More than 200 University of South Carolina students in Professor Sporty Jeralds’ class took time Wednesday to thank influential people in their lives.
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,” Jeralds said. “We want to thank those people, but 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 which 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 since summer.
“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.”