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Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner 2016

The Twelfth Annual Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner

TD Convention Center, Greenville, SC
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Upstate diversity leaders were honored Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at the 12th Annual Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner presented by Denny’s Corporation. The event, hosted by the Greenville Chamber and the Riley Institute at Furman, in partnership with Upstate Chambers, recognized organizations and individuals for outstanding achievement in promoting diversity and inclusion in Upstate South Carolina.

The 2016 award selection committee received an impressive number of nominations, which confirms that people in the Upstate continue to care about diversity issues and want to recognize those who are role models for promoting inclusivity and equality.

The event featured keynote speaker John L. S. Simpkins, General Counsel for the United States Agency for International Development. Prior to joining the United States Agency for International Development in July 2015 as General Counsel, John served for two years as the Deputy General Counsel in the White House Office of Management and Budget. Simpkins has held a variety of positions in private practice and academia, including serving of counsel at Wyche, P.A., in Greenville, as a visiting assistant professor of law at the University of Victoria, and as an assistant professor and Director of Diversity Initiatives at the Charleston School of Law. As a member of the African Network of the International Association of Constitutional Law, he has consulted and conducted research in comparative constitutional law and constitutional design in Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa, among other countries. Simpkins received his A.B. in government from Harvard College and a J.D. and LL.M. in international and comparative law from Duke University School of Law. He served as the Riley Institute’s first Associate Director, and is now a senior associate at the Institute. 

Awards were presented to recognize three individuals, three organizations and one K-12 school for their outstanding achievement in promoting diversity in the Upstate.

Award Winners:

Calder D. Ehrmann Outstanding Individual AwardBaxter Wynn, Minister of Pastoral Care and Community Relations at First Baptist, Greenville, SC sponsored by Diversity Leadership in Action

K-12 School - William “Bill” T. Wylie Valued Lives Award for School Excellence in DiversityOakland Elementary School

Outstanding High School Student AwardRoann Abdeladi, Greenville Tech Charter High School

Outstanding College Student AwardJustus Cox, Anderson University sponsored by Clemson University

Outstanding Nonprofit Organization AwardLaw Enforcement and Community Relations Task Force in Anderson, SC sponsored by BMW Manufacturing Co.

Outstanding Business AwardThe South Carolina Airports Coalition sponsored by Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.

Outstanding Contribution to International Diversity AwardRiverside High School sponsored by TD Bank