The University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine works to serve the Palmetto State through exceptional education, research breakthroughs and world-class health care. That’s the message executive dean Dr. Les Hall brought to Capital Rotarians as their Dec. 13 guest speaker. Dr. Hall also serves as CEO of the Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, which became active in April 2016. That group combined medical school faculty and local Palmetto Health System physicians to become the largest and most comprehensive set of health care providers in central South Carolina. Dr. Hall came to USC in 2015 from the University of Missouri. His academic work has focused on professional education, especially in the areas of quality improvement, patient safety and teamwork.
Since opening earlier this year, the University of South Carolina’s new School of Law has become the anchor for a “law corridor of Columbia” running along Gervais Street, says dean Rob Wilcox. He told Capital Rotary members on a tour Nov. 29 (he’s at far right in photo) that the legal district also includes the S.C. Supreme Court, the State House and the National Advocacy Center, which trains attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department. The three-story, $80 million law school features 17 classrooms and two realistic courtrooms. Wilcox said its design has a purpose and an impact that goes beyond mere aesthetics. “It’s designed to send a message to our students – it’s not just college anymore,” he explained. “It’s the beginning of your profession. Different things will be expected of students here. There are responsibilities that come with this.” USC’s School of Law is one of the nation’s oldest and the state’s only nonprofit law school. Its new home occupies nearly an entire city block at Bull and Gervais streets. Capital Rotary’s tour was part of the club’s Fifth Wednesday program featuring local field trips in place of a regular meeting.
Social media and the Internet make it easier to spread “fake news” today, but there are several key factors for judging the reliability of what we hear and see reported locally and nationally, according to John Monk, a writer for The State newspaper since 1997. Monk was Capital Rotary’s Nov. 15 guest speaker, sharing what he’s learned after some 40 years as a journalist in South Carolina. To judge a story’s merits, Monk suggested readers or listeners should: (1) see if the story comes from a major news organization that carefully checks facts before publication; (2) consider the personal reputation and reliability of the reporter; and (3) remember that news is a “continuing conversation” that “hopefully is not the final word.” He told Rotarians that “there is a good deal of evidence that propaganda spreads through fake news.” Monk is a Maryland native, attended Davidson College and spent five years as Washington correspondent for The Charlotte Observer.
Do you know about Polio? Take 45 minutes of your life and learn about it. This video was produced on World Polio Day, Tuesday, October 24, 2017 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and it give you the most up to date information on the efforts to eliminate this dreaded disease.
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South Carolina’s recovery from the economic recession that began in December 2007 has outpaced U.S. growth in some measures since that time, but future forecasts depend on continued consumer confidence and on the politics of issues such as healthcare, fair trade, tax reform and rebuilding infrastructure. That’s according to the University of South Carolina’s Dr. Bob Hartwig (shown with Capital Rotary Club member Chris Myers). Hartwig – clinical associate professor of finance and co-director of USC’s Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management – was Capital Rotary’s Nov. 8 guest speaker. He said that 70 percent of the nation’s economy is tied to consumer spending. Recent polls show public and business confidence in, and optimism about, improving economic conditions. Hartwig earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1993 and speaks frequently on all issues related to insurance markets.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club has made donations for two humanitarian causes – one to eradicate polio, the other to provide disaster relief in the U.S. and overseas.
The club raised $882 that will be matched with District Designated Funds to become a donation of $1,764 for the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio. Ending polio has been a mission of Rotary International since 1985. Rotarians have contributed more than $1.7 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.
Capital Rotary’s contribution – and the resulting match from District 7770 in eastern South Carolina – was made to celebrate World Polio Day/Week. World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Dr. Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
The local club’s disaster relief donation totaled $8,000 earmarked for rebuilding lives and communities following hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, plus the September earthquakes in Mexico. “We are coordinating through Rotary for the best way to distribute our funds to make a difference,” said Capital president Blake DuBose.
“Our board voted for this donation because we remember when Columbia was impacted by a 1,000-year flood in 2015 and an outpouring of support came from all parts of the country,” DuBose added. “The greater Columbia area was the beneficiary of an incredible amount of giving then, so we’re doing what we can in the same spirit now.”
Community engagement and educational programs help the SC Philharmonic keep classical music alive, fun and relevant in the Midlands, according to music director Morihiko Nakahara, Capital Rotary’s guest speaker for Nov. 1. Nakahara (shown demonstrating a conductor’s baton signals to the orchestra) has promoted interactive and outreach efforts since joining the Philharmonic in 2008. Some of the most successful include (1) “Conduct the Phil” – an open podium where spectators take their turn leading groups of string players at public events; (2) concerts, youth orchestras and in-school programs to spark students’ passion for music; and (3) a “healing harmonies” project that sends Philharmonic musicians to area healthcare facilities to assist in “soothing the soul while the body mends.” Nakahara says outreach is necessary to “break down the barrier between musicians and the community at large” so the Philharmonic can continue to perform and promote high-quality symphonic music.
Chapin High School Principal Akil Ross was named 2018 National Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)’s. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Chapin Sunrise and has been the principal at the school for seven years. The association praised Ross for significant improvement in graduation rates and academic proficiency. That improvements happened after he helped raise money to provide extra instruction for struggling students to reduce dropouts, the group said. He pushes for social as well as academic development among students, encouraging volunteer efforts that improve the Lexington County community and areas around it. Ross is known for what he calls the six Rs: “Ready to learn, Respectful to others, Responsible to ourselves, Rigor in teaching, Relevance in learning and meaningful Relationships among students, faculty and staff.” His message to students and staff is: “We are a thousand passions with one heartbeat.” It’s a motto that he says will foster an environment where students are challenged academically while pursuing interests. Congratulations to Rotarian Akil Ross on this achievement.
Cybercrime costs U.S. business more than $1.3 billion yearly and often takes the form of bogus e-mails, according to Lt. D. Britt Dove, supervisory agent for the S.C. Law Enforcement Division’s (SLED) Computer Crime Center. Dove (at right, talking with Rotarian Tommy Gibbons) was Capital Rotary’s Oct. 18 guest speaker. He said every business connected to the internet is a potential cybercrime victim. Businesses are vulnerable to being scammed by e-mail as criminals expand their ability to steal money directly or to turn stolen data into money. Dove detailed several safeguards that include (1) educate employees to recognize suspicious e-mails; (2) be cautious when e-mails request confidential information or information out of the ordinary; (3) double check e-mail sender details carefully, watching for similar domain names or characters that have been swapped for other letters; (4) forward e-mail responses instead of hitting “reply” so you can type out the genuine e-mail address for the person you wish to communicate with; and (5) confirm details of the e-mail request by contacting the sender using a known phone number. Lt. Dove is a University of South Carolina graduate, a former West Columbia Police Dept. investigator, and is active in the Secret Service Electronic Taskforce, FBI Cyber Taskforce and the S.C. Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce.
Lee Ann Rice (center) is welcomed as Capital Rotary’s newest member by sponsor Katherine Anderson and club president Blake DuBose. Rice, a Greenville native, is the S.C. Human Affairs Commission’s general counsel. She formerly practiced law in Myrtle Beach, where she was a Chicora Rotary member, a Paul Harris Fellow, and was 2011 Rookie Rotarian of the Year. Rice is the mock trial team coach for Brookland Cayce High School and is a Women In Philanthropy member through United Way. She’s also a candidate for the state government’s Certified Public Manager program, Class of 2019. She attended Furman University and the University of South Carolina’s School of Law.