Endowment of the SCC Caroline Ragsdale Reutter Culinary Arts Scholarship

Article by: Cheri Anderson-Hucks | SCC

Friends and family of the late Caroline Ragsdale Reutter have preserved the culinary legacy of the Caroline's Cakes founder indefinitely thanks to endowment of the Spartanburg Community College Caroline Ragsdale Reutter Culinary Arts Scholarship. The scholarship's endowment was confirmed after a successful fundraising event on May 2, A Cakewalk in Budapest, which was the culmination of fundraising for the scholarship that began in summer 2017.

"The SCC Foundation is thrilled to share that the Caroline Ragsdale Reutter Memorial Scholarship for Culinary Arts has exceeded the endowment level. This scholarship will live in perpetuity and support SCC culinary art students forever," explains Bea Walters Smith, executive director of the SCC Foundation and Advancement. "Lea Ann and Dexter Cleveland initiated this effort and many special friends and family of Caroline's have graciously given to make this scholarship a reality. Providing scholarships for students is the number one priority of the SCC Foundation."

The SCC Caroline Ragsdale Reutter Culinary Arts Scholarship was created in summer 2017 by Spartanburg residents Lea Ann and Dexter Cleveland, honoring the legacy and spirit of Reutter, their close friend who founded Caroline's Cakes and lost a courageous battle to cancer in the summer of 2017. The May 2 event, which was overwhelmingly attended by family and friends of Reutter, featured the viewing of Reutter's firm - A Cake Walk in Budapest- which chronicled her journey to Budapest, Hungary researching and filming the life and culinary contributions of J zsefC. Dobos, the man credited with introducing the Dobos Torte cake in 1855 when it was first served at the National General Exhibition of Budapest. After learning that her Southern layered caramel cakes were similar to the Dobos Torte cake, Reutter became fascinated with learning as much as possible about the unique Hungarian sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream, topped with caramel and coated sides of ground nuts.

"We are thrilled and so appreciative of the Spartanburg community for their help and support in endowing The Caroline Ragsdale Reutter Memorial Scholarship fund. It is exciting to think that the efforts of the SCC Foundation and our friends and family will provide a student with the opportunity to pursue their culinary dreams with the same passion and energy that Caroline had," says Richard Reutter, Caroline's son and CEO of Caroline's Cakes.

"From the stories that have been shared, Caroline absolutely loved what she did. Not just baking cakes but connecting with and caring for people all over the country. She especially loved working with and mentoring the people she brought into Caroline's Cakes and instilling in them the lifelong love of learning," adds SCC President, Henry C. Giles, Jr., "That's what makes the scholarship and its endowment in Caroline's memory so meaningful - it's a permanent way for those who loved Caroline to continue giving back and helping others. I can't think of a better way to honor someone special than through the gift of education. We are appreciative to the Reutter family and Caroline's many friends who have generously donated to this scholarship."

Reutter's baking business started in 1982 with the creation of her first and now world-famous, seven-layer caramel cake that she made for her youngest son's christening. Thanks to word of mouth and an amazingly delicious product, the business grew over the years and today, Caroline's Cakes ships cakes to thousands of customers across the country from their Spartanburg headquarters. Because of Reutter's savvy business skills and tireless work ethic, Caroline's Cakes has been featured in the 2011 movie, "The Help," and are loved by the rich and famous. But, despite her success and fame, Caroline's family - husband, Charles "Chick" Reutter, and sons Richard and Charles, who now run their mother's business - say that for Caroline, it was about more than just selling cakes. "We can honor her legacy by providing an educational opportunity for someone to grow, thrive and learn. Mom would be honored to give others an opportunity through this scholarship," explains Richard.

Tax deductible gifts are being accepted for the SCC Caroline Ragsdale Reutter Culinary Arts Scholarship at www.sccsc.edu/SCCgiving.

For more information on the SCC Foundation, contact Bea Walters Smith at smithbw@sccsc.edu, (864) 592-4448 or visit www.sccsc.edu/foundation. For more information on the SCC culinary arts program, contact Amy Byers, department chair, at byers@sccsc.edu or call (864) 592-4836 or visit www.sccsc.edu/culinary. Photos are available on Flickr

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