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Wilkins Legislative Award Dinner 2006

(l-r) David Wilkins, John Drummond and Secretary Riley

South Carolina Senator and President Pro-Tem Emeritus, John W. Drummond receives the Inaugural Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership 

The Inaugural Wilkins Legislative Award Dinner
January 9, 2006

David H. Wilkins has had an extraordinary career as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, then as House Speaker, and now as United States Ambassador to Canada. To honor David Wilkins’ contributions to his home state, the Riley Institute at Furman announced the annual David H. Wilkins Legislative Award Dinner.

To view the sponsors of this event, click here.

On January 9, 2006, more than 500 guests, including state legislators and business leaders from across South Carolina, attended the Riley Institute’s first annual Awards Dinner at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The Wilkins' Award for Excellence in State Legislative Leadership is presented to a legislator who embodies the highest principles of leadership based on integrity, compassion, civility, vision, inclusiveness, and courage.

The inaugural award was presented to long-term South Carolina Senator and President Pro-Tem Emeritus, John W. Drummond of Greenwood, South Carolina. Senator Drummond, who represents District 10 (Abbeville-Greenwood-Laurens counties), has served in the South Carolina House (1965-66) and in the Senate since 1967. To view the program, click here.

John Drummond’s public service record is remarkable and is reflected by the numerous awards received over the years for his service, including Senator of the Year and Outstanding Senator Awards from organizations as diverse as the American Legion, the School Boards Association, and the South Carolina Association of State Employees.

Senator Drummond’s military record between 1939 and 1947 is similarly distinguished. Between 1943 and 1945 he was presented with two Purple Hearts, nine Air Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and three Battle Stars, and a Presidential Citation while a fighter pilot in the 405th Fighter Bomb Unit operating over Europe.

Riley Institute Executive Director, Don Gordon, said “the selection committee could not have made a more appropriate choice. John Drummond has always put the people of South Carolina ahead of partisan politics and worked with distinction for the common good. He is a superb public servant who works selflessly for all of the state’s citizens.”

The inauguration of the award marked the beginning of a larger program named for United States Ambassador to Canada David H. Wilkins. The Wilkins Legislative Leadership Program will also provide an annual Forum on an Emerging Public Issue in South Carolina, Wilkins Fellows who will intern in South Carolina government offices, and a Chair in state politics. Ambassador Wilkins, who flew down from Ottawa for the occasion, was praised by former US Secretary and former Governor of South Carolina, Richard W. Riley as an “inclusive public servant whose career as Speaker of the House in South Carolina was marked by dignity and courage.”

Many thanks to our generous sponsors, who made this event possible: 

  • BellSouth
  • The Barnet Foundation
  • BlueCross BlueShield of SC
  • Duke Energy
  • Fluor Daniel
  • Furman University
  • Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA
  • McAlister Communications
  • McNair Law Firm
  • National Bank of SC
  • Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
  • Piedmont Natural Gas
  • RBC Liberty Insurance
  • Riley Pope & Laney, LLC
  • Richard W. Riley
  • SCETV Foundation
  • Wachovia Securities Ballentine Group
  • David H. Wilkins
  • Wilton McKinney
  • Windsor Aughtry
  • Charles Way

Press Coverage

The Greenville News, and The State.

More information on the David H. Wilkins Legislative Leadership Program