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Three to receive honorary degrees


2008-03-07

Kang, Johnson, Maultsby to be recognized at May 18 Commencement

(MEDIA: For high-resolution (300 dpi) photos, click on the thumbnail photos below, then right-click to download to your computer.  If you have problems, contact Laura Corbin at laura.corbin@wofford.edu or 597-4180.)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College will confer honorary degrees on three alumni – Dr. Andrew Ho Kang, George Dean Johnson Jr. and Dr. Dan B. Maultsby – during the 2008 Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 18.

Kang, a 1957 graduate, is director of the Center of Excellence for Diseases of Connective Tissues in Memphis.  He is one of the most distinguished and recognized Wofford alumni to enter the field of medicine.  He is best known for his research in rheumatoid arthritis, and the development of an animal model for the study of the disease that is now used worldwide to test new medications for the treatment of the disease in humans.

Johnson, a 1964 graduate, founded Johnson Development Associates Inc., a Spartanburg-based commercial, industrial and apartment developer, and today serves as chairman of the board of the firm.

Maultsby, who graduated in 1961, retired last fall as senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of Wofford College after 27 years at the college.

(FULL BIOGRAPHIES OF THE THREE RECIPIENTS FOLLOW)

The Commencement Exercises begin at 9:30 a.m. on the lawn of Main Building.  Wofford will confer degrees on some 270 undergraduates during Commencement, and the Class of 1958 will be featured participants in the ceremonies and events surrounding it.

Also at Commencement, the college 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.

BIOGRAPHIES OF HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENTS

DR. ANDREW HO KANG
undefinedDr. Andrew Ho Kang, a 1957 Wofford graduate, is one of the most distinguished and recognized Wofford graduates to enter the field of medicine.  Born Dec. 16, 1934, in Seoul, Korea, Kang graduated from high school and attended college there.  A chance encounter with a Wofford graduate who was serving in the U.S. Army as a chaplain in Seoul led to Kang’s being encouraged to attend Wofford, where he enrolled as a student in 1955.

In just two years, attending full time in both semesters and two sessions of summer schools each year, Kang was able to complete a bachelor of science degree, graduating summa cum laude in 1957 and being selected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa.  With the nurturing of the family of the late Wofford Dean Frank Logan, and support from the Spartanburg community, Kang enrolled at Harvard Medical School in 1957, where he earned his medical degree with magna cum laude honors.

In 1959, Kang, then a medical student at Harvard, became stricken with rheumatoid arthritis, but managed to work through the disease and complete his studies.  He did, however, set out at that point to research and understand this crippling disease, and made this his life’s work as a structural biochemist in collagen studies.  Kang undertook postgraduate work in Boston, first as a resident in Brigham Hospital, then in Bethesda, Md., at the National Institutes of Health, and finally as a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, again in Boston.  He married a fellow physician, Ellen, and they established a family with three daughters, all of whom have since become distinguished physicians.

In 1972, Kang located to Memphis, Tenn., as a professor at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine, and became associated with research at the Veterans Administration Hospital there as chief of rheumatology.  He ultimately became chairman of the department of internal medicine at the University of Tennessee, only recently retiring, and now serves as director of the Center of Excellence for Diseases of Connective Tissues in Memphis.  He has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific articles, and has won numerous awards for his connective tissue research.  One of his many achievements in the research of rheumatoid arthritis is the development of an animal model for the study of the disease that is now used worldwide to test new medications for the treatment of the disease in humans.  In 2001, Kang received the Ho-Am Prize in Medicine, the Korean equivalent of a Nobel Prize.

Kang recently has established a planned gift at Wofford to endow a scholarship fund to be used to attract outstanding students, with preference for those of Korean descent.

GEORGE DEAN JOHNSON JR.
undefinedBorn July 22, 1942, and raised in Spartanburg, George Dean Johnson Jr. has risen to become a national and international figure in business.  Johnson is a graduate of the public schools of Spartanburg and graduated from Wofford in 1964.  He also earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1967.

Two years out of law school, Johnson was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives, eventually serving three terms, and holds the distinction of having been elected once each as an independent, as a Democrat, and as a Republican.  He also has served the state as chairman of the S.C. Development Board (predecessor to today’s Secretary of Commerce) and as president of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce.

While in private law practice, Johnson founded Johnson Development Associates Inc., a Spartanburg-based commercial, industrial and apartment developer, and today serves as chairman of the board of this firm.  Always an entrepreneur, in the 1980s, Johnson became involved with the rapidly emerging commercial video rental market, franchising a large number of Blockbuster Entertainment stores across the South.  He relocated to the Blockbuster headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as the number two person in the parent company, and was in that position when the company was eventually sold to Viacom.

Upon returning to Spartanburg more than a decade ago, Johnson continued to multiply his business interests, locating two corporate headquarters of companies in which he was involved to the downtown area.  Today, thanks to his leadership, the headquarters of Advance America and Extended Stay Hotels are located in Spartanburg, employing hundreds of people downtown.  He and his family have also become major developers of other downtown properties, and the enhanced landscape of the city of Spartanburg owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Johnson for his vision and energy.  The Johnson family has been a major benefactor of Converse College, numerous community agencies and organizations, the Chapman Cultural Center, the Episcopal Church of the Advent, the University of South Carolina Upstate, and his alma mater, Wofford College, where they have made major gifts to support the establishment of the fitness center in the Richardson Physical Activities Building in memory of his father, and for the Lewis P. Jones Endowed Visiting Professorship in History.  Johnson also has quietly and generously supported other physical plant and scholarship projects at Wofford.

Johnson has a major national profile within the business world.  His executive board service has included seats on seven New York Stock Exchange boards:  Extended Stay America, Norfolk Southern, Duke Energy, AutoNation Inc., Boca Resorts, Advance America Cash Advance, and Blockbuster Inc.  He is married to Susan Phifer Johnson, and they have two grown children.

DR. DAN B. MAULTSBY
undefinedOn Aug. 15, 2007, Dr. Dan B. Maultsby officially retired from active service to Wofford College as its senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college.  For 27 years, Maultsby was effectively the second in command within Wofford’s administration, serving both Presidents Joab M. (Joe) Lesesne and Benjamin B. Dunlap.

In 1957, Maultsby enrolled at Wofford from Whiteville, N.C., where he had completed high school alongside twin brother, Don.  The brothers enrolled at Wofford; their brother, Ray, also attended Wofford.  Maultsby became a leader at the college, was commander of the student ROTC battalion, and active in student life in numerous ways.  He graduated in 1961 and was selected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa.  He then enrolled in the graduate school of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, ultimately earning the Ph.D. in sociology in 1969.  From 1966 to 1968, Maultsby fulfilled the active duty obligation he owed to the U.S. Army, serving as a personnel psychologist in the Atlanta area.  In 1969, Maultsby joined the faculty at Wofford as an assistant professor of sociology.

For 10 years, Maultsby distinguished himself on the Wofford faculty, becoming the advisor to pre-law students, chairing a self-study process for reaccreditation, and emerging as a cherished colleague.  He joined the administration of Lesesne in 1978, serving for three years as director of financial aid at a time when Wofford began to awaken to the need to strategically use resources to build an academically stronger student body.  In 1980, Lesesne tapped Maultsby to become the chief academic officer, the position he held until his retirement.

While holding this critically important position at Wofford, Maultsby oversaw the growth of the faculty from 63 at the time of his becoming dean to its present number in excess of 100.  All but a small handful of the most senior current faculty were hired by Maultsby.  Innovative new facilities for teaching and learning have been developed and built with Maultsby’s guidance, including the Franklin W. Olin Building, the Roger Milliken Science Center, and the restored Main Building.  Ongoing curriculum development and reform, the overhauling of reaccreditation standards and installation of an emerging culture of assessment, enhanced faculty development opportunities, and the encouragement of creative ways to teach and learn are all hallmarks of Maultsby’s tenure at Wofford.  Yet he also will be best remembered for his wise counsel, collegiality, wisdom, wit, and friendship among professional colleagues, students and alumni, and the greater Spartanburg community and beyond.

Maultsby’s career at Wofford was enhanced by the partnership of his wife, Kit, with whom he lived on the campus from 1980 until 2005.  They have two grown sons and five grandchildren.