Attendees at the Greater Cayce West Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s final business breakfast meeting of the year heard from the University of South Carolina’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Thad Westbrook, a Lexington attorney and Airport High School graduate, was named chairman of the board of trustees in August after serving as vice chairman for two years.

He asked questions at the Nov. 22 meeting and said he didn’t want to avoid controversial issues.

Westbrook addressed the state Legislature’s spring effort to reorganize the board that governs the USC system following the controversial hiring and departure of former university president Bob Caslen, who resigned after plagiarizing part of a graduation speech, and asked questions about the search process that ultimately led to the hiring of the university’s new president, Michael Amiridis, in January.

“The law was not passed and then died at the end of that session. But we’ve had some changes, not just with the new president,” Westbrook said. “I was elected the new chairman about three months ago and we also have a new vice chairman. And it’s going very well. With the new President, not only have we seen growth in our students and research, but also much more excitement about where things stand at the university.”

He added that while some questioned the selection committee and did not publicly reveal the candidates it was considering, this should allow the university to consider the heads of other academic institutions whose own boards would not have responded well when their leader was openly vying for another job.

Westbrook also discussed the potential impact for the university of a $20 million state-of-the-art nursing simulation center being built by Lexington Medical Center across from its West Columbia campus.

“We don’t have enough nurses in this state,” he says. “We need as many as we can, and Lexington Medical Center is really helping us meet that need for the state.”

Before Westbrook spoke, meeting sponsor Founders Federal Credit Union announced plans to move its first Lexington County location to Sunset Boulevard/US Highway 378 in the spring of next year. —Jordan Lawrence

Highway for fallen Highway Patrol officers

A section of a major road in Lexington County was renamed after a State Highway Patrol officer who died 35 years ago.

According to the schedule of a November 16 ceremony at Lexington Town Hall to unveil the highway signs before they were erected along US Highway 1, Trooper First Class Robert Paul Perry, Jr. was killed in the line of duty on April 15, 1987.

The section of US 1 from Interstate 20 to the city of Lexington now bears his name, thanks to a simultaneous resolution of the state legislature.

“Perry was a four-year veteran of the South Carolina Highway Patrol,” the resolution reads. “He was chasing a motorcycle on Muddy Creek Road in Williamsburg County when the pursuit entered an unpaved area of ​​Muddy Creek Road and Snow Lake Road. Trooper First Class Perry lost control of his cruiser and crashed into a small bridge and tree. He died from injuries sustained in the accident.”

Many members of Perry’s family attended the ceremony, which included opening prayers from his son, Robert Paul Perry, III, and from Colonel Chrisopher Williamson, commander of the State Highway Patrol, and Robert Woods, director of the State Department of Public Safety Likewise.

Perry’s nephew, Robert Perry Mangum, provided the family’s response to the highway’s dedication and took the opportunity to speak out against efforts to defund law enforcement, with Williams emphasizing sentiment again in his closing remarks.

“I want to make it very clear today that it is on you all, but especially those who hold elected office, not to silently ignore or listen and learn from this rhetoric, but to vigorously denounce it,” Mangum said. “It’s un-American and incompatible with civil society. And families like mine, who know what it’s like to lose a loved one from duty, are the ones who suffer in silence when that rhetoric goes unanswered.” – Jordan Lawrence

Sports field for state champions from 1963

Almost 60 years later, local champions were honored.

On November 22, the Brookland-Lakeview Empowerment Center dedicated the newly renovated playing field, now in the former school, to Lakeview High School Football, the 1963 Class AA state champion.

The dedication commemorates the success of the previously separate school. The handover ceremony included a Lakeview football alum and an AAU youth player, in an attempt to bring generations together.

According to a document from Cindye Richburg-Cotton, the center’s executive director, work began in 1943 to introduce an organized football team program at the school. Miles David (MD) Bogan, a former Lakeview director, and associates managed to assemble a team to play in the 1944 season despite very little financial resources.

“This athletic field has been renovated using all grants and donations and partnerships with Dominion Energy so that we can provide recreational services to the people of this community,” said Richburg-Cotton. “This space will allow to offer these services to people in the community, the field has a walking path and can be used for football, soccer, volleyball and any type of sport, so it is the community field.

During that first season, the field was nicknamed the “Dust Bowl” by students and others due to the sandy and dusty condition.

The team won state championships in 1955 and 1963, with the team’s final season coming in 1967 as the school district began to integrate.

— Kailee Kokes