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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Remembering Ernestine Raclin

Nov 29, 2023 10:35AM ● By Donna Walker


Converse Celebrates Legacy, Philanthropy of Ernestine Raclin

Lifelong supporter of higher education and former Converse first lady Ernestine Melvin Morris Carmichael Raclin (1927-2023) further cemented her legacy at Converse with an estate gift of $10.3 million.


The planned gift is the largest legacy gift and the second largest single gift in Converse’s history.


A 1947 graduate of St. Mary’s College in South Bend, IN, and staunch supporter of women’s colleges, Raclin valued liberal arts education for women.


Her ties to Converse began in September 1956 when she came to Spartanburg with her young family to start a new chapter in their lives at Converse. Her husband, O.C. “Mike” Carmichael, Jr., became the institution’s fourth president in its then 67-year history.


When they arrived in Spartanburg, a young couple in their late twenties, their four children, Carmen, O.C. “Crom,” Ernestine “Tina,” and Clark, spent part of their formative years at 580 E. Main St. 


Carmichael Hall on campus is named for the couple, though Converse University President Boone Hopkins, Ph.D., thinks the spirit of the building’s dedication plaque is a strong sentiment of Ernestine’s contributions to the institution.


The bronze plaque notes the couple’s “foresight, dedication, and leadership” which enabled Converse “to strengthen further its contribution to liberal education for women.”


“We are incredibly grateful for the life and legacy of Ernestine Raclin,” Hopkins said. “Her dedication to higher education, her philanthropic spirit, and her love of Converse inspired many and will continue to do so. The impact of this generous gift will be felt for years to come on our campus.”


Officials said Raclin’s gift will be used to invest in the future of Converse University in accordance with its Strategic Vision Plan and the university’s mission to empower students to become transformative leaders who see clearly, decide wisely, and act justly.


Funds will be used toward the following initiatives:


* Supporting the current fiscal year budget for immediate impact on Converse’s three pillars: people, programs and places.


* Creating an endowment for merit salary enhancements for staff and faculty, with an additional amount earmarked for salary increases for faculty and staff this fiscal year.


* Addressing campus improvements in residence halls and facilities, plus deferred maintenance, in fiscal years 2024 and 2025.


* Creating matching gifts for the recent restoration of Cudd Hall and the upcoming renovation of the Milliken Fine Arts Building.


The youngest of four children, Ernestine Raclin was named after her father, Ernest Morris, and carried his passion for philanthropy as her father pioneered automobile consumer financing.


The family has impacted the South Bend community with transformative gifts of $1 million to the University of Notre Dame in 1947 and continued their support for the following decades.


After departing Converse in 1960, Carmichael served as chairman of the Associates Corporation of North America and the FBT Corporation, Inc.


Additionally, he was the former treasurer and finance committee chairman for the Republican National Committee until his sudden death in 1976 while playing tennis. Ernestine then assumed the role of president of 1st Source Bank.


In 1977, she married Robert Raclin and continued her philanthropic work as the first woman on the board at First Chicago, MidCon, and Nipsco.


A founding member of PBS television station WNIT and the Stanley Clark School, Ernestine became a leader in economic development as chair of Project Future, where she led every fundraising campaign it launched.


Raclin was the first woman in the United States to chair a United Way campaign and to serve on the Board of United Way of America.


Recognizing Ernestine’s commitment to education, she was honored with multiple honorary degrees, including an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Notre Dame (1978), Honorary Doctor of Laws from Indiana State University (1981), Doctors of Human Letters (honorary) from Converse College (1974), Doctor (honorary) from Vincennes University (1987), Doctor (honorary) from the University of Southern Indiana (1988), and Doctor in Technology (honorary) from Purdue University (1992).


Her awards include the Engineer of Mines Morris Memorial Award at Indiana Academy, the Community Service Award at St. Mary’s College, Ivy Tech's Excellence in Education Award, the Edmund F. Ball Award at Indiana Public Broadcasting Society, the Castaldi Award at United Way Indiana, the Top Volunteer Award at United Way Indiana (1987), and the Helping Hands Award from Hospice of St. Joseph County.


Converse was founded in 1889 by citizens of Spartanburg, S.C., who aimed to create an educational experience for women, and in fall 2020 it welcomed its first undergraduate co-educational incoming class.


The university encompasses the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and Data Science, the School of the Arts, The Graduate School, and the Converse College for Women.

Ingevity Extends Partnership With TRiiSO, LLC, Expands Capa Distribution for Customers in U.S., Canada

Ingevity Corporation (NYSE:NGVT) announced an extension of the distributorship with TRiiSO LLC to expand the distribution footprint for the company’s Capa products from the current western United States (U.S.) to include all the U.S. and Canada.


Officials said the new agreement will broaden capabilities to serve existing Capa customers and support growth into new markets in North America.


“Leveraging TRiiSO’s nationwide reach and 50-year track record of supplying the coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (CASE) market strengthens our commitment to providing current and future customers with innovative products and best in class technical and customer service,” said Steve Hulme, Ingevity senior vice president and president, Advanced Polymer Technologies.


The new distributorship agreement will take effect Dec. 25, 2023.


Ingevity operates in three reporting segments: Performance Chemicals, which includes specialty chemicals and pavement technologies; Advanced Polymer Technologies, which includes biodegradable plastics and polyurethane materials; and Performance Materials, which includes activated carbon.


Its products are used in a variety of applications, including adhesives, agrochemicals, asphalt paving, bioplastics, coatings, elastomers, lubricants, pavement markings, publication inks, oil exploration and production and automotive components.


Headquartered in North Charleston, S.C., Ingevity operates from 31 countries around the world and employs approximately 1,900 people.

Truecaller Releases Monthly U.S. Spam & Scam Report to Identify Top Fraudulent Call Categories, States in 2023

Truecaller, a leading global communications platform, released its first Monthly U.S. Spam and Scam Report highlighting fraudulent call trends.


The findings show the types of spam and scam calls users receive, states that receive the most spam and scam calls, the average number of spam calls users receive per month, and more.


The initial report compiles data from November 2022 to October 2023 and will be updated on a monthly basis with real-time data and trends on Truecaller’s website.


According to Truecaller, Americans receive an average of 2.1 billion spam calls per month, with nearly six spam calls per person per month, each lasting over four minutes.


It said that throughout 2023, Americans wasted approximately 195 million hours answering these incoming calls.


Every year, the numbers peak during the holidays, with scams such as charity donations, fake deliveries, and vacation upgrades.


Officials said that with AI, scammers have more tools than ever to easily target victims and impersonate voices of loved ones, authority figures, and government officials.


Scam calls with malicious intent seem to make up the majority of all unwanted communication while others include real sales calls, robocalls from real companies, online surveys, and political calls.


The report found that the majority of scams in 2023 were related to credit card fraud, identity theft, Medicare/insurance, Social Security, car warranty, and debt collection.


South Carolina was among the states receiving the most spam and scam calls per user, per month.


The state averaged an estimated 57,015,634 spam calls over 12 months.


According to Truecaller, nearly 10 percent of spam calls received by Americans originate outside the U.S., and are mostly from India, Nigeria, Egypt, Colombia, Canada, and Peru.

Contribution Limits for 401(k), IRA Plans Increase in 2024

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the amount individuals can contribute to their 401(k) plans in 2024 has increased to $23,000, from $22,500 in 2023.


Also, the IRS says the limit on annual contributions to an IRA increased to $7,000, from $6,500.


The IRA catch up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and older remains at $1,000 for 2024.


Details on these and other retirement-related cost-of-living adjustments for 2024 are in Notice 2023-75.

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