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PC roundup: The Presidential Search, and an appointment & a South Korea trip.







By Presbyterian College


The search for Presbyterian College’s 20th president began this week with the formation of a presidential search committee. 

In a formal announcement across campus, PC shared the names of those serving on the 17-member committee, which is being chaired by trustee and alumnus Brad Bryant ’75.

In a joint statement from Bryant and Ruth Roper, chair of the PC Board of Trustees, the college emphasized that the committee represents a variety of stakeholders in the search, including alums, faculty, and staff.  

“The committee draws on the representative governance strength of the college’s academic, spiritual, and student life, all key elements of our recent strategic planning process,” the announcement stated. “In accepting the call to serve, each member acknowledged the importance of the presidential search, their commitment to discern the inclusive voice of the larger college community, and their love of PC.”

The committee will work with the executive search firm CarterBaldwin to identify and recommend a candidate this summer to replace current president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg. President vandenBerg announced on Jan. 12 that he would step down at the end of the academic year to become the new president at Ohio Wesleyan University. 

The following individuals will serve on the search committee:


Dr. Selena Blair, Rogers-Ingram Vice President for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Robin Boren ’97, Trustee

Brad Bryant ’75, Trustee and Chair 

Dr. Roy Campbell, Professor of History

Hartwell Dew ’75, Trustee

Dr. Latha Gearheart, Professor of Chemistry

John Jeselnik ’73,Trustee

E.G. Lassiter ’69, Trustee and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees

Dr. Erin McAdams, Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty Senate President

Dr. Floyd M. Nicholson ’14, Trustee

Dr. Kerry Pannell, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Drew Peterson, Dean of Students

Ted Pitts ’94, Trustee

Chad Prashad ’02, Trustee

Ruth Roper, ex officio, Trustee and Chair of the Board of Trustees

Terri Tibbs, ex officio, Vice President of Human Resources and Title IX

Rev. Dr. Buz Wilcoxon ’05, Lassiter Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual Life.










Presbyterian College has announced that the Rev. British Hyrams will join the Office of Spiritual Life as the new Jack and Jane Presseau Associate Chaplain following a nationwide search. Hyrams, an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently serves as a campus minister at North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C., and will begin her new duties at PC on Feb. 1.

The endowed chaplaincy established in 2021 honors the remarkable legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Jack Presseau and his widow, Jane, who both faithfully served the PC community. In addition to teaching in PC’s religion department, Presseau is the founder of Student Volunteer Services.

“I am very excited about Rev. Hyrams joining the chaplain’s office team at PC,” said the Rev. Buz Wilcoxon, the Marianne ’71 and E.G. ’69 Lassiter Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual Life. “Her experience in campus ministry, passion for service, commitment to the Presbyterian Church, and openness to working with people of all faiths and backgrounds make her a wonderful fit. I can’t wait for our students to meet her and experience the many gifts for ministry that she will bring to our PC community!”

Hyrams brings a broad range of professional and ministerial experiences to her new work at PC. A graduate of Purdue University with a degree in industrial engineering, she has worked in information technology, academia, campus ministry, and churches.

The Chicago native said PC’s emphasis on serving others and serving as America’s Presbyterian College inspired her to apply for the associate chaplain’s position.

“The prospect of being able to ensure there are opportunities for worship, prayer, study, et cetera – and carrying out acts of love and service in the world is amazing!” she said. “The commitment to a lived faith as shown through the Student Volunteer Services program was a defining factor in my interest for serving as the Jack and Jane Presseau Associate Chaplain.”

Hyrams said she also holds an affinity for working with college students.

“This calling was planted in my soul before I was aware of it,” she said. “After my career in information technology, I developed a love for adjunct teaching (math) at the community college level but was called in what I felt was a different direction – to seminary. It was only after being ordained, serving in parish ministry, including youth ministry, and chaplain training that God brought collegiate ministry into my purview. The Holy Spirit led me to this space that seemed to be the perfect culminating place for my background and the desires of my heart.”

After earning a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., Hyrams began her ministry at Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, where she served as director of Christian ministries from June 2014 to August 2017. In 2019, she served as the temporary associate pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. She taught as an adjunct at Johnson C. Smith University before joining the campus ministry staff at NCCU.

Hyrams also is a member of the Presbyterian Foundation Board of Trustees and has served on the planning teams for the PC(USA) Campus Ministers National Gathering and the Montreat High School Youth Conference. She has served on the New Hope Presbytery Strategy Team, the William Black Lodge Board of Directors, the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators, and as a pastor of the PC(USA) Youth Triennium Conference.

Hyrams also is an active community volunteer with Urban Ministries Durham and the Community Shelter of Union County in North Carolina.

“I hope that I can faithfully use my gifts at PC to participate in the kingdom work of God,” she said. “My hope is also to proclaim the good news of the gospel, honor the spiritual curiosity of students, and create space for all to develop spiritually during their time at PC in such a way that enhances their learning.

“My goal is to be a safe and supportive presence on campus and in the community and to be attuned to the leading of the Spirit of God. In addition, my goal is to make a positive impact on the future of PC’s Blue Hose.”

Hyrams is married to her college sweetheart, Kevin. They are the parents of three young adults – Jamal, Akilah, and Aman.

The college thanked members of the associate chaplain search committee for their service. They are:

  • Perrin Tribble ’11, chair
  • Sarah Burns ’01
  • Ella Casto-Waters ’25
  • Latha Gearheart
  • Dessa Jones ’23
  • Drew Peterson
  • Suzie Smith ’82
  • Craig Vondergeest




January 24, 2023


Presbyterian College kicked off its signature new Center for South Korean and East Studies by sending a delegation to South Korea last month to build partnerships and relationships.

PC president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg, history professor Dr. Roy Campbell, and chaplain and dean of spiritual life, the Rev. Dr. Buz Wilcoxon ’05, ventured overseas to renew historic ties and forge new bonds.

“The global launch of the Center for South Korean and East Asian Studies represents a major accomplishment in PC’s strategic plan and marks a momentous new chapter in the college’s commitment to international education and exchange,” said vandenBerg. “PC’s new and prospective partners are responding with tremendous enthusiasm toward this initiative, which bodes incredibly well for students and faculty on both sides of the world.”

The group visited Hannam University in Daejon, a school with a long history with PC. Formerly, Taejon Presbyterian College, Hannam was co-founded in 1956 by college alumnus Dr. John Somerville ’49, a Presbyterian missionary who served as a professor of history at the university until his retirement in 1993.

At Hannam, vandenBerg signed a landmark agreement between the two schools to reinvigorate and expand their longtime partnership. Both schools anticipate student and faculty exchanges, an immersive virtual Korean language instruction program for PC students, English language training for visiting Korean students, and a pipeline for Hannam students to the PC School of Pharmacy.

The team also visited Korean secondary schools, including Global Vision Christian School, where they met three of the center’s first admitted applicants and area administrators and guidance counselors.

Wilcoxon and Campbell also visited Hanshin University in Osan. At the same time, vandenBerg traveled to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul to build diplomatic connections and brainstorm avenues for the new center at PC.

Spending time with other educators, especially at Hannam, was a highlight of the trip for Campbell.

“During this visit, we had the opportunity to discuss many aspects of PC’s new South Korean initiative, and our friends and colleagues at Hannam seem just as eager to collaborate on such opportunities as faculty and student exchange, Korean and English language programs for our respective students, e-sports, and a special summer program for PC students,” Campbell said. “Finally, we made great new connections at both Hanshin and Handong Universities, and have begun discussing ways to form strong and collaborative partnerships with these two outstanding institutions.”


The group is also exploring multiple groundbreaking church and denominational partnerships in South Korea, home to more than 2.5 million Presbyterians in 7,000 congregations across the country. The group met with several Presbyterian church leaders, including the Rev. Myung Han, PC(USA) ‘s regional liaison for East Asia. Following the meeting, Han generously offered to host an orientation and preparation session for Korean students before they depart to study at PC.

The PC delegation also participated in a press conference with a national Korean media outlet, announcing the establishment of the first-in-kind center, the creation of the Presbyterian Promise Program for South Koreans (eligible, admissible students receive a $20K annual scholarship to attend PC), and more. PC is grateful to its new partners for conveying these exciting messages to potential students across the peninsula.

“Our time in South Korea was filled with many important visits with church leaders including pastors, denominational executives, international missionaries, chaplains, and seminary presidents and professors,” Wilcoxon said. “PC’s deep commitment to the Presbyterian Church was the uniting thread that wove together all of these relationships. We learned about both the success and struggles of Korean churches and dreams together about ways that our mission as a college might be beneficial to our international partners.”

Wilcoxon said the hospitality made the delegation feel right at home.

“As someone who was raised in a culture of southern hospitality, I was blown away by the radical welcome and delicious food that we received from our new Korean friends!” he said. “I look forward to the opportunity to return their hospitality one day soon.”

There were also opportunities for the group to be soccer fans and media stars. Campbell, vandenBerg, and Wilcoxon attended a World Cup watch party for the South Korean national team, where they donned proper scarves and standard-issue blinking devil horns to cheer for South Korea’s Red Devils. At the event, they also ran into a reporter for the Korea Times, one of the country’s largest and oldest daily newspapers. The resulting interview led to PC’s visit making front page news with the lead article for the day.

PC publicly announced the creation of the Presbyterian Promise Program for South Koreans, which provides a $20,000 scholarship to PC for all eligible, admissible students.

Campbell said he looks forward to seeing what the future holds for the center.

“Our visit to South Korea far exceeded my hopes and expectations,” he said. “We had the opportunity to meet with high school counselors and principals, as well as students who have already applied to PC. It was extremely helpful to meet with these students face-to-face, so that we could share the wonderful opportunities that await them at PC should they and/or future students decide to enroll. We especially learned that these students from South Korea would be a great fit for our campus community, and would certainly thrive at PC.”




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