SCC Establishes New Horticulture Scholarship in Memory of Roebuck Greenhouse Co-Founder

Article by: Cheri Anderson-Hucks | SCC

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A new scholarship - The Jean Miller McAbee Memorial Horticulture Scholarship - honoring the memory and entrepreneurial spirit of the late Jean Miller McAbee, co-founder of Roebuck Greenhouse, has been established with the Spartanburg Community College Foundation to assist female students pursuing academic and career goals in SCC's horticulture program of study. The first scholarship has been awarded to Cheyenne Sayre and Morgan Trotter for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Established by the three children of Mrs. McAbee - Ricky McAbee, Vicki Noe and Debbie Clark, - the scholarship honors their mother's memory and her love for plants while helping female students at SCC. This is the first SCC horticulture scholarship established for female students.

"My mother's parents moved to Roebuck from Herford, Texas after World War II and started Miller Nursery. My mother and father married and moved to Roebuck and started Roebuck Greenhouses in 1962. I opened Roebuck Wholesale Nursery in 1990."

McAbee adds, "Our mother came in with the growing knowledge and our father had the sales experience, so they were a good team. We've been fortunate enough to have had a successful business that our family has continued for 55 years now."

McAbee says he and his sisters wanted to do something to honor their mother's memory and her love for plants. "She was a grower, that's the part of the business she knew. She knew what Jason Bagwell and Jay Moore (SCC horticulture faculty) teach. And, anyone in the community who knew mom knew that she loved horticulture and education, so this scholarship honors two things that were very important to her." The late Mrs. McAbee was active in the local Spartanburg community as well as horticulture groups: she attended Spartanburg County District 6 schools, Robin Business College and was an active member of the Southern Nurserymen Association, SC Nursery and Landscape Association, and the SC Greenhouse Growers Association.

"This scholarship makes an impact to the horticulture industry because it is designated specifically for women," said Bea Walters Smith, executive director of the SCC Foundation and Advancement. "When you think of horticulture, you think of a male student, but this scholarship will help to change that mindset. Women are doing more in the industry than ever before, and now we have funds to recruit women into our program by providing tuition support. "We have had a longstanding partnership with Roebuck Wholesale Nursery over the years - the Foundation is thankful to the McAbee family for their support and for creating this scholarship."

Jason Bagwell, department chair of SCC's Horticulture program, says the specific criteria for the scholarship include:
second year female student enrolled full time (12 hours or more per semester) in the SCC Horticulture Program;
minimum 3.0 grade point average;
must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA).
"This scholarship is a remarkable way to honor a remarkable woman who loved Spartanburg and horticulture. Mrs. McAbee was an intrical part of their family business that is a marquee company with a reputation like no other in Spartanburg," adds Bagwell. "Having a scholarship that awards a second year female student in our program with tuition assistance helps to ensure their success at SCC and in the horticulture industry."

SCC horticulture students and Pickens residents, Cheyenne Sayre and Morgan Trotter, are the first scholarship recipients of the McAbee Memorial Scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year. Both are pursuing an associate degree in horticulture technology and will graduate from SCC in May 2018Although both will be skilled in landscaping, nursery and garden center operations, greenhouse management and horticulture, both already have specific career paths in mind and are grateful for this new scholarship to help them complete their college education.

"We pay out of county tuition since we live in Pickens so this scholarship means we don't have to take out more student loans to pay for college, explains Sayre. "I really enjoy working in a greenhouse and a nursery, so I hope to work full-time in that area of the profession after graduating from SCC."

Trotter adds, "This scholarship means I haven't had to worry about my finances as much and paying for college - It has given me the chance to do something I want to do. After graduation I hope to be a plant propagator because I really enjoy grafting and breeding plants."Both Sayre and Trotter say they took horticulture classes in high school at the local career center, so they knew before attending SCC what they would study.

Photos are available for download at the following link:

Donations are accepted for the Jean Miller McAbee Memorial Scholarship for Horticulture at SCC online at or by sending a check made payable to the SCC Foundation and mailed to SCC Foundation, PO Box 4386, Spartanburg, SC 29305.

For more information on the SCC Foundation, contact Bea Walters Smith at, (864) 592-4448 or visit

For more information on the SCC horticulture program, contact Jason Bagwell at or call (864) 592-4646 or visit

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