New Department Merges Development, Alumni Relations, Public Relations

SUMTER, SC — Central Carolina Technical College has reorganized two college departments to create the Office of Institutional Advancement and External Relations.

“These are exciting times when it comes to higher education as constant changes are taking place and disrupting what was once the traditional standard.  Central Carolina has in recent years started its own new traditions, and the college is adapting internally to better prime this region of South Carolina for future growth and great success….” Dr. Mikota said.

The new department will be led by Misty Hatfield, who began at CCTC in 2018 as the Director of Development and Alumni. Hatfield described the merger as a natural step in the growth of the college. “Many colleges and universities employ the advancement model,” she said. “I’m excited about this opportunity and look forward to bringing our team of talented, dedicated people toward new levels of accomplishment together.”

The new structure will enhance an already strong partnership among the offices of public relations, communications, alumni relations and development. The demands of the recently launched $20 million Empower Campaign made it even more apparent that a formally organized, merged structure could benefit the college and its students, alumni and other constituents.

Mikota said, “The time is right for Central Carolina Technical College to enhance its external representation and notoriety serving as the best college or university in the region of South Carolina that makes up Sumter, Kershaw, Clarendon, and Lee counties.  Combining development and communications functions into a single office will further project and showcase the strength and influence of a college that is invested in this region, not a satellite or offshoot of another outside university or affiliate.”

The new office’s functions will encompass marketing, media relations, communications, external web services, alumni relations, corporate and foundation relations, donor stewardship and events management. There will be six full-time staff members dedicated to enhancing the image and brand of CCTC. These include: Misty Hatfield, Executive Director; Cathy Frye, Creative Director; Kate Cooper, Visual Communications Coordinator; Nicole Ouellette, Creative Communications Coordinator; Mary Copeland Heath, Development and Alumni Coordinator and a web designer yet to be hired.

In the past few years and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the college has sought to tell its story in more and different ways, through a variety of channels and to a growing number of audiences, including potential students, faculty members, donors, government officials, businesses and other possible collaborators.

Central Carolina has established a robust social media presence, an annual President’s report, community email communication, better recognition for student achievements, alumni spotlights and enhanced communications to students. In 2019, the Public Relations Department created a new college mascot, the Titan, and has since seen a surge in student engagement across campuses.

CCTC was recently named the Best College/University by readers of The Item and Pam Dinkins, dean of Business and Public Service, was named Best Professor.

“Central Carolina is often referred to as a hidden gem, with many unsung virtues,” Hatfield said. “Being the best kept secret is not where we want to be. We are proud of the accomplishments of our faculty, staff and most importantly, our students and alumni. These are stories that need to be told.”