ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - South Carolina State University's Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to confer Governor Henry McMaster with an honorary degree at this week's commencement ceremonies, despite discontent with the governor's role as the ceremony's commencement speaker.
The historically black college's board voted Monday afternoon that Governor McMaster will get an Honorary Doctors of Laws and university President James E. Clark will receive and Honorary Doctor of Engineering and Technology at the ceremony on May 12.
"Governor McMaster has made significant contributions to the legal profession and has committed his career to the state of South Carolina, through dedicated service as a public servant," the school said in a statement on Monday. "With a distinguished business career, President Clark is recognized as a well-respected and highly successful former executive in major corporations, most especially in the engineering and technology fields. We are truly pleased to be in a position to award these degrees."
The vote comes a week after an online petition desiring a change in commencement speaker - one "who can relate more to the HBCU experiences, struggles as well as triumphs and life of an HBCU student in general."
The Care 2 online petition has more than 3,200 signatures since it started shortly after the announcement.
The governor's office has not responded to WIS's requests for comment on the petition.
The university announced on May 3 that Governor McMaster would give the commencement speech. Clark said the choice gratitude toward McMaster and "demonstrates his commitment to support, which he made to the university as lieutenant governor several years ago."