BC Website Post Header Announcements (1920 × 1080 px)
BC Purple with Gold 01


Benedict College Appoints Dr. Vanessa Harris as the Executive Director of the B.E.S.T. Lives Center

Columbia, SC, March 3, 2023, Benedict College appoints Dr. Vanessa Harris as the Executive Director of the B.E.S.T.  Lives Center. Harris has over 25 years of higher education experience with cross-institutional expertise in recruitment, admission, student success, academic advisement, academic coaching, and administration. 

Before joining the Benedict College family in January, Harris was instrumental in launching the Second Chance Pell Program in the South Carolina Department of Corrections at Claflin University.

“With her experience as the Interim Director for Pathways from Prison Program, Interim Executive Director for the Center for Professional and Continuing Studies, and as an Associate Professor, Dr. Harris is well-positioned to lead the efforts of the B.E.S.T. Lives Center,” said Dr. Janeen P. Witty, Vice President for Academic Affairs for Benedict College.

Harris completed her Ph. D in educational psychology and a master’s in public administration at the University of New Mexico. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina in Aiken.

The B.E.S.T. Lives Center (BLC) is a comprehensive educational hub focusing on military-affiliated, former foster care, formerly incarcerated, and adult learners. The Center is funded by a community grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The BLC aims to provide in innovative and transformative educational opportunities for underserved communities that positively enhance life chances by preparing learners to enter a robust, technologically advanced workforce in South Carolina and beyond.


About Benedict College (www.benedict.edu)
Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution offering 26 competitive baccalaureate degree programs and two master’s degree programs. The Midlands HBCU welcomes students from all 46 counties in South Carolina, 30 states across America, and 26 countries around the world. The College also has a diverse faculty deeply engaged in teaching, research, and service. 


Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications.   Benedict College received the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation and was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest. Benedict College was listed among the top half of ranked HBCUs in the 2022 edition of Best Colleges by US News and World Report.

   Benedict College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Five of the College’s degree programs hold national accreditation: Social Work Program, Environmental Health Science Program, Environmental Engineering, Studio Art, and the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Share this post


Programs and Initiatives


Events and Workshops

Success Stories