Alumni Awards

A world-class education encouraged these Gamecocks to stand out in their communities or professions by exhibiting their passion, determination and excellence.

Student for a short time. Gamecock for a lifetime.

Distinguished Alumni • Honorary Life MembershipAlgernon Sydney Sullivan

Outstanding Black Alumni • My Carolina Love & Devotion • Outstanding Young Alumni 

2016 Alumni Award Recipients

Congratulations to our 2016 Alumni Award Recipients! Awards honor Gamecocks who stand out in their communities and professions by exhibiting their passion, determination, and excellence. My Carolina hosted the Carolina’s Best Forum with awardees on Friday, Nov. 4 in the Alumni Center Ballroom. Check out the video below of our awardees chatting with My Carolina Executive Director, Jack Claypoole, about their time at Carolina and how to lead in life and career.


Algernon Sydney Sullivan

Anne S. Ellefson, ’76 The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, named for the great humanitarian and philanthropist, honors an outstanding alumnus or alumna demonstrating professional excellence of character and service to humanity and is the highest honor awarded to Carolina Alumni.

This year’s recipient is Anne S. Ellefson, ’76 Bachelors of Arts in English, College of Arts and Sciences; ’79 Juris Doctor, School of Law.

Anne S. Ellefson completed her undergraduate degree in English at the University of South Carolina then earned a Juris Doctor from the School of Law at the University.

She moved on to practice commercial real estate law at Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. She was a shareholder and served as the managing shareholder of the firm for six years.

Now Ellefson is the Deputy General Counsel for Academics and Community Affairs for the Greenville Health System. She is Immediate Past President of the South Carolina Bar and President of ETV Endowment of S.C.

Ellefson has a commitment to service with being on numerous boards, including Southern First Bank, Greenville Local Development Corporation, SC TAC, Hollingsworth Funds and Verdae Development, Inc. Prior activity in the community includes service as Chair of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and Board and Campaign Chair of the United Way of Greenville County.

My Carolina Alumni Association named Anne S. Ellefson the recipient of its 2016 Algernon Sydney Sullivan award, which is given to an alumnus who exhibits outstanding service that goes beyond what is required by one’s profession.

Distinguished Alumni Award

David T. Seaton ’84The Distinguished Alumni Award honors an alumnus whose professional and personal life has exemplified dedication and excellence in leadership, citizenship and voluntarism while offering a lifetime of devotion to the University of South Carolina.

This year’s recipient is David T. Seaton ’84, Bachelors in Business Administration, Darla Moore School of Business.

David T. Seaton earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina and received an honorary doctoral degree in 2014. He completed the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School of Business and Thunderbird University’s International Management Program.

Seaton is now the chairman and chief executive officer of Fluor Corporation. He became CEO and joined Fluor’s Board of Directors in February 2011 and was elected chairman of the board in February 2012.

Since being part of the company, Seaton has held numerous positions in operations and sales globally. He is an active leader and board member of the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative, serving as a chairman of the PACI Vanguard initiative and is an ardent supporter of the Boys & Girls Club of America and member of its Board of Governors. He is a recipient of the South Carolina State Guard’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Seaton has been a key player in the University of South Carolina’s growth and development. He served as chairman of Carolina’s Promise, the University’s $1 billion capital campaign that successfully exceeded its projected goal.

My Carolina Alumni Association named David T. Seaton as the recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award for his contributions to the University and leadership and service within his field.


Outstanding Black Alumni

Vicky L. Free, ’92 The Outstanding Black Alumni Award is annually presented to an alumnus or alumna who has uniquely distinguished themselves in their professional career, shown remarkable leadership capabilities and positively impacted their community.

This year’s recipient is Vicky L. Free, ’92 Bachelors of Arts in Broadcast Journalism, School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Vicky L. Free has had a knack for broadcasting and entertainment. When she graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism at the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications, she went on to obtain an MBA in Management from Northwestern University.

Since her a MBA, Free has stayed in television broadcasting. She was the Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Adult Swim and Cartoon Network at Turner Broadcasting then became the Vice President of Entertainment Marketing for the company.

Now Free is the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer for BET Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc. She directs the brand, off-channel and social media marketing, creative strategy, market research, data analytics and corporate research for all businesses of BET Networks and oversees on-air promotions.

She established a scholarship fund for deserving minority students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

For her work in the media landscape, My Carolina Alumni Association named Vicky L. Free the recipient of its Outstanding Black Alumni award.


Outstanding Young Alumni

Joseph F. Young ’04The Young Alumni Award honors graduates under 40 who represent the breadth and scope of new talent, has achieved extraordinary success in their chosen profession and has significantly set themselves apart from their peers.

This year’s recipient is Joseph F. Young ’04 Bachelors of Arts in Music Education, School of Music.

Joseph Young earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Education at the University of South Carolina in 2004 and completed his graduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory in 2009, earning an artist’s diploma in conducting.

Young, grew up in Goose Creek, S.C. Music has been part of his life since middle school. He strives for excellence in his field but also leads and mentors others in music.

Young honed his skills as a conductor and is now the Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony where he conducts more than 50 concerts per season. He also serves as the Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra where he is the driving force behind the ensemble’s artistic growth.

He made his major American orchestral debut, January 2008 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Since then has collaborated with almost a dozen symphonies.

Young is a recipient of the 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award for young conductors, an award he also won in 2008 and 2014.

For his extensive work and success in the music field, My Carolina Alumni Association named Joseph F. Young the recipient of its Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Honorary Life Member Award

The SpurriersThe Honorary Life Member Award pays homage to friends of Carolina who enthusiastically support and tirelessly serve the University of South Carolina community.

This year’s recipients are Steve and Jerri Spurrier.

Steve Spurrier, who has coached over 400 games, a national championship team, won seven conference titles, garnered nine conference Coach of the Year awards, and won over 72 percent of the college games in which he has coached, served as head coach at the University of South Carolina for 11 seasons.

Spurrier – whose hometown is Johnson City, Tennessee – was introduced as Carolina’s 32nd head coach on Nov. 23, 2004 and served in this capacity until Oct. 13, 2015. Spurrier is the winningest coach in University of South Carolina history.

In his first season at South Carolina, Coach Spurrier led the Gamecocks to a 7-5 record and a second-place finish in the SEC Eastern Division. In doing so, he posted a five-game winning streak, the 15th-consecutive year in which he has had a five-game winning streak, something no other coach in college history has accomplished. He was honored as the SEC Coach of the Year by the Associated Press after leading the Gamecocks to a school-record five straight SEC wins, their first win ever at Tennessee and their first win over Florida since the 1930s.

Jerri Spurrier graduated from the USC in 2015 with a degree in psychology, completing course work she began in 2006, Steve’s second year as head coach at South Carolina. Jerri Spurrier took classes on campus each fall and online courses each spring. She recently hung up her new diploma alongside two she previously earned at the University of Florida – one in physiology and one in education.

During her time at Carolina, Jerri was known as a second mother to the football team. She often took classes with her husband’s players and was known to check in on them at the Russell House during meals to make sure they had “something green on their plates”.

My Carolina Alumni Association named Steve and Jerri Spurrier as the recipients of the Life Member Award because of their support to the University and the State.