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Habitat for Humanity Founder Receives Honorary Degree

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

SPARTANBURG, SC—Wofford College conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree on Millard Fuller, founder and president for Habitat for Humanity International, on Thursday, Feb. 28.

Fuller delivered an address during the 11 a.m. convocation in Leonard Auditorium, Main Building.

Afterward, Fuller met with members of the board of directors of Spartanburg Habitat for Humanity and tour local Habitat neighborhoods.

Fuller’s leadership has helped forge Habitat for Humanity into a worldwide Christian housing ministry. Habitat volunteers have built homes with more than 120,000 families in need in nearly 3,000 communities worldwide. Habitat is at work in more than 80 countries. The international organization has grown to be one of the top house builders in the United States and the largest among non-profit organizations. More than 600,000 people now have safe, decent, affordable shelter because of Habitat’s work around the world.

Fuller founded Habitat with his wife, Linda, in 1976. He travels and speaks worldwide and has earned international recognition for his work advocating decent, affordable housing for all. In September 1996, then-President Bill Clinton awarded Fuller the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

A graduate of Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., and the University of Alabama Law School in Tuscaloosa, Fuller and a college friend began a marketing firm while still in school. Fuller’s business expertise and entrepreneurial drive made him a millionaire at age 29.

As the business prospered, his health, integrity and marriage suffered. These crises prompted Fuller to re-evaluate his values and direction. He reconciled with his wife and renewed his Christian commitment.

The Fullers then decided to sell all of their possessions, give the money to the poor and begin searching for a new focus for their lives. The seed for the creation of Habitat for Humanity was sown when the Fullers went to Koinonia Farm, a Christian community near Americus, Ga., where people were looking for practical ways to apply Christ’s teachings.

With Koinonia founder Clarence Jordan and others, the Fullers initiated several partnership enterprises, including a ministry in housing. From that idea ultimately grew Habitat for Humanity.

Wofford College students have been involved with local Habitat for Humanity projects for years, particularly in the Una area, through the Twin Towers student volunteer organization and several “This Old Hammer” Interim projects. Ben DeLuca, director of Spartanburg Habitat for Humanity, is a Wofford College graduate.