David Wilkins To Speak at Riley Institute Legislative Award Dinner

January 7, 2009

S.C. House Member Gilda Cobb-Hunter will receive Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership

GREENVILLE, SC – David Wilkins, the former Speaker of the South Carolina House who currently serves as U.S. Ambassador to Canada, will be the keynote speaker when the Riley Institute at Furman University hosts its fourth annual Legislative Award Dinner in Columbia Monday, Jan. 12.

The event, which is named in honor of Wilkins, will be held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.  The evening begins with a 6 p.m.
reception, and dinner and the award presentation will follow at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $125 per person, and can be reserved by calling 864-235-8330.

Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a member of the South Carolina State House of Representatives who represents Orangeburg County in District 66, will receive the Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education and S.C. Governor Richard W. Riley will be in attendance to honor Cobb-Hunter.

The Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership award is given annually to a state legislator who embodies the highest principles of leadership based on integrity, compassion, vision, civility and courage.

The previous winners have been John Drummond, President Pro-Tem Emeritus of the Senate; Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the House; and Senator Hugh K.

The Riley Institute at Furman created the David H. Wilkins Legislative Leadership Program in 2006.  In addition to the awards dinner, the Wilkins Fellows program allows Furman students to work as interns in the state’s legislative offices.  In time, the program will establish an endowed professorship in South Carolina politics.

Before being named U.S. Ambassador to Canada by President George W. Bush in June of 2005, Wilkins spent 25 years in the South Carolina House of Representatives.  He served six years as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and two years as speaker pro tem before being elected speaker, a position he held for 11 years.  A native of Greenville, Wilkins graduated from Greenville High School and received his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

The Riley Institute at Furman, named for Furman graduate Richard Riley, offers a broad array of programs designed to engage students and citizens across South Carolina in the various arenas of politics, public policy, and public leadership.

For more information, contact the Riley Institute at Furman at 864-294-3546 or visit its website at www.furman.edu/riley/.