Media gallery

The Eleventh Annual Wilkins Awards Dinner

Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

January 12, 2016

Held on the first night of the legislative session each year and attended by political, community, and business leaders, the Wilkins Awards Dinner promotes citizenship, public service, and bipartisan governing. Each year we honor the leadership, courage, vision, and integrity of one South Carolina legislator and, this year, two South Carolina civic leaders. View this year’s program | Read Furman’s news release | Read the Greenville Journal article | Read the LowcountrybizSC article


Senator Clementa Pinckney

2015 Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership

First elected to the legislature at age 23, Senator Pinckney served with empathy for opposing views while firmly presenting his own views until his assassination at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church on June 17, 2015. His widow, Mrs. Jennifer Pinckney, accepted the award, along with her daughters, Eliana and Melana.


Governor Nikki Haley and Mayor Joe Riley

2015 Wilkins Award for Excellence in Civic Leadership

In the wake of the shooting of nine worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Governor Haley and Mayor Riley demonstrated unselfish, decisive, and critical leadership during a time of enormous grief and angst in South Carolina. Their responses to this tragedy have helped bring healing to our state.


The evening was hosted by Ambassador David Wilkins, Secretary Dick Riley, and Furman President Elizabeth Davis. Along with dinner, there was a video of a moderated conversation with our civic award winners, Gov. Haley and Mayor Riley, about their response and actions following the massacre at Emanuel A.M.E. Church.