CIU Student Visits Capitol Hill
Jordan Sprueill meets the influential; keeps things in perspective
By Bob Holmes
Columbia International University senior Jordan Sprueill was walking the halls of Congress with a CIU delegation there on business, when CIU President Mark Smith spotted a congressman that he thought Sprueill ought to meet.
“Please take a picture with this young lady,” Sprueill recalls Smith asking the congressman.
Before she knew it, Sprueill was posing with famous civil rights leader John Lewis of Georgia. Lewis helped organize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic March on Washington in 1963, and was the leader of a voting rights protest that ended in a bloody confrontation with police in Selma, Alabama in 1965.
“This man has been through so much … and to be willing to say a few words to somebody as young as me just shows the type of humility he has,” Sprueill said. “He wasn’t Dr. King, but he was right there with him to change our country. Just to be able to shake hands with him was awesome.”
Sprueill also posed for a quick photo with former presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont as he passed by. She also had a personal encounter with South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn who represents the district where CIU is located. The CIU delegation had a discussion with Clyburn’s staff about federal grants that would assist CIU as it seeks to help its neighbors improve the Monticello Road corridor leading to the CIU campus. (See “Dr. Smith Goes to Washington; CIU President Draws Interest in Monticello Road Renewal Project.)
But Sprueill, who works as an assistant in the CIU President’s Office, says that the trip was most beneficial to her as a Business major because of what she learned from President Smith as they made the rounds of the South Carolina delegation on Capitol Hill.
“People appreciate you when you spend time learning who they are, and I learned that personal communication is the best kind of communication,” Sprueill said. “I really appreciate seeing our president — how hard he worked to get to know everyone before he met them face-to-face. And that really helped us a lot because they felt like they had a relationship with us already.”
Sprueill, whose dream is to own and operate a Christian school, says the trip also taught her about having proper motives when meeting with the powerful because things are not always done with integrity in Washington.
“It showed me to always be true to my faith and who I am, and never lose sight of the ultimate goal to win souls to Christ through opening my school.”
CIU is experiencing growth in enrollment and has announced $25 million in expansion plans for the campus, including construction of the $20 million William H. Jones Global Business and IT Center. CIU is accredited by SACS-COC.