2014 International Volunteer of the Year
Maria Angelica Lopes has dedicated her life to the art of teaching. At a young age she developed an interest in foreign languages and a hunger for reading. Her passion for teaching and learning led her to speak Portuguese, French, Spanish and English and to dedicate her life to teaching literature and languages. Ms. Lopes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais in Brazil. She earned a Master’s in English and a Master’s in French at the University of Texas-Austin and a Ph.D. in Portuguese, with a Minor in English, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ms. Lopes has taught Portuguese at the University of Texas-Austin; French at Wright State University and the University of Dayton, Ohio; English at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside; French, English and Comparative Literature at Carthage College, Wisconsin; and Portuguese and Comparative Literature at University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
She retired from the University of South Carolina as Professor Emerita of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, where she taught Portuguese, Spanish and Comparative Literature for 23 years.
She is the author of three books on Brazilian literature and authored several articles on Brazilian and comparative literature. In addition to her scholarly achievements, Ms. Lopes has served for several years as a volunteer at St.Joseph’s Catholic Church and at Richland Library Wheatley. She has two bilingual sons, daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. One of her sons is the owner of an IT consulting company and the other is a professor of electrical engineering.
2014 Professional of the Year
Ron Tryon is Chief Executive Officer of South Carolina United FC, South Carolina’s largest non-profit youth soccer club whose mission is to provide children the opportunity to play soccer commensurate
to his or her abilities regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin or socio-economic background.
Mr. Tryon is a 1984 graduate of Cornell University and earned both an M.B.A. and a J.D. degree from the University of South Carolina in 1988. He practiced law for 25 years before taking early retirement in December 2013 from Parker Poe Adams and Bernstein, LLP where he had served as managing partner of its Columbia office and served its clients in the area of commercial and intellectual property litigation.
Mr. Tryon’s past and current community service includes having served as President of the Rotary Club of Spring Valley, three consecutive years as Assistant District Governor for Rotary District 7770 and one year as District Secretary. He is a longstanding member of the Columbia Urban League’s Board of Directors and has served as Chairman of the South Carolina YMCA Public Policy Committee since
2009. In 2010 he received the Columbia YMCA’s Mind, Body and Spirit Award. Most recently, the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association presented him with its 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award.
Since 2003, Mr. Tryon has led an annual outbound and inbound international youth soccer cultural exchange programs to and from South Carolina’s German sister state of Rhineland-Pfalz. He and his wife Sally operate Touchline Growth Consulting LLC, which serves the non-profit industry and international
educational institutions. They are proud parents of two children, Kitty and Hudson.