DENMARK, S.C. (courtesy voorhees.edu) — During her visit with Voorhees College President Ronnie Hopkins and his leadership team, the Right Reverend Ruth Woodliff-Stanley volunteered to serve as an advocate for Voorhees and asked for other ways she could support the institution. Woodliff-Stanley, who serves as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, also met with students and toured the campus on Friday, Oct. 22.
A firm believer in “Becoming Beloved Community,” the bishop listened to Voorhees leaders discuss how she could help take the institution to the next level of excellence. Among their suggestions was the need for more student scholarships in an effort to reduce student debt upon graduation. Having intentional discussions about health disparities and assisting with resources to relieve some of those disparities was discussed, as was the desire for Woodliff-Stanley to intentionally share messaging about Voorhees and the quality education it provides for students. The bishop also agreed to assist with identifying internships for students and partnering with others to address some of the opportunities at Voorhees.
“I am happy to be an advocate for internships and scholarships for the students. It would be my privilege and joy to talk about Voorhees College,” Woodliff-Stanley said. “I am impressed with your students — not only because of their talent but because of their leadership skills.”
Woodliff-Stanley was referring to the Voorhees Choir who performed during her ordination and consecration service Oct. 2.
“We appreciate the opportunity we had to meet with Bishop Woodliff-Stanley and share with her what we are doing at Voorhees to achieve that next level of excellence,” said Hopkins. “Our dialog was engaging and purposeful. We look forward to an enhanced relationship with the Episcopal Church through Bishop Woodliff-Stanley.”
After a campus tour, Hopkins and Woodliff-Stanley met with students who presented the bishop gifts of Voorhees novelty items.
Students expressed what they love about Voorhees to Woodliff-Stanley.
“I love how family-oriented my HBCU is. It is truly a place of opportunity and growth. I’ve visited Africa twice (Ghana, Liberia, Morocco) and Voorhees teaches you how to network. It’s not the size of the tiger it’s the heart of the tiger that keeps it going,” said Henriadam Brower, a senior sports management major and Mr. Voorhees College.
During their time together, Hopkins pointed out that the bishop had a commonality with Voorhees Founder Elizabeth Evelyn Wright. Wright was the first woman to found a college in the U.S. and Woodliff-Stanley is the first woman to lead the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina as bishop. She is also the first full-time diocesan bishop serving the diocese since 2012.