Thanksgiving came early for this USC class

USC professor Sporty Jeralds teaches lesson on importance of expressing gratitude

More than 200 University of South Carolina students in Professor Adonis “Sporty” Jeralds’ class took time last week to thank influential people in their lives.

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USC students last week learn the importance of expressing gratitude and thanks for those people who have touched or molded their lives, through Professor Sporty Jeralds “Wall of Fame,” and by resurrecting the fading practice of penning and sending personal thank-you notes. The lesson, Jeralds says, is meant to encourage and foster greater appreciation for people that will serve students in their personal and professional lives. (Photos by Allen Wallace)

Jeralds created “Professor Jeralds’ Wall of Fame” to offer the students a practical lesson in the importance of expressing gratitude on both personal and professional levels.

“It’s kind of a twofold thing today,” said Jeralds, an instructor in the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management at USC’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. “We want to thank those people, but (also stress) the importance of thank-you notes in the business world as well.”

The students wrote the names of influential people in their lives on a large poster that Jeralds will hang in a prominent place. Jeralds then gave the students cards with the message, “Congratulations: you made the Wall of Fame in Professor Jeralds’ class!” The students took time to add personal messages to the cards, then addressed and mailed them.

“I thanked my brother,” said senior Maddison Brambley. “He’s always been like the rock in my family. He keeps everybody together, the glue. I really appreciate everything that he’s done for me, so I wrote his name on the wall.”

Jeralds often uses activities to keep the 8 a.m. class interesting, and said he had been planning this exercise since summer.

img_1403“I know that our students are here because somebody invested in them, somebody believed in them, and I just wanted to, as we approach this Thanksgiving season, wanted them to have an opportunity to thank at least one person in their life who has been instrumental in them getting to this place where they are at USC,” he said.

Jeralds also encouraged the students to make sending thank-you notes a personal and professional habit.

“That was one of the teachable moments with this,” he said. “It’s important that our students understand the value of, I believe, handwritten thank-you notes. I encourage them to always, when they interview and meet someone, send that person a thank-you card. It leaves an indelible impression on people that you cared enough to sit down and take a few minutes to actually write something personal to them.”

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