The Buzz

December 2, 2013

BUZZ: Marva Smalls to speak at USC commencement

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

S.C. political veteran turned entertainment executive, Marva Smalls, is the University of South Carolina's winter commencement speaker.

Smalls, a Florence native who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public administration from USC, worked for a decade as chief of staff for then-U.S. Rep. Robin Tallon, a Florence Democrat.

She is now executive vice president of public affairs and chief of staff at Nickelodeon Networks Group where she helped launch Let’s Just Play, a campaign to get children more physically active, and the Big Help to get children involved in community service.

Smalls, who splits time between New York and Florence, donated $1 million in September to USC’s McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research. Her contributions will go to scholarships for minority students from her native Pee Dee.

Smalls will receive the honorary degree of doctorate of humane letters at the ceremony.

Commencement for about 2,500 students from across USC's eight campuses will be held 3:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at Colonial Life Arena.

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