SC college buzzing with new energy

By Hannah Horne - bio | email

NEWBERRY, SC (WIS) - There's a new leader at Newberry College.

Dr. Mick Zais stepped down last year as president of the college. He went on to run a successful campaign to become the state superintendent of education and was recently sworn in to lead the state's public schools. But back at Newberry College, it opened the door for a replacement that is creating a positive buzz around town..

Newberry College has more than 150 years of history and tradition, from its deep rooted Lutheran faith to its school pride, and the quiet campus now has a roar of new energy in its President's Office. "An important part of higher education in America rests in liberal arts institutions, and Newberry College is an ideal place," said Newberry College President Dr. Scott Koerwer.

Dr. Koerwer left USC's Moore School of Business to take the job at Newberry, combining his past experience with a new challenge. "Business education is the new liberal arts," said Dr. Koerwer, "Traditional liberal arts needs an infusion."

That's what Dr. Koerwer is doing through what he calls a "series of experiments". In the short time he's been at Newberry College, Dr. Koerwer has set up partnerships between the college and the city for the students. An example would be the student newspaper joining forces with the Newberry County Observer. "It'll be better for their careers, better experiences, tougher more challenging standards, and this reality based liberal arts education in an interactive, living, learning lab," said Dr. Koerwer.

The students are also collaborating with downtown businesses to plan evening activities, and that boosts the bottom line. "Newberry College is so critically linked to the business and economic development in the city of Newberry and the county," said Dr. Koerwer.

It comes at a time when the city is struggling to grow its downtown amid recession. "The success of Newberry College is the success of the city," said Dr. Koerwer, "It enables Newberry to do what it does best, which is educate great young minds and future young citizens."

It's a new way of thinking in a beautiful, old-fashioned town.

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