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Wilkins Legislative Award Dinner 2009

(l-r) David Wilkins, Gilda Cobb-Hunter and Secretary Richard Riley

Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter receives the David Wilkins Award
for Excellence in Legislative Leadership

The Fourth Annual Wilkins Legislative Award Dinner
Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center
January 12, 2009

David Wilkins, the former Speaker of the South Carolina House who currently serves as U.S. Ambassador to Canada, was the keynote speaker when the Riley Institute at Furman University hosted its fourth annual Legislative Award Dinner in Columbia on Monday, January 12th. To view the award dinner program, click here. The event, which is named in honor of Wilkins, was held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The evening began with a 6 p.m. reception, and dinner and the award presentation followed at 7 p.m.

To view the sponsors of this event, click here.

Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a member of the South Carolina State House of Representatives who represents Orangeburg County in District 66, received the Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership. Former U.S. Secretary of Education and S.C. Governor Richard W. Riley was in attendance to honor Cobb-Hunter. For Gilda Cobb-Hunter's complete biography, click here

The Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership award is given annually to a state legislator who “embodies the highest principles of leadership based on integrity, compassion, vision, civility and courage.” The previous winners have been John Drummond, President Pro-Tem Emeritus of the Senate; Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the House; and Senator Hugh K. Leatherman.

The Riley Institute at Furman created the David H. Wilkins Legislative Leadership Program in 2006. In addition to the awards dinner, the Wilkins Fellows program allows Furman students to work as interns in the state’s legislative offices. In time, the program will establish an endowed professorship in South Carolina politics.

Before being named U.S. Ambassador to Canada by President George W. Bush in June of 2005, Wilkins spent 25 years in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He served six years as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and two years as speaker pro tem before being elected speaker, a position he held for 11 years. A native of Greenville, Wilkins graduated from Greenville High School and received his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

The Riley Institute at Furman, named for Furman graduate Richard Riley, offers a broad array of programs designed to engage students and citizens across South Carolina in the various arenas of politics, public policy, and public leadership.

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

  • AT&T
  • Furman University
  • BlueCross BlueShield of SC
  • Duke Energy
  • Michelin North America, Inc.
  • Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
  • SCETV
  • Advance America
  • BMW
  • Carolina First
  • Clare Morris Agency
  • Clemson University
  • Defender Services, Inc.
  • Eddie Floyd
  • McNair Law Firm, PA
  • Piedmont Natural Gas
  • RBC Liberty Insurance
  • SCBIZ News
  • South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA)
  • Statehouse Report
  • Time Warner
  • Wachovia Securities, Ballentine Group


Press Coverage

To read articles about Gilda Cobb-Hunter being named the recipient of this award, The Greenville NewsThe Times and Democrat,SCBIZ News, and Furman's press release; and for an article following the event, The Times and Democrat

More information on the David H. Wilkins Legislative Leadership Program