These awards are the highest honors reflecting the ideals cherished by South Carolinians that include service, integrity, character and leadership.
Student for a short time. Gamecock for a lifetime.
Learn from these award winners as they share their most memorable experiences as South Carolina students, as well as advice about becoming a leader in career and life at the South Carolina's Best Forum and Luncheon on Friday, November 1 from noon-2 p.m. Enjoy a plated lunch and the chance to hear from some of the university’s brightest stars during this forum-style discussion and awards presentation.
The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, named for the great humanitarian and philanthropist, honors an outstanding graduate demonstrating professional excellence of character and service to humanity and is the highest honor awarded to South Carolina alumni.
This year’s recipient is Sinclair E. Lewis ’81 Bachelor of Science in Education, College of Education
Graduating high school, our country at war in Korea and no means to attend college, Sinclair Lewis enlisted in the US Air Force and served two tours in the war zone.
Following his return to civilian life, he enrolled as a day student at The Citadel and the following year transferred to the University of South Carolina. While at the university, he became actively involved in student affairs and in Sigma Nu fraternity. It was at South Carolina that he found and made his commitment to God, Church and the American Legion program teaching young men the values of God and Country, Palmetto Boys State. Feeling the call to active Christian ministry, Sinclair sought advice of South Carolina President, Dr. Donald Russell, whose wise and caring advice led him to enroll at Duke Divinity School. It was at Duke University that he earned his Doctor of Divinity and met the woman he was to marry, Betty Ratliff. In the fall of 1961 Sinclair was given his first appointment as a minister in the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, serving parishes across South Carolina, retiring in 1998 to Anderson, SC.
Sinclair’s commitment to Boys State has never diminished. In June of 1992, the Governor of South Carolina, the honorable Carroll Campbell, awarded Sinclair the Order of the Palmetto.
The Distinguished Alumnus Award honors a graduate 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 Dr. Gerald E. Harmon ’81 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Darla Moore School of Business; ’83 Master of Business Administration, Darla Moore School of Business
Gerald Harmon, MD has held several leadership positions in the South Carolina Medical Association, including chairman of the board and president. He serves as a clinical professor at two of South Carolina’s medical schools, a commitment that has been well recognized as he has been named “Community Educator of the Year” by both the South Carolina Academy of Family Physicians and the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium.
Harmon served the nation in both Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and later in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, holding responsibilities as chief surgeon for the National Guard Bureau and assistant surgeon general for the U.S. Air Force. He retired from the United States Air Force with the rank of Major General.
Harmon received his undergraduate degree in physics and mathematics from the University of South Carolina and has since been recognized as a Distinguished Graduate of the College of Arts and Science. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and an honorary Doctor of Public Service from the University of South Carolina in 2018 while serving as a commencement speaker.
The Outstanding Black Alumnus Award is presented to a graduate who has uniquely distinguished themselves in their professional career, shown remarkable leadership capabilities and positively impacted their community.
This year’s recipient is Dr. Bambi W. Gaddist, ’05 Master of Education, College of Education; '12 Doctorate of Education, College of Education
Bambi W. Gaddist has committed the past 35 years of her professional life working in the area of human sexuality with a specific focus on HIV/AIDS/STI community level mobilization, behavioral intervention and research, technical assistance/capacity building, and the elimination of other health disparities. She serves as Board of Directors for the Southern AIDS Coalition, National Black Women’s HIV/AIDS Network, National Black HIV/AIDS Advocacy and Policy Network, and served as Chair of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Care Crisis Task Force (2006-2012).
She is a published researcher, author and consults with a host of national and local organizations. In 2008, Gaddist was selected as a CNN Hero and featured on CNN/Essence Magazine’s “Recapturing The Dream” during August 2009.
Gaddist is co-founder and currently serves as CEO of the South Carolina HIV Council, a non profit HIV prevention organization, including the Wright Wellness Center, a sexual health treatment facility located in Columbia, South Carolina.
The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award honors a graduate under 40 who represents the breadth and scope of new talent, has achieved extraordinary success in a chosen profession and has significantly set themselves apart from their peers.
This year’s recipient is James M. Landreth, ’16 Master of Engineering, College of Engineering and Computing
Empowered by his technical training from the University of South Carolina, James Landreth is making waves in both the US Navy and US Coast Guard. After demanding tours as a Submarine Officer in the Navy and equipped with his Master’s, James began his civilian career as the Lead Mechanical Engineer for the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter propulsion program.
James’ technical successes have had qualitative impacts on the agency’s global mission portfolio as well as quantitative benefits equivalent to millions of dollars saved in sustainment costs. The USCG named James the “2018 Engineer of the Year.” Further, the National Society of Professional Engineers recognized James in the “2018 Top 10 Engineers in Federal Government.
In addition to his civilian role, James continues to serve his country as an officer in the US Navy Reserves. Due to his unique combination of experience and technical education, James was recalled to active duty in 2019 to support US Central Command Headquarters where he serves as a strategist and policy expert for security issues in the Middle East.
The Honorary Life Member Award pays homage to friends of South Carolina who enthusiastically support and tirelessly serve the University of South Carolina community.
This year’s recipient is Morris M. Cregger, Jr.
Morris M. Cregger, Jr. is the owner and CEO of Cregger Company, Inc. and of Cregger Capital Investments, Inc. Cregger attended Fork Union Military Academy before earning his bachelor’s degree in economics from Roanoke College, where he was an accomplished student-athlete.
Cregger used the lessons he learned from athletics throughout his very successful business career. In 1978, he purchased the plumbing division of Kline Supply Company and founded the Cregger Company, Inc., in West Columbia, South Carolina. In partnership with his wife, Sheila, he has grown the company into one of the top 40 largest distributors of plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning products in North America with 35 locations. Its subsidiary company, Cregger Capital Investments, Inc., has over 60 income-producing properties and holds equity positions in the development of several housing projects.
He is widely recognized throughout the wholesale industry as a leader, consultant and partner in plumbing, electrical and climate control operations. He has served on numerous industry and community boards and associations.