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 gala will be held at the Charleston Marriott located at 170 Lockwood Blvd. in downtown Charleston beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets and information are available at the Alumni Awards Gala website. The event is part of Fall Alumni Weekend Nov. 22-24, 2019.
Proceeds from the gala will benefit the Alumni Association’s programs and scholarships.
The 2019 Alumni Award recipients are:
Alumni Award of Honor
Gregory D. Padgett ‘79
A native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, Greg Padgett has been actively involved on campus since his days as a business major. The organizational skills he learned as a member of Pi Kappa Phi and other campus organizations translated well into the world of business. After a successful career as a certified public accountant, he became the Chief Financial Officer of Fennell Holdings, an investment holding company in Charleston which encompasses the hospitality, waste services, real estate, aviation and finance industries. He has held that position for over 20 years.
Padgett’s involvement with the College has been longstanding and far-reaching. He is the past chair for the College of Charleston Board of Trustees and was the first alumnus to hold the Alumni Association Trustee seat. He is a past chair of the College of Charleston Foundation and a past Cougar Club Board member. He currently serves on the College of Charleston School of Business Board of Governors and recently served on the College’s Presidential Search Committee. He was the recipient of an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the College in 2018.
Padgett has worked tirelessly in support of the College of Charleston and has been a passionate advocate and ambassador for his alma mater. With his selfless generosity and unwavering commitment, he truly embodies the concept of servant leadership.
Distinguished Alumna or Alumnus Award
Roland A. Cruickshank ‘94
The College of Charleston changed the life of Roland Cruickshank and that of his family. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, he received a scholarship to play basketball for the legendary John Kresse at the College of Charleston, and was soon followed by his two sisters, Aisha Cruickshank Singletary ’00, and Dimsoy Cruickshank ’02. A political science major at the College, Cruickshank learned the value of team work on the basketball court and played in the 1994 NCAA tournament. He also learned how to build relationships that respected and celebrated other cultures while a student at the College. After graduation, he earned his master of health administration from the Medical University of South Carolina and a master of public administration from the University of South Carolina.
His career in health care administration has taken him from Georgia to Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas over the past 20 years. In 2018, he was named president of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, the largest and most comprehensive hospital in the Methodist Healthcare system. Cruickshank is known as a dynamic and talented leader who enables top quality patient care and outstanding financial results in a complex health care system. He considers leadership in a faith-based health care system a calling and has a passion for ensuring access to high-quality health care for all.
Alumna or Alumnus of the Year Award
Debra J. Gammons ‘87
Debra Gammons is a trailblazer. She has been breaking down barriers and building bridges since her days as an English major at the College of Charleston. Gammons was elected the first female Black president of the Student Government Association. She received the highest student award given by the College, the Bishop Robert Smith Award, at her commencement in 1987, along with several other awards recognizing her leadership and service. This outstanding leadership continued at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she was president of the Student Bar and Associate Justice of the Moot Court Bar.
Gammons, a Lowcountry native, began her legal career as assistant solicitor in Charleston. She served as the assistant city attorney for Greenville, South Carolina, for 11 years. While in the Upstate, she served as president of the Greenville County Bar Association. She joined Charleston School of Law in 2009, as director of the Office of Diversity Initiatives, and a distinguished visiting professor of law. She has always worked for equality and involvement; she has always stressed the importance of education.
These themes are also reflected in her volunteer work at the College of Charleston. She has served on the Board of Trustees; she is the Chairp of the Friends of the Library Board. She also serves on the College of Charleston Graduate School Advisory Board and the African American Studies Advisory Board.
In February 2019, Gammons became the first black president of the Charleston County Bar Association. Her life reflects exemplary service as an advocate and a leader.
Young Alumna or Alumnus Award
Shaun D. Kraisman ‘12
Shaun Kraisman is an Emmy-nominated television news anchor, reporter and host. His career got its start while he was a communication major at the College of Charleston. He worked for WCSC, the CBS/FOX affiliate in Charleston, as a production assistant, audio director, photographer, news reporter and fill-in traffic anchor. Following his graduation from the College in 2012, he continued as a multimedia journalist for WCSC; shooting, writing, and editing general assignment news stories and presenting live on camera.
He hit the national spotlight during the premiere of “American Idol”, season 11, as the “Ryan Seacrest Doppelganger.” This led to a nationwide radio tour and appearances in hundreds of publications including USA Today, E! News, and many others.
Kraisman worked as a host and emcee for the Miss America Organization from 2012 – 2015, while also working as the evening anchor and host of “Living Dayton”, an hour-long live lifestyle show on WDTN-NBC in Dayton, Ohio. In 2015, he joined WINK, the CBS/CW affiliate in southwest Florida as a morning and noon anchor and breaking news field reporter. He joined WDSU, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans, as an evening anchor in 2016, and has received two regional Emmy nominations, both for Best Evening Newscast.
Howard F. Rudd, Jr. Business Person of the Year Award
Marcia Howie Snyder ’93
Marcia Howie Snyder, of Johns Island, South Carolina, is the assistant dean of Student Learning and Accreditation for the College of Charleston’s School of Business. She earned her B.S. in economics from the College of Charleston in 1993, followed by a master’s in environmental and natural resource economics from the University of London in 1994. In 1997, she became the program coordinator for the Tate Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Charleston, and has been working with the School of Business ever since.
She manages the entire accreditation operations for the School of Business, which directly impacts the quality of the courses taught. She also manages to teach two to three courses each semester, always making sure School of Business graduates are ready to work. She maintains contact with many of her former students throughout their academic careers and afterward, as they enter the business world. The positive impact she makes on students and their careers continues past graduation. She encourages alumni to give back through helping new students network, build interviewing skills and locate employment. She has an impact on every graduate of the School of Business, thereby strengthening the quality of the workforce in Charleston and beyond.
Pre-Medical Society’s Outstanding Service Award in Medicine
Theresa Sullivan Gonzales ’79
Theresa Sullivan Gonzales grew up in Walhalla, South Carolina, and graduated from the College of Charleston in 1979. She received her D.M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in 1984, followed by residencies in general practice and oral and maxillofacial pathology through Walter Reed and Naval Postgraduate Dental School, as well as a fellowship in orofacial pain at the National Naval Medical Center. She holds master’s degrees from George Washington University in oral biology and in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. After nearly 30 years of distinguished service, Gonzales retired from the United States Army in 2013, as consultant to the Surgeon General in orofacial pain management with the rank of Colonel.
In 2013, she joined MUSC as director of orofacial pain management and as a professor in oral pathology. She became a tenured professor in 2015, and was named associate dean of curriculum and communication for the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine at MUSC.
She has been the recipient of many awards during her career including the Legion of Merit from the United States Army and the Surgeon General’s A designator for clinical excellence, the MUSC Distinguished Alumnus Service Award, the Outstanding Clinician Award, the 2016 Dental industry Icon Award and the Lucy Hobbs Taylor Award as Outstanding Women Dentist in 2013.
In 2017, Gonzales was named executive director of the American College of Dentists in Gaithersburg, Maryland. This organization is committed to advancing ethics, education, professionalism and leadership in health care.