Welcome to the 9th Annual Principled Leadership Symposium!
"Character, Courage, Community"
Our Honored Guests this year will be:
Nikki R. Haley, Governor of South Carolina
Nikki Randhawa Haley was re-elected as the 116th Governor of South Carolina on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, by the largest margin of victory for a South Carolina gubernatorial candidate in 24 years.
During her first term, Governor Haley, the first female and the first minority governor in South Carolina history and currently the youngest governor in the country, delivered results to the people of every part of our state.
Under the governor’s leadership, South Carolina’s jobless rate hit record lows, the state announced more than 70,000 jobs in 45 of 46 counties, more than 25,000 South Carolinians moved from welfare to work, and the state made its largest infrastructure investment in a generation without raising taxes.
Governor Haley brought together leaders of both political parties, educators and the business community to pass landmark education reforms. These reforms focus attention where it’s most needed: on making education funding more equitable for schools in our poorest communities, on reading instruction in the early grades, and on improving technology in classrooms.
Transparency and accountability in state government were priorities for Governor Haley. In 2011, after a fight that began during her days as a legislator, Governor Haley ushered through the General Assembly and signed into law a bill that, for the first time, required legislators to start showing their votes on the record, allowing citizens to see how their legislators are spending their tax dollars. And in 2014, the governor signed a once-in-a-generation government restructuring bill that makes the executive branch truly accountable for its operations.
Governor Haley also delivered tax relief for small businesses, pension reform, Medicaid reform and illegal immigration reform.
One of the strongest fiscal conservatives in state government, Nikki Haley was first elected in 2004 to the state House to represent the 87th District (Lexington County), when, as a virtual unknown, she beat the longest serving state legislator in a Republican primary.
Born in Bamberg, the daughter of Indian immigrants, Governor Haley’s first job was keeping the books for her family’s clothing store – at the age of 13. She went on to graduate from Clemson University with a B.S. degree in accounting.
Governor Haley and her husband Michael, a Captain in the Army National Guard and combat veteran who was deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, attend Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church in Lexington. The Haleys have two children, Rena, 17, and Nalin, 14.
Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams
Born in Fairmont, West Virginia, on October 2, 1923, Hershel Williams grew up on a dairy farm. After working a series of odd jobs as a truck driver for a Construction Company and as a taxi driver, Williams attempted to do what many men of the United States were doing, to enlist in the military and do his duty for his country enlisting in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in Charleston, West Virginia on May 26, 1943.
February 21, 1945 Williams, now a Corporal landed on the island Iwo Jima. Two days later on February 23rd, American tanks were trying to open a lane for the infantry when they encountered a network of reinforced Japanese concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands. Cpl Williams went forward with his 70-pound flamethrower in an attempt to reduce the devastating machine gun fire from the fortified enemy positions. Covered by only four riflemen, he continued this arduous task for four hours under heavy enemy small-arms fire.
Cpl Williams fought through the remainder of the five-week-long battle and was wounded on March 6, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.
In September Cpl Williams returned to the United States and on October 5, 1945 and for having distinguished for his gallantry in fierce battle, Cpl Williams was presented the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman in a ceremony at the White House.
In 2013, Woody initiated another jester of love for his fallen breather, in which the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation was launched to carry out Woody's vision of recognizing and honoring Gold Star Families around the country. The goal of the Foundation is to establish at least one Gold Star Family Memorial Monument in every state over the next 5 years. He and his foundation are responsible for designing and building the first-in-the-nation memorial monument to recognize and honor this special group of people located in Dunbar, WV.
Woody one of the last two living United States Marine Corps MOH recipients of WWII and the last surviving MOH recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima.