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Professor Patrick Harwood
Department of Communication


Professor Glenda Byars

Professor Glenda Byars


A Woman of Many Talents Shares Her Passions with Students
By Carolyn Boswell

"If you can think it, you can dream it, then you can do it," is a philosophy that Professor Glenda Byars has applied to her life goals and now passes along to others as well.

With a multitude of talents, Byars has reached this point in her life thus far by accomplishing her desires in the fields of theatre and fashion.

The progression and achievements accumulated in this area are the reasons for unexpected employment here at the College of Charleston, her alma mater.

Even on a day off from teaching, Byars, a woman on the move, will not be found lounging around the house being unproductive. Instead, she enjoys being a tourist in this city or others as well, by walking around and browsing in local shops and galleries with the company of her 17-year-old daughter Kathryn, better known as "Kaki."

A College of Charleston graduate, with a B.A. in Fine Arts, Byars attended the University of South Carolina for graduate studies. From there she married her husband, geologist Michael Johnson, and resided in Houston. With experience in commercial modeling, art and acting, Byars found employment with Henri Christian of Canada where she reached the title of manager of the men's shop until her move to New Orleans.

While residing in New Orleans for 16 years, Byars dabbled in various activities such as acting in films and commercials, modeling, styling and booking talent for others as well. She continued her theatrical acting career with participation in Tulane University's Center Stage and Shakespeare Festival, as well as other professional venues. She spent five years at the Saks Fifth Avenue, New Orleans where she served as fashion and public relations director.

It was her expertise in fashion that lead Byars back to The Holy City where in 1996 she assisted in the opening of the Saks Fifth Avenue on King Street.

Byars was special events and public relations manager for Saks Fifth Avenue, Charleston for 10 years, busy planning and organizing events and promoting one of the country's most prestigious brands.

But she also found time to get involved in the College of Charleston's Shakespeare Project, at the suggestion, she says, of an acquaintance at St. John's Episcopal Church, Johns Island where she is a member. This lead in 2000 to her being given the opportunity to teach in the College of Charleston's theatre department.

Constantly evoking creativity in the minds of her students, she incorporates the current and trendy television show "Project Runway" into her History of Fashion class. Students are expected to create ancient or contemporary garments in groups of two without even sewing a stitch. A panel of judges is called in to grade the projects for emphasis. (But don't worry no students get eliminated!)

"As students, we learn best when we are having fun in the classroom and no matter the material, Professor Byars always made class enjoyable," exclaimed student Andrea Ross who has taken both History of Fashion and Stage Makeup.

Byars is involved with the plays performed by the Department of Theatre. She was directed "Talking With" and in Spring 2009 will direct "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean."

Glenda Byars is regarded as an approachable role model by her students and is valued for the goal-oriented advice she dispenses in the classroom.