Riley Institute names Wilkins Award winners

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Furman University’s Riley Institute has announced the winners of its David H. Wilkins Awards for Excellence.

State Sen. John W. Matthews Jr., D-Orangeburg, will receive the Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership, and Charlotte Berry, a philanthropist and community leader from Columbia, will receive the Award for Excellence in Civic Leadership.

The winners will be recognized at the 14th annual awards ceremony and dinner, which will be held Tuesday, Jan. 9, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Matthews, who is the longest-serving African-American in South Carolina’s Legislature, is “known for his willingness to work with others across the aisle to support progress in education, health care, and economic development,” according to a news release.  

Berry is national chairwoman of volunteers of the American Red Cross and a founding member of Women in Philanthropy. She “has spent a lifetime championing the displaced, disenfranchised, and disaffected,” the release said.

“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,” Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute, said in the release. “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.

A reception for all registered attendees will begin at 6 p.m. Jan. 9, with the dinner and awards presentation at 7 p.m. Tickets are $125 each and can be purchased by calling 864-235-8330 or visiting the Riley Institute website.

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