Envision South Carolina wants to help the Palmetto State move beyond its problems in education, health and the economy to become world-class and globally connected.
The group is the brainchild of Charleston businessman Phil Noble and is sponsored by the College of Charleston. Noble said it began by conducting interviews with prominent South Carolinians about what they think it would take to overcome the state’s challenges. Some of those interviews are posted on the group’s website, including those with Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Josephine Humpreys, a novelist and educator: Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, NASA administrator; and Walter Edgar, retired University of South Carolina professor, author and storyteller.
Next, group leaders, with input from the public, will decide how the information they have gathered might be used to improve the lives of all South Carolinians, Noble said.
He also said that one of the reasons he launched the project was because South Carolina suffers from “a massive inferiority complex, which has become part of our psyche.” But South Carolina has been great in the past and could be again, he said.
College of Charleston President George Benson said in a video introduction on the group’s website that before the Civil War, the state was “an economic powerhouse,” and Charleston was one of the most wealthy, religiously tolerant and cosmopolitan cities in the New World, Benson said.
Brian McGee, Benson’s chief of staff, said the project is meant to get people focused on the conversation of how to make South Carolina a world-class state in every respect.
The video interviews have been completed and are being rolled out on the group’s website, McGee said.
The college will hold a celebration sometime in the spring to bring together the people who were interviewed and student and community leaders.
“Then we move from conversation to implementation,” McGee said.
Noble said he’s not yet sure what the project leaders will do next, but ideas are already rolling in, including coming up with four of five key projects and supporting them; releasing annual report cards on various aspects of quality of life in the state; and focusing publicly for one month each year on a positive vision for South Carolina.