The University of South Carolina celebrated the following Gamecocks on Homecoming Weekend, October 17-19, 2014.
Distinguished Alumni Award
Beating Clemson his freshman year was the start of Donald Bailey’s love affair with the University of South Carolina. The relationship grew stronger with a 90-yard kick-off return, an ACC championship and three more victories over Clemson.
After graduation, Bailey became an insurance executive and financial planner, but his love of Carolina drew him back to campus. He joined the Gamecock Club and the My Carolina Alumni Association, where he eventually served as president. In 1990, Bailey was elected and served for eight years on the university’s Board of Trustees.
Bailey left board service to concentrate on the care for his autistic son, Donald Jr. The diagnosis left Bailey wondering whether his son would get the chance to share his Carolina experience.
“I think as a parent, we all do what we can for our children. I promised him that I would do everything I could to get him the opportunity to go to college,” says Bailey.
Bailey started a non-profit organization called, College Transition Connection, which helps young people with intellectual disabilities attend college. The Carolina LIFE program at USC started with Donald Jr. in the first class.
Thanks to Bailey’s work similar programs opened at Clemson, College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina and Winthrop. For that service to the community, the alumni association named Donald Bailey, ‘71, the 2014 recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award.
“It means a lot to me. I’m really honored and humbled that I was even considered, but I am honored and very appreciative.”
Honorary Life Membership
Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley graduated from the University of Virginia, but she considers herself a Gamecock.
Staley will soon begin her seventh season as the head women’s basketball coach for the Gamecocks. Under her leadership, the team has improved its winning percentage each year. Last season, the program won the SEC tournament for the first time and went to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year. Her success earned her the title of SEC Coach of the Year in 2014.
My Carolina Alumni Association has named Staley an Honorary Life Member for the success on and off the basketball court. Shortly after arriving at Carolina, Staley formed a not-for-profit organization, Innersole, that provides new sneakers to homeless children and other children in need.
“I think the award is truly special because anytime you don’t attend a university and they think you contribute in a way that a family member has—it’s special,” says Staley.
Coach Staley has long advocated to her players the importance of Carolina’s alumni.
“I always tell them that they need to support the alumni association because of what it is comprised of: different people from all different professions, helping people, helping to spread the great news of this university and what we’re all about,” says Staley.
Outstanding Young Alumni
Growing up, Brandon Bookstaver wanted to be a doctor or a pharmacist or a teacher. He ended up becoming all three.
Bookstaver is an associate professor and vice chair in the South Carolina College of Pharmacy at USC, where he’s won a number of awards for his teaching including New Faculty of the Year, Teacher of the Year and Mentor of the Year.
“There’s no monotony. The students are ready to soak in any knowledge you’re ready to share with them. I think the most excitement I get is where I see the transition of a student during our program.”
Bookstaver also completed a pharmacy residence program at Wake Forest and has a clinical practice site in infectious diseases at Palmetto Health Richland. He’s studying diseases that are drug resistant.
“We’re trying to be stewards of our antibiotics by using them appropriately,” he says. “We’re helping patients in that continuity of care, where we’re trying to assure that they’re receiving the right antibiotic for the right duration at the right dose.”
That work has led him to receive additional awards as Researcher of the Year and Pharmacist of the Year.
For those accomplishments, the alumni association has named Brandon Bookstaver, ’04, the 2014 recipient of its Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Outstanding Black Alumni
Jotaka Eaddy grew up in Johnsonville, SC wanting to be just like her cousin, Tammy. She idolized her so much that when the time came to go to college, Eaddy followed her cousin to the University of South Carolina. That may have been the last time Eaddy followed anyone.
Eaddy has led on a number of civil and human rights issues. Her work on an advocacy campaign against the juvenile death penalty contributed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s abolishment of the practice. She has also lobbied within a number of international organizations such as the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the Organization of American States and the U.N. Conference Against Racism.
Her activist nature was nurtured while at USC when she became the first African American woman elected student body president.
“The University of South Carolina is integral to who I am. I love The University of South Carolina. I believe I stand on a rich legacy, those who came before me,” Eaddy says.
Eaddy was recently named Senior Vice President for Government Affairs for a Silicon Valley based financial tech company. Prior to that she worked in senior leadership roles at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and USAction.
My Carolina has named Jotaka Eaddy, ’01, the 2014 recipient of its Outstanding Black Alumni Award.
“This is an honor that I would never ever have imagined,” Eaddy says.
Algernon Sydney Sullivan
A degree in mechanical engineering usually leads to a career in manufacturing, but Parker Evatt’s bachelors led him to a life of building people’s lives.
Evatt, BS ’57, MCJ ’78 was the first director of the Alston Wilkes Society, an organization that helps inmates re-enter society, provides housing and job placement for veterans and operates group foster homes for children.
“I believe in helping other people especially the downtrodden,” says Evatt, who gives a lot of credit to his strong Christian faith.
Evatt worked at the non-profit for more than 20 years, even after being elected to the S.C. General Assembly. One of his greatest accomplishments in the legislature was his work to create a department of education inside the prison system.
“If you just send a person to prison, lock them up and throw away the key, then you haven’t helped anybody. Because when they get out, they’re still going to be illiterate with no job skills. What are they going to do? Go back to their old friends,” says Evatt.
Evatt left elected office to head up the state Department of Corrections, where he continued to work to reduce the recidivism rate of inmates. Twenty years after retiring, he continues to volunteer to help vulnerable populations.
The alumni association has named Evatt the 2014 recipient of its Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, which is given to the alumnus who exhibits outstanding service to his country that goes beyond what’s required by his profession.