SC State Foundation to Honor SC ‘Sons’

Friday, March 3, 2017

Foundation will recognize “Luke Cage’s” Mike Coulter, Media Mogul Armstrong Williams, U.S. Senator Tim Scott, State Senator Marlon Kimpson, Former NFL Pro Donnie Shell and BMW Manufacturing

ORANGEBURG, SC (Mar. 2, 2017) - In recent national headlines, South Carolina homegrown heroines and heroes are making their mark as undeniable leaders in their respective fields. A few South Carolinians, who are among those being celebrated in the nation for their successes, will be honored during a special event hosted by the SC State University Foundation.

The 26th Annual SCSU Foundation Scholarship Gala and Tribute, set for Saturday, March 4th, at 6 p.m., is the signature fundraiser for the foundation.

This year’s black-tie event, held on campus at the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center, will feature a reception, silent auction, dinner, awards presentation and gala party.

New to the event is the recognition of native South Carolinians who have achieved remarkable professional and personal accomplishments. The honorees -- individuals and a European company based in SC are:

  • Mike Colter, star of the Netflix Original Series “Luke Cage” & actor in The Good Wife
  • Armstrong Williams,’81, founder and CEO of Howard Stirk Holdings LLC;
  • Tim Scott, U.S. Senator
  • Marlon Kimpson, S.C. State Senator
  • Donnie Shell, ’74, ‘77
  • BMW Corporation

“Although this is the college’s 26th annual scholarship gala, it is my first one as president and I’m very honored and humbled to be a part of this signature fundraising event,” says SC State President James E. Clark.

Proceeds raised support scholarships for students who otherwise would not be able to attend SC State.

“Our goal this year is to raise $500,000,” says Gala Chair and SCSU Foundation Board Member Dr. Michelle Mosely.

“We feel we have a good chance of reaching our goal from excellent ticket sales and wonderful silent auction items we’re offering this year,” she added.

Silent auction items include an autographed Earvin “Magic” Johnson Basketball, a 2018 Super Bowl Package, 2017 Final Four Package, an ESPY Package, New York City Broadway Weekend Getaway, and SC State classic paraphernalia and art.

“We are always so appreciative of the generosity of our alumni and friends,” said SCSU Foundation Board Chairman Kenneth G. Claxton ’97.

During the dinner, honoree recipients will receive their awards and student scholars will be recognized for their outstanding academic accomplishments.

Each of the 2017 award honorees has pledged his support to the South Carolina State Foundation. Some have done so monetarily, some with “friend raising”, and all stand prepared to grow their relationship with the Foundation in support of the University.

Descriptions of the 2017 awards and honorees are below:

The Trailblazer Award

The Trailblazer Award recognizes an athlete, author, business professional, entertainer, journalist, or politician who has devoted his or her time and financial resources to local, national or international communities.

  1. US Senator Tim Scott is the first southern African-American US Senator to hold office since the late 1800s. His appointment also made him the 8th person of color to become a US Senator. This achievement has allowed Senator Scott to blaze the trail for other African-Americans seeking to hold elected office.

  2. Mike Colter is the new face of both Netflix and Marvel, starring as Luke Cage in three different series. One of Mr. Colter’s first jobs was working the concession stands in the Oliver C. Dawson Stadium. He has demonstrated that you can achieve in this world as long as you are determined and focused on the task in front of you.

The Corporate Partner of the Year

The Corporate Partner of the Year honors a business that provides significant financial and/or in-kind resources to the SCSU Foundation. The corporation’s philanthropy is demonstrated via its foundation, a corporate giving program, and the volunteerism of its employees. This company has shown exemplary leadership by facilitating an equal partnership with the Foundation to build a cohesive community.

BMW Manufacturing Co. LLC has demonstrated its financial support of the Foundation for more than 15 years. Their annual contribution facilitates the BMW Scholars Program, which supports SCSU students who major in technology, business, accounting, and computer science.

The Leadership Award

The Leadership Award honors a leader in the SCSU community who routinely goes beyond the call of duty. Honorees demonstrate the characteristics of leadership, commitment, and advocacy.

Donnie Shell ’74 and ‘77 embodies these values as demonstrated by his recent formation of the Donnie Shell Foundation and the Donnie Shell Foundation Golf Invitational. Mr. Shell has served on the SCSU Board as Chair of the Student Affairs and Athletics Committee and has been Vice Chair of the Institutional Advancement and University Relations Committee.

The Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors someone who has achieved significant accomplishments in his or her career. This individual has held a variety of influential positions in which he or she has demonstrated strategic leadership qualities.

Armstrong Williams ’81 is a businessman who has made tremendous strides in his career. In 2016, Mr. Williams became the largest black owner of TV stations in the country. Earlier this week, Mr. Williams committed $250,000 to SC State’s Communications and Journalism Program.

The Beacon of Light Award

The Beacon of Light Award honors an outstanding leader who makes a difference within the community with his or her leadership and impact. This individual serves as a pathway forward, a guiding light to the community; demonstrating his commitment to community engagement and improvement.

SC State Senator Marlon Kimpson and his wife, Kimberly founded the Time to Give Back Committee in 2014. This initiative was established to provide eligible non-profit organizations in Charleston and Dorchester Counties with grant funding from his senatorial compensation.

“We’re honored to host our alumni and friends at a spectacular event that supports such a worthy cause. This year we are truly excited about an increase in new donors,” says SCSU Foundation Executive Director A.L. Fleming.

Tickets are available for purchase at or by calling 803.536.8742.