FLORENCE---South Carolina has had a sister-state relationship with Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany for eight years. To honor the benefits that have resulted from that relationship, the governors of those two states will be awarded honorary degrees by Francis Marion University at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, in FMU’s Smith University Center gymnasium.
Receiving honorary doctoral degrees during FMU’s fall commencement will be Marshall C. Sanford Jr., governor of South Carolina, and Kurt Beck, minister president of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. Rhineland-Palatinate is one of Germany’s federal states, and Beck’s position is equivalent to the governorship in the United States.
Gov. Sanford also will be the commencement speaker for the 261 candidates for FMU degrees. Candidates include 203 students for undergraduate degrees and 58 for graduate diplomas.
Beck has been actively involved in Germany’s sister-state relationship with South Carolina for a number of years. Two of FMU’s international student exchange agreements are with universities located in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Sanford was sworn in as the 115th Governor of South Carolina on January 15, 2003. Prior to being elected as governor in November 2002, Sanford lived on the coast of South Carolina with his wife, Jenny, and their four young sons, Marshall, Landon, Bolton and Blake.
Sanford served in the U.S. Congress for six years, before voluntarily stepping down to honor a personal commitment to limit his time in Washington. He had had no prior political experience, but had instead worked in business.
In Washington, Sanford was an advocate for the taxpayer. For his consistent efforts to limit government’s growth he was ranked first in the entire U.S. Congress in 1995, 1997 and 1999 by Citizens Against Government Waste. The National Taxpayers’ Union rated him in the top three in Congress. Taxpayers for Common Sense inducted him into the Taxpayer Hall of Fame, ranking him second in the lifetime of the Congress for his votes to limit federal taxes and spending.
In Congress, Sanford served on the Government Reform Committee, the International Relations Committee, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Science Committee. Each year he returned over $250,000 from his office budget to the U.S. Treasury. He also refused PAC contributions during his tenure in office.
Born in 1960 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Mark learned the themes of hard work and frugality with two brothers and a sister on a family farm near Beaufort. He graduated from high school there and then attended Furman University where he received a bachelor’s degree in business. He later received an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and went on to work in real estate finance and investment in New York and Charleston.
Beck has served as minister president of Rhineland-Palatinate since October 1994. He served as president of the Bundesrat, the upper house of the German parliament, in 2000-2001, and he currently serves as the group’s first vice president.
Born in 1949, Beck began his career as an apprenticeship mechanic, specializing in electronics. In 1969, he was a radio electronic engineer with the German Federal Army. In 1972, he became a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). In 1979, he was elected to the Rhineland-Palatinate State Parliament, serving as whip of the SPD state parliamentary group from 1985 to 1991. He served as mayor of Steinfield from 1989 to 1994. From 1991 to 1994, he was chairman of the SPD state parliamentary group, and in late1993 he was named chairman of the party for Rhineland-Palatinate.
Since 1994, he has been chairman of the Broadcasting Commission of the Federal States. Since 1999, he has served as commissioner of the Federal Republic of Germany for cultural matters within the framework of the contract via German-French cooperation. Also since 1999, he has been chairman of the board of directors of the television ZDF network.
Among his decorations are the Order of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honour, the Commander of the Order of Arts and Literature of the Republic of France, and the Order of the Senate of the Republic of Chile.
He and his wife Roswitha have one son.
#77 / 12-1-03