Campus wide, Staff News

CSU mourns golden employee of 55 years

By Jenna Johnson | October 11, 2021

Barbara “Binky” Mead, age 77, passed Sunday afternoon after a lengthy illness. A 55-year veteran staffer at Charleston Southern, Mead was well known for her impactful work with students and her unwavering commitment to the university. She began her time at CSU in admissions in 1967 and worked her way up to assistant dean of students 20 years later. Her latest role was serving as associate dean of students. In her more recent years, Mead oversaw the international program, worked on major campus events like CultureFest and Kuumba, and taught dining etiquette. 

Barbara Mead at her 50th Anniversary reception in 2017. Photo by Richard Esposito

Her dedicated service to CSU went far beyond her employment—and always directed back to CSU students in some way. Mead has been a member of the Board of Visitors Scholarship Program, Buc Club Board of Directors, a Lifetime Member of the President’s Club, and established the P.O. Jr. & Margaret I. Mead Endowed Scholarship in memory of her parents. Unknown to many among the CSU family, Mead was a major donor and was instrumental in establishing the Student Emergency Care Fund during COVID. 

Rev. Clark Carter, vice president for student life and dean of students, said that Mead’s entire life was focused on doing things for others. 

“Ms. Mead was a gift to so many people. Her generosity was legendary and it brought her such joy to be a blessing to others,” he said. “As she was lying in her hospital bed, just a few days before her passing, she told me with tears in her eyes, ‘I wish I had more time to help others.’ Oh, Ms. Mead, it will take an eternity to fully realize how many people you have touched. I thank God that I had the privilege to be one of those people.” 

In a book entitled “God’s Blueprint: From Welfare to the White House and Beyond,” Cindy Clark ’78 wrote that Mead had an everlasting impact on her life. “Once I arrived on campus as a student, Binky continued to show an interest in me beyond that of a mere student needed to fill a freshman quota. She genuinely cared about me (a new concept to me in many ways). Yet, the Lord continued to work in my heart and my life as He showed His loving care to me through others. In each step of my life since college, Binky has been a true Proverbs 18:24 friend. I will always appreciate the investment she made in me so many years ago.” 

Mead received the Outstanding Staff Merit Award in 1988 and made a splash in the community with the WCBD TV 2 Good Apple Award in 1991. At her 50th anniversary reception, Mead said, “The Lord has been so good to me. If I’m successful at anything, it’s because my parents taught me.” 

“Ms. Mead represented the purest example of living one’s calling that I have ever seen,” said President Dr. Dondi Costin. “Because of her outside business interests, Binky never needed a job, never needed a paycheck, and never wanted recognition. But she was compelled to serve the Lord by loving students in countless ways, always generously and often anonymously. In a CSU career with service in seven different decades, Binky was driven to demonstrate this truth: ‘only one life will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.’ And only God knows the number of lives she impacted for good during her one full life.”     

A graduate of Furman University, Mead also held a master’s degree from The Citadel and was a licensed counselor.  

A service will be held in CSU’s Lightsey Chapel at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 17. Visitors may attend a viewing prior to the service beginning at 2 p.m. The family will receive guests outside of the chapel at a reception immediately following the service. In an effort to keep everyone safe and healthy, attendees will wear masks and attempt reasonable physical distancing indoors at CSU.

“Binky” through the years

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