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Myrtle Beach man makes major gift to Coastal Carolina University

January 29, 2009

Coastal Carolina University has received one of the largest gifts in the history of the institution from Kenneth E. Swain of Myrtle Beach. To recognize the gift, the Coastal Carolina University Board of Trustees will be asked to vote to name the forthcoming science addition Kenneth E. Swain Hall.

The 40,000-square-foot facility for the University's health sciences is to be located adjacent to the R. Cathcart Smith Science Center and is slated for completion in 2010. The gift will support new and expanded teaching, research and service initiatives, including student scholarships and faculty endowments, equipment to support the health sciences, and research in areas such as biochemistry and molecular biology, including DNA technology. The building will house approximately 20 science laboratories, supply spaces and much-needed faculty office space.

"This generous gift will be transformative for our college," said Michael Roberts, dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences. "In addition to being a visible and public declaration of the value of a Coastal Carolina University education, our increased offerings in health sciences will also provide opportunities for our students and faculty to expand their efforts in the community. We will equip state-of-the-art research and teaching spaces that will empower students and faculty to pursue activities on the cutting edge of biochemistry, molecular biology and health sciences. Qualified students will obtain scholarship support and the community will benefit from their efforts through health-related outreach activities. We are deeply grateful for Mr. Swain's generosity."

Born in Brunswick County, N.C., Swain moved with his family to Myrtle Beach in 1937. His family owned and operated a 22-room guesthouse in Myrtle Beach in the late 1930s and 1940s. He graduated from Myrtle Beach High School in 1945 and the University of South Carolina School of Pharmacy in 1950. During the Korean conflict, he served as a munitions officer in the U.S. Air Force. He later worked as a pharmacist, a realtor and an environmentalist for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for 19 years.

After he retired in 1988, his hobbies were traveling abroad and breeding Pomeranian dogs, including male AKC champion Sun Fun Sandy of Myrtle Beach. Swain is a member of the Myrtle Beach Kennel Club and Ocean View Baptist Church, where he is an usher and member of the Singles I Sunday School Class.

Groundbreaking for the Kenneth E. Swain Hall will be held Friday, Feb. 20, 2009.