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An associate justice of S.C. Supreme Court, distinguished alum and former mayor of Florence, now prominent attorney to receive FMU Honorary Degrees, May 7

FLORENCE – An associate justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, distinguished alum and a former mayor of Florence, now a prominent attorney will be awarded honorary degrees from Francis Marion University during spring commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 7, in the Smith University Center gymnasium. 

Selected to receive honorary doctoral degrees are: The Hon. Kaye Hearn, an associate justice of the S.C. Supreme Court, of Conway; FMU alumna (’79) and basketball legend Pearl Moore of Florence; and Florence attorney and former Mayor Haigh Porter.

Hearn will be the commencement speaker for the 346 candidates for FMU degrees. Candidates include 321 students for undergraduate degrees and 25 for graduate diplomas.  

Hearn was elected to the S.C. Supreme Court in May of 2009, becoming its second female member in history. She began her judicial career in 1986 when she was elected Family Court Judge for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, comprised of Horry and Georgetown counties. While a family court judge, Hearn served as the first woman president of the Conference of Family Court Judges. In 1995, she was elected to the South Carolina Court of Appeals, and was elected to be its first female Chief Judge in 1999. During her tenure as Chief Judge, Justice Hearn served as President of the Council of Chief Judges, a nationwide network of chief judges of the intermediate courts of appeal.    

She received her B.A. degree, cum laude, from Bethany College in 1972, and her juris doctor degree, cum laude, from the University of South Carolina’s School of Law in 1977. She received an L.L.M. degree from the University of Virginia in May 1998, and an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the Charleston School of Law in 2010.  

Hearn was the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association’s 2004 Portrait Honoree and the 2011 recipient of the Jean Galloway Bissell Award by the South Carolina Women Lawyers’ Association. She is a member of the University of South Carolina Law School’s Partnership Board and the Charleston School of Law’s Board of Advisors. Since 2006, she has served as an adjunct faculty member at the Charleston School of Law, teaching a course in Appellate Advocacy. 

Hearn began her legal career by serving as a law clerk to the Honorable J.B. Ness, Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. From there, she became a trial attorney with the firm of Stevens, Stevens, Thomas, Hearn, and Hearn until her election to the family court bench. She is married to Rep. George M. Hearn, and they have one daughter, Kathleen, a recent graduate of Wofford College.

Moore, a native of Florence and a graduate of Wilson High School, is the all-time career-scoring leader for women's college basketball. Between 1975 and 1979, the four-time All-American scored 4,061 points.  For 11 years, she held the scoring record for both men and women.

She has also provided a remarkable example of service to the east Florence community and the greater Pee Dee region in a myriad of ways. None is dearer to Moore’s heart than her annual week-long Girls Basketball Camp. The camp which she started in 2007 is open to girls ages seven to 17. What began with 60 participants has grown to include more than 100. The camp is designed to build character by emphasizing the core values of teamwork, caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, fun and friendship. Volunteers from the community and FMU basketball players assist Moore in facilitating the camp.

Following her career at Francis Marion, Moore went on to play two seasons in the Women's Pro Basketball League (1979-80 with the New York Stars and 1980-81 with the St. Louis Streak), earning All-Star status in 1981. She spent one season in Venezuela.

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., recently announced its class of 2011 inductees, she was among those included.  Moore was one of the first inductees into the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.  In 2000, she was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, and in 2006 was among the inaugural class for the Florence Area Athletic Hall of Fame.

She resides in Florence, participates in FMU’s annual Old Timers’ Game, and is employed by the U.S. Postal Service.

Porter, a native of Florence, became involved in local government early in life. He was a member of Florence City Council and the Florence City-County Airport Commission before becoming Mayor of the City of Florence from 1991-1995.

Porter is an attorney who serves as special referee in Florence and Marion counties on appointment by the 12th Judicial Circuit and in Darlington and Dillon counties on appointment by the 14th Judicial Circuit. As such, he hears non-jury civil matters with appeal directly to the S.C. Supreme Court. In addition, he is a certified mediator and arbitrator.

He received the B.S. in biology from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. and the L.L.B. from U.S.C.’s School of Law.

His service to the Florence community includes his tenure as a member of the following boards: the Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation; Florence General Hospital; Carolinas Hospital and later its Advisory Board; Francis Marion University Foundation; the University of the South; Guaranty Bank and Trust Company; and later the Southern Bank and Trust Advisory Board.



Last Published: May 9, 2011 8:30 AM
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