The 2015 College of Charleston Alumni Awards Gala will be held on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, at the newly renovated Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston.

“I firmly believe a university’s greatness comes from its people,” said President Glenn McConnell ’69, who will deliver closing remarks at the gala. “And this week, we will honor seven great people who have helped to make this a special and extraordinary institution.”

This year’s event will honor the following alumni:

Ebony HiltonEbony J. Hilton ’04 – Pre-Medical Society’s Outstanding Service Award in Medicine

Hilton graduated magna cum laude from the College with a B.S. in biochemistry, a B.S. in molecular biology and a B.A. in inorganic chemistry.  Following her graduation from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2008 she remained at the institution to complete an anesthesiology residency and critical care fellowship. In 2013, she became the first African American female anesthesiologist at MUSC since its founding in 1824.

2015McKeeverPenny Jones McKeever ’69 – Howard F. Rudd, Jr. Business Person of the Year Award

McKeever has witnessed and played an ever-present role in the establishment of the School of Business, including its establishment in 1984 as the first school at the College of Charleston under the leadership of Dean Howard Rudd. Since then, business student enrollment has swelled from 600 to 2,300;  the school has gone from offering two majors to eight majors and nine minors; roster faculty has increased from 24 professors to 70; and many new programs and facilities have been developed, including the the construction of the Beatty and Tate Centers and the launch of the M.B.A. program.

Harriet_Lee-2Harriett E. Lee ’08 – Young Alumna Award

As vice president of the nonprofit YEScarolina (Youth Entrepreneurship South Carolina), Lee has helped thousands of young people in communities across the state build business skills and unlock their entrepreneurial creativity. An international business major, she has not only helped raise awareness about the importance and benefits of entrepreneurship education but has helped raised over $1 million for the cause.

Nafees Bin Zafar ’98 – Alumnus of the Year Award

2015-ZafarBin Zafar has won two Academy Awards and is the first Bangladeshi to win this honor. In 2008, he and his colleagues won a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for their work in pioneering digital fluid effects in films such as “Pirates ofthe Caribbean: At World’s End.”  His second Academy Award came in 2015 for his work on the Drop Destruction Toolkit used to create visual effects in films such as “2012.” Read more about Bin Zafar’s talents in the College of Charleston Magazine.

Brucie Howe Hendricks ’83 – Distinguished Alumna Award

In 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Hendricks as a United States District Judge; her nomination was approved by the U.S. Senate, making Hendricks the first woman in Charleston to hold this position. Despite her demanding profession, Hendricks has remained actively involved with her alma mater, having served on both the Cougar Club Board and the Alumni Association Board.

2015 Jean and Tap JohnsonJean & Tap Johnson – Alumni Award of Honor

The Johnsons are the first couple to receive the Alumni Award of Honor, the highest honor awarded by the Alumni Association. Tap Johnson serves on the School of Business Board of Governors and is a former member of the College of Charleston Foundation Board and Cougar Club. Jean Johnson serves on the School of the Arts Advisory Board, the Cougar Club Board and the College of Charleston Foundation Board.