Ben Legare presented with state’s Order of the Palmetto
The Citadel’s Ben Legare was presented with the Order of the Palmetto, the state highest civilian award, during today’s military dress parade.
The Order of the Palmetto is awarded for extraordinary lifetime achievement and service to the state and nation. It was established in 1971 by Gov. John West, Citadel Class of 1942. Nominations are made to a special committee and the governor makes the final selection.
"For 25 years I wrote briefs and backgrounders about The Citadel for the General Assembly,” Legare said. “This one I actually had nothing to do with and I am humbly honored by it.”
State Sens. William O’Dell, Citadel Class of 1960, and Yancey McGill, Citadel Class of 1974, presented the award to Legare.
“Ben is a man of integrity who exemplifies the meaning of duty, honor country,” O’Dell said. “I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with Ben since 1981, and congratulate him on a job well done.”
A Charleston native, Legare comes from a family of Citadel graduates. He graduated from The Citadel in 1963. After a 20-year stint as both an enlisted man and officer in the Army, Legare returned to The Citadel in 1982 as director of public affairs. He saw the college through some of its most tumultuous times, including the admission of women in the Corps of Cadets and the release of the movie “Lords of Discipline,” a fictional story based on author Pat Conroy’s experiences as a cadet. Conroy graduated in 1967.
In 1992 Legare was promoted to director of development and governmental affairs. He held that position, under various titles in the years that followed. In June 2007 he retired as assistant to the president for governmental affairs and director of community affairs. He represented The Citadel before the General Assembly and with The Citadel’s Charleston neighbors and governmental groups.
Legare has served on the Charleston Crime Stoppers board, American Association of State Colleges and Universities Public Information Advisory Committee, was President of the Charleston Breakfast Rotary Club and the Charleston Country Club board. Among his military awards and decorations are the Silver Star, the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, and Meritorious Service Medal with cluster and Army Commendation medal. He is paratrooper qualified.
Several members of The Citadel familiy are past recipients of the Order of the Palmetto, including (but not limited to), former president James A. Grimsley Jr.; Board of Visitors members Frank Mood, Leonard Fulghum, Jimmy Jones, Art Baiden, Fred Price and Fred Spears. Also among them are author Pat Conroy and the late Horace E "Sally" Crouch, one of the Dolittle Raiders.
Coming later in September: An occasional story series highlighting the unique educational environment at The Citadel will begin. "Leadership and Service" will profile people and events that exemplify The Citadel experience, its leadership laboratory and the college's mission of achieving excellence in the education of principled leaders.