William Hubbard, '74, '77
on October 7, 2009
The Honorable William C. Hubbard earned an academic scholarship when he came to the University of South Carolina in the early 1970’s, and he hasn’t stopped giving back since. Hubbard is the recipient of the University’s 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award presented during Homecoming weekend. Whether it’s serving on the Board of Trustees at the University he loves or working with several community organizations, Hubbard is passionate about excellence for the State of South Carolina.
Hubbard, a Life Member of the Carolina Alumni Association, says he was quite humbled when he learned he would be receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award.
“I felt there were many people who deserve this more than I,” Hubbard says. “I was very touched by learning the news.”
Following his passion
Hubbard is currently a partner at the Columbia based law firm, Nelson Mullins, Riley, and Scarborough. A native of Florence, SC, Hubbard grew up as a Gamecock fan and was the recipient of a Carolina Scholars Award to assist in furthering his education.
Hubbard graduated magna cum laude and earned his bachelor’s degree in History in 1974, crediting the inspirational professors in the department for making that his choice of study.
“I took a course under Dr. George C. Rogers, Jr., and I thought he was an exemplary professor,” Hubbard recalls. “On the first day of class he called the roll, and looked at everyone as he called the names. Then he closed his roll book, repeated everyone’s name from memory, and never missed a name the remainder of the semester. I also explored other history courses and found other equally brilliant professors.”
Outside the classroom, his best memory of Carolina is that it’s the place he met his wife, Kappy. Upon graduation, Hubbard remained in Columbia to go to law school and pursue his interests in public policy and politics.
“Most of the people involved with public affairs at that time were lawyers, so it seemed only natural to study law,” Hubbard says. “Nobody in my family had a law background, but there were people in the community whom I admired such as Senator Nick Zeigler and Mark Buyck, a lawyer who was active in the community.”
Following his graduation from law school in 1977, he clerked for federal judge Robert F. Chapman for a year before joining the Nelson Mullins law firm in 1978.
To say William Hubbard is involved in his community would be an understatement. In fact, he’ll tell you that the best part of his job is mentoring young people. He has earned numerous awards throughout his career, including the Order of the Palmetto in 2002, which is the highest award given to a civilian in South Carolina. He received the 2007 Professionalism Award for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, the only South Carolinian who has received this award. In January 2009 he received the prestigious John F. Williams Award from the Richland County Bar Association for the Bar member who provides distinguished and meritorious service to the legal profession and the public. He has been a member of the USC Board of Trustees since 1986, serving as chairman from 1996-2000. He has also served on the University’s Development Foundation Board, Educational Foundation Board and Engineering Dean’s Executive Council. His affection for the University seems without end.
“I believe in the importance of the University’s mission to promote the state’s progress,” Hubbard explains. “I try to be efficient. I simply enjoy accomplishing things. That’s where I get most of my satisfaction, through projects being completed and progress being made.”
Outside of USC, he has been the president of the region’s Council of Boy Scouts and served on the board of Voices for South Carolina Children, which promotes early childhood education.
“It’s an advocacy group with a primary focus on high quality early childhood education for South Carolina’s children,” Hubbard says. “My wife is one of the founders of the organization. I learned that if we have high quality early childhood education, we would solve so many of our social and economic problems. I learned that 90% of a person’s brain development occurs before age five. So statistics prove that if you get a high quality early education, there will be lower drop-out rates and a better employment rate.”
Hubbard was also a founding director for City Year-Columbia, a youth service organization.
“This is a program designed to encourage young people – high school and college age - to give a year of service to their community,” Hubbard explains. “It was started in Columbia by a former USC student body president Marie-Louise Ramsdale. She asked me to serve on the founding board while she was a student at Harvard Law School. She brought the program out of Boston to Columbia.”
In law, Hubbard also serves on the Council of the prestigious American Law Institute and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 2008 he was selected as the first and only South Carolinian to lead the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, presiding over more than 500 delegates from all 50 states.
“It’s the second highest position in the American Bar Association, which is the largest professional organization in the world with more than 400,000 members,” Hubbard says. “I am excited about the opportunity to have such an impact on a national level in improving our system of justice.”
Whether it’s at work, serving the University, or in the community, William C. Hubbard is making an impact. He and Kappy have three children; Katharine, 26, Mason, 24, and Coleman, 22.