The new Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership was officially dedicated Sept. 11. Floyd and Shirley Whitfield, property developers in the Lowcountry and longtime Charleston Southern benefactors, were honored for their approximately $3 million gift to the University.
The Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership is the cornerstone project of the University’s $40 million Transform Campaign. In addition to classroom and conference spaces, the 26,500-square-foot facility houses three institutes: Biblical Worldview Institute, Faith Integration Institute and the Marketplace Institute.
The Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership is a resource for faith integration, community outreach and leadership development.
Floyd Whitfield said, “We count it a blessing to be able to give to CSU; we appreciate the opportunity to do it.” Mr. Whitfield has served numerous terms on the CSU Board of Trustees, is a member of the Legacy Society, and the funds the couple provided for the Whitfield Endowed Scholarship Fund provide scholarships for 50 students per year. The University awarded Mr. Whitfield an honorary doctor of humanities degree in 1991.
“I am very seldom at a loss for words, but this morning I’ve lost my words,” said Shirley Whitfield. “We’ve seen this University grow step by step. God is good all the time, and he has blessed this University with wonderful staff and people.” Mrs. Whitfield has been active on the CSU Women’s Council and has served as president of the group. The University awarded her the Distinguished Service Award in 2009 for outstanding Christian leadership and service to the community and to the University.
Doug Hunter, executive director of the Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership, said, “The Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership is a resource encouraging and equipping faculty and staff so they can encourage and equip students to walk off this campus knowing what they believe, living what they know and taking what they know and using it where God places them.” Mr. Hunter envisions the facility impacting people of all walks of life. He quoted author and founder of Blackaby Ministries International, Henry Blackaby, as saying, “I see the greatest evidence of revival in Christian CEOs in the marketplace of America.”
Joy Currence, a junior student ministry major from Rock Hill, addressed the donors, “I honestly and truly believe that this is CSU’s season, and with the new Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership, this season will be the beginning of new experiences for Christian leadership around the world. But remember, it all happened with the planting of a seed. And that seed was you.”
“This is a project we have prayed for and worked for a long time. This is one of the most significant events in the life of the school and will give us many more opportunities to share the gospel,” said President Jairy C. Hunter, Jr.
The Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership is a state-of-the-art training facility where individuals will be able to fully develop their understanding and practice of a Christian worldview. As the Research Center, located within the building, is established, it will provide a library of Christian worldview materials and works of faith integration in the various disciplines.
The Whitfield Stadium Center is also among the Whitfield’s significant gifts to the university. The four-story stadium center opened in 2000 and is home of the CSU Buccaneer football, track and field programs.
The Whitfields speak at the formal dedication of the Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership.
Floyd and Shirley Whitfield and Dr. Jairy Hunter cut the ribbon on the new building.
Dr. Hal Adams ’69 and his wife, Cora, attended the dedication. Dr. Adams spoke on behalf of the alumni and said, “It is my hope and prayer that those who pass through this building become professionals at putting people ahead of themselves.”
All photos by Rhett Marley