Established in 1983, the six awards recognize alumni who have made significant contributions to their professions or their communities over a long period of time, thus reflecting favorably on the College of Charleston.
“The Alumni Awards Gala is my favorite event of the year,” says Michael Renault ’95, president of the Alumni Association. “It recognizes alumni whose accomplishments in their chosen fields have brought honor to our alma mater. Gala guests will enjoy an elegant cocktail reception, a gourmet dinner, and fellowship with College of Charleston alumni, families, and friends as we salute our seven distinguished honorees.”
The gala will be held at the Belmond Charleston Place at 205 Meeting St. in downtown Charleston beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets and information are available at the Alumni Awards Gala website. The event is part of Fall Alumni Weekend Nov. 16-18, 2018.
Proceeds from the gala will benefit the Alumni Association’s programs and scholarships.
The seven 2018 Alumni Award recipients are:
Howard F. Rudd Jr. Business Person of the Year Award
Sharon Brock Kingman ’80 – Clemson, S.C.
Sharon Kingman, president of Sharon Kingman Inc., Consulting, earned a degree in business administration from the College of Charleston in 1980. She is an accomplished telecommunications and technology consultant for major sporting events worldwide including the FIFA World Cups, NFL Super Bowl, 2010 World Equestrian Games and 16 Olympic Summer and Winter Games. She served as the International Olympic Committee’s technology liaison for bid committees for more than ten years. With her own consulting practice and a marketing background, Kingman provides strategic planning for technology direction, sponsorship negotiation, management, integration and project management.
Kingman has earned a number of awards including the Bellsouth President’s Circle of Excellence Award and the International Olympic Committee’s Order of Excellence for her leadership in telecommunications for the 2002 Winter Games. In 2006, she received the South Carolina National Guard’s Civilian Volunteer of the Year Award.
As an alumna of the College of Charleston School of Business, Kingman continues to serve her alma mater and gives generously to many campus needs. She re-engaged with the College in the planning of the Class of ‘80’s 25th reunion. From there, she was elected to the CofC Foundation Board where she served for 14 years. In 2006, she established a scholarship to benefit business students. Kingman was part of the George G. Spaulding Executive Speaker Series in 2009. At George Spaulding’s request in 2012, she took over his semi-annual lecture to the School of Education, “Make Your Own Coffee.” She is past Chair of the Foundation Board and currently serves on the School of Business Board of Governors. She has received the College of Charleston Distinguished Alumni Award and the School of Education’s Leadership Award.
In other capacities, Kingman served as a board member for the Meyer Center for Special Children, Thornblade Club membership committee, Greer State Bank’s Advisory Council and on the ASE Wealth Management advisory board. She has worked for 14 years on the TGG annual fundraiser to support SC Junior Golf, winning their distinguished service award in 2015.
Alumni Award of Honor
Michelle and Johnnie Baxley ’92 – Mount Pleasant, S.C.
It would be difficult to find a more involved College of Charleston couple than Michelle and Johnnie Baxley. Whether it is through financial support of programs and scholarships, passionate support for student organizations and student-athletes, or leadership and advocacy regarding the power of philanthropy, they are engaged in all aspects of the College. They have made the College their philanthropic priority and give generously of their time, talent and treasure.
Johnnie Baxley graduated from the College in 1992 with a degree in political science and was actively involved as a student through Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and Student Alumni Associates. He was also the recipient of an Alumni Association scholarship. He is a lawyer and founding partner of the law firm, Willson, Jones, Carter & Baxley; and Michelle Baxley is a travel agent with Travel Leaders of Charleston. They have two daughters, Madison and Peyton, who have inherited their parents’ love of the College.
With their leadership and financial support, the student philanthropy group, Committed to Charleston, was founded to encourage students to make the College a philanthropic priority. They are fixtures at College events and can be seen at almost every volleyball match and basketball game. Johnnie Baxley has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and on the Cougar Club Board, and Michelle Baxley has served on many Cougar Club committees.
In 2018, their oldest daughter entered the College of Charleston as a freshman, and naturally Michelle and Johnnie Baxley agreed to serve on the Parent Advisory Council. They are firm believers in giving back and paying it forward.
Alumna of the Year Award
Heidi VanDerveer ’86 – San Diego, Calif.
A native of Chautauqua, N.Y., Heidi VanDerveer, head women’s basketball coach at the University of California, San Diego, was a four-year letter winner in basketball at the College and served as team captain her junior and senior years. She graduated in 1986 with a degree in political science and earned a master’s degree in physical education and sports psychology from the University of Tennessee in 1988.
A former WNBA coach, Olympic and World Championship team scout, and collegiate coach, VanDerveer has more than three decades of experience working in women’s athletics. Beginning as a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee under the legendary Pat Summitt in 1986, she helped guide the team to the 1987 NCAA National Championship and to the final four in 1988. As an assistant at the University of South Carolina from 1988 to 1994, she helped lead them to three NCAA Tournament appearances. She served as head coach at Eastern Washington University, University of San Francisco and Occidental College, amassing NCAA tournament appearances and breaking records at each school. In the WNBA, she was an assistant and a head coach for the Sacramento Monarchs and the Minnesota Lynx and an assistant for the Seattle Storm.
In 2012, VanDerveer became the head coach at University of California, San Diego and was named California Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season in 2017-18. She also earned Women’s Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division II District 8 Coach of the Year honors that same year.
Young Alumnus Award
Jerry Casselano ’08 – Washington, D.C.
Jerry Casselano, vice president for corporate hospitality for ProVentures, earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the College of Charleston in 2008 and his master of professional studies in sports industry management and digital media from Georgetown University in 2011.
During his senior year at the College, Casselano was named business director for Coastal Cigars. During his two-year tenure, he helped grow the business from a regional company to an international brand.
Following an internship with ProVentures – a sports and entertainment marketing firm based in Alexandria, Va. – Casselano stepped into a full-time position with the company in 2010 and, in 2014, was named its vice president for corporate hospitality. In this role, he handles all aspects of the company’s hospitality programs at major sporting events, including the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open Championship, the Kentucky Derby, Wimbledon, the Super Bowl, the Ryder Cup and the Olympics. Working with companies like Red Bull, Citigroup, Airbus, Hyundai, Intel, Cisco, Body Armour and BMW, Casselano negotiates endorsement and sponsorship deals for major brands with high-profile athletes and entertainers.
A firm believer in giving back, Casselano serves as a mentor to several College of Charleston School of Business students and as a big brother to a 12-year-old foster child through the highly regarded BEST Kids Mentoring Program in Washington, D.C.
Pre-Medical Society’s Outstanding Service Award in Medicine
Gary Walsh Thomas ’83 – Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Gary Thomas, president of SC Cancer Specialists, was born in Charleston into a College of Charleston family. His father graduated from the College in 1943, followed by his sister, aunts, uncles and cousins. It was not surprising when he decided to follow in their footsteps and attend the College as a Willard Silcox Scholar.
Thomas graduated cum laude with a B.A. in chemistry in 1983. He was a founding member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the national pre-medical honors society at the College, and a member of the chemistry fraternity, Alpha Chi Sigma. He received his M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1987, followed by an internship, residency and chief medical residency in internal medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. Thomas completed a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest University and in 1993, established an oncology practice on Hilton Head Island, which became South Carolina Cancer Specialists. Over the past 25 years, he has become one of the leading oncologists in South Carolina, recently serving as president of the South Carolina Oncology Society. He was a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at MUSC from 2006 through 2011 and is currently conducting multiple oncologic trials as principal investigator.
In 2011, Thomas decided to honor the memory of his parents by establishing the J. Gorman ‘43 and Gladys Thomas Memorial Alumni Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to students who plan a career in medicine and are members of the Pre-Medical Society at the College, a fitting tribute to his parents, who both loved the College of Charleston.
Distinguished Alumna Award
Patricia Ricketts Scarafile ’66 – Mount Pleasant, S.C.
An English major at the College, Patty Scarafile, CEO/president of Carolina One Real Estate, graduated in 1966 and started her professional life as a teacher. In 1977, with three young children as her top priority, she accepted a part-time job with a real estate company, hoping to have a more flexible schedule. Advancing through the ranks, she was named vice president of the company in the late 1980s and, in 1999, became president and CEO when the company merged with Prudential Carolina Real Estate. Today she is CEO and majority owner of Carolina One Real Estate Services with approximately 950 agents and 150 employees. She has four children, two of whom are CofC graduates, and seven grandchildren.
In 2015, Scarafile offered guidance, support and leadership in building the first Collegiate Recovery Program in South Carolina at the College of Charleston. She lent her expertise in the formative stages of the program, generously contributed financially, championed the cause and helped garner community and philanthropic support. Her support was a game changer. Her acute business acumen combined with her passion for this cause rocketed the program into existence. As an advocate for therapy and recovery programs, especially for young adults, Scarafile has had a direct and powerful impact on students at the College, helping them get and stay in recovery from addictive disorders. Due to her generosity, progressive outlook and sheer willingness to fight for the cause of collegiate recovery, the message is spreading on campus, in the community and throughout the state.