Name: Veroncia Butler-Byrd
Hometown: University City, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis). I also claim Memphis, Tennessee, as home. I lived there for 16 years before moving to Charleston.
Education: Associate degrees in office administration and Spanish from Southwest Tennessee Community College and bachelor of arts in African and African American studies from the University of Memphis #GoTigersGo
Job title: Administrative Assistant for Religious Studies
How long have you worked at the College? Six and a half years total: five in religious studies and one and a half in chemistry.
What are your job responsibilities? Handle all scheduling for courses. Monitor enrollments. Arrange department events. Monitor the expenses and budgets of department accounts. Receive visitors. Maintain the department website and social media accounts as well as create marketing material about our classes, faculty, students and alumni. Support the chair, professors and students in any way I can. Act as the liaison between religious studies and other departments on campus, vendors and the community.
What do you like most about your job? Every year religious studies has a pre-commencement reception for our graduates and their families. I enjoy meeting the families and listening to the professors share anecdotes about each graduate. One of the many strengths of religious studies is the close, personal relationships we form with our students.
What question do you get asked most in your job and what’s your typical answer? Do we offer a degree in theology, or do we offer any theology courses? The answer is no. Our program uses an academic approach to religion. The approach is interdisciplinary, historical and comparative. Religion is studied as it relates to politics, education, human rights, climate change, history and art. And it emphasizes the value and importance of understanding many different religious perspectives in society.
What’s your favorite location on campus and why? The area right in front of the President’s House where the fountain is. The fountain is right beneath my office window, and I can hear the water trickling. I like that.
What are your hobbies? I dabble in photography and crochet.
What personal and/or professional accomplishment are you most proud of? Graduating from college in 2012 at the age of 44. I went back to college full time as a single mother with a 6-month-old baby and a full-time job. It took eight years and two changes of major for me to finish. Personally, my greatest accomplishment is raising my beautiful daughter, Ava. She is a freshman Honors student at N.C. State majoring in political science. She wants to work overseas with the U.N. or the State Department.
Name a creative work (book, movie, performance, etc.) you enjoyed recently and why. I am a huge history buff, especially African American history. I’m not much of a book reader anymore. I’m a big fan of audiobooks and listen to them during my long commute to work every day. I recently read (listened to) The 1619 Project and 400 Souls. I was so impressed with how each of these books organized and laid out the 400+ year history of Black people in this country and tied that history into the institutions and social issues we have today.
What was your favorite TV show growing up? A Different World. It was a big deal seeing Black students attending college and being taught by Black professors at an HBCU (Historically Black College/University). It had never been seen before or since. Representation matters.
What’s next on your bucket list? I’m going to Hawaii in July and Honduras in October!
What is something your campus colleagues would be surprised to know about you? That my name was spelled wrong on my Social Security card for 31 years. I knew it was wrong, but none of my employers noticed until I came to CofC in 2014. It has since been corrected.
What was your first job? I was a cashier at Long John Silvers in 1984. I was 15 years old and worked there until I graduated high school.
What’s your favorite Lowcountry restaurant? Halls Chop House and Paige’s Okra Grill.
Describe your perfect day: Sleeping until about 10 am. Get dressed and go to brunch with my husband to a place that has several different kinds of mimosas and great omelets.
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