Hey Cola, Lauren here. 👋 One of the things I love most about living in South Carolina – and Columbia specifically – is the rich history + legacy that have been left by so many distinct people.
Did you know that South Carolina has its own hall of fame that recognizes and honors 100+ men and women of the past + present who have made exceptional contributions to South Carolina’s heritage and progress?
The South Carolina Hall of Fame (located in Myrtle Beach) is a nonprofit corporation funded in part by the state that was dedicated in 1973 by Gov. John C. West – who was inducted into the hall in 2002. It was signed into law as the state’s official hall of fame by Gov. Jim Hodges on Sep. 21, 2001.
Those eligible for induction include both SC natives who obtained recognition in or outside of the state and non-residents who made an impact within the state. Each year, a minimum of one living and one deceased citizen is inducted. Nominations are made by the Confederation of South Carolina Local Historical Societies (CSCLHS) and are judged and selected by the Board of Trustees.
This year, UofSC alum and country star Darius Rucker was inducted along with artist, educator and museum director Dr. Leo Twiggs of St. Stephen, SC. The late Elizabeth Evelyn Wright (1872-1906) was also inducted to recognize her creation of the Denmark Industrial Institute (presently Voorhees College) – a school for African American youth.
Here are seven notable inductees that are recognized for their legacy in Columbia:
Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr. (1946-present); inducted in 1999
Columbia native Major General Bolden attended the United States Naval Academy + served as a naval aviator before obtaining a Master of Science degree and being selected for astronaut training by NASA. He flew four missions for NASA, including launching the Hubble Telescope in space. After his promotion to major general, Bolden became the Deputy Commander for the United States Forces in Japan. He holds many military and NASA honors.
Lucile Godbold (1900-1981); inducted in 2005
After graduating with a physical education degree from Winthrop University in 1922, Lucile Godbold competed on the United States Track and Field team. She competed in the first international women’s track and field meet where she set world records. Lucile was also named Columbia College’s Athletic Director in 1922 + she taught physical education there for 58 years. She was the first woman inducted into the SC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1961.
Matthew Perry (1921-2011); inducted in 2007
Columbia born Matthew Perry served in the Army before obtaining law degrees from South Carolina State College. He moved to Spartanburg where he opened a law office + began his work with civil rights. Later, he was appointed chief council of the SC NAACP. Judge Perry played an influential role in many SC civil rights cases. In 1979, President Carter nominated Perry to be the US District Judge for the District of South Carolina, which he served for over 25 years.
Stanley Donen (1924-2019); inducted in 2017
American film director Stanley Donen was born in Columbia before making his way to Hollywood. He co-directed “Singin’ in the Rain” with Gene Kelly, worked with many Hollywood stars, including Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn, and produced many music and dance numbers in his career. Stanley was nominated for five Directors Guild of America Awards and received an honorary Academy Award in 1998.
Walter B. Edgar (1943-present); inducted in 2008
Originally from Alabama, Walter B. Edgar received his Ph.D. in history from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After serving three years in the Army, he came back to UofSC, where he’s been a history professor and held many notable positions. Edgar has also published and edited many books + works, including editing the South Carolina Encyclopedia. He appears weekly in two shows on South Carolina Public Radio and is a frequent speaker across the US.
William Gregg (1800-1867); inducted in 1995
In 1824, Gregg moved to Columbia and started a jewelry and silver business. He also believed that the state relied too much on agriculture and became an advocate for the cotton manufacturing industry. Gregg came to be considered the father of the textile industry in SC and, in 1864, began the Graniteville Manufacturing Company.
William S. Hall, M.D. (1915-1995); inducted in 1975
Aiken County native Dr. William S. Hall attended the Medical College of Charleston (presently MUSC), where he became interested in those with mental illness. After graduation, he got a job at the South Carolina State Hospital in Columbia and helped it become the first major mental institution in the southeast to receive full accreditation from the Joint Committee on Accreditation.
Think you know SC’s inductees? Try taking South Carolina Hall of Fame’s quizzes (easy, moderate + difficult) to test your knowledge.