Riley Institute at Furman University announces winners of Wilkins Leadership Awards

Furman University’s Riley Institute has announced that Sen. John W. Matthews, Jr. (D-Orangeburg) and Charlotte Berry of Columbia, a lifetime philanthropist and community leader, will be recipients of the 2018 David H. Wilkins awards recognizing outstanding legislative and civic leadership in the state.

The winners will be honored at the 14th annual awards ceremony and dinner, which takes place at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, the first night of the legislative session. A reception for all registered attendees begins at 6 p.m., with the dinner and awards presentation following at 7 p.m. Tickets are $125 each.

Receiving the David H. Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership is Sen. John W. Matthews, Jr. The longest serving African American S.C. state legislator, Senator Matthews is known for his willingness to work with others across the aisle to support progress in education, healthcare and economic development, and he is held in the highest regard by his fellow members of the General Assembly.

Charlotte Berry will be honored with the David H. Wilkins Award for Excellence in Civic Leadership. As national chair of Volunteers of the American Red Cross, as a founding member of Women in Philanthropy, and through service on numerous boards of community organizations, Berry has spent a lifetime championing the displaced, disenfranchised, and disaffected.

“At a time when principled leadership is critical to making progress, South Carolina’s citizens look to their leaders to put aside differences and work together for the good of our state,” said Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “John and Charlotte exemplify the kind of leadership that moves our state forward.”

The annual awards are named for David H. Wilkins, who served as speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives and as U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Wilkins will co-host the event with former U.S. Secretary of Education and former two-term Governor of South Carolina Dick Riley and Furman President Elizabeth Davis.

Tickets may be purchased by calling 864-235-8330, or by visiting Furman.edu/WilkinsDinner. Sponsorships are also available.