Spartanburg Community College President Henry C. Giles Jr. was honored for 50 years of service to the college, community and state last week when he was awarded the Order of the Palmetto on behalf of Gov. Henry McMaster at a general meeting for faculty and staff.
Hired as a math instructor in 1969, Giles also served as vice president and executive vice president of business affairs, as well as a stint as interim president, before being named the sixth president of the college.
His accomplishments include playing a key role in purchasing the building that would become the downtown campus, according to a news release. He also was key to the creation and expansion of the Spark Center, which has become a valuable economic development tool for the county.
Giles saw the campus grow from two buildings and 32 employees to five campuses with 330 full-time and 400 part-time employees.
Mike Forrester, Spartanburg Community College’s vice president of economic development, presented the honor on behalf of the governor, and read a letter from McMaster, who remained in Columbia to prepare for Hurricane Dorian.
"From your outstanding leadership of Spartanburg Community College to your extensive involvement in civic affairs, you have demonstrated an uncommon commitment to the highest standards in all you do,” the letter said. “Your passion for educational and workforce development opportunities in the Upstate has helped strengthen our economy, resulting in rewarding employment and brighter futures for individuals and families. You have made a positive impact throughout our state that will last for generations to come.”
The SCC Foundation announced a new, privately funded scholarship established in Giles' honor, and presented a check for $59,550.
Awarded by the governor, the Order of the Palmetto is considered the highest civilian honor in the state. It was first awarded in 1971 by Gov. John C. West and recognizes a person's lifetime achievements and contributions to South Carolina.