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SCPC's Dorn Prize awarded to Bonnie Werlinich

Jul 19, 2013 11:39 AM

USC Upstate undergraduate student Bonnie Werlinich (standing in the center of the photo shown here) has won the 2013 William Jennings Bryan Dorn Undergraduate Prize, awarded by South Carolina Political Collections (SCPC). Werlinich, accompanied by USC Upstate History Professor Dr. Andrew Myers (standing to the right of Werlinich in the photo), was presented with the award on Thursday, July 18, by Herb Hartsook, SCPC Director (standing to the left of Werlinich).

The Dorn Prize is a $350 award given to the best paper of an undergraduate student, enrolled at any college or university, based on research done with SCPC holdings. Werlinich won for her senior seminar class project, a paper entitled, "Building Relationships and Institutions: The Founding of a University Center at Spartanburg."

"I had worked in the USC Upstate archive and I knew the first ten years of USC Upstate's history like the back of my hand," Werlinich said. "It took a lot of behind-the-scenes effort to make it not into a community college, which was first proposed and supported by a lot of people, but into the institution it is today. A question formed in my mind and became the basis for my paper: how did it happen?"

Myers directed his student to the SCPC materials, a resource he used to research his 2006 book,  Black, White, and Olive Drab: Racial Integration at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and the Civil Rights Movement and other research projects over the years.

Werlinich came to the Columbia campus to view materials in the South Caroliniana Library and SCPC, and uncovered the answer to her question.

"A lot of people believed in the school, and they worked quickly and quietly to make it happen in a relatively short amount of time," she said. Among those who made it happen were Chamber of Commerce of Greater Spartanburg Executive Director Richard Tukey, Spartanburg Herald-Journal publisher and longtime community leader Hubert Hendricks, USC President Tom Jones and S.C. Gov. Bob McNair.

“I used Gov. McNair’s appointment book, Spartanburg General Hospital papers, correspondence between Richard Tukey, Hubert Hendricks and Tom Jones – all found in the USC Libraries collections, and all invaluable to my research,” said Werlinich, who will complete a bachelor's degree in history in May 2014.

More information about this year’s Dorn Prize can be found on SCPC’s A Capital Blog at