April 25, 2009

"Connecting people with their world ... AT&T"

April 21, 2009: We had the pleasure of hearing from Ted Creech who serves as the Government Relations Director in South Carolina for the world renowned AT&T Corporation. In today's world where our only constant is change AT&T thrives! The technological changes and advancements of the 21st century are at the very core of AT&T's business, whose mission is "Connect People with their world, Everywhere they live and work, and do it better than anyone else". It seems that the people at AT&T have much to be proud of, based on what they have accomplished and the plans they are positioned to pursue.
As our world faces unprecedented volatility, AT&T is experiencing notable stability a few statistics: in 2008 AT&T had 77 million wireless customers, 888,000 miles of fiber optic cable, in excess of $20 billion in capital investment, over 300,000 employees, exceeded $1.9 billion in philanthropic giving, was ranked #1 broad band provider in the world and is currently celebrating 133 years in business.

As the company celebrates its passed successes they strive to be poised for further growth at the turn of the economy. Mr. Creech believes that in order to grow, his company must continue investing in infrastructure and in human beings. Infrastructure is critical, "connectivity creates markets and networks, where commerce flourishes, networks do more than anything else to improve communication". To this end, most recently AT&T married mobile and wireless into one device, and traffic across wireless and wired lines is growing at 50% a year. In South Carolina alone, the technology leader invested over $875 million between 2006 and 2008 to build networks, servers, and better technology.

Additionally, AT&T takes its commitment to people very seriously! The majority of its 300,000 plus employees are based in the United States providing steady jobs for many Americans. AT&T is also dedicated to our leaders of tomorrow, the company is concerned about the level of education in our country, as they recognize the key to housing big business is the skill level of our work force. Last year AT&T put $100 million to an initiative called Aspire, that focuses on reducing the drop out level and improving the education in the U.S. To push forward, striving to fulfill their mission, AT&T will invest billions of dollars in new infrastructure and create over 5000 American jobs in 2009, and continue to provide newer more efficient technology always working to connect each of us with our world!

Submitted by Elizabeth Wooten Burwell, Keyway Committee

April 20, 2009

Photos from our 4/16 social

Many thanks to Angel Postell, Rhett Dunaway, Kevin Mills and Dave Echols for organizing an outstanding wine-tasting social on April 16 at the S.C. Aquarium. Here are some photos taken by Rotarian Fred Sales:

April 10, 2009

"Transforming Lives through Art"

April 7, 2009: Angela Mack, former club member and current Executive Director of the Gibbes Museum, returned to the club to speak about The Gibbes. The Gibbes Museum has a long history in Charleston, having been founded following a bequeathment from James Gibbes in 1905. The museum is recognizable for its "Acropolis"-style structure, which sits higher than all the buildings around it on Meeting Street. Ms. Mack referred to Charleston the "birthplace of Southern Art," and described how the Carolina Arts Association, founded 1858, was called upon to be a co-trustee of the Gibbes Museum in its early days.

The museum showcases an array of collections, from Japanese Print Collection, to 2008's "Landscape of Slavery," or last autumn's "Grass Roots" collection, the most comprehensive exhibition of sweet grass baskets every assembled.

The Gibbes is more than just an art museum, however. In fact, it partners with numerous local schools to bring education and fun to those aged K-12. Students can enjoy the "Art academy" and "Art to go" programs. There are after school and summer art programs. There is also an interactive website for children, which was 3 years in the making. A new program will also be started to offer a 4 credit class in Art History for College of Charleston students. Members of the museum may also audit this class.

All of these factors support the fact that the Gibbes appeals to the broadest possible audience. It is "in the business of transforming lives through art." We enjoyed this visit from Angela Mack, and hope she will return to see us soon!

Reported by Jackie Grau, Keyway Committee

April 3, 2009

Honoring Rotary Scholars

March 31, 2009: Today Jeremy Cook had the privilege of introducing our four Rotary Scholars. These recipients were selected, not only for their academic talent and goals for higher education, but on the basis of the fulfillment of the Rotary Motto -"Service Above Self." These individuals epitomize the passion to serve others.

Adair Kerrison from Ashley Hall is a senior and has worked and supported individuals with Downs Syndrome. She developed an extreme awareness for the needs of individuals with Downs Syndrome and those that love them because her sister was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome. She feels that service to others gives her life purpose and she is president of a club that supports Downs Syndrome at Ashley Hall.

Avonna McHoney from Burke High School, is a scholar, with a 3.93 GPA average for her 4 years in high school and is a drum major. She has been accepted to Howard University, University of SC, and SC State and hopes to become a music teacher or a music producer. She works very diligently with Pink House to help tutor underprivileged students with need to develop their reading skills. She feels that helping students academically will not only help them improve in the classroom but will help them to overcome their shyness.

Blair Cadden is at the top of her class at First Baptist High School, is Vice President of the Senior Class, Active in the National Honors Society, and Church Youth Theater Production. She has been accepted by New York University in Drama and works consistently with many different organizations. Her service to others has taught her that extending a hand out but not down is good for both the receiver and the giver.

Jesse Grady is a student leader at Porter-Gaud High School and plans on attending Clemson University to obtain a degree in Psychology. Her service project is working with disadvantaged children to help them see their lives more positively. She was deeply affected by her project and understands the value of service to others.

Please join me in congratulating these four winners of the Rotary Scholarship and send them to college with your hopes and prayers.

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee