Alumni News

Alumni News, Awards, and Honors from the Summer 2019 Commentary

Dr. Anne Lamb Matthews, ‘64, Honored as a 2019 Distinguished South Carolina Public School Graduate

The South Carolina Foundation for Educational Leadership hosted its third annual gala on March 29, 2019, to celebrate this year’s Distinguished South Carolina Public School Graduates and South Carolina Educator Hall of Fame inductees. The 2019 Distinguished South Carolina Public School Graduates honored included Dr. Anne Lamb Matthews, ‘64, a 1960 graduate of J. Paul Truluck High School (Lake City High School) in Florence School District Three, and a Coker College alumna.

The “Seasons of Love: The Story Never Ends” gala celebrated of the impact of public education and how it contributed to the achievements of the six honorees. Funds raised from the gala support leadership development programs available to school and district leaders throughout the state.

Matthews graduated from Coker with a B. S. degree in business and a minor in civilization. Subsequently, she earned a master's in business from Appalachian State University and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of South Carolina. She taught business subjects at the high school, technical college and university levels. She also held management positions at the S.C. Department of Education. She was elected to Leadership South Carolina in 1994.She served two terms on the Coker College Board of Trustees, received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Coker, and gave the Coker College Commencement address in 1986.


Dr. Anne Lamb Matthews, '64Dr. Anne Lamb Matthews, ‘64, and her husband, Jeff, Donate Art Collection to Coker College

Dr. Anne Lamb Matthews, ‘64, and her husband, Jeff, collected art for more than forty years, with a preference for pieces that depicted the rural South, and this spring they donated their collection to Coker College.

Both Anne and Jeff grew up on tobacco farms. Anne, in particular, is a student of the South and attributes her career success to her roots and formative years with wonderful parents, an excellent public school system, and attendance at a small Baptist church where she played the piano three times a week. Anne loves the South, the farm she grew up on, and has paintings in her home that she commissioned of their farm buildings. That rural life, along with the buildings, are gone now but not in Anne’s mind.

The collection is displayed throughout Drengaelen on Coker’s campus. Pieces will be rotated periodically throughout the calendar year. Artists include Jim Harrison, Wellington Ward, Darell Koons, Herb Jones, Robert Mills, Ward Nichols, Larry Dodson, R.B. Dance, Ken Davies, Stephen Sebastian, Alonzo DeBruhl, and Jerry Locklair.

The college is grateful to the Matthews family for such a generous gift that will delight our campus community and visitors for years to come. 

Whitney WattsWhitney Watts (‘08) Receives Coker College Alumni Association’s 2019 Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Whitney Watts, Coker College class of 2008, was named the 2019 recipient of the Coker College Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award. This prestigious award is given annually by the Coker College Alumni Association and presented to a graduate of the past 20 years who has already made significant achievements in his or her chosen profession and who shows exceptional potential for future accomplishments.

Watts is the Dean of Student Success at Coker College. She received her B.A. in communication and English from Coker and her M.Ed. in higher education and student affairs from the University of South Carolina.

Watts began working at Coker as assistant director of residence life and the first-year experience, became director of residence life in 2012, and dean of students in 2014. In July of 2017, Watts became dean of student success.

Watts has served on countless Coker committees, taught Coker College 101 (CC101) and Coker College 102 (CC102), served on the Cobra Club board, the Coker Alumni Association board, served as the treasurer of Hartsville Young Professionals, and has presented at many symposiums, conferences and retreats.

Watts resides in Hartsville, S.C., with her husband, Adam Bedard.

Christian Stryker (‘04) Receives Coker College Alumni Association’s 2019 Outstanding Service AwardChristian Stryker

Christian Stryker, Coker College class of 2004, was named the 2019 recipient of the Coker College Alumni Association’s Outstanding Service Award. This prestigious award is given annually by the Coker College Alumni Association and is presented to a graduate who has highly demonstrated their commitment to Coker’s ideals of character, culture and service.

Stryker earned a B.S. in physical education sports management, was a four-year member of the baseball team, received the Coaches Award, and was academic all-conference. He earned a M.S. in sports leadership from Duquesne University.

After graduating from Coker, Stryker worked in the Coker College admissions office and quickly moved into the sports information director role, which he held until 2016. While in athletics, he held many other roles including athletic fundraising, media relations, event administration, and was the senior associate athletic director from 2016-2018.

In 2018, Stryker joined the South Atlantic Conference as assistant commissioner where he is responsible for coordinating the SAC's media and public relations efforts, in addition to expanding the conference's digital and social media presence, and producing league publications. Stryker also assists in enhancing the SAC's marketing and branding strategies, serves as the sport administrator for baseball and track and field, and is the liaison for the conference faculty athletic representative and athletic trainer committees.

Stryker is a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and Omicron Delta Kappa. He served as a member of the NCAA Division II National Baseball Committee from 2009-2012, overseeing the southeast region. He also served on the NCAA Division II Softball Southeast Regional Advisory Committee and on the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Southeast Regional Advisory Committee.

Currently, he serves on the NCAA Division II National Men's Golf Committee, overseeing the South and Southeast Regions.

Stryker lives in Rock Hill, S.C., with his wife, Tasha (‘05), and their two daughters.

Dan ShanksDaniel Shanks (‘97) Receives Coker College Alumni Association’s 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award

Daniel Shanks, Coker College class of 1997, was named the 2019 recipient of the Coker College Alumni Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award. This prestigious award is given annually by the Coker College Alumni Association and is presented to a graduate who has reached an outstanding level of achievement in his or her profession.

As a student at Coker, Shanks’s involvement was extensive. He was a member of the men’s basketball team and received the Timberlake Lawton Award recognizing academic achievement and community service. His other academic pursuits include a M.A. in international studies from the University of South Carolina and he is currently completing a Ph.D. program at Old Dominion University.

Shanks’s foreign language skills include Persian-Iranian, Persian-Afghan, Pashto-Afghan, German and Dutch, and he used these skills in his work as a Human Terrain Specialist for the Department of the Army during three years in Afghanistan. He was a critical part of the team responsible for security, intelligence and foreign policy formulation.

Shanks is currently a Research Assistant and full-time Ph.D. student Old Dominion University, and teaches online courses for Coker College in the areas of human geography, political science and international politics. He was twice elected president of the Graduate Society of International Studies.

Shanks lives in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Sophia Williams Shanks (‘00).

Lemonade PrescriptionPatsy Tyner Havens, ‘59, Publishes Memoir

Patsy Tyner Havens, '59, recently published a memoir, The Lemonade Prescription, under the name Lou Tyner, her middle name and maiden name. The book is available for purchase on and is described as follows…

Once upon a time, a childhood didn't include cell phones, texting, email and video games; no instant music, flat irons, silky hair products and malls for every good thing, needed or not.

After the big money crash in 1929, followed by many years of the Great Depression, our community stuck together. The Depression babies arrived all through the thirties and when World War II arrived, jobs were greatly appreciated but young men went off to fight and so many to die.

With the men away at war or working, women joined together to raise the children. An old African saying, it takes a village to raise a child, was recently brought to the fore. This is something I found to be very true during my early years. In fact, it was how our community operated. That's what I found growing up in a small rural southern community centered around church and school.

Everybody looked out for each other and relied on each other. Sometimes being close knit spilled over into a lack of privacy, usually it involved gossip, but mostly tender loving care.

These are the depression years and the war years my parents' generation endured.

Havens’s memoir is available for purchase on

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