Following the magnitude of the college’s 125th Anniversary celebration, the Alumni Association Board would like to continue the momentum of recognizing our outstanding alums who demonstrate high levels of achievement and/or service in one or more of the Seven Core Values of Converse College – Excellence, Integrity, Exploration, Diversity, Respect, Community, and Progress. We anticipate regular recognition of the women, and yes, even men too, of the undergraduate and graduate programs. Join us in recognizing those individuals who have taken our core values and made them part of their everyday lives.
The Converse Career Achievement Award recognizes an alum who has dedicated herself/himself to excellence in her/his profession and has distinguished herself/himself by notable achievements credited over a continual period of time.
The 2015 Converse Career Achievement Award will go to Laura Callaway Hart.
Laura graduated from Converse College in 1975, earning a Bachelor of Arts, with distinction in course, with a major in Piano Performance. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from the University of South Carolina in 1983. Laura has been a partner in two prestigious law firms in Columbia, South Carolina and is now Of Counsel to Duff, White & Turner, a firm with extensive experience and a particular focus on education law. In what she considers the most significant work of her career, she served as one of three primary attorneys for the plaintiff school districts in the landmark school funding lawsuit, Abbeville County School District, et al. v. State of South Carolina, et al. The case resulted in a ruling in her clients’ favor that the State of South Carolina had failed to meet its constitutional obligation of providing an adequate education to each child in the State. For her work on the case, she received her firm’s Claude M. Scarborough, Jr. Pro Bono Award, and the trial team as a group received state and national public service and pro bono awards. Laura has been named a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, has served on the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association, and is a member of the National Council of School Attorneys, South Carolina Council of School Attorneys, the South Carolina Bar, and the Richland County Bar Association. Laura also serves on the Board of Trustees of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities and on the Partnership Board of Richland County First Steps of Richland County, and is a recipient of the Tribute to Women and Industry Diamond Award from the YWCA.
The Career Achievement in Music Award recognizes an alum who has dedicated herself/himself to excellence in her/his profession in music and for notable achievements credited over a continual period of time. This award may be presented to anyone with a dedication to music from educator to performer.
2015 Career Achievement in Music Award will go to Janice Hudson Janiec. She was an undergraduate student at Converse College, taught on the voice faculty for many years, and performed on Converse's many stages. She graduated from Queens College in 1959 with a BA in music. She completed her master's degree at Winthrop College in Rock Hill, SC with a master's degree in music education and performance in 1984.Janice, who retired as an Associate Professor of Music in the Department of Fine Arts and Communication Studies at USC Upstate, began teaching there in 1986 and taught classes in music appreciation, vocal performance, and music for the young child, a course geared for elementary school teachers. Janice's musical talents are manifold and her enthusiasm for art is infectious. Along with being a professor and choral conductor, she sang in the Greenville Chorale, conducted four different church choirs, and performed recitals all over the Southeast. She is perhaps best known for her vocal abilities – both her talents as an opera singer, and her abilities as an all-around performer. Over the course of her career, she performed lead roles in over 30 musical productions. Her last public performance was in "Divas and Dames – 65 Years of SLT (Spartanburg Little Theatre)" in 2011.
The Community Service Award recognizes an alum who displays the qualities of a vibrant citizen through her/his active involvement in her/his community, church and state.
The 2015 Community Service Award will go to Perry Russell Gilreath. She graduated Converse in 1965. She went on to receive a MAT from Duke University in 1966 and has resided in Greenville since 1969. She has held numerous volunteer positions including PTA President; President of the Junior League of Greenville from 1980-1981; Girl Scouts Leader for all three of her daughters' troops; and with the Community Foundation of Greenville since 2000 including Grants Review Committee, Board of Directors since 2007, Assistant Secretary from 2013-14, Chair of the Margaret Southern Endowment Committee from 2012-14, and recipient of the Ruth Nicholson Award for service to the Community Foundation and its projects in 2011. This Easley native has a history of giving back. She is a former biology teacher and self-described professional volunteer. Perry established the Gilreath Family Fund in 2000 in order to help others with less opportunity and to help the Greenville community. She has also taken the time to educate others about the needs in the Greenville community and the impact of charitable giving.
The Mae Kilgo Spirit Award is given to an alum who, by constant and loyal service to Converse College, has kept the college visible to other alum and her/his community.Dorothy
The 2015 Mae Kilgo Spirit Award will go to Dorothy "Dot" Ormond Grier. She is a Converse graduate from the class of 1950. She is a sustaining member of the Spartanburg Junior League where she has served on several committees and as the president for two years. She also served as the president of The Assembly in Spartanburg, a proud volunteer as Chairman of the Board for the Mountain View Nursing Home, a board member for the Little Theatre of Spartanburg, and has served on various boards at Converse including the Arts Council, Alumnae Board, and Board of Visitors. She is most proud of having been married to her husband, Tom, for 65 years and raising three children, eight grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
The Young Alumna Award is given to an alum within 15 years of graduation who embodies the qualities of character and achievement that Converse alum hold as their ideal.
The 2015 Young Alumna Award will go to Lauren Teague Prochak. She graduated in 2005 and went on to complete a Masters in Divergent Learning and a Masters plus 30 hours in Administration. She worked as a teacher for six years and was in administration for three years at Chapin Elementary School in School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties before being named Principal in 2014. Chapin Elementary School's Special Education programming has expanded over the past four years to be inclusive of more students with special needs in the Chapin community. She believes that in order to ensure high levels of academic success, Chapin Elementary must provide a learning environment that is safe, engaging and supportive of all aspects of the child.