SWU employee among church shooting victims

Ed Welch/Southern Wesleyan University

Southern Wesleyan University president Todd Voss places a rose during a prayer event on the school’s Central campus Friday in honor of the families and friends of the victims of last week’s church shooting in Charleston.

CENTRAL — As the world mourns for the nine victims in the wake of the June 17 shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, Southern Wesleyan University is mourning the loss of an employee and alumna.

DePayne Doctor, admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan’s Charleston learning center, was in historic Emanuel AME Church and was among the shooting victims.

Police say 21-year-old Dylann Roof of Lexington sat through nearly an hour of Bible study at the church before opening fire in the church. Roof was arrested the following day in Shelby, N.C., and extradited back to Charleston, where he faces nine murder charges.

In addition to the 49-year-old Doctor, killed in the massacre were Emanuel pastor and state senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lee Lance, 70; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; and Myra Thompson, 59.

SWU president Todd Voss was shocked to hear the news of Doctor’s death.

“Always a warm and enthusiastic leader, DePayne truly believed in the mission of SWU to help students achieve their potential by connecting faith with learning,” Voss said “Our prayers go out to family and friends. This is a great loss for our students and the Charleston region.”

Doctor began work this past December at SWU’s Charleston learning center.

She received her BA in biology and life sciences from Columbia College and was a SWU alumna, having received her master’s in management from SWU in 1994. Doctor was an experienced grant writer, having worked with local school districts as a consultant. She also worked for local and state agencies in various roles and as data manager/analyst for the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).