Spring 2015 Edition

By | March 19, 2015
I ♥ CofC


republished with permission from College of Charleston Media Relations

When Kevin Waltermire ’03 appears on ABC’s Shark Tank on February 6, 2015 to pitch his product, The BevBoy (a koozie that floats and stays upright in the water) it will be his second experience in a shark tank.

Waltermire, who graduated first from the College of Charleston with a bachelor’s degree in history and then from the College’s One-Year Global MBA Program in 2011, had his first shark tank experience in the MBA’s capstone course. Waltermire’s One-Year Global MBA classmates pitched ideas to Charleston-based business people for valuable feedback on their ideas as well as their presentation style.

“It would make for a better story if I’d won!” Waltermire said. Instead he participated as an audience member, as he had already been hired for a job in Shanghai. In the scheme of things, though, Waltermire is focused on the more important shark tank – the one on network television. Here are a few things he’s learned from preparing for and appearing on the hit reality show:

  1. You might black out – and that’s ok.Despite being nervous, Waltermire rocked his appearance on Shark Tank – at least that’s what he was told. “When I walked off set all the producers were waiting and they hugged and high fived me and said ‘Kev, you killed it!’ I was like, ‘Really, because I don’t remember anything!’” he said. “It was so stressful to face the Sharks that I felt totally exhausted and I didn’t remember specifics from the taping for a couple of days!”
  1. Use props.When Waltermire pitched The BevBoy to the sharks, he knew he’d have to put them in the mindset of needing the product. So, “I had a buddy come on with me and we set up a real hot tub on the set. That way the Sharks could see the need for the product and how it was used.”
  1. Prepare for the long haul.Waltermire explained, “About a full year passed between when I first applied for the show on ABC’s website and when I actually filmed my appearance. Four months went by before they reached out to me for a phone interview, then I had to submit three professionally produced videos, then I had to create a mock-pitch. Once the producers approved those, they flew me to Los Angeles for the episode and I still had to jump through several hoops before filming.”
  1. You are your company.“There are two types of investors,” Waltermire said. “Those who invest in the horse and those who invest in the jockey. In this case, the horse is the product or company you’re pitching, and you are the jockey. Based on the questions the Sharks asked me, I would guess that they’re investing in the jockey. They want to know about your idea and your numbers and all that, but mostly they care about your vision and how committed you are to that vision. They need to see that you’ll fight for it.”
  1. Use your nerves as motivation.“I noticed that the Sharks on Shark Tank really rip people apart when they get their valuation wrong,” Waltermire said. “Your valuation is based on a lot of factors, and determining it is a delicate balance between your actual sales numbers (among other things) and your potential for growth in your market.”

Waltermire continued, “While I didn’t want to come right out and value my company at $1 million – in part because, as a new company we only had about $10,000 in sales – I knew that it had that potential and I didn’t want to sell it short. On top of that, I was super focused on making my family proud. I knew my parents and their friends were watching and I was not going to embarrass them – I channeled my nervousness about that into motivation and tried to appear as confident as I could.”

Clyde’s Top Ten

Clyde chats with parents

This month, Clyde surveyed some alumni and parents, and came up with his own list of CofC and Charleston favorites. Check out these traditions on our campus and in our city.

  1. Wait to cross the College of Charleston Cistern until graduation—it’s bad luck if you do it before!
  2. Take your photo with the cougar statue in the middle of campus.  He sometimes dresses up for the holidays.
  3. Enjoy the restaurants all over the city.  Your student surely has 2-3 that they are eager to try when you visit!
  4. Attend a Spoleto event.  Many events are held on campus and a number of our students gain valuable experience by working with the festival each year.
  5. Attend Family Weekend in the fall-a beautiful time of year to visit the campus and see what your student is up to
  6. Visit one of our galleries or museums on campus:  The Natural History Museum, the Avery Research Center, the Halsey Gallery, and the Communications Museum.
  7. Go to the beach.  Folly seems to be the gathering place for our students to enjoy the sun and sand.
  8. Get to know the faculty.  Our low faculty to student ratio is part of our rich history.  Alumni and students alike say that the faculty helped make their time at CofC, and they love being a student in seat and not a number in the classroom.
  9. Run the Bridge. A great Charleston tradition is the Cooper River Bridge Run. The bonus is that the finish line is just steps from our campus!
  10. Take a class outside. As the weather warms, it’s common to find classes enjoying a lecture or discussion outside in the Cistern Yard or Rivers Green.
Focus on Faculty

republished with permission from College of Charleston Media Relations

After a few years of experimentation during graduate school as a means of procrastinating against writing his thesis, at the age of 26, Derrick Niederman had his first triumph, when The New York Times published one of his crossword puzzles. He had been rejected three times before by the crossword puzzle editor at the time, Eugene T. Maleska, who warned him to allow some time to pass before pestering the paper with another attempt. But the bold and relentless Niederman submitted another puzzle just three weeks later. Lo and behold, Maleska accepted, making Niederman a very happy man.

“As soon as I published a puzzle in The Times,” he says, “I felt I wrote the first line of my obituary.”

Unfortunately, crossword puzzles don’t pay the bills, even those published in The New York Times. Niederman recalls earning about $100 for that first published puzzle in 1981, necessitating him to keep his day job as a financial analyst. Despite the meager payout, the puzzle earned him considerable acclaim and attention, as did the themed crossword puzzles he continued to get published in the Sunday edition of The New York Times – about 20 in the last 30 years. Yet his newfound fame also subjected him to a bit of contempt, such as the time a colleague passed Niederman and boasted with an air of derision, “I solved your puzzle.” Niederman was baffled, not so much at his rudeness but for the fact that his rival seemed not to realize that solvability was the point.

“Whoever he was, he continued on his way, pleased at winning the joust, evidently not realizing that most crossword makers want people to solve their puzzles,” writes Niederman in his latest book, The Puzzler’s Dilemma. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t go to all that trouble to make the words intersect.”

Yet for all Niederman’s elation at his accomplishment in puzzledom, there was also uncertainty.

OK, now what? Niederman recalls thinking following the publication of his first crossword puzzle.

Read the rest of the story, originally published in College of Charleston Magazine.

Events You Don’t Want to Miss

We are thawing out from winter this spring with some can’t miss events both on campus and off!

College of Charleston Events

Charleston Events (link websites copied below to corresponding event)

What We Are Watching

Did you know we are part of a unique international bridge program called iCharleston? We just welcomed the first cohort of students to campus in January, as they returned from semesters abroad in England, Ireland, and Canada.   Watch this video   to hear from the students about their experiences abroad, and how it broadened their perspective as they joined the Class of 2018 at the College of Charleston.  For more information about iCharleston click here to visit our admissions page.


What Your Kids Forget To Tell You

Did you know that the College of Charleston has launched a $125 million comprehensive campaign that is impacting current students as well as the future of this school that we all love? Boundless: The Campaign for the College of Charleston is the promise of our students, the distinction of our faculty and the enduring spirit of our friends, supporters and alumni. Boundless represents the next era of national distinction at the College of Charleston.

You are Boundless too! The Parents’ Fund and our Annual Giving Priority funds are one of the five priorities of this campaign, and the primary way that you can impact your student and their friends on campus. Please visit the Boundless website to learn more about the campaign, see philanthropy in action, and witness the impact you can make through an investment in the Parents’ Fund.

Parents’ Fund

The Parents’ Fund supports scholarships, networking opportunities, and exceptional faculty focused on your student’s success. For more information, visit the the Parents’ Fund webpage.

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