Meet Our Team
A dedicated team enables SCICU to successfully serve South Carolina’s independent colleges and universities. They are here to assist members, students and families, and the general public in all matters related to independent higher education in South Carolina.
L. Jeffrey Perez, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Jeff Perez was announced as the seventh president & CEO of SCICU on September 26, 2018, and started his leadership duties on October 29.
Prior to accepting the SCICU president & CEO position, Jeff served as vice president for University Relations at Winthrop University. He was Winthrop’s principal institutional spokesperson and representative at the local, state, and federal levels.
Perez’s higher education leadership in South Carolina also includes a five-year appointment as vice president for external affairs at The Citadel.
Before moving to SC in 2008, Perez held higher ed leadership positions in Ohio (executive director for community affairs at Shawnee State University) and New York (two positions in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, including director of public affairs for the Charter Schools Institute of SUNY and director of communications services for SUNY).
Other previous leadership positions held by Perez include director of research and government relations representative for the New York State School Boards Association.
Perez holds a Ph.D. in American history from the College of William and Mary. He earned a master’s degree from Binghamton University and a Bachelor of Science in foreign service from Georgetown University. In 2013, Perez attended Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management.
Executive Vice President
Eddie Shannon was named executive vice president of SCICU on October 1, 2008. Prior to assuming his current position, he was executive director of the South Carolina Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission in Columbia, SC (1980-2008). Under his leadership, the Tuition Grants Commission, a state agency that awards need-based grants to SC students attending in-state independent colleges, grew from a $9 million state appropriation in 1980 to over $35 million in 2008.
Eddie’s previous work experience includes the SC Student Loan Corporation as a guaranteed loan administrator and Coker College (Hartsville, SC), where he served in the Admissions and Student Financial Aid offices. Eddie is a 1975 graduate of Clemson University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He is a 1994 graduate of the SC Executive Institute and completed the USC Moore Business School Executive Leadership Program offered by the State of South Carolina.
Brenda S. Torrence
Director of Finance and Administration
Brenda Torrence joined the SCICU staff in January 1988, serving as an administrative assistant, then later as office manager and vice president – business affairs. Currently, as director of finance and administration, she manages all the accounting and financial functions of the organization, including the disbursements of scholarship and grant monies. Brenda also serves as the SCICU secretary and treasurer for the Board of Trustees and oversees other events and projects for the organization. Prior to joining the organization, she was assistant vice president and branch manager at First Union National Bank with responsibility for several Columbia branch locations. Brenda resides in Lexington and has one son.
Shay Shealy West
Director of Communications
Shay Shealy West joined the SCICU staff in July 2015 as media/communications specialist. Her responsibilities as director of communications include internal/external publications, newsletters, website content curation and maintenance, database management, research, and technical support for marketing and special events/programs.
A native of Leesville, SC, Shay graduated magna cum laude from Erskine College in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration and minor in government. She also earned an MBA with concentrations in marketing, management information systems, and finance in 1988 from the University of Georgia. Shay has served on the Erskine College Alumni Board of Directors and was named a Frances Cardwell Distinguished Alumni Lecturer, also at Erskine College. While at Erskine, Shay was a recipient of the E. B. Kennedy scholarship, editor-in-chief of The Mirror newspaper, and served two terms as president of the South Carolina Press Association-Collegiate Division.
Shay’s professional background includes marketing and research across multiple industries. She has led national marketing research and database marketing in the financial services and restaurant industries. Shay also serves as secretary for the Executive Committee of The ARC of South Carolina and advocates for children and adults with autism and intellectual disability.