CENTRAL — In front of a building that serves as Southern Wesleyan University’s welcome center, a man who spent many years welcoming students and mentoring them through college and beyond was honored with a gleaming new sign that bears his name.
During a ceremony held April 26 at the Central campus, the university applauded Dr. J. Charles “Chuck” Mealy for his many years of service to Southern Wesleyan. Mealy’s family and friends joined the university and many others in the community to celebrate the naming of the Dr. J. Charles “Chuck” Mealy Admissions Suite.
Dr. Todd Voss, Southern Wesleyan University president, praised Mealy for how God has used him and his wife Betty as “willing vessels.”
“Chuck’s whole life has been that — to be willing to do what God has called him to do, and to be a prayer warrior in a way that I have never known,” Voss said.
As Southern Wesleyan Admissions Director David Slabaugh travels the country, he says people often recognize his SWU shirt and approach him, asking if he knows “a guy named Chuck Mealy.”
“I’ll nod and wait for the awesome story of how Chuck either recruited them or has done something amazing in their life. They can’t wait to tell me that they know Chuck Mealy,” Slabaugh said.
“I entered college as a new Christian and met this guy who really provided me a much needed source of support, encouragement, accountability, and, most important, prayer in my life,” said Chad Peters, a Southern Wesleyan alumnus who is now vice president for enrollment management. Peters remembered how Mealy gave him his first Bible — one he continues to use for devotionals.
Rev. Joy Bryant, Southern Wesleyan’s executive director for alumni and constituent relations and a former admissions director, said that Mealy continued a standard of excellence from notable predecessors Dr. Virgil A. Mitchell and Lillian Robbins — in both caring for his staff and prospective students and their families.
Dr. Michael Thorsland, Oconee County School Superintendent, met Mealy when he served on the board of Oconee Christian Academy in Seneca and says he looks up to him.
“Chuck just took an interest in me and started pouring into my life. We’ve had lunch together once every couple of months for probably the last three or four years,” Thorsland said. “He has become a friend and a mentor of mine. He prays for me all the time and has taken an interest that I really appreciate.”
Pickens District 5 Rep. Neal Collins also expressed gratitude to Mealy, recalling how, since he was first elected, they have met on a regular basis. Collins presented Mealy with a resolution commending him for his service to the university. Collins introduced the resolution in the S.C. House, along with Pickens District 3 Rep. Gary Clary and Pickens District 4 Rep. David Hiott.
In his remarks, Mealy alluded to Jesus’ parable of the talents in the Bible, saying, “I look around at the buildings on campus and see what many of these people have already done in their achievements. But for all of the good things that He has done for me and even if He’s just given me the one talent of trying to encourage people, that is worth it all, altogether. I’m just honored that He would do that. I’m thankful to you folks, to the school, and to the Good Lord for the opportunity of this adventure.”
Mealy has served Southern Wesleyan as dean of enrollment management, director of conference services and volunteer coordinator for the Office of Advancement. In addition to his years of service at Southern Wesleyan, Mealy served in pastoral roles in Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina and Canada; served as director of senior adult ministries for The Wesleyan Church; served as director of music at Kingswood University in New Brunswick, Canada; and served as director of admissions at Indiana Wesleyan University. He has volunteered for The Wesleyan Church, assisting with the coordination of major conferences, including the General Conference. He has also been the organist at ALIVE Wesleyan Church in Central and continues to serve as an affiliate faculty member at Southern Wesleyan and Indiana Wesleyan.
A second phase of the admissions suite project includes renovations to the lobby area and the enclosure of a patio in the back, which will provide much-needed meeting space for potential students and guests.