University Relations // 02.15.2017
In 1967, Lyndon B. Johnson was president, a movie ticket cost $1.25, the most popular TV shows were I Love Lucy and I Dream of Jeannie and it was also the year Barbara Mead started working at Charleston Southern University.
For 50 years, Mead has come to school with a personal goal to assist others in assisting themselves. How many different jobs has she held? How many fingers do you have? Eventually rising to director of admissions followed by career planning and placement director, she also served as academic scholarship director, instituted the university’s first tutorial program before adding duties as director of international student affairs, counseling services supervisor, coordinator of CSU’s life skills program and associate dean of students.
You can’t begin to put a number on faculty, staff, athletes, students and the community she has impacted in both their personal and professional lives -- and she’s still doing it.
"Barbara is one of the most respected and dedicated professionals with whom I have had the pleasure of knowing in higher education,” said CSU president Dr. Jairy C. Hunter, Jr. “Sissy (Hunter) and I have worked closely with her on numerous projects, and she has provided invaluable counsel and service to the university. We have enjoyed her humor and friendship as we have watched CSU transition into a first class Christian university.”
Clark Carter, dean of students, offers this assessment of Mead after working with her the last 15 years. “She is kind, but not weak. She is determined, but never pushy. She is very intelligent and educated, but does not make others feel inferior. She is cultured and refined, but certainly not aloof or snooty.” Apparently, when Mead starts looking for her next job, she’ll be able to secure a solid letter of recommendation.
Her commitment to this university goes far beyond the job. Stories are legendary about her generosity to different struggling athletic and academic programs through the years. She once paid from her own pocket to put students in a motel until their lives and finances were sorted out. She’s been a mother to homesick and confused international students who had difficulty adjusting to a new culture.
Her listening abilities and welcoming spirit were not just confined to those along University Boulevard, however. In 1999, after a horrific school shooting halfway across the country, Mead served as a crisis counselor at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
Mead reported for work on Monday, Feb. 13, 1967. It was her first job after graduating from Furman, and she’s never left. She never talks about retiring or not working at CSU. She remains a shining example of what Charleston Southern University seeks in its vision of integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.
Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern University is a private, four-year liberal arts college. CSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The university's vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.