Lander University Alumni Association honors distinguished alumni


In the lead up to Homecoming Week, Feb. 8-13, Lander University recognized six alumni for their devotion and service to their communities, and to the University.

“We are exceptionally proud of this year’s winners,” said Lander President Richard Cosentino. “These alumni have been excellent ambassadors of Lander, and have demonstrated what is possible by earning a degree from Lander University.”

Grace Iler Norman Award: Remembering Maurice Holloway ’78

Students and alumni of Lander University often remark of how their education at Lander challenged them to live a life of service to others. Those who knew the late Maurice Holloway, a long-time member of the University’s Board of Trustees, affirm that he embodied the Lander spirit in his selfless devotion to his alma mater, his community and to the state of South Carolina.

After graduating from Greenwood High School in 1974, Holloway enrolled in then-Lander College, receiving his bachelor of science degree in 1978. In January of 2020, he retired from a career with AT&T (formerly Bell South) that spanned 42 years and included progressive managerial roles.

In 1988, the same year he was named Young Alumnus of the Year by the Lander Alumni Association, Holloway was called to serve as an inaugural member of Lander’s newly formed Board of Trustees. Anne Walker ’72, trustee and former chair who began serving with Maurice that same year, remembers her colleague for his continued loyalty to Lander, with a strong emphasis on the University’s students.

“It was a pleasure to serve with Maurice, as he always wanted the best for Lander and her students,” said Walker. “He regularly reminded our Board that students were our top priority. Maurice was truly ‘a Prince of a man,’ who daily lived The Golden Rule. He is deeply missed.”

Dr. Linda Dolny, current chair of Lander’s Board of Trustees, agreed with Walker, adding that Holloway’s graceful approach at board meetings, even at times of contention, would be missed by his colleagues. “His contagious smile and warm welcome were always readily available,” said Dolny. “You could count on Maurice for an honest opinion delivered gently even when he disagreed. He knew how to respectfully disagree–a characteristic we all need in these days of strong opinions. He will be greatly missed by me and so many others.”

While serving as a trustee, Holloway made an effort to meet with the students, faculty and staff whenever he had the opportunity. Professor Laura Hester, chair of Lander’s Department of Media and Communication, said that extra mile always stood out to her. “He always came into the faculty robing room before graduation to speak with us and shake hands with everyone,” Hester said. “That means a lot.”

In addition to his tenure on the Board of Trustees, Holloway is remembered as one of the most active members of the Alumni Association, attending multiple events every year along with his wife, Dr. Mary Holloway, also of the Class of ’78. Their love for one another, and for Lander, led to their creation of the Maurice and Mary Holloway Endowed Scholarship in 2000, which is awarded to an African American student from Greenwood or McCormick County and is renewable each year provided the recipient maintains a 3.0 GPA.

It’s in recognition of this love of Lander that led to the Alumni Association’s unanimous decision to posthumously award Holloway the Grace Iler Norman Award, the association’s highest honor. “Maurice Holloway was a dedicated alumnus and adamant supporter of Lander University and its mission,” said Mike Worley, vice president for University Advancement at Lander. “He led a life of service to our institution, and it is a fitting tribute to name him as this year’s winner of the Grace Iler Norman Award, to commemorate his many years of service and loyalty to Lander.”

Leaving a Legacy:
Those alumni and friends of Lander University who wish to help celebrate the life and legacy of Maurice Holloway are invited to make a contribution to the Maurice and Mary Holloway Endowed Scholarship via the Lander Foundation, 320 Stanley Ave., Greenwood, SC, 29649, or by visiting

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Brad E. Rader ’98, a native of Simpsonville, graduated from Lander University with a Bachelor of Science degree in History and served as a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Honor Society and Kappa Sigma fraternity. Rader continued his studies at Widener University Commonwealth School of Law in Harrisburg, Penn., where he earned his Juris Doctorate with a concentration in Law and Government.

Rader later accepted a position with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of General Counsel as an attorney, and thereafter as chief counsel in the HUD Richmond Field Office. He now serves as the deputy regional counsel in the Philadelphia Regional Office for the mid-Atlantic region.

During his 18 years of public service, Rader has served in many capacities but his career is highlighted by his role as the General Counsel’s legal advisory expert on Opportunity Zones in support of the HUD Secretary’s Chairmanship of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. Rader’s published work in the ABA Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law highlighted the goals and promises of Opportunity Zones in local communities.

In recognition of his commitment, service and contribution to HUD’s mission, Rader most recently received the Secretary’s Award for Excellence from HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Rader is also one of fifty lawyers nationwide to receive the 2020 inaugural Connect Media Lawyers in Real Estate Award, which honors those who have made an impact through their practice in real estate-related matters and contributions made as members of the industry and community.

Ryan L. Peck ’06 earned a scholarship to play soccer at Lander University and graduated Cum Laude “with a business administration degree in one hand and a NCAA Southeast Region championship ring on the other.” In the classroom, he was a member of the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Presidential Honor Roll, Dean’s List honoree, Jean T. McFerrin Scholarship recipient, and College of Business and Public Affairs Management/Marketing Award winner. During his four-year soccer career, Peck was named to the PBC All-Sportsmanship Team while also being elected the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President as a senior.

In addition to his Lander education, Peck earned his MBA in Sport Management from Florida Atlantic University (FAU). He followed his passion to establish a career in sports that would pave the way for future student-athletes in the same manner Lander provided him.

Peck has helped secure more than $50M in direct support for student-athletes thus far during his career. After starting with the athletics corporate sales team at FAU, he transitioned to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and netted seven sports marketing national awards, in addition to establishing multiple ticket sales and attendance records. Peck also enjoyed a three-year stint playing semi-professional soccer with the Chattanooga Football Club, helping the team reach the 2010 NPSL National Finals.

Rising rapidly through the ranks of intercollegiate athletics, Peck continued to the University of Denver, last serving as associate vice chancellor. He secured more than 50 new endowments and was part of a department that captured numerous I-AAA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cups and NCAA National Championships.

Now as the deputy director of Athletics at the University of North Texas, Peck has led the best fundraising years in department history and spearheaded record-breaking revenue growth across ticketing, licensing and sponsorships.

Peck and his wife, Emma, reside in Lantana, Texas.

Young Alumni of the Year Award Recipients

Kavin Campbell, Jr. ’14 earned a bachelor of science in visual arts, with an emphasis in graphic design. He also became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., where he held monthly programs involving students, and created fundraisers which donated the majority of proceeds to charity, while also completing community service on campus.

Campbell began his career at WIS-TV News as a motion designer. Coincidentally, the same morning of the interview, he was able to welcome his son into the world with his college sweetheart, and now wife, Shaniqua.

During his time with WIS-TV, he became a member of the Graphic Communications Committee at the Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) in Camden. This committee consisted of a group of design professionals, who would assist the instructor on developing curriculum for the graphic communications program, based on what students might experience in the field.

After his tenure at WIS, Campbell began working with the Oklahoma City Thunder as a motion graphics animator in the video production department. While there, he became more advanced in his work by using 3D design and learning how to shoot and edit video.

After an exciting couple of years with the team, he thought it was time to follow his passion in apparel and fashion. Campbell is now a designer at The Whitaker Grp, recently named Retailer of the Year in the Footwear News Achievement Awards for 2020. The Whitaker Grp is an umbrella company for four retail banners: A Ma Maniere, Social Status, APB and Prosper. Campbell leads graphic design across apparel, product, footwear and collaborations. In his free time, Campbell plans on getting back into the Mac lab with Lander Professor of Art Jim Slagle, to continue helping future designers at Lander.

Lonnie Nesbitt ’07: After earning his bachelor of arts in Mass Communications from Lander, Nesbitt participated in the Walt Disney World College Program, and at the completion of the program he remained in Florida to pursue a full time career within Disney. During his tenure at Disney, he has held several roles in operations, merchandise and guest relations, payroll, guest services and project management. He is currently employed with Walt Disney World Resort, most recently working as a labor administrator for the Disney Vacation Club.

As a singer, living in Florida provided the opportunity for Nesbitt to serve others through the arts with Central Florida Community Arts. There he has had the chance to record songs, sing with an elite group of professionals, and partner with countless organizations to bring joy to the Orlando area during the holidays as well as bring acknowledgement to the arts.

Nesbitt also launched a business this year, Health Fitness Happiness, where he focuses on empowering young adults to embrace their value by strengthening them from inside out through fitness training and life coaching. He also became a Certified Love Advocate where he helps spread love by promoting random acts of kindness with the focus of giving others hope that their journey is not over. Nesbitt has served in many areas within his church and community and he continues to support the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., which he joined in 2006.

Nesbitt is a happily married man of four years to his wife, Zakiya, whom he met at Disney; as well as the father of two sons, Lonnie III and Jeremiah.

Laura Brown ’16 is a native of Laurens, and earned her bachelor of science in visual arts from Lander University, with an emphasis in graphic design.

As a student, she was highly involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, the Presidential Ambassador Program, and served as secretary on the charter chapter for Lander Habitat for Humanity.

Brown is now the staff photographer for Lander’s Office of University Relations and Publications. She creates photographic artwork for all printed marketing materials, the University magazine, website, news releases and social media platforms. Laura enjoys that her position at Lander enables her to interact with the entire University community as she documents the achievements of students, employees and alumni. 

One of her roles is to schedule and take directory portraits for all full-time employees. It is a simple yet rewarding task, as it gives Brown the opportunity to learn all employees by name and spend time getting to know them. Brown serves as communications committee chair of Lander’s Staff Senate, and enjoys having the opportunity to represent and advocate for her fellow Lander employees.

Along with her full-time photographer position at Lander, Laura manages her personal photography business specializing in portraits and events. For the past six years, she has documented events for Uptown Greenwood, which has grown her love for the Greenwood community. 

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