Through the decades
Greenville Technical College has shared in the upstate's story over the past 50 years. Now we want to hear your story. Share with us how Greenville Tech has touched your life. Use our share feature and connect with others on Facebook.
1960s Share on Facebook
I began working at Greenville TEC (as it was first called) in July of 1962, before the first classes were offered to students. I was one of the first faculty employed at the center. As a chemical engineer, my role was to teach the engineering, chemistry, math, physics and science courses. Upon arrival for my first day on the job, I reported to the Center Director, Harvey Haynes, who employed me, and he assigned me to a Director-in-Training named Thomas E. Barton. Barton was initially targeted to be the Director at Trident TEC. (Soon after I arrived, Haynes resigned and Barton became the Director in Greenville.)
Mr. Barton (this was before he got his doctorate) carried me down to the chemistry lab. I learned that one of his roles was to get all of the equipment unpacked and prepared for the students that would be coming in a few days. The chemistry lab was full of boxes. I was asked to unpack the boxes. Having spent a lot of time in chemistry labs, I found that it was almost like unwrapping Christmas presents in unpacking all of the boxes of beakers, burners and such. By the end of the day, I must have taken hundreds of items out of the boxes. Mr. Barton stopped by to see how I had progressed. Initially he was impressed, then in looking around, he said: "Oh No!" He explained that when the order was placed both the Greenville and Spartanburg equipment were bought at the same time and that Greenville was holding the Spartanburg equipment until the Spartanburg center was far enough along in construction for the equipment to be sent there. So, all of the equipment that I unpacked my first day on the job belonged to Spartanburg TEC. The boxes of equipment in the adjoining lab belonged to Greenville TEC.
So, my second day on the job was repacking the Spartanburg equipment. Then, the third day on the job, I had the joy of unpacking the Greenville TEC equipment that I would use with my students in the Chemistry lab.
Lex Walters, Greenville TEC faculty member 1962 -1964
In seeing Gov. Hollings pictured in the1960 era photos, I recall one of my favorite stories. General Electric was coming to Greeville to manufacture outside lighting -- parking lot lights and such. The announcement was going to be at Greenville Tech (or TEC as it was called in the 60s). As Dean of Instruction, I was given the responsibility to prepare everything for the announcement. It was decided that the announcement would be outside in a parking area and the stage would be using a flat bed truck trailer. General Electric had manufactured a special light that looked like a parking lot light but had a piece of plexiglass on top so when the electricity was turned on it looked like the lamp had a flame coming out of the top. It was to be the "Lamp of Knowledge" and would be unveiled during the ceremony. A drape was to be placed around the flat bed trailer, and we decided to spell out: LAMP OF KNOWLEDGE and unveil this at the same time as the lamp was unveiled. I turned this over to the Drafting and Design Department for their students to make the signs spelling out Lamp of Knowledge.
Governor Hollings was to be the principal speaker and he arrived early to look over the plans for the event. I explained the plans to unveil the lamp and to also unveil the sign the students had made that had been placed along the front of the flat bed trailer. When showing the sign to the Governor, he said: "I don't think you'll want to unveil this sign!" "Why" I asked? The Governor informed us that the word KNOWLEDGE was mispelled. It was spelled KNOWLEGE. The "D" had been left out. Embarrassed, we only unveiled the lamp.
Lex Walters, GTC Dean of Instruction, 1964-66.
As a 1967 graduate of the Air conditioning program at Greenville Technical College, it has been exciting to see the growth and changes that have taken place in both the school and in the Greenville community as a whole.
In 1967 there was only one building on the campus, and the canteen was in a main hallway. One neat thing about this was that students from all programs could meet and get to know each other. The one common theme all of these students had was the desire to finish their education and start a career in their chosen field of study. Back then many of the careers we may take for granted today, were just starting out and in some cases, the only place for formal training was Greenville Tech.
In 1967 very few homes had central air conditioning systems in them, so we studied the air conditioning and humidity controls needed in the many textile mills around Greenville. We also studied household refrigerators and the small refrigeration systems used in dairy farms in the area to keep fresh milk cool. There were also some small grocery stories and ice houses that had refrigeration systems in them.
Fortunately, Greenville Tech and the programs offered here have been able to change, update, and grow to meet the ever-changing needs of the Greenville community and the students GTC serves.
As an example today, we have MEGA grocery stores like Bi-Lo and Wal-Mart. Both of them require air conditioning and massive amounts of refrigeration equipment. Manufacturing plants and hospitals require air conditioning and clear air to perform their required tasks; many of them have energy management control systems to help reduce energy and operating costs. Homes today have high- efficiency, variable speed heating and cooling systems with programmable temperature controls. Many homes and buildings are using geo thermal heat pump systems for heating and cooling.
Thank you Greenville Technical College for helping ME and Greenville grow.
1970s Share on Facebook
I was so lucky to be able to attend Greenville Technical College after high school in 1971. My family was not wealthy, and funds for college were limited. That's why Greenville Tech is so awesome. It provides a fabulous education at an affordable price to those who may not otherwise have an opportunity to attend college. That opportunity certainly became personal for me with the secretarial program. I had always wanted to be a secretary. When I graduated from high school, girls either became nurses or secretaries. How times have changed! I began working for General Electric Gas Turbines my last semester and was hired permanently after graduation. After General Electric, I worked almost 20 years for Texize/DowBrands in Mauldin until the operation closed. Now I am fortunate to work here at the College and help others along their way. I am confident the training and skills I developed here at Greenville Tech through the excellent faculty and course curriculum helped me succeed each step of the way in my career. If you are looking for a great learning environment and an excellent education, come to Greenville Tech. You will be challenged, but you will never have any regrets.
Sally Burn Williamson
Students! Students! Students! I was so priveleged to work in the early 70's in the Registrar's office with Bill Fleming, Registrar. What a great time in history as more options and career paths were introduced to young men and women that weren't readily available before in the Greenville area. The students that I registered for classes were enthusiastic, eager, hard-working and hopeful about their futures in nursing, automotives, para-legal, criminal justice and more. With Greenville Tech being rather new, it was still small in size, but with the adjacent property, and with the insightful Tech faculty and staff leadership and local support from our wise mayor and city council and planners, it was only a vision away from becoming the reality of today. Greenville Technical College is the academic cornerstone of the entire Upstate community continually touching lives, strengthening families, boosting careers and paving the way for a brighter tomorrow, locally, regionally, nationally, and ultimately globally having a sustainable effect on us all!
I had always done well in high school, but knew even before I graduated, that I didn't want to leave home for college. I checked into what was available at Greenville Tech, and the counselors there were really great in helping me choose the Technical Secretary program. I received a diploma in Technical Secretary in 1972, and with the help of the instructors in the department, I landed a great job even before I graduated. Then after working for about 16 years, my boss prompted me into looking into what it would take for me to get my associate degree. I started realizing that many of the classes I had taken over the years and some of my work-related experience put me well on my way to an associate degree. In 1989 I received an associate degree in Business.
Greenville Tech helped me get the education I needed to end up in a career I have loved over the last 40 years!
1980s Share on Facebook
Esther K. Pinckney
My journey at Greenville Technical College began in 1980 through a program called CETA/JTPA which was a workforce initiative act that trained individuals to place them in the workplace. My training took place on the 3rd floor of the University Transfer Building where the majority of the students took upgrading classes. My first training assignment was as a materials clerk. A materials clerk was one who issued books to students to check out for use in the classroom. Later I was trained as a para-professional. Two years later I was hired as a para-professional then as a student advisor on the same floor in the same area. We were a close-knit family on the 3rd floor where it holds a lot of good memories. As my journey continues I have seen and experienced many changes, for change has been a part of the success of the college. I have seen buildings constructed, and I have seen students come and go and then come back again. Now 32 years later I am positioned in the ARC located in McAlister Square as an administrative assistant /information specialist in Admissions. I have remained at Greenville Technical College because I believe their value to be the best for students seeking career and educational opportunities, and I also believe in their mission to drive personal and economic growth through learning. It is very rewarding to be a part of a student educational journey to accomplish their goals through higher education.
1990s Share on Facebook
Michelle Lollis Autry
My story begins in the '90s. I decided that Greenville Tech was the right fit for me after graduating from high school. I pursued a diploma in Surgical Technology. I graduated with honors. My OR labs were held in the Allied Health building on the 3rd floor.
In 1999, I returned. This time I was pursing a degree in Nursing. Funny enough, by then the new Nursing/science building was built and in use. I did however have anatomy in the Allied Health building, in my old OR lab. I thought that was sort of cool.
Jump to 2009...I was hired as a Surgical Technology instructor at Greenville Tech. I would not consider working at any other college. I was and am proud to say I am a two time graduate and faculty member of this college. I guess you could say I have come full circle-from the student to the teacher.
I wish continued success and another 50 years (just as a starter) for Greenville Technical College.
My family and I moved from Myrtle Beach to Greenville, SC in 1997 and I immediately attended Greenville Technical College. While attending Greenville Tech, I was a work-study for few months in the Business Office, at the time located in Barton Campus. Though, my work-study experience was short-lived, it gave me the basic understanding of accounting. Also, I was able to find a part-time job through the Career Center. The staff at the Career Center were very assisting to prepare students in the corporate world.
Few months before graduation with an Associate Degree in Accounting, I accepted an accountant position in a local advertising firm and was employed until 2008. In January 2010, I was employed in Greenville Tech and became the finance liaison for Corporate & Career Development in the Business Office a year after. Who would've thought that my life will resurface where it began! (smile)
After my husband passed away, I was in the desperate need to upgrade my skills in order to support my two young children. In 1994, I began taking classes full-time here at Greenville Technical College toward an Associate Degree in Accounting. It had been years since I had stepped foot inside a classroom and I had no idea how to even turn on a computer. With the support of some really wonderful instructors, I began to flourish. I was nominated to become a Tech Ambassador by one of my instructors. Representing Greenville Tech in this capacity increased my skills with working with the public and ultimately led me to make some invaluable contacts with key Tech staff members. In 1996, I was hired on at Greenville Tech at the Information Center. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that making that faithful decision to return to college would lead me to such a rewarding career here at Greenville Tech. I so enjoy helping our students to fulfill their college ambitions because I have walked in their shoes and I know what a difference Greenville Tech has made in my life. I want that experience for others.
2000s Share on Facebook
I learned of GTC when I began the pursuit of furthering my nursing career in 1999. I worked as an LPN in Long Term care for several years in Ohio. After moving to the area in 1997 I began dreaming of becoming a RN. I wanted to find an accelerated program registered nursing program; one that would give me credit for my LPN experience. And so it began.
I graduated in March 2001 and began working @ SRHS on the inpatient oncology/hospice unit. Another new GTC graduate began on this unit @ the same time........Also hired were new graduates from other area nursing schools, some with a BSN. I remember several months after we began working the 12 hour days on this busy unit, a nursing manager speaking in a rather loud and exasperated tone, "I need more GTC graduates". How do we get in there? Shortly after, GTC began using SRHS for clinical sites. That instilled a pride in GTC and myself as a graduate that remains today.
In January of 2007, I began a pursuit for a Master's degree in Nursing with a focus in education. I also left SRHS and began working @ McCall Hospice House next to the GTC Brashier campus in June of that same year. I was privileged to admit the first patient to that facility. GTC students began coming to the McCall house for clinicals in January of 2008. I was very excited to introduce hospice to this population. When it became clear that I needed a preceptor to finish up my MSN studies, little did I realize that GTC, again would play a vital role in my education and career. Bouvia Jones agreed to become my preceptor; I met her through working @ the hospice house. As soon as I attended a faculty educational offering and was introduced, Wanda Baker, program chair and my former nursing instructor cried out. "She's one of us!". She asked me later that day to apply for an adjunct position, bringing students to the Hospice House.
Fast forward today. I have been a full time nursing instructor for Greenville Technical College for two years now with an office on the Barton Campus. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine in March of 2001, what a vital role GTC would play in the future for this former LPN. Thank you Greenville Technical College. Julia Elaine McNamee, RN OCN MSN and 2001 Greenville Technical College alumni/Present Nursing Instructor.
Most people would bring to mind dreadful recollections over enlighten moments when being asked about their college experiences. Likely, in my case, going to school would always be a pleasant journey to remember.
When I first came to Greenville S.C., almost 20 years ago from Peru, I was not aware that Greenville Technical College was going to be one of the most significant steps on my way to accomplish my educational goals. Because of this institution I was able ?not only to deter my insecurities about being an outsider, but to build a bridge between my culture and a new life as a college student without giving up my uniqueness. I will never forget the day when was late for one of my early classes, after opening the door I stood up in front of my instructor and apologized for being late. To my surprise my classmates laughed out loud so she looked at my puzzled face, nodded and said to me ?thank you? giving me a sweet smile in return. From then on, I learned that it was not disrespectful to walk in a classroom a few minutes late after the instructor has already started. Right there I knew that my learning process will include several aspects of my live. From my instructor?s good attitude and wisdom when helping me identify my strength and how to manage my weakness, to the caring staff disposition when making sure I was getting in the right class, furthering my education, by getting a bachelors degree and now pursuing a graduate degree, have not been the only reward this institution has helped me to reach, but a degree on how to be prepared for life and all its inevitable challenges.
Today I can say, thanks Greenville Technical College for opening your doors to a Peruvian student who became one of your employees for the last 13 years; and for setting up a precedent to those that will come after me that this school really is committed to helping its students accomplish their educational goals to success.
In the month of July, 2004, I was a student at Greenville Tech. I became employed under the Work Study program in the Information Center within the Student Services Division. A full time position became available in the Information Center, I stepped out on faith, and was hired on November 1, 2005. During my employment with Greenville Tech, I managed to continue pursuing my degree in Office Systems Technology(OST), graduated in December, 2006, and remained in Student Services until December 1, 2011. I am currently positioned in the CCD division at the Buck Mickel Center, and I look forward to excelling at Greenville Tech while taking full advantage of all opportunities that may come my way.
Erin R. Smith, Student Services
My Greenville Tech Story starts with my mother and ends with me. In the late 1980's, my mother began a long process towards getting her associate's degree through Greenville Tech. A recently widowed, single mother she could not devote all of her attention to school because she had to work to support me and at the time I was very young, still a toddler. After a time she managed to finish with an Associate's degree in Early Childhood Education and then completed a Bachelor's degree program in Business Management from Southern Weslyan University exactly one semester before I completed my Bachelor's degree program. My mother is my inspiration in many ways but she also inspires me as I currently work with potential students of all ages who desire to start their educational journey with Greenville Tech. I tell them they they can do it because my mother did!