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College of Arts and Sciences

  • 12 people smiling as they receive awards.

Recognition of Excellence Celebration

The annual Recognition of Excellence Celebration celebrates distinguished alumni and friends of the College of Arts and Sciences who have demonstrated outstanding achievement, and service to their profession or to society. Recipients join an esteemed group of honorees who are leaders in industry, the arts, nonprofits, and government. Pictured above are the 2020 and 2021 winners.  The 2023 Honorees will be celebrated on November 9, 2023, at a reception with President Amiridis at the Boyd Horticulture Center at the Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens.

2023 Award Recipients

Distinguished Service Award:

Brian Gaines

Brian Gaines advised the Alpha Phi Alpha Theta Nu Chapter and advised them to chapter of the year in 2022. He also became the highest-ranking black man in the state since reconstruction by being sworn in by Governor Henry McMaster as Comptroller General in May 2023. Prior to his position of State Comptroler, he was appointed State Budget Director in 2017.  

He encourages the current chapter members of Alpha Phi Alphi Theta Nu to take steps towards greatness, teaching them to expand their mind to the different opportunities.

Dean’s Award:

Leron Chapman, Jr.

Leroy Chapman, Jr., currently serves as the Editor in Chief for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). He previously was the managing editor for AJC, where he has worked since 2011. He is the first Black editor-in-chief in the newspaper’s 155-year history.  Prior to working for AJC, he received accolades as managing a newspaper's award-winning political and state government coverage The State. He also was an award-winning columnist and editotial writer for The Greenville News.

Distinguished Faculty Award:

Frank Avignone, Ph.D.

Frank Avignone, Ph.D., is the Carolina Endowed Professor of Physics and Astronomy. He has served as the department chair for 20 years here at USC, and there was a srecent ymposium in honor of his 90th birthday. He leads the Particle Astrophysics Group, and he received his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has been cited in many journal articles, and though many of his colleagues -- and even some students -- have already retired, he shows no signs of slowing down as he has been experimenting with neutrinos in exploration of dark matter. 

Distinguished Alumni Award:

Justin Tupper

Justin Tupper serves as a Senior Vice President of Revolution Golf at the Golf Channel, and he is the CEO and founder of Revolution Golf that has been acquired by NBC Sports Group. Since the acquisition, he has also been made Senior Vice President of NBC Sports Next. Before starting Revolution Golf, he was involved in real estate around Beaufort County, SC. He previously served as the Registered Agent for Maven Marketing LLC before it merged out of existence. He was nominated for an Industry Honors Award presented by the International Network of Golf, being recognized for “building golf’s largest direct-to-consumer digital platform.”  

Distinguished Young Alumni Award:

Jennifer Bartell Boykin

Jennifer Bartell Boykin is the Poet Laureate of Columbia, SC. She is an English teacher at Spring Valley High School. She sponsored the Poetry Out Loud Competition and W.O.R.D. (Write.Organize.Read.Dream.), Spring Valley’s poetry club. She’s a former board member for the Deckle Edge Literary Festival and contributed to the work of the Jasper Project. 

Institutional Support Award:

The Ethel S Brody Charitable Foundation

The Brody Foundation was established in honor of Ethel S. Brody (1923-2014). Brody was a philanthropist of Columbia, SC, and she, along with her sister, were heavily involved with the Columbia Museum of Art for five decades.  She was even given the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts in 2013 by the South Carolina Arts Commission Board, which is the highest honor for the arts in the state.

The Brody Foundation established an Estel S. Brody Program Endowment Fund that supports promising undergraduate syudents pursuing Art Education at the University of South Carolina.

Previous Winners 

  • Distinguished Service Award: Kassy Alia Ray, Ph.D.
  • Dean's Award: Kelly Adams
  • Distinguished Faculty Award: Loren Knapp, Ph.D.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award: Richard J. Youle, Ph.D.
  • Distinguished Young Alumni Award: Kari Croft
  • Institutional Support Award: Jim and Elaine Johnson
  • Distinguished Service Award: Major General Cornell A. Wilson, Jr.
  • Dean's Award: Karen Painter Randall
  • Distinguished Faculty Award: Susan Ellenbast Anderson
  • Distinguished Young Alumna: Chanda Jefferson, M.T./Ed.M.
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus: State Representative Marvin R. Pendarvis, Esq.
  • Institutional Support Award: Zeus
  • Distinguished Service Award: Ann Cameron
  • Distinguished Young Alumna: Lindsay Richardson
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus: Allen Klump
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award: Neil Jacobs
  • Dean's Award: Henrie Treadwell
  • Institutional Support Award: The Knight Foundation Donor Fund at the Central Carolina Community Foundation
  • Distinguished Alumna Award: Marva A. Smalls
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus: Ryan C. Holt
  • Distinguished Service Award: Vasa W. Cate, M.D.
  • Dean's Award: Tommy Hickman
  • Institutional Support Award: The Duke Endowment
  • Distinguished Alumnus: Major General James M. Richardson, Jr.
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus: Jotaka L. Eaddy
  • Distinguished Service: Gregory Thomas Alia (posthumously)
  • Dean's Award: John C. Parry
  • Institutional Support Award: DEA Survivors Benefit Fund
  • Distinguished Alumna: Ms. Anne Hale Miglarese
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus: Mr. Tommy D. Preston, Jr.
  • Distinguished Service: Ms. Laura Bauld Turner
  • Dean's Award: Ms. Carolyn T. Polston
  • Institutional Support Award: Michelin North America
  • Distinguished Alumna: Ms. Marcia Lee Hale
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus: Mr. Mike Randal Colter
  • Distinguished Service: Ms. Shirley D. Mills
  • Dean's Award: Mr. John Kevin Hoey
  • Institutional Support: Mr. Jeffrey Leving, Father's Rights
  • Institutional Support Award: Bilinski Educational Foundation
  • Distinguished Alumna: The Honorable Kathryn S. Smith
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus: Mr. Robert Temple Samuels
  • Distinguished Service: Dr. Jason C. Hu
  • Dean's Award: Mr. Michael Tongour
  • Distinguished Alumna: The Honorable Lindsey O. Graham
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus: Mr. Nicholas Ray Morris
  • Distinguished Service: Dr. Walter B. Edgar
  • Dean's Award: Mr. Scott Howell
  • Distinguished Alumna: Dr. Gail M. Morrison
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus: Mr. Daniel D'Alberto
  • Distinguished Service: Ms. Lynn Robertson
  • Dean's Award: Dr. Lois Duke Whitaker
  • Institutional Support Award: Watson-Brown Foundation
  • Distinguished Alumnus: Dr. Janine Anne Davidson, Mr. Mike Randal Colter
  • Distinguished Young Alumnus: Mr. Francis John Person
  • Distinguished Service: The Honorable James E. Smith, Jr.
  • Institutional Support Award: IAVO Research and Scientific


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