Alumni Association cites three for top honors

April 07, 2011

An army major, a recognized hospice care expert and the manager of Lander’s newest athletic facility are the 2011 recipients of the Lander Alumni Association’s top awards.

The honorees are Major Cory Plowden, a 17-year South Carolina National Guard and U.S. Army veteran; Nancy Boyter Corley, chief executive officer of HospiceCare of the Piedmont in Greenwood; and Steve Grogan, Lander’s assistant athletic director and manager of the Jeff May Complex.

 Major Cory Plowden

Major Cory Plowden

Plowden was chosen as the Young Alumnus of the Year, an award honoring alumni who have graduated within the last 15 years and serve their communities in exemplary ways. A native of Troy, he graduated from Lander in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He was also the distinguished military graduate when he completed the Lander Bearcat Company’s ROTC program. He has a master’s degree in health care management from Webster University and his military occupational specialty is medical services.

Plowden, who has served two tours of duty in Iraq, was surprised to receive the award. “I am not doing anything extraordinary,” he said.

Lt. Col. Warren Bacote, a 1989 Lander graduate and garrison commander at Ft. Devens, Mass., disagrees. He nominated Plowden for the award, citing his many accomplishments in uniform. He said, “He has had a superior military career and his service is a credit to Lander.”

Plowden’s decorations include the Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Achievement Medal and three Army Commendation Medals. He is married to the former Shalunda Callaham of Greenwood and the couple has two daughters, Courtney, 15, and Taylor, 9.

Greenwood native Nancy Corley, a 1975 graduate of Lander’s School of Nursing, was chosen for the Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award, given to graduates who have gained distinction in their careers.

A leader in hospice and end-of-life care, Corley was the first person in South Carolina to become certified as a hospice and palliative care administrator. During her 22 years as chief executive of the organization, HospiceCare of the Piedmont has grown from a staff of four to 75, caring for over 500 patients a year. She has also served on a number of state and national hospice boards and committees and was recognized by the state legislature for her community hospice work.

 Nancy Corley

Nancy Boyter Corley

She said she is very honored to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. “It is extremely rewarding to be appreciated by the people you serve.”

Corley, the mother of three adult children, still maintains ties to Lander as a guest lecturer, and the university’s student nurses rotate through HospiceCare as part of their clinical requirements.

The Grace Iler Norman Award, recognizing significant achievements within the university and the Alumni Association, went to 1980 graduate Steve Grogan, who was Lander’s director of Alumni Affairs for 14 years.

The Westminster native received a physical education degree from Lander and a master’s degree from Western Carolina University in North Carolina. After graduation, he taught school and coached in Aiken County. At Lander, he has also worked as director of Career Services and director of Development.

In December 2009, he was appointed to supervise construction of the Jeff May Complex for recreation, wellness and sports, and six months later he was named assistant athletics director and complex manager.

Grogan said, “It is very humbling to receive this award when you look at the list of the past recipients.” He said many of those people and others at Lander had a big impact on his life academically and personally.

Steve Grogan

Steve Grogan 

He said the award is even more of an honor since he knew Grace Iler Norman, who was Lander’s first Alumni Affairs director.

Grogan is a former recipient of the Alumni Association’s Young Alumnus Award and a member of the Samuel Lander Society for including Lander in his will. He and his wife, Gayle, have two children: Jimmy and Greg.

Plowden, Corley and Grogan will receive their awards at the Alumni Association’s Alumni Day luncheon April 16.