Gala raises $350,000 for Clyburn Endowment

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

SPARTANBURG -- A holiday gala benefiting the James E. and Emily E. Clyburn Endowment for Archives and History at South Carolina State University raised $350,000.

The black-tie gala was held in Spartanburg Friday night. This year's donations brings the Clyburn Endowment total to $1.7 million.

"I am humbled by the support this event has received," Congressman Clyburn said. "When Emily and I established the endowment, we sought to address inequities we saw in endowment funding at Historically Black Colleges and Universities versus majority institutions. I hope we are setting an example that other HBCU graduates will follow."

Jim and Emily Clyburn are 1961 graduates of South Carolina State. Their endowment is the largest at their alma mater. At the time it was established, the total of all other endowments at S.C. State was less than half a million dollars.

"Emily and I are committed to raising a total of $5 million for this endowment," Congressman Clyburn said. "I am happy to announce the next holiday gala will be held in 2009 in Charleston."

Special guests at this year's event were "CSI: New York" actor Hill Harper, Metropolitan opera bass Morris Robinson and Miss South Carolina Crystal Garrett.

"There is a lot of talk about empowering young African American males to make positive choices in their lives, but very few are actually doing something about it," said Harper, whose mother is a Seneca native. "This is an event that is bringing people together to help the community, and I am honored to work with a legend like Congressman Clyburn on such an important cause."

"With the blessings I have been given, I am pleased to lend them to the congressman's efforts," said Robinson, a former Citadel football standout. "As a student at the Citadel, I spent more time than I would like to admit traveling up I-26 to Orangeburg. South Carolina State will always have a fond place in my heart."

Among the donors to the event was Altria, which contributed $50,000 to this year's holiday gala in addition to the $50,000 it contributed in 2005.

"Education is the vehicle to empower future generations," said Altria Vice President for Government Relations Shuanise Washington, a Columbia native. "Altria believes in the Clyburn Endowment's mission and is pleased to support these efforts."

Contributions can be made to the Clyburn Endowment by contacting Janice Marshall at 803-255-0003.