COLUMBIA, SC — Seven area business, civic and educational leaders will be honored for their service to the community when the Columbia Urban League holds its 45th Equal Opportunity Day Dinner tonight at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
The event recognizes those who have used their talents and resources to promote healthy communities for South Carolina residents.
Healthy Communities Promote Economic Empowerment is the theme of this years dinner.
The overall economic future depends on all communities being healthy, Columbia Urban League president and CEO James T. McLawhorn Jr. said. These honorees epitomize the essence of this years theme because they have continuously promoted healthy communities through their individual and collective efforts and support for social justice, civil discourse, corporate social responsibility, community service, volunteerism, philanthropy and education.
Here is a look at this years honorees:
• John Baker, managing partner of Baker & Baker Real Estate Developers, will receive the David Wallace Award. Baker is noted for his years of philanthropy and service to improve the quality of life of all people.
• Sue Berkowitz, director of South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, will receive the Lincoln C. Jenkins Jr. Leadership Award. Berkowitz is noted for her leadership and service as director of South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center and as an advocate for the impoverished and disenfranchised.
• Reggie Gallant, vice president of the Agency Southern Zone for State Farm Insurance Co., will receive the Virgil C. Summer Corporate Citizens Award. Gallant is noted for his leadership at State Farm and for promoting social corporate responsibility.
• Bobby Gist, executive assistant to the president for Equal Opportunity Programs at The University of South Carolina, will receive the Ethel M. Bolden Community Service Award. Gist is noted for his civic leadership in promoting community relations as chairman of the Housing Authority and Palmetto City Classics.
• Milton Kimpson, retired deputy commissioner for program services for the South Carolina Department of Corrections, will receive the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award for leadership in advancing racial equality. Kimpson is noted for his leadership in promoting community relations, education equity and equal opportunity for all citizens.
• Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina, will receive the Presidents Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership and commitment to the mission of the Columbia Urban League. Pastides is noted for his leadership in promoting civility, community relations and enhancing diversity at USC.
• Ronald Tryon, office managing partner of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP in Columbia, will receive the Anthony & Alice Hurley Award, which recognizes accomplishments of a current or former Urban League board member. Tryon is noted for his outstanding community service and leadership as president of the South Carolina United FC and as chairman of the Columbia Urban Leagues Annual Fund Campaign and Equal Opportunity Day Dinner.
Through our honorees efforts, they have enhanced the quality of life for citizens of our state, McLawhorn said.
Charles D. (Chuck) Beaman Jr., chief executive officer of Palmetto Health will be this evenings keynote speaker.
Tonights Equal Opportunity Day dinner will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at the door. The Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center is at 1101 Lincoln St.