FLORENCE---A South Carolina congressman, a physician and a businessman will be awarded honorary degrees by Francis Marion University at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, in FMU’s Smith University Center gymnasium.
Receiving honorary doctoral degrees during FMU’s fall commencement will be U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn of Columbia, representing South Carolina’s Sixth District, Florence physician Dr. E. Conyers O’Bryan Jr., and Moncks Corner utility leader T. Graham Edwards.
Clyburn also will be the commencement speaker for the 207 candidates for FMU degrees. Candidates include 174 students for undergraduate degrees and 33 for graduate diplomas.
A Sumter native, Clyburn was first elected to Congress in 1992 and has been honored by his constituents with an overwhelming majority in each subsequent election.
He currently serves on the coveted House Appropriations Committee where he is a member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, Transportation and Treasury, and Legislative Branch. In previous terms, he served on the Veterans Affairs and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.
Following graduation from South Carolina State University, Clyburn served as a teacher, an employment counselor and director of two youth and community development projects in Charleston. In 1971, he was appointed to the staff of Gov. John C. West, and in 1974 Gov. West appointed him South Carolina Human Affairs Commissioner where he served until retiring from state government in 1992 to run for Congress.
Clyburn serves as steering committee chairman for the International Museum of African American History in Charleston, and is a member of the governing boards of Allen University, Brookgreen Gardens and the Palmetto Conservation Foundation. He is a life member of the NAACP, a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and is a Mason and Shriner. A graduate of the S.C. Executive Institute, Clyburn has been awarded honorary degrees by 12 other colleges and universities.
He is married to the former Emily England of Moncks Corner, and they have three daughters.
A native of Kingstree, Dr. O’Bryan has been in private practice in internal medicine and cardiology in Florence since 1966.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina in 1956 and a medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1960. He conducted internships at St. Louis City Hospital and Greenville General Hospital. He was a medical officer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1961 to 1963. After his discharge from active duty, he held a residency in internal medicine at MUSC where he also was a teaching fellow in cardiology.
He currently is a full clinical professor of medicine in cardiology at both MUSC and the USC School of Medicine. He has been medical director of McLeod Regional Medical Center’s Heart Institute since 1986 and director of the Coronary Care Unit since 1966. He also holds a staff appointment at Carolinas Hospital System.
Dr. O’Bryan has served on MUSC’s Board of Trustees since 1976, twice serving as chairman. He is a consulting physician with St. Eugene Hospital in Dillon, Lower Florence County Hospital in Lake City and Williamsburg Memorial Hospital in Kingstree.
Among his many community activities, he has been active with the South Carolina Heart Association and the American Heart Association. He has received numerous awards, including the Order of the Palmetto in 1995. He has served on the board of directors of Family YMCA, Kiwanis Club, Big Brothers Association, the Chamber of Commerce, NBSC, and City Recreation Baseball.
He is married to the former Jennie Fowler of Florence, and they have one son.
Since 2003, Edwards has been chairman of the board of directors of Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility that serves electricity either directly or indirectly through the electric cooperatives to more than one-third of the state’s population.
Edwards is currently an executive consultant with various companies in the electric utility industry. He is former president and chief executive officer of Santee Cooper, the state’s largest generator of electricity. He rose through the ranks of Santee Cooper--from its management training program in 1977, to supervisor of corporate forecasting, to vice president of finance, to executive vice president and chief financial officer and finally to president and CEO, from 1993 to 2000.
His leadership with Santee Cooper led to the firm’s being recognized as one of the top-rated public power utilities in the country. He was one of three CEO’s who started the Energy Authority, a wholesale energy marketing and trading company that has been a model for public power.
In 2001, Edwards was named vice president of business affairs at Francis Marion University, and after retiring from state service, he became executive director of the FMU Foundation until he left to focus on his consulting business.
He currently serves as a board member of the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc., and from 1999-2000, he served as chairman of the Large Public Power Council, an organization representing 21 of the largest public power utilities in the nation. That same year, he served on the board of directors of the American Public Power Association.
A native of Cheraw, Edwards is a 1975 business graduate of Francis Marion University. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Citadel in 1976. He received the 2004 Outstanding Graduate Award from FMU’s School of Business.
He is married to the former Dinah Marsh of Cheraw, also a FMU graduate, and they have a 21-year-old daughter, also a FMU graduate.
#60 / 11-11-04