Honorary degrees go to 7 during May 2008 commencements
Here is the text of the honorary degrees presented by The Citadel Board of Visitors at commencements May 3 and 4, 2008. Citations appear in alphabetical order.
Colonel Robert Spencer Adden
Colonel Robert Spencer Adden, Citadel Class of ’44, has had a positive influence on the lives of countless people over the years – from his classmates in Charlie Company to the men he served alongside during World War II to the students he taught in the classroom.
Part of “The Class That Never Was,” Colonel Adden was called to duty during his junior year at The Citadel. He and his fellow classmates proudly went off to fight in World War II. Wounded in action while serving with the 84th Infantry Division, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V, a Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge.
Discharged from the Army in 1946, Colonel Adden returned to The Citadel as a veteran student and graduated in 1947 as the first honor graduate. A week after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, he began his teaching career at The Citadel, leaving only for a short time to earn his Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business and his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
As a member of The Citadel faculty, Colonel Adden rose to head of the Department of Business Administration. During his tenure both the Master of Business Administration and the evening undergraduate programs were launched. He was awarded the Best Teacher Award in 1960 and served as faculty advisor to Lutheran students for 27 years. In 1984, Colonel Adden was awarded the coveted Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. In 1985, he retired as professor emeritus. A loyal fan of Citadel athletics, Colonel Adden rarely misses a home football, baseball, or basketball game.
Colonel Adden has lived a life of service. His fellow classmates say he was always willing to tutor them. They remember an intelligent, humble and friendly young man who helped them grasp difficult concepts. His students were struck by the man who led by example.
Because of his dedication, love, and service to The Citadel, The Citadel Board of Visitors takes great pride in awarding Colonel Robert Spencer Adden the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
P. George Benson
Citadel Graduate College Commencement Speaker
P. George Benson, the 21st president of the College of Charleston, is a distinguished administrator, scholar and writer. At the College of Charleston, his primary emphasis is on strengthening partnerships with individuals, groups and businesses to increase academic collaboration, community engagement, entrepreneurial activities and financial contributions for scholarships, programs and faculty. He is working to improve the college’s current operations and future development, and he has initiated a comprehensive strategic planning process to articulate the college’s vision and define its future priorities.
A native of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Bucknell University. He did graduate work in Operations Research at New York University and received his doctorate in Decision Sciences from the University of Florida.
Before assuming his post at the College of Charleston, he served as dean of the University of Georgia’s C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business. Prior to that, he served for five years as dean of the Rutgers Business School at Rutgers University, and in 1996, Business News New Jersey named President Benson one of the “Top 100 Business People in New Jersey.”
In 2000, President Benson was named a Fellow of the Decision Sciences Institute, the institute’s highest honor. He is the co-author of one of the leading textbooks in business statistics, Statistics for Business and Economics, now in its tenth edition. His research spans several fields, including decision analysis, operations management, statistics, finance, and economics. His work has been published in more than ten academic and professional journals.
For his vision, leadership, scholarship and contributions to higher education, The Citadel Board of Visitors is proud to present P. George Benson with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
Eugene Aycock Brooker
Eugene Aycock Brooker truly embodies the exceptional character and attitude of a Citadel graduate. As a young husband and father, “Gene” Brooker was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. This crippling disease caused him to be hospitalized for more than a year, much of which was spent on life-support systems. The outcome was confinement to a wheelchair with breathing assistance. Nonetheless, Mr. Brooker has overcome this obstacle and leads an exceptionally successful life.
As an asset manager, broker and financial advisor, Mr. Brooker has always approached his career with integrity, diligence and professionalism. He has earned himself a sterling reputation in the investment community.
Mr. Brooker, a member of the Class of 1968, has served on the board of directors of The Brigadier Foundation and was recently its chairman. He has been actively involved in the Columbia Area Citadel Club and was honored in 2004 with the Southern Conference Distinguished Service Award. He has been described as “one of those volunteers who is willing and ready to give his time and support to accomplish the goal of the mission.”
Mr. Brooker overcomes challenges with hard work, determination and perseverance. His “never say die” attitude has inspired countless others. He is the epitome of a principled leader and Citadel graduate.
Because of his courage, success and service to The Citadel, The Citadel Board of Visitors takes great pride in awarding Eugene Aycock Brooker the honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration.
S. Truett Cathy
Mr. S. Truett Cathy, founder and chief executive officer of Chick-fil-A Inc., is as well known for his great food product as he is for his strong moral character and commitment to ethical business practices. His business approach and his outlook on life are driven by his sense of obligation to community and desire to help young people.
In 1946, Mr. Cathy and his brother, Ben, opened an Atlanta diner called The Dwarf Grill that provided the foundation for his first Chick-fil-A restaurant, which opened in Atlanta in 1967. Today, Chick-fil-A is the second-largest chicken restaurant chain in the United States.
Mr. Cathy’s business savvy and deep religious beliefs characterize his sense of obligation to community and to helping young people grow and develop into strong citizens. Established in 1984, his WinShape Centre Foundation evolved from his desire to “shape winners” by helping youth succeed in life. The WinShape Foundation includes programs that provide long-term care for foster children, summer camps designed to build self-esteem in young people and conferences on marriage enrichment, business and church. Since 1973, Mr. Cathy and Chick-fil-A restaurants have given away $22 million in scholarships to Chick-fil-A employees.
Mr. Cathy is a devoutly religious man and all Chick-fil-A restaurants operate on a “closed-on-Sunday” policy. He also is a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather. When not managing his business, Mr. Cathy teaches a Sunday school class to 13-year-old boys, as he has done for almost 50 years.
Mr. Cathy has received countless awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Poultry and Food Distributors Association, the Norman Vincent and Ruth Stafford Peale Humanitarian Award, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Lifetime Achievement Award and the Horatio Alger Award. Mr. Cathy is the author of Eat Mor Chickin: Inspire More People; It’s Easier to Succeed Than to Fail and It’s Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men.
S. Truett Cathy is a testament to The Citadel example of a principled leader. Because of his work ethic, commitment to his community and love of God and country, The Citadel Board of Visitors is proud to present S. Truett Cathy with an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration.
The Honorable Daniel T. Cooper, Sr.
Since 1990, the Honorable Daniel T. Cooper, Sr. has served the citizens of South Carolina in the House of Representatives. In that time, he has become a steadfast supporter of The Citadel, helping with projects that are critical to the future success of the institution.
As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Cooper was instrumental in helping to fund construction of the South Carolina National Guard Readiness Center and renovations to the college infirmary, Stevens Barracks and the former Alumni House. Without his tireless efforts, none of these initiatives would have been possible.
In addition to leading the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Cooper is chairman of the Budget and Finance Subcommittee and Revenue Policy Subcommittee.
A native of Greenville, Representative Cooper is a successful businessman dedicated to the community. He graduated from Clemson University in 1984 and began his career in insurance shortly afterward. He is vice president of Capstone Insurance Services in Piedmont, South Carolina. He is a member of the Hunley Commission, the Pelzer Lions Club, and Mount Airy Baptist Church. He has served on the board of directors for the Boys Home of the South and the Freedom Weekend Aloft. Representative Cooper has also served on the Legislative Advisory Board for Palmetto Pride. Additionally, he has been a planner for the South Carolina Water Resource Commission and the Anderson County Planning and Development Board. He is also involved in the Southern Small Business Association.
Representative Cooper truly demonstrates the qualities of a principled leader. His leadership in the legislature and the community has improved the lives of countless South Carolinians.
Because of his selfless service to South Carolina and his tireless efforts to improve The Military College of South Carolina, The Citadel Board of Visitors is proud to present the Honorable Daniel T. Cooper, Sr. with an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Administration.
Senator Lindsey O. Graham
South Carolina Corps of Cadets Commencement Speaker
Senator Lindsey O. Graham is a native South Carolinian from Central, South Carolina. After graduating from high school, Senator Graham became the first member of his family to attend college, earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of South Carolina. Following law school, Senator Graham spent more than six years on active duty as an Air Force lawyer. After leaving the Air Force in 1989, Senator Graham served in the South Carolina Air National Guard.
He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1992 and the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994.
Since 1995, Senator Graham has continued to serve his country in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and is the only U.S. senator currently serving in the Guard or Reserves. He was promoted to the rank of colonel in 2004 and is assigned as a senior instructor at the Air Force JAG School. Senator Graham served in Iraq as a reservist on active duty for short periods during April and August of 2007, making him the only Iraq war veteran serving in the United States Senate.
While in the Senate, Senator Graham has fought to balance the federal budget, provide tax relief to all taxpayers, keep the military adequately funded and prepared, return control of education to parents and teachers and to ensure that the government keeps its promises. He serves on five committees in the Senate: Agriculture, Armed Services, Judiciary, Budget and Veterans Affairs.
For his service and leadership to his country and to the state of South Carolina, The Citadel Board of Visitors is proud to present Senator Lindsey O. Graham with the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Administration.
Tandy C. Rice, Jr.
Tandy C. Rice, Jr., Citadel Class of 1961, is a tireless and devoted alumnus who has given selflessly of his time, professional expertise and financial resources to support his alma mater.
Mr. Rice is president and chief executive officer of Top Billing International, a Nashville-based entertainment sales and marketing company that specializes in worldwide booking and management of some of the most notable names in country music. His professional list of awards, honors, and activities is extensive. He has been presented the Nashville Association of Talent Directors’ Man of the Year Award for an unprecedented two years. He has been featured on ABC’s 20/20 and in People magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times and The Washington Post. He holds memberships in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Nashville Association of Talent Directors, the Nashville City Club and the Rotary Clubs of Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee.
In addition, his volunteer work extends to his duties as a board member for Bank of America, the Children’s Hospital of Nashville and the Battle Ground Academy of Franklin, Tennessee. He is a past president of the Country Music Association and the Nashville Police Athletic League and was recently elected to the Board of Governors of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Rice is well known for his tireless devotion to The Citadel. He has helped create the Rice Endowed Scholarship Fund, which has given more than 33 cadets four-year scholarships to attend The Citadel. He has mentored and counseled more than 200 middle Tennessee freshman applicants to The Citadel. Additionally, Mr. Rice has participated in numerous Nashville area college fairs over the last 15 years to bolster interest in The Citadel leadership experience. Mr. Rice is the only member in the history of the Middle Tennessee Citadel Club to be voted permanent emeritus member in appreciation for more than 30 years of leadership and financial support.
Mr. Rice embraces every opportunity to encourage giving to The Citadel Foundation and The Citadel Alumni Association. Among his ideas is the concept of encouraging scholarship recipients to give back to The Citadel after graduation, repaying their alma mater for what they as cadets received in support.
Because of his tireless devotion and support of The Citadel, The Citadel Board of Visitors is proud to present Tandy C. Rice, Jr., with the honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration.