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USC Athletics Director, Dr. Mike McGee, Receives Order of the Palmetto
Dr. McGee has served at the University of South Carolina since January 1993

Dec. 18, 2002

Columbia, S.C. –
South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges presented the Order of the Palmetto to Michael B. McGee, the University of South Carolina Athletics Director, today at 4:00 p.m. in a ceremony in the Governor’s Office. In awarding the state’s highest civilian honor to Dr. McGee, the Governor is recognizing him for his outstanding contributions to promotion of and achievement in sports in South Carolina. Under Dr. McGee’s leadership, the University of South Carolina has succeeded at the national level and received national recognition. He has attracted outstanding coaches and athletes to the University. His leadership has helped to improve and build state of the art sports facilities in the Palmetto State.

The Order of the Palmetto was created by Governor John West in 1971. The program was modeled on similar honors bestowed in other states, such as the Kentucky Colonel and North Carolina’s Order of the Longleaf Pine.

Governor West instituted the Order of the Palmetto to honor the significant accomplishments of notable South Carolinians. Under the coordination of Phil Grose in the Governor West’s office, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism provided artistic design for the Order of the Palmetto certificate. In keeping with the unique honor symbolized by the Order of the Palmetto, the original certificates were handmade and hand-lettered in Old English script. The Order of the Palmetto was awarded at the sole discretion of the governor.

Recent recipients of the Order of the Palmetto during Governor Hodges’ tenure include:

The rock group Hootie and the Blowfish, whose album Cracked Rear View sold over 14 million copies. Hootie and the Blowfish have continued to give back to the citizens of South Carolina through their numerous charitable activities, including Farm Aid and the Monday After the Masters pro-am celebrity golf tournament.

Clarke Bynum and Gifford Shaw, missionaries from Sumter who subdued a deranged terrorist on board a 747 flight to Nairobi, Kenya. Bynum and Shaw’s heroic actions enabled the crew to bring the plane out of a steep nose-dive, saving the lives of nearly 400 passengers and crew.

Blue Sky, a South Carolina artist best known for his 50′ x 75′ mural entitled “Tunnelvision” on the AgFirst Bank in Columbia. His works are part of the permanent collections in the White House, the Smithsonian, and the South Carolina State Museum.