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Board of Commissioners

Mr. Wes Hayes, Rock Hill, Governor’s Appointment At-Large, Chair. Appointed to the CHE in 2018.

HayesA graduate of both the United States Military Academy in West Point, where he served as the Class of 1975’s president and battalion commander, and the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he served as the president of the Student Bar Association during the 1982-83 academic year, Mr. Wes Hayes has long illustriously served the public through military and civilian activity. Between his graduation from West Point and enrollment at USC, he served in the United States Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and upon his matriculation at law school, served in the South Carolina Army National Guard, which he continued to serve until 2005.

Following his graduation from law school, he established his own law office, Wes Hayes Law Office, which today he operates alongside his son James Creighton. In 1984, Mr. Hayes was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and served for seven years until his election to the state Senate, a station which he held from 1991 to 2016. During his senatorial tenure, Mr. Hayes held positions on the education and finance committees.

In addition to his extensive involvement in public affairs, Mr. Hayes has been quite active in civilian organizations, having previously served as the chairman or president of the York County Red Cross, the York District Boy Scouts of America, the Rock Hill United Way Campaign, and the Palmetto Council Boy Scouts of America.

For his outstanding service and leadership, Mr. Hayes was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster in November of 2023. He has also received service awards from the South Carolina Jaycees, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, and the Riley Institute at Furman.


Dr. Mitchell M. Zais, Columbia Governor’s Appointment At Large. Appointed to the CHE in 2024.

Committee Assignment: Finance and Facilities

Commissioner ZaisDr. Zais served as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education – he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2018 and was in office until January 20, 2021. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served 31 years on active duty in the United States Army, retiring as a brigadier general.

Prior to working with the Department of Education, Dr. Zais was elected as South Carolina's 17th state superintendent of education. He also served as president of Newberry College for 10 years, from 2000 to 2010 and was formerly a commissioner with the CHE during that time.

At Newberry, Dr. Zais served as chairman of the presidents' councils of both the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities and the South Atlantic Athletic Conference. He was also a member of the board of directors for the Foundation for Independent Higher Education, the Lutheran Education Conference of North America, the South Carolina Tuition Grants Commission, and the Southern Regional Education Board.

Dr. Zais was also a professor at West Point where he taught Leadership, Organizational Behavior, and Management Consulting.

Dr. Zais earned a Bachelor of Science in engineering from West Point, a Master of Science and a doctorate in social psychology and organizational behavior from the University of Washington, and a Master of Arts in military history from the School for Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He did post-doctoral studies in national security affairs at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.


Mr. Doug Snyder, Charleston, Governor’s Appointment At-Large. Appointed to the CHE in 2022.

Committee Assignment: Strategic Initiatives and Engagement (Chair), Academic Affairs and Licensing

SnyderMr. Snyder graduated from The Citadel in 1982 and holds a B.S. in Business Administration. In 2019, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Civic Engagement from The Citadel.

Through his professional experiences, Mr. Snyder has worked with complex organizations and management structures advocating teamwork and financial leadership as building blocks for successful organizations.

Mr. Snyder has served as an audit manager in an international accounting firm, a chief financial officer in a state-wide nonprofit organization, and business advisor to many small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals across South Carolina.

His higher education involvement includes serving twenty-seven years on The Citadel Board of Visitors, during which he served in numerous positions, including four years as Chair of the Board. He currently serves as a member emeritus and is a member of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.


Mrs. Terrye C. Seckinger, Mt. Pleasant, Governor’s Appointment 1st Congressional District Representative. Appointed to the CHE in 2014.

Committee Assignment: Academic Affairs and Licensing (Vice Chair), Access and Equity and Student Services

Commissioner SeckingerMrs. Seckinger is a native South Carolinian and graduate of Clemson University. She has been involved in South Carolina state government for over two decades, serving on the Juvenile Parole Board, the State Board of Education, and the South Carolina statewide Charter Public School District Board of Trustees, an authorizer of public schools of choice in the state. Mrs. Seckinger served on Attorney General Condon’s Obscenity and Pornography Commission and Internet Crimes against Children Commission, as well as Governor Sanford’s Commission on Children. She assisted in the restructuring of the Department of Juvenile Justice under Governor Beasley and chaired a Juvenile Justice Youth Council, addressing the issue of juvenile crime in South Carolina.

Recently she assisted in drafting and passing the Charter Public School Law creating public school choice in South Carolina. She has a business background and was on the founding team of Palmetto Christian Academy, a K-12 private school in Mount Pleasant where she developed and taught their Character Education Program.

As a student athlete she was a 1978 founding member of Clemson’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, along with two football players. She is married to R. Stan Seckinger. They have two married boys and a third son who is a TE on Clemson’s football team. She has been involved in the Charleston community serving in several capacities including the Charleston County Library Board, as a former Election Commissioner for the city of Isle of Palms, as well as a former board of visitors member at Charleston Southern University. Mrs. Seckinger currently serves on the Lowcountry Graduate Center board of directors as the CHE Ex-Officio Representative.


Mr. Dino Teppara, Lexington, Governor’s Appointment 2nd Congressional District Representative. Appointed to the CHE in 2022.

Committee Assignment: Finance and Facilities, Strategic Initiatives and Engagement.

Dino TepparaMr. Dino Teppara served for two years in the administration of President Donald J. Trump, appointed by the President to senior roles at the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Education.

Mr. Teppara served on staff to U.S. Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) for seven years and became the first Indian American to serve as Chief of Staff and Counsel to a Republican member of Congress. He helped Congressman Wilson pass five federal laws: 1) the arming of passenger and cargo pilots; 2) making the adoption tax credit permanent; 3) providing for teacher student loan forgiveness; 4) increasing bonus depreciation for equipment and machinery purchases; and 5) earlier retirement pay for members of the National Guard and Reserve.

Mr. Teppara spent nearly six years at the SC Department of Education as Director of Legislative and Public Affairs and later as special education counsel. He advocated for the repeal of the Common Core State Standards before the SC General Assembly, helped oversee the process to implement new state standards, and won a statewide award for best social media campaign. Teppara also served as assistant director of a cabinet agency in the administration of Governor Nikki R. Haley. He is a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, with the rank of Lieutenant, assigned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He was previously assigned to the U.S. 6th Fleet and served on active duty in Ukraine, Italy, and Africa.

Mr. Teppara received his law degree from Indiana University School of Law and his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska, where he was an award-winning NCAA Division One student athlete on the men’s tennis team. He is admitted to the South Carolina Bar, the District of Columbia, U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States.


Dr. Bettie Rose Horne, Greenwood, Governor’s Appointment 3rd Congressional District Representative. Appointed to the CHE in 2004. 

Committee Assignment: Academic Affairs and Licensing, Access and Equity and Student Services (Vice Chair)

HorneDr. Horne taught at Lander University for 27 years and spent the last six of those years in administration, overseeing such projects as access and equity, tutorial services, academic advising, and student support services. She also spent seven years as an academic vice president and dean at an agricultural college in South Georgia, and over three years in Atlanta at the University System of Georgia as Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.

She earned her Ph.D. degree in linguistics at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Horne is active in her church and serves on boards which include Habitat for Humanity, Pathway Homeless Shelter, the Burton Center for special needs, Hispanic Children’s Outreach, the Greenwood Flower Festival, Greenwood Performing Arts, and the Lander University Capital Campaign.

Dr. Horne was married to the late Coach Finis Horne, has twin daughters, and is the proud grandmother of a fourteen-year-old granddaughter.

 


Mrs. Jenni Tindal Bryson, Greenville, Governor’s Appointment 4th Congressional District Representative. Appointed to the CHE in 2022.

Committee Assignment: Academic Affairs and Licensing, Finance and Facilities

Commissioner Bryson PhotoMrs. Jenni Tindal Bryson, Greenville. Governor’s Appointment 4th Congressional District Representative. Appointed to CHE in 2022. Mrs. Bryson is a native South Carolinian from Columbia and now resides in Greenville where she and her husband raised their family. She is a 1985 graduate of Clemson University. She began her career with the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company and then spent several decades in state government. She worked for South Carolina Educational Television, the Office of the Governor, and Clemson University. In service to others, Mrs. Bryson was the chair of the first Children’s Ministry board of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church, as well as founder of the children’s library and member of the Youth Ministry board. She has held board positions on all her children’s school’s improvement councils as well as their PTAs. She served on the board of directors of the Greenville Junior League. Giving back to Clemson since her graduation, Mrs. Bryson served as president of the Young Alumni Council, board member of the Alumni National Council, and most recently completed a six-year appointment to the Clemson University Board of Visitors serving as secretary and chair of the legislative committee. Eleven years ago, Mrs. Bryson cofounded a consulting business to help young women successfully make the transition from high school to college. She spent 13 years as the primary caregiver of her elderly mother who lived with Mrs. Bryson and her family. She also plans New York Theater trips for women of all ages. Mrs. Bryson is married to Jody Bryson and they have three children and a daughter-in-law.


Mr. Patrick White, Fort Mill. Governor’s Appointment, 5th Congressional District Representative. Appointed to the CHE in 2019.

Committee Assignment: Finance and Facilities (Vice Chair), Strategic Initiatives and Engagement

WhiteMr. White is a Fort Mill native. He graduated from The Citadel in 1988 with a BA in Political Science and served twelve years as a commissioned officer in the United States Army and South Carolina National Guard.

Prior to joining Comporium Communications as its VP of Supply Chain in 2010, Mr. White worked for Spring Industries for more than twenty years in plant manager and supply chain capacities.

Mr. White has served on the Fort Mill School Board from 2002 to 2016, and as the Chairman of the Board from 2010 through 2016. During his tenure on the board, the district was noted as the fastest growing in the state, having almost tripled in size. The district went through a building program during this same time of almost a billion dollars. His proudest accomplishment is the fact that the district ranks in the top five percent academically, even during this period of unprecedented growth.

Mr. White has been married to his wife, Jamie, for 30 years. They have two adult children, and three dogs. His family has been a member of Unity Presbyterian Church his entire life. He is an avid Carolina Panther fan and a part-time resident of Litchfield Beach as often as possible.


Dr. Cleveland Sellers, Denmark, Governor’s Appointment, 6th Congressional District Representative. Appointed to the CHE in 2019.

Committee Assignments: Access and Equity and Student Services, Strategic Initiatives and Engagement

Commissioner SellersDr. Sellers is a native of Denmark, South Carolina, and through his great experience with the various facets of higher education, he has gleaned an incisive knowledge of its administration.

Even before an eight-year period presiding over Voorhees College, Dr. Sellers was already an exceptional force for education within the state. Dr. Sellers served as director of the African American Studies program at the University of South Carolina.

An alumnus of Shaw University, Harvard University, and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, his affiliations include the Kosmos Club, South Carolina State Board of Education, South Carolina African American Heritage Committee, the Organization of American Historians, and Southern Historical Association. Among his numerous awards are the 2009 “Preserving Our Places in History” Lifetime Achievement Award, South Carolina African American Heritage Commission; 2009 Freedom Flame Award, National Voting Rights Museum and Institute; 2009 Legacy Award, United Negro College Fund; and the 2007 Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scouts of America.

Dr. Sellers and his wife of 38 years, Gwendolyn, are the parents of three children, Dr. Nosizwe A. Sellers, Rev. Cleveland L. Sellers III, and South Carolina Representative Bakari Sellers.


Mr. Edgar "Eddie" Dyer, Myrtle Beach, Governor’s Appointment 7th Congressional District Representative. Vice Chair. Appointed to the CHE in 2019.

Committee Assignment: Finance and Facilities, Academic Affairs and Licensing (Vice Chair)

DyerMr. Dyer, a native of High Point, North Carolina, has a rich history of service to higher education, and throughout his substantial career, he has exhibited true devotion to academic, athletic, and community advancement.

Receiving a baccalaureate degree from Guilford College and a Master and J.D. from the University of South Carolina, Mr. Dyer has generously deployed his expertise to the benefit of a wide range of organizations and causes.

He has served in a variety of capacities at Coastal Carolina University, where he began his career in 1976 as a member of its faculty and retired in 2015 as its executive vice president and chief operating officer.

He has supplied his insights to entities such as the Author’s Committee of the Education Law Reporter, a national journal devoted to legal issues in higher education, and the South Carolina Bar Association. And furthermore, he has been an agent for good in his community through involvement in numerous civic causes.

 


Dr. Hubert “Hugh” Mobley, Lancaster, Governor’s Appointment Research University Sector Representative. Appointed to the CHE in 2020.

Committee Assignment: Access and Equity and Student Services (Chair), Strategic Initiatives and Engagement

MobleyDr. Mobley was born in Lancaster, South Carolina son of Robert L. Mobley, Sr. and Elizabeth B. Mobley. He is a 1973 graduate of Lancaster High School and a 1978 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Mobley has been a lifelong resident of Lancaster and has been involved with many organizations including The Lancaster Breakfast Rotary Club, The Sims Foundation, The Matt Blackwell Foundation and The Boy Scouts obtaining the Eagle Scout Rank.

He has practiced pharmacy in Lancaster for over 40 years and is Owner of Mobley Drugs, Inc. as well as a partner in other pharmacy-based interests. He has served two separate terms on the South Carolina Board of Pharmacy. Mr. Mobley is also a member of the Board of Trustees at the University of South Carolina.

He is also a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church in Lancaster. He is married to Donna Crolley Mobley, and they have four grown children each with Higher Education degrees. They also have four grandchildren.

 


Dr. Oran Smith, Greenville, Governor’s Appointment, Public Comprehensive Colleges Sector Representative. Appointed to the CHE in 2024.

Committee Assignments: Access and Equity and Student Services

Commissioner Oran SmithDr. Smith has developed a reputation as a trusted adviser and public policy advocate during his many years of service in the Palmetto State. His prior service includes President of Palmetto Family Council, Chief Operating Officer of the South Carolina Business & Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC) and regional director in the office of the Governor (Carroll Campbell). He co-founded Palmetto Promise Institute with Ellen Weaver in 2013 and currently serves as Senior Fellow and Secretary of the Board of Directors.

Dr. Smith holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina and has also studied at Clemson University and George Washington University. His dissertation, The Rise of Baptist Republicanism, was published by New York University Press and named a Choice Academic Book by the American Library Association.

Dr. Smith has served on the Board of Trustees for Coastal Carolina University since its independence in 1993 where he chairs the Academic Excellence and Student Experience Committee. He is the third longest-serving trustee of a comprehensive university in South Carolina. A native of Greenville County and a resident of Columbia, Dr. Smith has authored numerous books and publications. 

 


Mr. Paul O. Batson, III, Greer, Governor’s Appointment, Public Technical Colleges Sector Representative. Appointed to the CHE in 2015. Reappointed in 2016.

Committee Assignments: Access and Equity and Student Services; Finance and Facilities (Chair)

BatsonMr. Batson has operated an accounting and tax practice since 1987. He has served as an Area Commissioner for Greenville Technical College since 1998, has been their Board Chair for four years, and currently serves as their Audit Committee Chair.

Mr. Batson has also served on the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners for several years and is currently that Board’s Chair. He has been involved in a variety of ways with the South Carolina Technical College System since 1972, when he was hired as an instructor at Greenville Technical College. For 40 years, Mr. Batson has also been an adjunct professor in the undergraduate program at Furman University.

Mr. Batson earned his BS degree from Clemson University and his MBA from Clemson at Furman University.

 


 

Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., Tigerville, Governor's Appointment, Independent Colleges and Universities Sector Representative. Appointed to the CHE in 2023. 

Committee Assignment: Strategic Initiatives and Engagement, Academic Affairs and Licensing

Dr. FantSince 2017, Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., has served as the eighth president of North Greenville University in Tigerville, SC. A long-time leader in higher education, Dr. Fant holds five earned academic degrees (Ph.D. in English, University of Southern Mississippi), along with a post-doctoral certificate in Educational Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Fant followed a traditional academic path to the presidency, starting as a department chair, followed by terms as a dean of arts and sciences, provost, and executive vice president. He also served in various administrative roles at the University of Southern Mississippi (including briefly as a liaison with the Mississippi Institutes for Higher Learning), has held positions with multiple professional organizations, and participated in multiple SACSCOC accreditation reviews.

A prolific writer, Dr. Fant was a blogger and contributing writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education for many years. He has written, edited, or contributed to over a dozen academic books including his book The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide (Crossway 2012) which has been widely adopted as a text. 

Dr. Fant and his wife Lisa live in Tigerville and have twin adult children.

South Carolina Commission on Higher Education

1122 Lady St. Suite 400

Columbia, SC 29201

803-737-2260