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Wofford College to present two honorary degrees

Friday, April 28, 2006

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College will conduct its 152nd Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 14, at 9:30 a.m. on the lawn of Main Building. During the ceremony, some 270 graduates will receive their diplomas, and Wofford will confer two honorary degrees.

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 also will be presented to faculty members.

Commencement activities will take place throughout the weekend, including the ROTC commissioning ceremony and a Baccalaureate Service on Saturday, May 13.

Receiving honorary degrees will be Russell C. King Jr., a 1956 Wofford graduate and former member and twice-chairman of the board of trustees; and the Rev. Dr. Marion Josiah Hatchett, one of the premiere liturgical scholars of the Episcopal Church of his generation and a 1947 graduate of Wofford. (See full biographies below.)

Here is a schedule and details of the weekend’s events:

Saturday, May 13
1 p.m. – Southern Guard Battalion ROTC Commissioning Ceremony and Reception, McMillan Theater
5 p.m. – Baccalaureate Service, lawn of Main Building

Sunday, May 14
8 a.m. – Holy Communion Service, AAAS Room, Burwell Building
9:30 a.m. – Commencement Exercises, lawn of Main Building (rain location, Benjamin Johnson Arena)
11:15 a.m. – Lemonade on the Lawn reception, lawn of Roger Milliken Science Center and Burwell Building (for graduates and families, faculty and staff)

Members of the Wofford College Class of 1956 will be special honored participants at Commencement activities. In addition to holding their class reunion on Saturday evening, the class members will have special seating at Saturday’s Baccalaureate Service. They also will be treated to other special social events throughout the weekend. They will process in full regalia with the 2006 graduates on Sunday morning at Commencement Exercises.

Biographies of honorary degree recipients:

Russell Calvin King Jr.
Russell C. King Jr. was born in 1934 in Darlington, S.C., where his father, a Wofford alumnus, was the public school superintendent. After graduating from the local high school, King followed in his father’s footsteps to Wofford. He was a varsity baseball player and student leader while enrolled, graduating in 1956. Through the Army ROTC program, King was commissioned as a lieutenant and recorded eight years active and reserve service. (King is pictured second from left with Dennis Mathis, Carroll Emery and Walt Sessoms at the recent 1956 Reunion Day event at Russell C. King Field on Wofford's campus.)

King joined Sonoco Products Co. in Hartsville, S.C., as a management trainee in 1956, leading to a nearly 40-year career with this major South Carolina public corporation. He worked in various capacities in sales, marketing and manufacturing before becoming a division vice president in 1973. His responsibilities increased through the years, and he was president and chief operating officer when he retired in 1994. Under King’s leadership, Sonoco became a multibillion-dollar international manufacturer of industrial and consumer packaging products with more than 15,000 employees.

From 1976 through 1988, King served on the Wofford College Board of Trustees and was its chair from 1986 until 1988. He returned to the board in 1994, and his term will expire in the spring of 2006. He served a second stint at chair of the board from 1998 to 2002. After a three-day board planning retreat in 1986, King was selected to chair a yearlong planning process involving more than 100 trustees, faculty, students, alumni and other friends of the college. The outcome was Wofford’s first masterplan, which generated energy and direction for the college for over 15 years. In more than 150 years, Wofford has had only 10 presidents, but King’s leadership of the presidential search committee in 2000 ensured a smooth and successful transition in the president’s office from Joab M. Lesesne to his successor, Benjamin B. Dunlap.

King chaired the Great Expectations Campaign for Wofford, the largest and most comprehensive fundraising program in college history. The initial goal for the effort was $71.5 million, but more than $90 million was realized by its formal conclusion in 2001. The college’s endowment reached $100 million during his chairmanship, and he was instrumental in the planning for dramatic enhancements to the central campus landscaping and the development of the Roger Milliken Science Center. In his own right, King has been a major donor to the college, and his recent seven-figure gift make it possible to build the Russell C. King Field and return NCAA Division I baseball to the campus.

The Rev. Dr. Marion Josiah Hatchett
The Rev. Dr. Marion Josiah Hatchett is known by his peers and other colleagues as one of the premiere liturgical scholars of the Episcopal Church in his generation. A 1947 graduate of Wofford, Hatchett earned a bachelor of divinity from the School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee) in 1951, and began a 15-year career in the parish ministry of the Episcopal Church. His service in the local church during that period was all in South Carolina, including time in Spartanburg, Gaffney, and Charleston.

Hatchett seized the opportunity to join the faculty of the School of Theology at Sewanee in 1969, and has remained there since, officially retiring in 1999. He continues today to serve the school as an adjunct professor, teaching Hymnody for the Christian Church.

He served on the drafting committees of the Book of Common Prayer (1973-76) and on the Standing Liturgical Commission (1976-82). He was convener and chair of the ecumenical committee which produced the “Common Eucharistic Prayer,” included in the Book of Common Prayer as Eucharistic Prayer D, and in various other liturgical books in the USA and abroad. He was chair of the committee which produced the first Book of Occasional Services (1979). Hatchett served on the Standing Commission on Church Music, serving as chair of the text committee for The Hymnal 1982 (the primary Episcopal hymnbook today). He is also a leader in the ongoing dialogue between the Episcopal church and the Moravian church.

Hatchett has been widely honored. In 1999, he was featured in the Episcopal periodical The Living Church as one of the five “Shapers of the Church in the Twentieth Century.” At the time of his retirement that year, he was honored with the publication of a festschrift, edited by the Right Rev. Dr. J. Neil Alexander, “With Ever Joyful Hearts,” to which 23 international scholars contributed essays in tribute to Hatchett.