Liz Patterson Memorial Fund & Scholarship

To honor the legacy of Congresswoman Liz Patterson Memorial Fund & Scholarship

The Liz Patterson Memorial Fund & Scholarship was established by Emerge South Carolina and the friends and family of the late Congresswoman Liz Patterson. The fund provides assistance to emerging women leaders who are members of the Emerge political training program. Founders of the fund believe that the program’s cost should not be a barrier to any woman who wishes to participate. By donating to the fund, you enable Emerge South Carolina to provide scholarships to women to assist with travel, childcare, and other expenses related to the cost of participation in the program.

To make a contribution to the fund, please CLICK HERE.


About Congresswoman Liz Patterson


Elizabeth Johnston was born on November 18, 1939, to Olin DeWitt Talmadge Johnston and Gladys Atkinson Johnston in Columbia, South Carolina. Her father, Olin Johnston, was a political fixture in South Carolina politics, serving in the state house of representatives before being elected governor in 1935.  Elizabeth Johnston graduated from Spartanburg High School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 1957. In 1961, she received her bachelor’s degree at Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina. She subsequently studied political science at the University of South Carolina. On April 16, 1967, Elizabeth Johnston married Dwight Patterson and they raised three children: Dwight, Olin, and Catherine. Elizabeth Patterson, worked as recruiting officer for the Peace Corps and VISTA, as a Head Start coordinator for the South Carolina Office of Economic Opportunity, and as a staff assistant for South Carolina Representative James R. Mann from 1969 to 1970.

Patterson made her debut in elective politics when she won an open seat on the Spartanburg County Council in 1975. In 1979, Patterson was elected to the South Carolina Senate, where she served through 1986. Patterson declared her candidacy for a South Carolina U.S. House seat in 1986. Patterson won the election and served in Congress for three terms. While in the House, Patterson sat on three committees: Veterans’ Affairs; Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs; and the Select Committee on Hunger.

After leaving Congress, Patterson became a political science professor at Spartanburg Methodist College. In 1999, she received an M.A. in liberal arts from Converse College. Elizabeth Patterson died on November 10, 2018.


Biography adapted from the United State House of Representatives