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Published on March 11th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Patrena Rice, ’71, Inducted Into Thomas E. Miller Society For Contributions To SC State Foundation

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – “It is important that we give back. We all need to give back regularly and give as much as we can.” These words were among the comments offered by SC State alumna Patrena Rice, member of the graduating class of 1971, following her induction into the prestigious Thomas E. Miller Society on March 2.

Membership in the Miller Society is granted to individuals and couples who have contributed $100,000 in cumulative giving to SC State University through the SC State Foundation. To receive the honor, associations, businesses and organizations are required to contribute $500,000; corporations and foundations must contribute $1 million dollars.

In a room filled with SC State University alumni, faculty and staff, President Thomas J. Elzey presented Rice with her Miller Society pin and a beautiful nine-inch crystal tower bearing the SC State seal, with the words, “Thomas E. Miller Society, Patrena Rice, March 2, 2014.” The inscription also reads, “Thank you from a very grateful president.”

During her comments, Sunya L. Young, vice president for Institutional Advancement, encouraged those guests in the room who had begun the steps to becoming members of the Miller Society, “the goal is within reach.”

To the other guests, Young commented, “We hope by your presence here today that you are considering the possibilities of adding your name to the distinguished roster of Miller Society members and what it means to the continuing legacy of SC State.”

The Miller Society was launched in 2006 to recognize cumulative philanthropy from individuals, couples, organizations, associations, corporations and foundations who demonstrate a commitment to the university and higher education. Since then, 17 individuals have been inducted into this elite group of SC State donors.

Among the guests attending the Miller Society breakfast were former inductees Henry (Hank) F. Allen, ’78; Margaret Wade Lesesne, ’51; Joseph Sanders, ’62; and Ret. Colonel Ned Felder, ’59. Other guests included members of the SC State Board of Trustees.

The event included musical selections by Roland Haynes on vocals and piano; Christopher Henderson, a SC State student saxophonist; and a solo performance by SC State alumna and gospel performer Kristen JoyAnn Jamison.

The contributions made by the Miller Society inductees are used to fund scholarships at SC State University. To learn more about the Miller Society, please contact Sunya L. Young by telephone at (803) 536-8542 or by e-mail at

Founded in 1896 as a land grant institution with a mission of providing service to the citizens of the state, South Carolina State University has evolved from a small teachers’ college into a major University center of learning and research. Located in Orangeburg, S.C., with a student population of some 3,500, South Carolina State offers more than 50 different fields of study on the undergraduate and graduate levels. South Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools.


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