been the Associat e Director of Athletics, Compliance Coordinator, Senior Women's Administrator, Head Women's Basketball Coach, and Sport Studies Instructor at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Before St. Andrews, Griffin was the head women's basketball coach and physical education instructor at the University of South Dakota and while also serving as assistant women's basketball coach and P.E. instructor at UNC-Ashville.
"I am honored to be part of the Coker Family as the new director of athletics," said Griffin. "From the first moment I arrived in Hartsville I felt there were great things happening at Coker. Not only great things, but great people with an energy and love for the school. Dr. Wyatt's vision for Coker is exciting and something that I knew I wanted to be a part of. I am blessed to be embraced by so many at Coker during this process. The hospitality and excitement that each person has shown me has been amazing. I look forward to working with Dr. Wyat t and the Hartsville community as we build upon the past successes of the athletics department and the institution, as we work together to continue to make Coker an institution that we are all proud of."
A native of Hendersonville, N.C., Griffin began her career as an assistant women's basketball coach and exercise and sports science instructor at Tarleton State University in Texas, where she earned a master's degree in exercise and sports studies.
In college she was a two sport athlete, competing in women's basketball and softball at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke from 1986-90.
As athletic director at Coker she will be responsible for the oversight of a NCAA Division II athletic department with 13 intercollegiate teams competing in Conference Carolinas. Her responsibilities will also include athletic department planning, program development and assessment, budget and resource management, supervision of compliance with NCAA and Conference Carolin as rules and regulations, coaching and support staff appointments, professional development, outreach to the local and regional community, fundraising, and recruitment and retention of student athletes.
Visit for the latest news and info on Cobras Athletics.
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pre Graduation Honors Winners

Coker College annually has a small dinner to honor the graduation speaker and the winners of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award. That dinner was held April 30 honoring Emerson Gower, who was being conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters award by Coker College for his long career of community service. It also honored Clayton Richardson, who was named the Community Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner for his untiring efforts to make Hartsville, S. C. one of the best communities to live in -- for EVERYONE. Robert O'Hara, who is heading to Law School in the Fall, was also honored as the campus winner of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award. Robert is also known as a "Mr. Coker" for his involvement across campus and his active engagement in the classroom.

Photo caption: Dr. Patricia Lincoln, Coker Provost, served as the emcee of the Pre Graduation dinner that was held at the Drengalen House on the Coker College campus.