USC Alumni Association announces 2023 Alumni Award recipients

September 7, 2023

The University of South Carolina Alumni Association announced Thursday (Sept. 7) the recipients of the university’s 2023 Alumni Awards.

David Beasley

David Beasley, ’79, ’83 has been named the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award recipient. This award recognizes an alumnus who has demonstrated noble character, acted as a humble servant and places service to others before self-interest. A former governor of South Carolina, Beasley most recently served as the Executive Director for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). He accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the WFP in 2020.

Jeff Charney

Jeff Charney, ’81 has been selected as this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. One of the nation’s most heralded Chief Marketing Officers (CMO), Charney and his team developed two of the nation’s top brand icons—“Flo” and “Dr. Rick” with Progressive Insurance. During his time as CMO for Aflac, Charney was in charge of campaigns involving the “Aflac Duck”—currently the nation’s longest running marketing icon. A two-time “CMO of the Year,” Charney is the founder and CEO of MKHSTRY, a marketing collective.

Judge J. Michelle Childs

Judge J. Michelle Childs, ’91, is the recipient of the Outstanding BlackAlumni Award. Childs was appointed by President Joe Biden to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in July 2022. She currently serves as the president of the Federal Judges Association. Childs was the first African American female partner at a major law firm in the state of South Carolina.

Col. (Ret) Keith June

Col. (Ret) Keith June, ’86, is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Veteran Alumni Award. June served more than 30 years in the United States Army. A Master rated parachutist, COL (Ret) June was awarded three Bronze Stars and the Humanitarian Service Award for his service in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti. June is also the recipient of the Legion of Merit and the Defense Superior Service Award.

Rebecca Krynski Cox

Rebecca Krynski Cox, ’09, has been selected as this year’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient. Recognized by The New York Times as a “vibrant soprano…with a secure, appealing sound and eye-opening volume,” Cox’s career as a soprano opera singer has placed her on the stage with some of the largest opera houses, including The Metropolitan Opera, Florida Grand Opera and Indianapolis Opera. Frequently returning to campus, Cox will join the USC Symphony Orchestra as the soprano soloist for Brahms’ A German Requiem in Spring 2024.

Bobby Donaldson

Bobby Donaldson is the recipient of this year’s Honorary Life Member Award. This award recognizes a non-alumnus who has made considerable contributions in support of the university. Donaldson currently serves as the director of the University of South Carolina’s Center for Civil Rights History and Research and as a professor in the history department. Donaldson is a sought-after consultant for museum exhibitions, documentary films and preservation projects.

The University of South Carolina Alumni Association will celebrate and recognize all the award recipients during Homecoming Weekend, October 13-15. To read more about these outstanding Gamecocks, visit the alumni association’s website:

About The University of South Carolina Alumni Association

The University of South Carolina Alumni Association connects nearly 300,000 living alumni to their alma mater to advance their careers, their passions and their University of South Carolina. The Association aims to engage alumni through membership, programming and communication of university developments. While one may be a student for a short time, they are a Gamecock for a lifetime.