logo for page printing

President's Cabinet


Sonja Bennett-Bellamy

Vice President for Institutional Advancement and University Relations

Sonja Bennett-BellamySonja A. Bennett-Bellamy became a member of the president’s cabinet in August, 2013 when she was named Vice President for External Affairs and Communications. One year later, her position title was changed to Vice President for External Affairs and Institutional Advancement. In her position, Mrs. Bennett-Bellamy serves as the official spokesperson for the university and is responsible for managing all external communication including, but not limited to, media-driven correspondence, media requests, press releases, feature articles, op-ed pieces and university publications. She is also responsible for promoting the public image of the university; increasing brand recognition; and building and managing media and public relations. As Institutional Advancement and Development head for the university, Bennett-Bellamy leads a team of fundraising and development professionals in executing comprehensive fundraising campaigns and initiatives, and actively prospects and cultivates a strong sustainable pool of corporate and private donors and university supporters who will invest in the mission and vision of SC State University.


Bennett-Bellamy is an award winning journalist and media strategist with more than 25 years of results-oriented experience in public information, media relations, business development, marketing and public relations. Prior to her arrival at SC State, she served as assistant vice president of Communications and Marketing at Claflin University. Prior to Claflin, Bennett-Bellamy served in the Raleigh, North Carolina area as assistant vice president of Marketing and Communications for Saint Augustine’s University; communications coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina; regional corporate liaison at Strayer University; director of Communications and Public Relations for the North Carolina Community Development Initiative. A seasoned veteran in the television news industry, Bennett-Bellamy held various positions in broadcast news, including news special projects manager and news assignment manager at WRAL-TV Channel 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina; news director/anchor at WRBL-TV in Columbus, Georgia.; news producer at WYFF-TV in Greenville, South Carolina.; news reporter at WAKA-TV in Montgomery, Alabama.; and news director/anchor at WDHN-TV in Dothan, Alabama.


Bennett-Bellamy is married to Eric D. Bellamy, Sr. Together, they have three grown children and one granddaughter.


Betty Boatwright

Vice President for Enrollment Management

Betty BoatwrightIn this position, Betty Boatwright is responsible for the development, implementation and on-going evaluation of a comprehensive enrollment management plan. As the vice president for Enrollment, Boatwright supervises the offices of Admissions, Financial Aid and Student Success and Retention.


Boatwright joined SC State University in 2000 as the director of Institutional Research. As the director of this office, she was responsible for designing and implementing a research and assessment system, which incorporates the study and analysis of the university’s data for facilitating improved planning and decision-making for the university.


Prior to her employment at SC State, she served as the vice president for Strategic Planning and Extended Learning at Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter, South Carolina. In this position, she provided leadership for recruitment, admissions, financial aid and the development of off-campus instructional programs. She also served as the college’s liaison to the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, the Commission on Higher Education and the South Carolina Higher Education Assessment Network.


Paul Bryant

Director of Athletics

Paul BryantPaul Bryant has more than two decades of senior level administration experience and 22 years of coaching experience. Most recently, he served as the director of Athletics at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he built a winning tradition in his short tenure there.


Under Bryant's tutelage, three Stillman athletic programs (men's and women's tennis and baseball) won both division and tournament titles, while eight track and field athletes represented the college at the Division II outdoor championship.


While at Stillman, Bryant also created several new initiatives such as the Athletic Director's Honor Roll and the fifth-year athletic work program, while raising funds to construct an on-campus fitness. Prior to his tenure at Stillman, he served as director of Athletics at Eureka College (2008-13) in Eureka, Illinois and as the associate director of Athletics and head men's basketball coach for Urbana University (2004-08) in Ohio.


He earned several administrative honors and coaching accolades during his stints at Stillman, Urbana University and Sinclair Community College (1997-2003).

A native of Ohio, he holds a bachelor's degree from Alaska Pacific University and a master's degree in education from Urbana University. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in athletic administration from Northcentral University.


Craig E. Burgess

General Counsel

Craig E. BurgessCraig E. Burgess is the general counsel charged with responsibility for all legal matters impacting the university, including but not limited to, advising the president and his staff; drafting and reviewing legal documents; ensuring compliance with university policies as well as federal and state legislation; managing litigation and providing assistance in the formulation and implementation of institutional strategies.


After completion of law school at the University of South Carolina, Burgess was an associate and partner for 11 years at the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. Burgess then spent several years in Atlanta, Georgia, as senior litigation counsel for BellSouth Corporation and AT&T.


After an 18-month stint traveling extensively abroad, Burgess returned to private practice as special counsel with the law firm of Barnwell, Whaley, Patterson & Helms in Charleston, South Carolina, his last stop before joining the ranks of SC State University.


Burgess is a graduate of The Citadel.


Delbert T. Foster Executive Director of 1890 Research and Extension

Delbert T. FosterAs executive director of 1890 Research and Extension, Delbert T. Foster provides oversight of the university’s 1890 Research and Extension services. Prior to this appointment, Foster served as the administrator of 1890 Extension Programs at SC State University. He is responsible for the overall leadership planning, direction and management of the 1890 Research & Extension programs. Foster’s management and oversight responsibilities include supervision of all state and county administrative research and extension staff and the preparation and submission of 1890 Research and Extension’s federal and state budgets. He is the coordinator for the 1890 Facility Grant Program and serves as an advisor to the university’s president regarding budgetary, compliance and human resource issues associated with the 1890 Research and Extension Program. Foster also serves as co-chairman of the 1890 Plan of Work committee.


Additional responsibilities include serving as the liaison between 1890 programs at SC State University, the United States Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA), Clemson University and the Budget and Control Board of the state of South Carolina. He is also a member of the 4-H Council National Board of Directors.


Foster previously served as chairman of the Association of Extension Administrators (2012-2014). As chairman, he provided leadership and support to the extension programs at the 19 HBCU 1890 land-grant universities. Foster currently serves as chairman of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) of the Association of Public Land Grant Universities. As chair of ECOP, Foster provides leadership and support to the extension programs at the 109 land-grant universities located in all 50 states and United States territories.


A Charleston, South Carolina native, Delbert received his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Master of Education, all from South Carolina State University.


Dr. Tamara Hughes

Vice President for Student Affairs

Dr. Tamara HughesDr. Tamara Hughes currently serves as Vice President for Student Affairs. She provides leadership and direction to the following areas critical to the student experience: Student Life and Leadership; Judicial Affairs; Residence Life and Housing; Intramurial Sports; Counseling and Self Development; Health Services; and Career Placement and Planning. Under her leadership, these units work in tandem to coordinate and implement programs, activities, and services to maximize student learning and development. She has over 16 years of experience in higher education and has served in various capacities. She has also provided guidance and worked closely with the Office of Judicial Affairs from 2004 to 2010.


Prior to accepting her present position, she served as Research and Planning administrator in the Office of Institutional Research at the university. Her primary responsibility was assisting units with the development and implementation of assessment plans and programs that encourage continuous improvement and meet standards of accrediting bodies.


Dr. Hughes received her Bachelor of Arts in communications from Howard University, Washington, DC; her Master of Arts in rehabilitation counseling from South Carolina State, Orangeburg, South Carolina; and her Ph.D. in Counselor Education, from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina. Her primary research interest focuses on the career development of the African American student athlete. She co-authored a chapter, Synthesizing career and family theories: Relevant issues in K. M. Evans, J. C. Rotter & J. M. Gold (Eds.), Synthesizing family, career, and culture: A model for counseling in the twenty-first century. She also serves as adjunct faculty and teaches or has taught the following courses: social psychology, child psychology, and African American families in the departments of Social Sciences and Family and Consumer Sciences.


Dr. Hughes serves as co-chair of the university’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Institutional Effectiveness Committee. She has presented a plethora of workshops on assessing student learning outcomes as well as how to assess academic programs. She has also served in the role of assessing the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan, PUSH Writing: Preparing Undergraduates for Scholarly Holistic Writing.


She is a member of the Association for Institutional Research, the Southern Association for Institutional Research, and the American Counseling Association. She is committed to public service through her membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and by serving as the committee chair of the Services to Youth Facet in the Links, Inc.


Dr. Hughes is the proud mother of Jade and Donavon.


Dr. Learie B. Luke

Acting Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Learie B. LukeDr. Learie B. Luke was formerly associate provost for Academic Affairs and now serves as the acting provost at South Carolina State University. He holds bachelor’s degrees in history and theology from Andrews University and Caribbean Union College (University of the Southern Caribbean) respectively. His graduate degrees in history are from Morgan State University and Howard University.


Since 2002, he has served in a number of other administrative positions at the university including department chairperson, director of the Office of International and National Student Exchange Programs, associate vice president for faculty and programs, and associate vice president for academic affairs. Luke is also a tenured associate professor of history.


His publications include the book Identity and Secession in the Caribbean: Tobago Versus Trinidad, 1889-1980. He is a life member of the Association of Caribbean Historians, and a member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.


He has a successful record of grant writing and has served as the principal investigator of several sponsored projects dealing with internationalization of the university, faculty development, and the Montford Point Marines. He has served on numerous departmental and university-wide committees including the Black History Month Coordinating Committee, the Faculty Handbook Committee, and the recently established SACSCOC Taskforce.


Luke is active in the community. He is a commissioner at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, and is a member of the Board of Education of the South Atlantic Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. In addition, he holds the position of chairman of the Board of the Vanard J. Mendinghall Jr. Academy in Orangeburg, and serves as the first vice president of the University of the Southern Caribbean Alumni Association, North America. He is also an elder at the Christ Is The Answer Seventh Day Adventist Church in Orangeburg. Luke and his wife, Sharon, have been married for 21 years. They have one daughter, Sharlene.


Luke is very interested in student success and is working on launching a student mentoring program at SC State University. He also believes that every student should have multiple international cultural encounters before graduation, including cross-cultural programing and study abroad so that they can be well be prepared to work and live productively in the global society. He is also passionate about distance education and faculty development and was instrumental in establishing the Center for Teaching and Learning at South Carolina State.


Edward Patrick

Interim Vice President for Finance and Management

Edward PatrickEdward Patrick was appointed interim vice president for finance and management for SC State University in March 2015. As vice president for finance and management, Patrick serves as chief financial officer over the university’s fiscal affairs and business operations.


In his 25 years as an accounting and finance management executive, Patrick has worked in such industries as higher education, government, as well as small privately and large publicly held businesses.


Prior to his appointment as interim CFO, Patrick served as finance consultant to Silver & Associates where he worked to assist colleges and universities by evaluating their financial operations in preparation for reaffirmation to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Patrick has led fiscal operations at other institutions of higher education including Paine College, Alabama State University and Clark Atlanta University. He has served as a comptroller for numerous businesses and served as a financial consultant for corporations such as Home Depot, CNN and GE.


Patrick, a certified public accountant, earned his Master of Science in accountancy from the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. He received a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He also attended the Chemical Officer Candidate School in the branch of the U.S. Army.


Dr. Rita Teal

Executive Director for Institutional Effectiveness

Dr. Rita TealIn her current role, Dr. Rita Teal supervises the offices of Institutional Research, Athletic Compliance and Planning and Assessment. She provides leadership in the compilation of data and reports that assist with administrative decision-making and provides general oversight for regional accreditation and athletics compliance issues.


Teal has held progressive and diverse faculty and administrative roles at three institutions of higher education. She has served in the roles of acting president and interim vice president for academic affairs and vice president for administration. She has also held the positions of associate vice president for planning and evaluation, dean of the School of Freshman Studies, director of the Learning Resource Center, director of academic support programs and associate professor of mathematics.


Teal’s areas of expertise include strategic planning, regional accreditation, assessment, first-year experience, retention, admissions and the federal TRiO programs. Teal has served on several Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Title III and TRiO review teams; written several grants and presented at SACSCOC, TRiO and American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers conferences and meetings.


Teal was a Kellogg MSI/NAFEO Leadership Fellow and a participant in the Fulbright-Hays South Africa Seminar, Snowmass Institute for Strategic Planning in Snowmass Village, Colorado. and the Kellogg Institute for Developmental Educators at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.


Teal received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Tennessee State University, a Master of Arts from the University of Michigan and a Doctor of Education from the University of Memphis. A native of Memphis, Tennessee., Teal is the mother of daughter, Rashel.