Darius Rucker, rocker-turned-country-music-star, will be the keynote
speaker for MUSC's commencement at 9 a.m. May 20 in the university's
Horseshoe where about 800 graduates will receive degrees from the
university's six colleges.
Rucker gained fame as the
lead singer and rhythm guitarist for Hootie and the Blowfish, a band he
formed at the University of South Carolina with three other USC
students. The band released five studio albums and charted six Top 40
hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2008, he signed with
Capitol Records as a country music artist and to date has had five No.
1 singles on Billboard's country music charts. In 2009, he became the
first African-American to win the Country Music Association's New
Artist of the Year award.
The Hootie and the
Blowfish Foundation, which the band formed in 2000, has provided
funding for more than 180 charitable projects. Rucker is involved in
other charitable causes and serves on the board of the MUSC Children's
Hospital Fund with his wife, Beth.
Rucker will receive a
Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree from MUSC.
Also receiving honorary
degrees will be:
William C. Jenkins, Ph.D.,
a biostatistician and epidemiologist who helped bring to an end the
infamous 40-year Tuskegee syphilis study by the federal government.
During that four-decade span, which began in 1932, researchers studied
the effects of untreated syphilis on African-American men in rural
Alabama, most of whom were unaware they suffered from the disease. He
will receive a Doctor of Science, honoris causa degree.
Robert J. Sywolski, a
corporate executive and philanthropist. Sywolski's career has led him
from the Stanford Research Institute to Wall Street to Blackbaud, Inc.
in Charleston, where he served as president and chief executive
officer. A supporter of the university, he devotes his time to many
charitable causes including Crisis Ministries and Toys for Tots. He
will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree.