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New extension office at South Carolina State University 1890, Director is based in Sumter

South Carolina State University 1890 Research and Extension will direct a new regional office based in Sumter to better serve to Sumter, Lee, Clarendon and Williamsburg counties.

The newly formed Santee-Wateree regional office will also be led by a newcomer. Ronnie Rhodes, the office's regional director, will administer the programs and services to be offered to individuals, families, and businesses throughout the service area.

"My goal is to improve the community with quality of life programs and ensure that the areas we serve receive information that will improve their lives," said Rhodes. "I look forward to ensuring that stakeholders in our community are aware of the programs we offer in 1890."

Rhodes will help provide educational programs and services that fall within SC State 1890's core program areas, such as 4-H and youth development; family, nutrition and health; education, innovation and support; economic and community development and development of agriculture and sustainable natural resources.

The new 1890 Extension office in Sumter was part of the strategic push for the public service organization and will expand the university's footprint in South Carolina communities in need of programs and services designed to improve the quality of life and elevate the level of living.

Rhodes has lived in the Sumter area since 1997 and has family in the surrounding counties. He said being in the area has helped him understand the needs of the residents of Sumter, Lee, Clarendon, and Williamsburg and that having an office in the area will be beneficial.

"It's important to have it in Sumter because we mainly work in rural areas that don't have access to this information," said Rhodes. "Many of them may not be aware that there are services that can help improve their lives."

Rhodes earned his BA in psychology from South Carolina State University and an MA in counseling from Webster University. He had prior experience as a teacher assistant and coach, service coordinator, and substance abuse counselor. He worked as a program coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs prior to working with the 1890 Extension.

"As we seek to make a positive impact in the Santee-Wateree region, I am optimistic that Mr. Rhodes will use his wealth of experience to provide the quality of programs needed for the area," said Edoe Agbodjan, associate administrator for extension. "Rhodes will play a key role in the growth of our programs and services, not just in the region, but as 1890 continues to expand in South Carolina."

The Santee-Wateree regional office in Sumter is at 219 N. Washington St. This location is temporary, but South Carolina State 1890 Research and Extension has plans for a permanent location within a year.

For more information about the South Carolina State Extension Santee-Wateree region, contact Rhodes at

For more information about South Carolina State 1890 Research and Extension, visit[19459003

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