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Greenville Tech opens student center with $2M gift

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Greenville Technical College opened a new concept in student services made possible by a donation from a graduate who wanted to pay her positive experience forward.

The Dreisbach/Anderson Student Success Center is located on the college’s Barton Campus and contains the offices and resources charged with making sure students enroll and succeed.

The late Dodie Anderson’s 2018 gift of $2 million helped to transform an existing building into today’s center. 

Enrolling at Greenville Technical College after her children were grown, Anderson was hesitant to return to the classroom, having been told in high school that she wasn’t college material, according to a news release and her remarks when the college celebrated the gift in 2018.

Greenville Tech staff membeers and officials cut the ribbon on the new student center. (Photo/Provided)In her first class, however, she found support from a history instructor, Norm Raiford, who built her confidence and showed her that she belonged on a college campus, that she could achieve, and that she could set her sights even higher.

After earning an associate degree at Greenville Tech in 1979, Anderson moved on to what was then USC Spartanburg where she completed a bachelor’s degree. She credits the knowledge she gained for allowing her and husband Bob to grow their plywood manufacturing company into Anderson Hardwood Flooring.

“Dodie Anderson’s exceptional generosity will allow many people in our community to do what she did: make progress toward their goals, excel with the support of caring faculty and staff, and find successful futures,” Keith Miller, president of Greenville Technical College, said in the news release. “We will think of Dodie as we see students walk across the stage at commencement, having found the resources to overcome challenges along the way.”

In selecting the building’s name, Anderson honored a Greenville Tech classmate. Daniel Dreisbach enrolled at GTC in the late 1970s.

While in school, she became friends with Dreisbach, who was going to school by day and working nights to get by. He would become the only graduate of the South Carolina Technical College System ever to become a Rhodes Scholar. Today he is a law professor and a nationally recognized expert on First Amendment law, Anderson said at the 2018 celebration of her gift.

Dreisbach completed a doctor of philosophy degree at the University of Oxford and a law degree at the University of Virginia, according to the release.

“The $2 million gift Mrs. Anderson left to the Greenville Tech Foundation ensures that there will be other students whose life trajectory will be changed at Greenville Tech,” Dreisbach said in the release. “That is her legacy.”

Services within the Dreisbach/Anderson Student Success Center were reimagined to eliminate physical lines and the “ping pong” experience of going from office to office to complete the enrollment process. Instead, students stay in place as the services they need come to them, the release said.

Located in the center are services that help new students get registered and ready for class including enrollment services, financial aid, the Right Start Advising Center, placement testing, the bursar’s office, recruiting, and Veteran Student Services, the release said. The Center for Career and Professional Development helps entering students choose a career path, provides information to current students on opportunities ahead, and offers lifetime employment assistance for graduates. The Early College program helps high school students interested in getting an early start on earning college credits as they begin moving toward advanced academic goals. The Economic Development and Corporate Training Division provides customized training solutions for corporate, professional, and personal career development.

“Mom’s gift to create a student success center at Greenville Technical College gave her the opportunity to come full circle, returning to the place where she started,” daughter Randi Anderson Berry said in the release. “She wanted to pay forward the love, care and support that she and her classmate, Daniel, received there so that other students could take those first steps, find the resources to help, and meet their goals.”

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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