For the past 56 years, Spartanburg Community College has been a driving force in Upstate
economic and workforce development initiatives and in educating thousands of students
of all ages and walks of life. SCC President Henry C. Giles, Jr., has been an integral
part of that history, and recently celebrated 50 years at the college.
Although no longer in the classroom, Giles continues to make a difference in the lives of students, just as he did when first hired as a math instructor in 1969.
Giles’ many contributions were recognized in August at a celebration at the college’s Downtown Campus where he was awarded the SC Order of the Palmetto on behalf of Governor Henry McMaster and received honors from the Spartanburg County Commission for Technical and Community Education. The SCC Foundation announced a new, privately funded scholarship established in Giles’ honor.
In a surprise presentation by Mike Forrester, SCC’s vice president of economic development, on behalf of Gov. McMaster, Giles was awarded the Order of the Palmetto. “It is my pleasure to award you the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of your exceptional dedication to the people of our state,” wrote Gov. McMaster in a letter to Giles. “From your outstanding leadership of Spartanburg Community College to your extensive involvement in civic affairs, you have demonstrated an uncommon commitment to the highest standards in all you do.
Your passion for educational and workforce development opportunities in the Upstate has helped strengthen our economy, resulting in rewarding employment and brighter futures for individuals and families.
“You have made a positive impact throughout our state that will last for generations to come. We are fortunate to have you in South Carolina, and I thank you for all you have done to make the Palmetto State a special place to live, work, and learn.”
Jeffry Horton, former chair of Spartanburg County Council, wrote, “It is my honor to recommend Henry Giles to be awarded the Order of the Palmetto. I have known Henry and worked with Henry on many projects during my tenure on County Council in Spartanburg. Henry’s entire career has been
dedicated to helping people of all ages enjoy a better life through his work in education. Henry is dedicated, hardworking, humble, and embodies the true meaning of the Order of the Palmetto.
Gregory M. Tate, immediate past chair of the Spartanburg County Commission for Technical and Community Education representing Cherokee County, presented Giles with a plaque from Commission members citing his “faithful devotion, service and leadership to the students, faculty, staff
and the community since 1969.”
Linda Hannon, chair of the SCC Foundation Board of Directors, presented Giles with a $59,550 check, establishing the “President Henry C. Giles Jr., Scholarship,” in honor of Giles’ service to the college and his devotion to students.
A native of Cowpens, Giles earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in mathematics at Wofford College and a master of arts in teaching degree in mathematics at Converse College. Mr. Giles continued his educational pursuit by completing graduate work in higher education administration from Nova University in Florida and in management from the University of South Carolina.
Awarded by the governor, the Order of the Palmetto is considered the highest civilian honor in the State of South Carolina. It was first awarded in 1971 by Governor John C. West and recognizes a person’s lifetime achievements and contributions to the State of South Carolina.