The People, Places, Events, History, Businesses, and Music of Upstate SC

THE “WHOLE REST” OF THE STORY | JANE DILL – SOUTHERN WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY

The "Whole Rest" of the Story

The motto of Southern Wesleyan University, affectionately referred to as SWU by alumni, faculty, and friends of the university, is “A Quality Education. A Christian Perspective.”  Mrs. Dill said, “We approach everything from a Christian viewpoint.  That doesn’t mean everything we teach has to have a corresponding Scripture verse, but we hope being on a Christian campus reflects an obvious difference.”

"INSPIRE" IS BROUGHT TO YOU IN PART BY

JENNMARIE PHOTOGRAPHY SC

Jane Dill is arguably the finest musician I personally know.  Ever since my days as a Music Education Major at Southern Wesleyan University back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I have been blessed to hear her skillfully and masterfully play the piano and organ for countless concerts, graduations and recitals.  She was my piano instructor during those years, and taught me not only about music, but about life and the way it is best lived…selflessly.  She is a model of what living graciously for the sake of others looks like.  She and her husband, Ken, met at Southern Wesleyan and have been married for 36 years.  Ken also works at the university and serves as the Associate Vice President for Spiritual Life and University Chaplain.  Ken and Jane have two adult children.  Emily, their daughter, is married and has two children, Ethan and Emmerson, and serves as the Children’s Pastor at First Wesleyan Church of Kernersville, North Carolina.  Palmer, their son, is also married and lives in Pendleton, SC.

Last Fall Mrs. Dill received her 30-year service award as a professor at Southern Wesleyan University, and has also been the chair of the Fine Arts Division since 1995.  She stays very active with her roles at the University, home, and in the community.  Some of the responsibilities she carries as the chair of the Fine Arts division include overseeing the annual budget for the music department and cultural affairs committee.  She also oversees the coordination of the Fine Arts series each semester and is in charge of music faculty meetings.  She provides oversight to the division of teaching duties and course loads, and works with other faculty to determine what courses are taught when.  She also spends time as an instructor each semester, teaching piano, organ, music theory, and form and analysis classes.  She serves as the accompanist for the university choir and occasionally accompanies vocal or instrumental students when the staff accompanist needs assistance.  Additionally, she is the organist at First Baptist Church in Clemson and every June through September serves as the accompanist for the “Concert of Hope” choir in Anderson, SC.

Mrs. Dill got involved with the “Concert of Hope” about a decade ago, but in 2010, it became even more personal to her when she was scheduled to attend rehearsal on the same evening that she was herself diagnosed with breast cancer.

The “Concert of Hope” is a charity event held every September and is sponsored by the Cancer Association of Anderson.  This year will make the 16th annual event.  The concert serves to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.  Approximately 120-150 singers volunteer their time and talent for the event, in addition to all those in the orchestra.  The event is hosted at Boulevard Baptist Church in Anderson and the proceeds from the event go to assist cancer patients with medicine, gas money to attend treatments, and numerous other needs.  Mrs. Dill and the others rehearse every Tuesday evening between June and September to prepare for the concert. It is a ticketed event that typically raises about $150,000 every year to assist cancer patients and their families.  You can learn more about the concert by visiting their Facebook page, “Concert of Hope and Remembrance.”

Mrs. Dill got involved with the “Concert of Hope” about a decade ago, but in 2010, it became even more personal to her when she was scheduled to attend rehearsal on the same evening that she was herself diagnosed with breast cancer.  She said, “I feel like being a part of that group was a God-connection.  It was instrumental in saving my life!”  Her relationship with the choir’s director, Bob Heritage, and his wife, Carla, was pivotal in helping her make connections with the right doctors.  She expressed deep gratitude for the support and encouragement she received from the group as she attended treatments and had to make trips to Atlanta for surgical procedures.  Her first procedure was in 2010, and her last surgery was in 2015.

“It’s surreal,” Jane says. “It is hard to believe I went through that.  It involved a lot of grace and a lot of healing.  Sometimes I think it was worse on Ken than it was me.  He didn’t miss one doctor’s appointment, surgery, etc., to this day.  He has been by my side at every single appointment.  I’m also thankful my whole family was there when I had my big surgery.”

“The Concert of Hope choir was so supportive and the people of First Baptist Church also.  I specifically remember waking up in my room in Atlanta after one of my surgeries and seeing the face of Dr. Spittal, the President of Southern Wesleyan University at that time, and his wife.  They drove from Central to Atlanta to support to Ken and I.  We are very close to them, and that was very special. “

Mrs. Dill also recalled the encouragement and support of the “angelic nurses and attendants” at the hospital.  They were such an influence of care and nurturing that after her last procedure, she and Ken went back to the hospital and provided pastries to the nurses and attendants to express their gratitude.  Mrs. Dill also found comfort in the fact that the plastic surgeon who operated on her is married to a Clemson grad who grew up in Belton.  “Those connections aren’t by chance,” she said.  “God works in all those details.”

The motto of Southern Wesleyan University, affectionately referred to as SWU by alumni, faculty, and friends of the university, is “A Quality Education. A Christian Perspective.”  Mrs. Dill said, “We approach everything from a Christian viewpoint.  That doesn’t mean everything we teach has to have a corresponding Scripture verse, but we hope being on a Christian campus reflects an obvious difference.”

Mrs. Dill spoke highly of her colleagues and said, “As a music faculty, we have great respect for each other as people, faculty, and Christians.” Just as I was shaped as a student under Mrs. Dill and the other music faculty when I was there, students today continue to be shaped through modeling, mentoring, daily relationship, and observing the way these wonderful professors and leaders interact with one another in front of them. Many of the professors have been at the university for a long time.  Mrs. Dill said, “The longevity of the faculty speaks to our willingness to stay at a place that we feel is making a difference. Our department certainly has a servant spirit.”

Jane brags on Dr. Todd Voss, who is the current President of SWU, by saying, “He is all about the university being a place of generosity.  There is an example of giving back from the top down.  We are regularly being challenged to consider how we can make a difference in the community in addition to training students to be teachers and servants vocationally as well.”

Southern Wesleyan University’s Division of Fine Arts is about so much more than music. It’s about family.

You’ve read about how Mrs. Dill gives back to the community through her connection with the “Concert of Hope” and serving as the organist at First Baptist Church of Clemson.  Her colleagues also give back in various ways.  Dr. Don Campbell, in addition to being a Professor of Music, also works with the Greater Anderson Music Arts Consortium (GAMAC), and Professor Greg Day started the Easley Community Band.  Dr. Darryl Jachens, Professor of Music and Coordinator of Studies in Music, works with the Greenville Concert Band.  Professor Heather Haithcock takes vocal students to perform out in the community. Each of the music faculty is intentional about the way they invest their time.  They even take time during their breaks, such as Christmas, to visit local schools and offer their services.  And every Spring the university sponsors a “Day of Service,” where all classes are cancelled and different people organize groups to leave campus and get involved in various means of community service school-wide!

As an alumnus of SWU, I can attest to the very personal investment that professors make in the lives of their students!  I have professors who have continued to keep up with my life and family since I graduated in 1993.  Several professors recognize me instantly whenever I walk back on campus or they see me out in public, and they are able to still call me and my wife by our first names! There is no telling how many students have gone through the halls of that campus since we were there nearly 30 years ago now, but because professors like Jane Dill and Darryl Jachens and Don Campbell and Greg Day and Heather Haithcock see their students as life-long investments and not just temporary names on a class roster, it makes all the difference in the world!

In fact, before each graduation, the music division faculty hosts a commissioning service where each graduating senior is honored publicly, by name, and prayed over by faculty and peers as they prepare to leave SWU and launch into the place of service that God has prepared for each of them.  Whether they are receiving their BA in Music, or Music Education, or a BM in Church Music, these men and women are commissioned to “live sent” and reminded of how much they are loved by God and by their professors.

Southern Wesleyan University’s Division of Fine Arts is about so much more than music.  It’s about family.

Lee Millspaugh, INSPIRE

After getting my degree from Southern Wesleyan University, I eventually became a pastor at The Mount Church in Clemson where I’ve had the privilege of serving for the past 19 years, doing what I believe I was created to do.

HELP KEEP IT FREE

Upstate Exposures Magazine is always free to read and subscribe. If you would like to help keep it free, please click the button below to donate.

GET THE MUG

RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX

Enter your email address to subscribe to Upstate Exposures Magazine and receive notifications of new issues and stories by email.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: