The family of Chris and Frances Trowell recently endowed a scholarship in their honor. This investment through the South Georgia State College Foundation will provide ongoing support for students pursuing their educational goals at SGSC beyond their freshman year. The Trowells’ children recognized that this scholarship is an ideal way to both celebrate and continue the contributions of these life-long educators.
Mr. and Mrs. Trowell taught thousands of students throughout their careers. They moved to Douglas in 1957 to teach at Coffee County High School and were married the following summer. Frances taught home economics at CCHS following an earlier teaching assignment in Effingham County. Having served in the U. S. Army in Korea after college, Chris taught primarily history at CHS. Chris joined the faculty of South Georgia College in 1965 where he taught history, anthropology, and geography as well as in the 8th District Honors Program.
During his time at SGC he contributed actively to archaeological research in the region and in 1977 served as president of the Society for Georgia Archaeology, then as a co-founder of South Georgia Archaeological Research Team. He and Frankie Snow collected thousands of archaeological artifacts from this area of the state, documenting prehistory spanning many millennia. This extraordinary collection of artifacts was recently moved from SGSC to Georgia Southern University’s R.M. Bogan Archaeological Repository. Professor Trowell’s authoritative research of the history of the Okefenokee Swamp resulted in a number of books, occasional papers, and collaboration on other projects. The Okefenokee Wildlife League recognized him for his service on the board and his years of service. Long devoted to exploring and advancing our understanding of local and regional history, he recently completed service on the Satilla Regional Library board and he continues to serve as an active member of the Coffee County Historical Society and the Historic Preservation Commission for the City of Douglas. Chris authored “Douglas Before Memory” and co-authored “Dodge Land Troubles” with Jane Walker of Telfair County. He is currently revising and updating “Place Names of the Okefenokee”.
Frances spent some time at home with their three children, Nan, Tina, and Sam, and in 1969 returned to teaching at Central Elementary School, where she taught 3rd grade. She completed a master’s in education from Valdosta State College with gifted education focus, after which she taught gifted students at Eastside, Westside, and Satilla Elementary Schools (including the temporary airport campus) and all grades in Nicholls and Ambrose. She taught 2nd grade at Westside in the mid-1980s and then completed her career teaching gifted elementary students from throughout Coffee County based at Eastside Elementary. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma society of women educators for many years. Frances has been an active member of Douglas First United Methodist Church, including years as a Sunday School teacher, since 1958 and a Coffee Regional Medical Center Auxiliary volunteer, often working at the front desk where she greets many former students and their families.
In creating the scholarship, the Trowells’ children stated, “With their combined 65 years of exemplary service as educators in Coffee County, as well as the years post-retirement where they have continued to give back to this community and beyond, it seemed most fitting to us that a scholarship should be established in their honor to enhance educational opportunities for Coffee County students at South Georgia State College.”
Dr. Greg Tanner, SGSC Vice President for Advancement, Government Relations and Athletics, says, “We value Mr. and Mrs. Trowell’s commitment and the important roles as they have played in shaping the lives of students over the years. The South Georgia State College Foundation is grateful and honored to assist with establishing this scholarship in their honor.”
SGSC sophomore Payton Wilkerson became the first recipient of this scholarship for 2020-2021. A secondary education major, he is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and as president of the Environmental Awareness Club.