Hyler named FMU’s Outstanding Alumnus; three others honored

Posted: The Morning News
Thursday, February 26, 2015 8:02 pm
Francis Marion University press release

FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University honored four at its annual Alumni Appreciation Dinner held at the university's Performing Arts Center in Florence Thursday night.

The 2015 Outstanding Alumnus award went to Deborah W. Hyler ('82), executive director of the School Foundation.

Emily Brandenburg McMillan ('10) of Columbia received the Benjamin Wall Ingram III Young Alumnus award. Stacey Y. Brayboy ('94) of Washington, D.C., received the Professional Industry Award in Public Service and Law. Brad Sponic ('04), of Florence, received the Professional Industry Award in Education and Arts.

Hyler received a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from FMU in 1982 and has been executive director of The School Foundation in Florence since 2006. Under her leadership, The School Foundation has funded and awarded more than $900,000 in grants to local public schools. She is an accomplished organizer with more than 20 years of experience in community-related activities. In 2014, she was the recipient of the Mary Dean Brewer Woman of Distinction award from the Girl Scouts of the Eastern South Carolina. She is married to Dr. Daniel Hyler, a 1981gradute of FMU. They have three children: Jonathan, Jennifer, and Julia.

McMillan received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from FMU in 2009 and is a third-year law student at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Prior to enrolling in law school in the fall of 2012, she served as event coordinator for Governor Nikki R. Haley and assistant to the First Gentleman. She is the research editor for the ABA Real Property, Trust & Estate Journal, a member of the Moot Court Bar, and vice president of the Pro Bono Board. She has won numerous awards as a law student and worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Jean Hoefer Toal and at the law office of Sweeney, Wingate & Barrow. After her spring 2015 graduation, she will work as an associate at Sweeney, Wingate & Barrow in the areas of estate planning and appellate advocacy. Emily and her husband, John, a 2013 graduate of the FMU who holds a Masters in Business Administration from the university, reside in Columbia.

Brayboy received a Bachelor of Science in political science from FMU in 1984 and a master's degree in public administration from Clark Atlanta University. She is chief of staff for the Food and Nutrition Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., where she manages the daily priorities of FNS. Previously, she served as director of Economic and Community Development for Rural Development at USDA, as a member of the transition team for President Obama and Vice President Biden, director of the Obama campaigns in South Carolina and Virginia during the Presidential primaries, deputy director in Indiana and Virginia during the general election campaign, and deputy director of the Virginia Council on Human Rights. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her daughter, Madison Lilli Philhower Brayboy.

Sponic received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from FMU and a Master's of Education in literacy from Walden University. He is currently working towards a Master's in Education in educational leadership from Arkansas State University . He has been employed by Florence School District I since 2008, where he teaches theatre arts in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program at Williams Middle School. He began his teaching career in Marion County. Sponic is a frequent volunteer at the Florence Little Theatre, where he has acted, directed, and designed lighting. He also leads the theatre's 7-12 grade "Rising Star" workshop.

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