SC State 1890 Extension Establishes Sumter Presence

Monday, August 17, 2020

Ronnie Rhodes Tapped to Lead Office

Orangeburg, SC – With the creation of a new regional office, SC State University 1890 Research & Extension will better serve its clientele in the newly formed Santee-Wateree region office, now based in Sumter. Formerly known as Williamsburg Cluster, the Santee-Wateree region office will continue to serve Clarendon, Lee, Sumter and Williamsburg counties.

1890 June 24Ronnie Rhodes ’96, will head the new office as regional director, managing the programs and services that will be offered to individuals, families and businesses throughout the service areas. He joined the SC State University 1890 program on July 1.

Rhodes will oversee the delivery of the educational initiatives that fall under SC State 1890’s core program areas: 4-H & Youth Development; Family, Nutrition and Health; Education, Innovation and Support; Community and Economic Development and Substantiable Agriculture & Natural Resources Development.

"My goal [as regional director] is to enhance the community with quality of life programs and ensure the areas we serve receive information that will enhance their lives,” said Rhodes. “I look forward to making sure our community stakeholders are aware of the programs we’re offering at 1890.”

SC State 1890 Extension’s move to Sumter is part of the strategic push of the public service organization and that of the university to expand the footprint in South Carolina communities that have the greatest need of programs and services designed to improve quality of life and raise the standard of living.

“The counties within the Santee-Wateree region, sitting just along I-95, are prime communities that will benefit from the types of life-changing programs we offer. By relocating the region’s base office to Sumter, SC State 1890 Research & Extension will be better positioned to leverage the growth initiative underway to serve our clients, said Dr. Louis Whitesides, vice president & executive director of 1890 programs.

“As we look to make a positive impact in the Santee-Wateree region, I’m optimistic Mr. Rhodes will use his wealth of experience to provide the quality of programs needed for the area,” said Edoe Agbodjan, associate administrator for Extension. “Rhodes will play a key role in growing our programs and services, not only in the region but as 1890 continues to expand in South Carolina.”

Rhodes has prior experience as a teacher assistant and coach, service coordinator, substance abuse counselor and program coordinator. Rhodes earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at SC State University and a Master of Arts degree in counseling at Webster University.

The Santee-Wateree regional office is located at 219 North Washington Street. While the current location is temporary, SC State 1890 Research & Extension has plans for a permanent location, to be operational within a year.

For more information on the SC State Extension Santee-Wateree region, contact Rhodes at For more information on SC 1890 program areas, visit