Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

Two to receive honorary degrees from Wofford

Dunlap, Hipp to be honored at Commencement May 19

W. Hayne Hipp, left, and Dr. Benjamin B. Dunlap will receive honorary degrees of humanities on May 19.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Wofford College will confer two honorary degrees during the 2013 Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 19, on the lawn of Main Building. Retiring Wofford president Dr. Benjamin B. Dunlap and W. Hayne Hipp, founder of the Liberty Fellowship, each will receive the honorary doctor of humanities degree.

At Commencement Exercises, to be held at 9:30 a.m. on the lawn of Main Building, Wofford will confer some 340 degrees, and the Class of 1963 will be featured participants in the ceremonies and events surrounding it. 

The college also will present the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards to two students and two non-students; the Roger Milliken Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Science; and the Philip Covington Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Humanities and Social Sciences. The honor graduate – the student with the highest GPA – also will be recognized. 

Dunlap became the 10th president of Wofford in July 2000, having served as a member of the faculty at Wofford since 1993. He will retire from the Wofford presidency on June 2013. 

Dunlap is a native of Columbia, S.C., graduated from the public schools there, and enrolled at the University of the South (Sewanee) in 1955. He was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar in his senior year, and studied for three years at Oxford University. He returned to complete the Ph.D. degree in English Language and Literature from Harvard University, where he remained to teach. In the late 1960s, Dunlap returned to his native South Carolina to join the faculty at the University of South Carolina, where he became a popular and highly decorated professor. He twice served as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in Thailand and was a member of the inaugural class of U.S.-Japan Leadership Fellows in Tokyo. In 1993, Dunlap was recruited to come to Wofford as the first Chapman Family Professor in the Humanities, a position he still holds. After taking a year off, he plans to return to teaching. 

Since becoming president in 2000, Dunlap has overseen an increase in full-time faculty members from 84 to 127, and an increase in enrollment from 1,100 to 1,600, and the campus has nearly doubled in size. During his administration, he has been involved in the alteration of nearly the entire campus, including construction or renovation of such major facilities as the Wofford Village, Main Building, the Montgomery Music Building, the Goodall Environmental Studies Center, the Russell C. King Baseball Field and the Joe E. Taylor Athletic Center. Additionally, Liberty Trail was constructed and the entire campus was transformed into a national arboretum. New areas of study in environmental studies, theatre and Chinese language and studies have been developed during his administration, and he has greatly enhanced the presence of the arts on the Wofford campus.

Dunlap has helped to raise the international visibility of Wofford by fulfilling major roles for the Aspen Institute and its global partners, including the Liberty Fellowship of South Carolina, and by his speaking to and moderating innumerable seminars and conferences around the world. His 2007 TED talk, “A Passionate Life,” has been watched by nearly 775,000 viewers.

W. Hayne Hipp is founder of the Liberty Fellowship, a program of seminars, service projects and forums conducted in partnership with the Aspen Institute and Wofford College. Drawing from the business, government and non-profit sectors, Liberty Fellowship is designed to identify and sustain collaborative values-based leadership in South Carolina. This highly successful program, founded in 2003, brings together enlightened young leaders with a diversity of perspective, a wide range of thought and a passion for moving South Carolina forward.

Hipp’s background and career are in business leadership. He was CEO of The Liberty Corp., an owner of insurance companies and television stations with additional investments in media, real estate and technology ventures. After the company was sold in 2006, Hipp became a private investor.

A native of Greenville, S.C., Hipp finished at Episcopal High School in Virginia, graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1962, where he is a trustee emeritus, and earned the MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

He is a trustee of the Aspen Institute and the Belle W. Baruch Foundation. He is a past chair of the Peace Center for the Performing Arts, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce, the Greenville Hospital System Board, Urban League of the Upstate, and the Alliance for Quality Education. He is a former director of the Greenville County School District, the State Development Board, the South Carolina Research Authority, the National Urban League, the Palmetto Business Forum, Hollings Cancer Center, and the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.