Students studying outside the library

Wofford Alumni Association to honor four at Homecoming

Gillians, McGirt, Gray and Gomez-Agnoli to receive awards Oct. 21

Alumni Awards 2017
Being honored during Homecoming this weekend by the Wofford Alumni Association are, from left, Shawan Gillians, class of 2004, Rising Star Award; Marco Gomez-Agnoli, a Spartanburg businessman, Distinguished Citizen Award; Charlie Gray, class of 1972, Distinguished Service Award; and William McGirt, class of 2001, Pride of Wofford Award.
2017-10-16

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Wofford College Alumni Association will honor three alumni and a community leader during the college’s annual Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 20-21. The annual awards ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, in the Jerome Johnson Richardson Theatre in the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts.

Shawan Gillians, class of 2004, will receive the Rising Star Award while William McGirt, class of 2001, will be honored with the Pride of Wofford Award and Charles H. (Charlie) Gray, class of 1972, will receive the Distinguished Service Award. Marco Gomez-Agnoli, a Spartanburg businessman, will be honored with the Distinguished Citizen Award.

The awards event, sponsored by the Wofford College Alumni Association Board, is free and open to the public.

Gillians, interim treasurer for Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility, graduated from Wofford with high honors as a double major in economics and religion. A native of Moncks Corner, S.C., she graduated from the College of William and Mary School of Law and returned to the Charleston area to join the law firm of Buist Moore Smythe McGee, where she focused her practice on bankruptcy litigation. In 2011, Gillians left private practice to return to Moncks Corner, joining the legal department of Santee Cooper, where she was associate general counsel-corporate affairs until March 2017. After receiving her MBA from the University of South Carolina, she was named to her current position.

She is a member of the board of trustees for the Coastal Community Foundation, a member of the Community Engagement Review Council for the Trident United Way and a member of the vestry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Charleston. She is a graduate of the Riley Institute at Furman University, Diversity Leadership Initiative and is a member of the Liberty Fellowship Class of 2018; the Liberty Fellowship is a partnership of Wofford, the Liberty Corp. and the Aspen Institute.

At Wofford, she was a member of Wesley Fellowship, the executive cabinet of Twin Towers and the Judicial Commission. She also was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

The Rising Star Award is presented to a member of the Wofford Alumni Association who has demonstrated professional accomplishment and continued growth as an emerging leader in his or her community.

McGirt, the 2016 Memorial Tournament champion, grew up in Fairmont, N.C., playing baseball and golf, earning scholarships in both sports at colleges in South Carolina and North Carolina. He chose Wofford and golf, making an immediate impact on the golf team in his first year in 1997 by finishing fourth in his first tournament and winning the fourth tournament of his first year at the Davidson Invitational. He went on to be the 1998 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, an honor for Wofford in its first year in the conference.

McGirt’s college career brought other wins – the prestigious Augusta State Invitational in his junior year and the 2001 Southern Conference Championship, capping off his collegiate career.

After college, he won the 2003 North Carolina Amateur and the 2003 Cardinal Amateur. He turned professional in 2004, spending years playing several mini-tours and the 2010 season on the Nationwide Tour. He finished tied for second at the 2010 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, securing his PGA Tour card.

McGirt, who lives in Spartanburg with his family, supports several charities, including the Walking for Kids Foundation. He is a board member of the Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational, which takes place in Spartanburg.

The Pride of Wofford Award is presented to a member of the Wofford Alumni Association who has brought honor and distinction to Wofford through outstanding professional achievement.

After graduating from Wofford in 1972, Gray joined the college’s Admission staff, rising to lead the Admission program starting in 1977. He moved to head the Alumni and Parents Programs in 1995. He became the director of continuing education in 2015, creating the college’s popular Lifelong Learning at Wofford program that has attracted more than 300 “students” to attend an array of innovative courses.

At the time of his retirement in 2016, Gray was the longest-serving current staff member at Wofford with 44 years. During his time working at the college, he influenced the beginning of intercollegiate soccer, helped grow the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body, and sponsored, counseled and mentored thousands of students and their organizations.

He is a two-time Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International, has been a volunteer for Mobile Meals of Spartanburg for decades and has been recognized several times by Wofford’s Association of African-American Students (now the Association of Multicultural Students) with their Martin Luther King Jr. Award. Friends established an endowed scholarship fund in his honor, a rare occurrence for a living person and an active staff member.

A native of Laurens, S.C., Gray and his wife, Susan, who is retired as Wofford’s director of donor relations, are the parents of three adult children, Charles, William and Ginny Gray Pryor; Pryor is a 2005 alumna.

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a member of the Wofford Alumni Association who has distinguished himself or herself through dedicated service and commitment to Wofford College.

Gomez-Agnoli located the company he founded, Dellfrio, a major importer of commercial refrigeration, in the Northside community of the city of Spartanburg because he wanted to be a part of a neighborhood that would benefit from a viable business. The Medellin, Colombia, native learned his entrepreneurial skills as a young child, selling his mother’s freshly bought produce on the lawn of his family’s home. He honed those skills with his father and grandfather as mentors as they each built major companies – Districondor, the leading lumber supply company in Colombia, and CKD furniture manufacturer, also in Colombia.

Now, Gomez-Agnoli serves on the board of directors and the housing committee of the Northside Development Group, and he supports arts funding at Cleveland Academy of Leadership. He hires students from Wofford College as interns to assist with valuable hands-on training in international business. He is a life supporter of the PAN Foundation, founded by his late father, Carlos Gomez-Uribe, to support homeless children in Colombia.

Gomez-Agnoli, one of eight children born to a Colombian father and American mother, came to the United States to attend Xavier University, where he received a B.S. in business administration and an MBA. After graduation, he worked in international sales for Crown Lift Trucks in Ohio. In 1985, he became vice president of international sales for Frigidaire. He came to Spartanburg in 1994 as vice president of international sales for Beverage-Air. Founding his own company – Dellfrio – was a lifelong dream.

The Distinguished Citizen Award is presented to a non-alumnus or alumna who has served a distinguished career and has contributed extraordinary service to humanity, reflecting honor on both the recipient and Wofford.