Congressman, State Legislator and Educator To Receive FMU Honorary Degrees Dec. 17
FLORENCE--- A United States congressman, a state legislator and a public school educator will be awarded honorary degrees from Francis Marion University during fall commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Smith University Center gymnasium.
Selected to receive honorary doctoral degrees are: U.S. Rep. John Spratt of York, State Rep. Liston D. Barfield of Conway and retired educator Allie E. Brooks Jr. of Florence.
Spratt also will be the commencement speaker for the 245 candidates for FMU degrees. Candidates include 185 students for undergraduate degrees and 60 for graduate diplomas.
Spratt, who represents South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, was first elected to Congress in 1982 and has served continuously since then. The 5th District includes all or part of 14 counties, including much of the Pee Dee region and part of Florence County.
Spratt is the senior Democrat on the Budget Committee and was a negotiator of the Balanced Budget Agreement of 1997. He is a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee and is assistant to the democratic leader in the House, overseeing the coordination of policy, communication and research. He co-chairs the Textile Caucus, the Bearing Caucus and the Nuclear Energy Caucus.
Spratt grew up in York where he still lives. He graduated from York High School and Davidson College. At both schools, he was president of the student body. He won a Marshall Scholarship to Oxford and earned a law degree from Yale University. He served as a captain in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1971 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
In 1971, he came home to practice law. He was a county and school district attorney, president of the Bank of Fort Mill and owner of a farm and small insurance agency. Active in his community, he was an elder at First Presbyterian Church, president of the Chamber of Commerce and United Way, and chairman of the board of Divine Saviour Hospital.
He is married to Jane Stacy of Filbert, a former school teacher. They have three daughters, two who are physicians and one who is a law school graduate clerking for a federal magistrate in Alexandria, Va.
Barfield represents District 58 in the South Carolina General Assembly, serving Horry County since 1997. He previously served in the House of Representatives from 1985 to 1989. He owns Barfield Independent Insurance Agency.
A 1975 graduate of Coastal Carolina University, he also earned a master’s degree from Webster University in 1983. He also attended the University of South Carolina and S.C. State University.
Barfield is a member of the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Aynor Lions Club. He also is state co-chair of American Legislative Exchange Council, Telecommunications Subcommittee; state chairman for New Century Project; and a member of S.C. Commission on International Cooperation and Agreements. He served four years in the U.S. Army, receiving the National Defense and Vietnam Service Medals, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and Good Conduct Medal.
He is married to the former Norma Jean Allen, and they have two children.
Brooks retired in June after serving in Florence area public schools for more than 35 years. He served as principal of Wilson High School from 1974 to 2005. He was assistant principal at West Florence High School from 1971 to 1974. He began his career as a mathematics teacher at Moore Middle School in 1970.
A native of the Florence area, Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree in 1968 from S.C. State University and a master’s degree in education administration from the University of South Carolina in 1974. He completed the Institute on the Principal and School Improvement in 1987 at Harvard University and did further graduate work at USC until his retirement.
Brooks has been active in numerous civic and professional organizations throughout his career. He is a member of the board of directors of Florence Boys and Girls Club, a past member of the Florence City-County Bi-Centennial Committee and is a past member of the board of directors of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, West Florence Rotary Club and United Way of Florence. He is a member of BB&T’s Advisory Board.
He has served as president of the S.C. Association of Secondary School Principals (1986-87), the 4-A Principals Conference (1995-96) and the S.C. High School League (1999-2000).
Brooks was the 1987 recipient of the Florence Civitans citizen of the year award, was named outstanding principal of the year in 1986-87 by the S.C. Association of Secondary School Principals and again in 2000, was named citizen of the year in 1989 by the Chi Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and was selected 1995 educator of the year by Phi Beta Sigma. He was named 2005 distinguished graduate by the School Foundation of Florence School District One.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Brooks served in Korea and Oklahoma. He is married to the former Barbara Faye Eaddy, and they have three children. He is a member and deacon of Savannah Grove Baptist Church.
#88 / 11-28-05