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Alumna or Alumnus of the Year Award

Celebrating our Alumni leaders

This award recognizes the alumna or alumnus who has contributed significantly to his or her profession, to his or her community, or to the College during the past year.

2019 Alumna of the Year

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 Chairperson 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.

Alumna or Alumnus of the Year Award Past Recipients

1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991

1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2016
2017
2018

George C. Rogers, Jr. '43 *
Julius Burges '35 *
Patricia Carter '37 *
Richard H. Gadsden '50 *
Louise Mosimann Smith '41 *
Robert C. Heffron, Jr. '67 *
H. Biemann Othersen, Jr. '50
Glenn F. McConnell '69
Troy Cook '57 *
Bette Smith Griffith '56 *
Linda Schwartz Lombard '64
Charles V. Boykin '37 *
Benjamin H. Cheek '46 *
Jeanne Campbell Sink '75
Helen Bradham Furnans '63
Lu Parker '90
Edgar V. McKnight '53
Cheryll Novak Woods-Flowers '81
Jody L. Stallings '92
Dave J. Schlachter '72
Margaret E. Bridges '69
Laura Jenkins Thompson '77
Mary Eileen Leonard '45 *
Paul A. Sandifer '68
Stephanie Schwabe '90
John C. Lovell, III '90
Chandra Fripp Vick '74
Jeffery E. Kinard '77
Ron J. Menchaca '98
Callie Shell '83
Lucy Garrett Beckham '70 *
Kellie N. Bentz ‘04
John E. Alessi '98
Padgett Powell '74
Cary Ann Hearst '01
Nafees Bin Zafar '98
Joni Harvey McLeod '82
Evan Linder '04
Quentin E. Baxter '98
Heidi VanDerveer ’86

 * Deceased