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Spring Alumni Weekend 2020
May 1-3
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Alumni Awards Gala

Alumni Awards Gala

By fallalumniweekend
Posted on 10 August 2017 | 1:58 pm

Hosted by the College of Charleston Alumni Association and
Presented in partnership with the College of Charleston Foundation

Each year, the Alumni Awards Gala recognizes alumni whose accomplishments in their chosen fields have brought honor to the College. Your Gala ticket includes an elegant cocktail reception, a gourmet dinner, and fellowship with College of Charleston alumni, families, and friends.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2019 award recipients through February 1, 2019. Make your nomination here.

In 2018, we will honor the following recipients:



Pre-Medical Society’s Outstanding Service Award in Medicine

Gary Walsh Thomas ’83 – Hilton Head Island, SC

Gary Thomas was born in Charleston into a College of Charleston family. His father graduated from the College in 1943, followed by his sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was not surprising when he decided to follow in their footsteps and attend the College as a Willard Silcox Scholar.

Thomas graduated cum laude with a B.A. in chemistry in 1983, and was a founding member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the national pre-medical honors society at the College, and a member of the chemistry fraternity, Alpha Chi Sigma. He received his M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1987, followed by an internship, residency and chief medical residency in internal medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. He completed a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest University, and in 1993, established an oncology practice on Hilton Head Island, which became South Carolina Cancer Specialists. Over the past 25 years, he has become one of the leading oncologists in South Carolina, recently serving as president of the South Carolina Oncology Society. He was a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at MUSC from 2006 through 2011, and is currently conducting multiple oncologic trials as principal investigator.

In 2011, he decided to honor the memory of his parents by establishing the J. Gorman ‘43 and Gladys Thomas Memorial Alumni Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to students who plan a career in medicine and are members of the Pre-Medical Society at the College, a fitting tribute to his parents, who both loved the College of Charleston.


Howard F. Rudd Jr. Business Person of the Year Award

Sharon Brock Kingman ’80 – Clemson, SC

Sharon Kingman earned a degree in business administration from the College of Charleston in 1980, and is an accomplished consultant for firms and organizations including the International Olympic Committee. With her own consulting practice and a marketing background, she provides strategic planning for sponsorship negotiation, management, integration and timetables.

Kingman has earned a number of awards including the Bellsouth President’s Circle of Excellence Award and the International Olympic Committee’s Order of Excellence for her leadership in telecommunications for the 2002 Winter Games. She was also chosen for Leadership Atlanta, Class of 1995.

As an alumna of the College of Charleston School of Business, Kingman continues to serve her alma mater and gives generously to many campus needs. In 2006, the Kingman family established a scholarship to benefit business students, and Kingman was invited to speak to students as part of the George G. Spaulding Distinguished Executive Speaker Series in 2009. Additionally, she is a recipient of the College of Charleston Distinguished Alumna Award. She is past Chair of the College of Charleston Foundation Board and currently serves on the School of Business Board of Governors.

In other capacities, she serves as a board member for the Meyer Center for Special Children, and as an advisor for Greer State Bank’s Advisory Council and ASE Wealth Management. This award recognizes her significant contributions to both her profession and the College of Charleston.


Young Alumnus Award

Jerry Casselano ’08 – Washington, D.C.

Jerry Casselano earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the College of Charleston in 2008, and a Master of Professional Studies in sports industry management and digital media from Georgetown University in 2011.

During his senior year at the College of Charleston, Casselano was named business director for Coastal Cigars. During his two-year tenure, he helped grow the business from a regional company to an international brand.

Following an internship with ProVentures—an Alexandria, Virginia-based sports and entertainment marketing firm, Casselano stepped into a full-time position with the company in 2010. In 2014, he was named Vice President for Corporate Hospitality. In this role, he handles all aspects of the company’s hospitality programs at major sporting events, including the Masters, U.S. Open, Kentucky Derby, Wimbledon, the Super Bowl, Ryder Cup, and the Olympics. Working with companies like Red Bull, Citigroup, Airbus, Hyundai, Intel, Cisco, Body Armour, and BMW, he negotiates endorsement and sponsorship deals for major brands with high-profile athletes and entertainers.

A firm believer in giving back, Casselano serves as a mentor to several College of Charleston School of Business students, and as a big brother to a 12-year-old foster child through the highly-regarded Best Kids program in Washington, D.C.


Alumna of the Year

Heidi VanDerveer ’86 – San Diego, CA

A native of Chautauqua, N.Y., Heidi VanDerveer was a four-year letter-winner in basketball at the College of Charleston, and served as team captain her junior and senior years. She graduated in 1986 with a degree in political science, and earned a master’s degree in physical education and sports psychology from the University of Tennessee in 1988.

A former WNBA coach, Olympic and World Championship team scout, and collegiate coach, VanDerveer has over three decades working in women’s athletics. Beginning as a graduate assistant at University of Tennessee under the legendary Pat Summitt in 1986, she helped guide the team to the 1987 NCAA National Championship and a Final Four in 1988. As an assistant at the University of South Carolina from 1988-94, she helped lead them to three NCAA Tournament appearances. She served as head coach at Eastern Washington University, University of San Francisco and Occidental College, amassing NCAA tournament appearances and breaking records at each school. In the WNBA, she was an assistant and a head coach for the Sacramento Monarchs and the Minnesota Lynx, and an assistant for the Seattle Storm.

In 2012, VanDerveer became head coach at UC San Diego, and was named California Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season in 2017-18. She also earned Women’s Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division II District 8 Coach of the Year honors that same year.


Distinguished Alumna Award

Patricia Ricketts Scarafile ’66 – Mt. Pleasant, SC

An English major at the College of Charleston, Patty Scarafile graduated in 1966 and started her professional life as a teacher. In 1977, with three young children as her top priority, she accepted a part-time job with a real estate company, hoping to have a more flexible schedule. Advancing through the ranks, she was named Vice President of the company in the late 1980s, and in 1999, became President and CEO when the company merged with Prudential Carolina Real Estate. Today she is CEO and majority owner of Carolina One Real Estate Services in Charleston with approximately 950 agents and 150 employees. She has four children, two of whom are CofC graduates, and seven grandchildren.

In 2015, she offered guidance, support and leadership in building the first Collegiate Recovery Program in South Carolina at the College of Charleston. She lent her expertise in the formative stages of the program, generously contributed financially, championed the cause, and helped garner community and philanthropic support. Her support was a game-changer. Her acute business acumen combined with her passion for this cause rocketed the program into existence. As an advocate for therapy and recovery programs, especially for young adults, Patty Scarafile had a direct and powerful impact on students at the College, helping them get in and stay in recovery from additive disorders. Due to her generosity, progressive outlook and sheer willingness to fight for the cause of collegiate recovery, the message is spreading on campus, in the community, and throughout the state.


Alumni Award of Honor

Michelle Baxley and Johnnie Baxley ’92 – Mt. Pleasant, SC

It would be difficult to find a more involved College of Charleston couple than Michelle and Johnnie Baxley. Whether it is through financial support of programs and scholarships, passionate support for student organizations and student-athletes, or leadership and advocacy regarding the power of philanthropy, they are engaged in all aspects of the College. They have made the College their philanthropic priority and give generously of their time, talent, and treasure.

Johnnie Baxley graduated from the College in 1992 with a degree in political science, and was actively involved as a student through Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and Student Alumni Associates. He was also the recipient of an Alumni Association scholarship. He is a lawyer and founding partner of the law firm, Willson, Jones, Carter & Baxley; and Michelle Baxley is a travel agent with Travel Leaders of Charleston. They have two daughters, Madison and Peyton, who have inherited their parents’ love of the College.

With their leadership and financial support, the student philanthropy group, Committed to Charleston, was founded to encourage students to make the College a philanthropic priority. They are fixtures at College events, and can be seen at almost every volleyball match and basketball game. Johnnie Baxley has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and on the Cougar Club Board, and Michelle Baxley has served on many Cougar Club committees.

In 2018, their oldest daughter entered the College of Charleston as a freshman, and naturally Michelle and Johnnie Baxley agreed to serve on the Parent Advisory Council. They are firm believers in giving back and paying it forward.


In compliance with the Centers for Disease Control’s March 16 recommendation advising against gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks, the Alumni Association has decided to cancel Spring Alumni Weekend 2020 scheduled for May 1-3. While we know this is disappointing news, our top priority is the safety of our students, alumni, faculty, staff, families, and neighbors. If you have purchased tickets to Spring Alumni Weekend events, please be assured you will receive a refund soon directly from our ticket broker, Eventbrite. Meanwhile, we hope you will plan to join us for Fall Alumni Weekend, November 20-22.