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The Citadel awards honorary degrees in recognition of service to state and national leaders

CRBJ Biz Wire //May 15, 2024//

The Citadel awards honorary degrees in recognition of service to state and national leaders

CRBJ Biz Wire //May 15, 2024//

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The Citadel Board of Visitors presented honorary degrees to recipients during the commencement celebrations for the Class of 2024.

Honorary degrees are awarded to the speakers for the commencement ceremonies for The South Carolina Corps of Cadets and The Citadel Graduate College, as well as those who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the college during their lifetime. Five honorary degrees were conferred during the 2024 commencement ceremony.

Below are the citations for each of this year’s honorary degree recipients.

S.C. Rep. Bruce Bannister

The Honorable Bruce W. Bannister is a South Carolina attorney and a public servant.

Representative Bannister is a 1995 graduate of Davidson College and a 1998 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law. After earning his juris doctor degree, Representative Bannister went into practice at Bannister, Wyatt, and Stalvey law firm, focusing on family law, eminent domain and real estate law.

In 2005, Mr. Bannister was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he serves on behalf of District 24. From 2012 to 2016, he was the majority leader for the South Carolina House Republican Caucus. He currently serves as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and as chairman of the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Legislator task force.

Representative Bannister has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Children’s Museum of the Upstate, the Saint Andrews Society of Upper South Carolina, the Greenville Peace Center and A Child’s Haven.

In recognition of his strong record of civic engagement, The Citadel Board of Visitors is proud to recognize The Honorable Bruce W. Bannister with the honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, ‘99

The Honorable Nancy Ruth Mace is a businesswoman, a United States representative and a trailblazer.

Representative Mace grew up in the South Carolina Lowcountry. She is the daughter of retired U.S. Army Brigadier General J. Emory Mace, ’63, and Anne Mace, a retired school teacher. In 1999, she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in business administration, becoming the first female cadet to graduate from The Citadel. The historic event garnered national media attention and earned Representative Mace an important place in college history. In 2004, she earned her master’s degree from the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

Representative Mace has a background in public relations and marketing, technology and commercial real estate. From 2018 to 2020, she served in the South Carolina House of Representatives. In 2020, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where she currently represents South Carolina’s first district and is committed to fiscal responsibility and lowering taxes.

For being a role model to young women everywhere and for her commitment to her alma mater and the citizens of South Carolina, The Citadel Board of Visitors is proud to award the Honorable Nancy Mace the honorary Doctor of Political Leadership and Diplomacy degree.

S.C. Senator Harvey Peeler

The Honorable Harvey Smith Peeler Jr. is a servant leader whose legacy of service to South Carolina spans more than four decades.

After graduating from Clemson in 1970, Senator Peeler was commissioned a lieutenant in the United States Army, where he served for two years. After returning home to work on the family dairy farm in Cherokee County, he felt a calling to make his community better for his children and his grandchildren, so he ran for public office and began what has become a more than 40-year commitment to the people of South Carolina.

During his service in the South Carolina Senate, Senator Peeler has held a number of roles, including Senate majority leader, chair of the Senate Finance Committee’s Higher Education Subcommittee and chair of the Senate Education Committee. In addition to serving as a member of several committees, he currently serves as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Throughout his tenure in office, Senator Peeler has always represented the people of South Carolina with the utmost honesty and integrity. As a veteran, he appreciates the mission of The Citadel and has been a supporter of and friend to the college.

In recognition of his lifetime of public service, The Citadel Board of Visitors to proud to award Senator Harvey S. Peeler Jr. the honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.

Chris Swain, M.D., ‘81

Dr. Christopher C. Swain is a dedicated obstetrician and a loyal Citadel alumnus with a passion for improving lives.

After graduating from The Citadel in 1981, Dr. Swain embarked on a medical education. In 1991, he graduated from the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama. As a young doctor, he was astounded to learn that expectant mothers who visited the emergency room were transferred to the labor and delivery department, where they were evaluated by a nurse who was taking instructions over the phone from a doctor. In 2006, Dr. Swain conceived the idea to create a 24/7 obstetric emergency department to improve patient safety and provide after-hours support. From there, he and his brother, David Swain, ’80, co-founded the OB Hospitalist Group, a dedicated obstetrical-gynecological hospital provider dedicated to providing quality healthcare for expectant mothers and their babies.

In the same way that he recognized the unmet needs of expectant mothers, Dr. Swain has recognized his alma mater’s needs in multiple areas, including improved programming in science and mathematics and restored access to the Ashley River. Through the generosity and passion of Dr. Swain and his family, the Swain School of Science and Mathematics, the Swain School of Nursing, and the Swain Boating Center have thrived and provided numerous opportunities to cadets, students, faculty and staff. He also serves on and recently completed his term as chair of The Citadel Foundation Board of Directors, where he oversaw some of the most successful fundraising years in the college’s history.

In recognition of his exceptional professional accomplishments and service to his alma mater, The Citadel Board of Visitors is proud to present Dr. Christopher C. Swain with the honorary Doctor of Science degree.

John C. Warley, J.D., ‘67

John C. Warley is an author and a proud member of The Citadel Class of 1967.

In 1963, Mr. Warley, who spent his formative years in Virginia, returned to his home state of South Carolina to attend The Citadel on a football scholarship. He was the quintessential student. He excelled in academics. He was a member of the Round Table and a cadet officer. He was highly regarded by his classmates, and he played both football and baseball. After graduating from The Citadel in 1967, he earned a law degree at the University of Virginia School of Law.

As an attorney, an active member of the community and a busy husband and father of four children, Mr. Warley had to forego his dream of writing, but later, with the encouragement of his family and his classmate Pat Conroy, he put words to paper in his first novel Bethesda’s Child. He has written six novels as well as a modern-day history of The Citadel and several essays. Mr. Warley is also the author of the eloquent inscription that appears on The Citadel War Memorial, which was sponsored by the Class of 1967.

In recognition of his inspiring words that tell the story of his alma mater, The Citadel Board of Visitors is proud to award John C. Warley the honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

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