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Lander University Names Its First Trustee Emeriti

George R. Starnes and Mamie W. Nicholson have been named Lander University's first trustee emeriti. The announcement was made by Jack W. Lawrence, chair of Lander's Board of Trustees, shortly before the board's June 13 meeting.

Mamie W. Nicholson and George R. Starnes have been named as Lander University's first trustee emeriti. The announcement was made by Jack W. Lawrence, chair of Lander's Board of Trustees, shortly before the board's June 13 meeting.

"In addition to attending meetings and functions, a good trustee will be fully involved in the development of university policies," said Lawrence. "But, Mamie and George are extraordinary trustees. They have a history of outstanding contribution and exemplary service to higher education, Lander University, the local community and to the state of South Carolina."

George R. Starnes
Graduating from Lander with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1981, Starnes earned his Master of Science in financial services from The American College in 2002. He was elected to the Lander Board of Trustees in 1992 and served for 24 years before retiring in 2016. From 2001-05, he served as chair and was the first Lander alum elected to serve in that position. He served as vice chair from 2014 until his retirement.

During his service to Lander, he:

  • chaired the Presidential Search Committee in 2014, which resulted in Dr. Richard Cosentino being named the 12th president of Lander;
  • co-chaired the university's $15 million comprehensive campaign from 2001-06; and
  • established the George R. Starnes Family Scholarship.

This is not the first time Starnes has been recognized by Lander. In 1996, he was named Young Alumni of the Year, an accolade reserved for Lander graduates who have distinguished themselves in their chosen field, and who have strengthened their communities and Lander University with their time, talents and resources.

In 2006, he was presented with the Lander Alumni Association's Grace Iler Norman Award, presented annually to a Lander alumna or alumnus who has shown loyalty and significant achievement within the Alumni Association. It is considered the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association and is awarded annually only when a candidate meets the award criteria.

"George has always been completely immersed in Lander," said Lawrence. "We have relied upon his financial expertise, his good judgment and his complete knowledge of every aspect of our university."

Starnes and his wife, Julie, are the parents of three children, and reside in Columbia.

Mamie W. Nicholson
Committed to a life of learning, Nicholson is a graduate of Limestone College, the Council on Foundations Institute, Leadership Greenwood, Furman University's Diversity Leaders Institute, Leadership South Carolina and the Rotary Leadership Institute.

Following a stint on the Lander Foundation Board, she was elected to the Lander Board of Trustees in 1996. She served as a trustee through 2016 - a tenure of 20 years. During that time, she chaired a host of committees, including the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS) Accreditation committee. She also served as secretary of the Board from 2005-08.

"I have come to think of Mamie as the conscience of the university," said Lawrence. "While on the Board, she became a spokesperson for Lander students, and pressed the administration for diversity in leadership and faculty. She is continually pushing us forward and encouraging us to look at ourselves critically when making decisions."

A difference maker in the community, Nicholson currently serves as a member of the Self Regional Hospital Board of Trustees, the Self Family Foundation, the Greenwood County Community Foundation and the Rotary Club as a Paul Harris Fellow.

Recognition by SC House of Representatives
During her recognition as a Trustee Emerita for Lander, Nicholson was presented with a resolution from the South Carolina House of Representatives for her service to the Self Family Foundation and the Lander Board of Trustees.

Her previous leadership includes serving as a:

  • United Way of Greenwood & Abbeville Counties board chair and campaign chair;
  • S.C. State Election Commission member;
  • S.C. Downtown Development Association board member;
  • Leadership SC board member;
  • S.C. National Heritage Corridor board member; and
  • Greenwood Area Habitat for Humanity board member.

Nicholson is married to S.C. Senator Floyd Nicholson. They are the parents of three sons and reside in Greenwood.​