Professor Sara Odom Continues Last Lecture Series

HARTSVILLE – March 19, 2014 – As part of the Coker College Last Lecture Series, Sara S. Odom, professor of education and coordinator of the elementary education major in the Wiggins School of Education, will present a lecture titled “A Salute to Teachers!” Monday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. in Davidson Hall Auditorium.

Established in 2011 by Coker College President Robert Wyatt, the Last Lecture Series was created to celebrate academic excellence and the individual achievements of retiring Coker faculty.

“Dr. Odom exemplifies the spirit of the Last Lecture Series,” said Tracy Parkinson, provost at Coker College. “Through her knowledge and dedication to her students, both at Coker and in the public schools, she has created a lasting and immeasurable legacy in the Hartsville community and beyond.”

Odom joined the Coker College faculty in 1988, joined the faculty full-time in 2000 and will retire at the end of this academic year. Prior to Coker, she taught in the public schools for 28 years, 25 of those years in the Darlington County School District where she was awarded the District Teacher of the Year Award in 1993 by a panel of her peers. Odom was also honored with the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Excellence in Teaching Award on April 10, 2012.

"With her years of experience teaching in the public schools, Dr. Odom brought a wealth of knowledge to our teacher education program,” said Susan Henderson, associate professor of education and chair of the Wiggins School of Education. “She has truly devoted her career to teaching and has influenced generations of public school and college students. It has been Coker College’s great benefit that Dr. Odom has spent the majority of her career dedicated to her work here in Hartsville, and her impact on the quality of our teacher education program will continue to be felt after she retires."

Odom is the senior author of Becoming a Teacher in South Carolina (Odom/Henderson, Cengage, 2011), a comprehensive guide for prospective teachers. Additionally, she has published in Reading Matters: The Journal of the South Carolina State Council of the International Reading Association and Carolina English Teacher. As a children’s book author, Odom recently published her fifth children’s book, Lost in New York City with Tate Publishing. Her other children’s books include: Gram’s Switch, Precious Puddin’, My Lucky Irish Ear and Absolutely Adorable!. Over the years she has made numerous professional presentations, but she particularly enjoys talking to elementary students about reading and writing.

A advocate for the teaching profession and the classroom teacher, Odom leaves behind her imprint on the teacher education major. The addition of The Hail and Farewell reception and the “Pinning Ceremony” for Coker’s student-teachers have become traditions that candidates look forward to and graduates remember with fondness.

"Dr. Odom is a genuine and thoughtful person who has dedicated her life to educating young minds about the importance of being a quality teacher,” said Tiffany Wallace, junior education major and co-president of Coker's Alpha Gamma Psi chapter of Kappa Delta Pi. “As a student of hers, I have had the privilege to learn what it takes to be a passionate and understanding teacher. I am extremely grateful for the knowledge and wisdom she has given me, and I look forward to putting it forth in my career.”

Additionally, Odom highly values the study away requirements that are tenets of the Coker College experience. She has created, led and taught two of the Wiggins School of Education’s study abroad courses: Greece (2009) and China (2011). The trip to Greece focused on the origins of democracy and ancient education practices. During the China trip, student research centered on comparisons of mathematical competencies among Chinese and American teachers, particularly at the elementary school level, while exploring the reasons why Chinese students typically outperform American students on international comparisons of mathematical knowledge.

Odom and her husband, Phillip, are both Hartsville natives. They have four grown children: Marshall (Kylee), Billy (Jess), David (Michelle) and Marla (Jon), as well as 12 grandchildren. She earned her Ed.D. in Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University (1993), her Master’s Plus Thirty Hours in Reading Education from the University of South Carolina (1989), her Master’s in Elementary Education from Francis Marion University (1979) and her Bachelor of Arts from the Baptist College of Charleston (1968).

The Last Lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception in the Davidson Hall Foyer.

This event is scheduled in conjunction with the College’s Celebration of Academics, March 24-26. For more information about the Celebration of Academics at Coker College, visit


Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

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