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Fort Mill Couple Sets Up Endowment for Winthrop's Department of English

Sandra and J. Spratt White
ROCK HILL, S.C. - J. Spratt and Sandra Hagler White recently established a $125,000 endowment at Winthrop University to provide scholarships for English majors and to help pay for students and faculty members to travel to conferences, lectures and seminars.

In appreciation, Winthrop officials announced during a Jan. 25 ceremony and reception that a large classroom in Owens Hall would be named the J. Spratt and Sandra Hagler White Lecture Room. English faculty members and students attended to thank the Whites.

Gloria Jones, chair of the Department of English, said faculty members are overwhelmed by the Whites’ generosity. “We have long encouraged our undergraduates to submit papers to undergraduate conferences; however, we have had not the ability to ensure monetary assistance from the department for travel,” Jones said. “This endowment will allow us to support students more consistently in their scholarly endeavors.”

In addition, there is currently only one scholarship that is awarded specifically to English majors, Jones said. “We frequently have numerous applicants for this one award. We will now to able to help more than one student,” she added.

Both Spratt and Sandra White were born and reared in Rock Hill. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1963 at Winthrop and returned for her master’s degree in teaching in English during the 1970s. She now audits English and master of liberal arts courses at the university.

“I know my life has been enriched by an English Department that has consistently maintained the high standards necessary for a true liberal arts education,” Mrs. White said. “For almost five decades I have been taught by professors who have motivated their students, demonstrated mastery of their subject areas and demanded excellence.

“From Dr. Hampton Jarrell’s American Literature Survey Course to Dr. David Rankin’s The Empirical Eye, and to all the great teachers and courses in between, I, like Keats, ‘have traveled much in the realms of gold.’”

Mrs. White taught high school English for a number of years in various school systems. She also taught at York Technical College in the English and G.E.D. departments. A former member and chair of the York County Library Board of Trustees, Mrs. White is now a member of the Friends of Dacus Library Advisory Board.

Spratt White earned an undergraduate degree from Wofford College. After serving in the U.S. Army, he earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina and then entered private law practice in Columbia, S.C. He has served as senior vice president and general counsel for Springs Industries, Inc., and then as vice president and general counsel for Comporium Communications. A former member and chair of the Fort Mill school board, White also chaired the S.C. State Board of Education.

Now living in Fort Mill, the couple has three sons and five grandchildren.

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