I was a late bloomer,” Will Frampton says matter-of-factly. Frampton is reporter for the CBS-affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia, who candidly acknowledges his personal history,
which ultimately led him to a tiny town of 1,200 in Due West, South Carolina, for college. “High school was rough,” he admits. “I went to Erskine and really just made the most out of life and had experiences there that were just so wonderful and so positive that made me into who I am today.”
That testimonial might not be an uncommon one now among the 586 undergrads (75 percent male, 25 percent female) who currently attend Erskine College, which is still the heart and soul of Due West. Frampton, a 2003 graduate, is working on a full-length feature documentary tentatively titled Hopefully and Prayerfully: the Story of Erskine about his alma mater. His fellow alumni include luminaries in myriad fields including athletics (Butler University’s women’s basketball coach Beth Couture) and politics (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs David Agnew). Additionally, Grammy Award–winning Americana musician Jim Lauderdale was a DJ at the college’s radio station.
Frampton’s trying to keep it down to less than two hours he says, but with the college’s upcoming 175th anniversary later this year, it’s a daunting task to whittle down such a rich, historical tradition of the very first four-year, Christian liberal arts school in South Carolina. “I’m catching up with people who are in their 90s, people who played football at the college back in the 1950s. I talked to World War II Air Force cadets who were there to help keep the college open during World War II. So I feel like I have a chance to chronicle the college’s history and to leave a legacy with the college and give something back,” he says.
Frampton’s intent is aligned with what has pretty much been the mission—even unofficially—of the school since it first held classes (with only 17 young men) in 1839, built on the tradition of the Associate Reform Presbyterian Church, which is “equipping students to flourish as whole persons for lives of service.” It might not be the most glamorous or flashiest, but in the reaches of ivory towers, this little town that could is proud of being home to one very special institution that strives even now to be “due west of ordinary.”