Order of the Palmetto Awarded to Mike LeFever, Former SCICU President & CEO

COLUMBIA, SC– The Order of the Palmetto was awarded to Mike LeFever, former president & CEO of SC Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc. (SCICU), at the advocacy organization’s board meeting hosted by Presbyterian College on Sept. 26.

Virginia Crocker, former SC Representative and former SCICU trustee, presented LeFever with South Carolina’s highest civilian honor. The award recognizes lifetime achievements and contributions to the state and citizens of South Carolina.

LeFever was joined in the awards ceremony by his wife Malissa Burnette and daughter Grant LeFever (Presbyterian College Class of 2013).

The location for the presentation also held great significance to LeFever, as he is a 1969 cum laude graduate of Presbyterian College.

The most recent achievement cited in the presentation of the Order of the Palmetto involved LeFever’s 10+ years as president & CEO of SC Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc. (SCICU). LeFever advocated extensively on behalf of independent colleges and universities in the South Carolina General Assembly and the United States Congress. He retired from SCICU in August 2018.

As SCICU president & CEO, LeFever led the charge for supporting more than $83 million combined annually in SC need-based grants and SC merit scholarships (Palmetto Fellows, LIFE, and HOPE scholarships) and another $73 million annually in federal grants. Through his leadership, SCICU sourced more than $5 million in student scholarships, student research project support, and faculty/teaching awards for its twenty member colleges and universities.

LeFever was instrumental in establishing a student transfer agreement between the SC Technical College System and seventeen (17) of SCICU’s twenty (20) member colleges and universities. The transfer agreement is just one of numerous collaborations that LeFever fostered and developed during his tenure as president & CEO of SCICU.

Prior to joining SCICU, LeFever served as director of four different state agencies and as deputy chief of staff for executive office programs and cabinet affairs for Governor Jim Hodges. His 30+ years of state government service included 13 years as the director of the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

After LeFever announced his retirement in early 2018, he was honored by a number of organizations. The South Carolina Senate recognized LeFever with a special presentation of a framed resolution on the Senate floor in April. Wofford College awarded LeFever an honorary doctorate in May.


ABOUT SCICU – South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc. (SCICU), a 501(c)(3), supports and promotes the values of independent higher education in South Carolina. SCICU specifically advocates on behalf of its twenty (20) member colleges and universities. SCICU supports its members through fundraising, scholarship programs, student/faculty research, and facilitating collaborative activities among member colleges/universities. For more information, please see https://www.scicu.org.


For more information, please call Shay Shealy West, SCICU Director of Communications, at (803) 799-7122 or email shay@scicu.org.

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