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2010 Alumni of Year named at Coastal Carolina University

October 25, 2010

Coastal Carolina University has named its 2010 Outstanding Alumni as part of the University's annual Homecoming festivities.

Candidates nominated for the alumni awards are chosen by a panel of faculty judges based on criteria that considers such characteristics as integrity, loyalty, leadership and civic involvement.

Delan Stevens has been named the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. Stevens earned a bachelors degree in political science in 1979. As a student, he played on the mens tennis team from 1976 to 1979. Stevens is owner and executive vice president of Peoples Underwriters Inc. of Conway. He has been a member of the Horry County Higher Education Commission since 1997, and has served as its finance committee chairman since 2001. He and his wife Lynn (Class of 1981) live in Conway.

Delan has been a leader in many community efforts in Horry County and has been a generous donor to the University and other significant causes, said CCU Executive Vice President Edgar Dyer. Delan is a man of integrity. He represents Coastal in the community in a very positive way. I am proud to say that I taught him when he was a student here and am proud to call him a friend.

Outstanding Alumni of the Year awards were also presented to representatives of the four colleges of the University: R. Walter Hill IV for the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts; Christopher S. Huggins for the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration; Ebbie Gore for the Spadoni College of Education and Robert M. Johnson for the College of Science.

Hill, who earned a bachelors degree in history in 2000, is director of Horry County Museum. Before graduating, Hill went into business for himself as a blacksmith, specializing in ornamental wrought iron, traditional colonial reproductions and knives. He has worked with set decorators for Hollywood films including The Patriot and Cold Mountain. He built the gate for the Governors Mansion in Columbia, as well as three gates for Brookgreen Gardens. He is a charter member of the Phillip Simmons Artist Blacksmith Guild. Hill lives in Plantersville, where he grew up, with his wife Adrienne and children Robert and Kate.

Huggins, who earned a bachelors degree in accounting in 1990, is equity owner and principal in the firm of Smith Sapp Bookhout Crumpler & Calliham CPAs. He joined the firm as a student intern in 1989 and gained full-time employment upon graduation. Huggins is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA), South Carolina Association of CPAs and Grand Strand Chapter of South Carolina Association of CPAs. He is a board member of the Conway Medical Center and Crescent Bank, and serves on the board of visitors for the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration. He lives in Conway with his wife Tracy and has two children, Gunner and McCarthy.

Gore, assistant principal at Loris Middle School, earned a bachelors degree (1987) and a masters degree (2000) in education. She is one of the organizers of Chanticleers Reaching Out with Wisdom (CROW), a mentoring program for at-risk middle school children. She has won numerous awards including the S.C. Positive Behavior Exemplary School and the Horry County Schools Superintendents Learning Award. She has been selected for the Superintendents Aspiring Leadership Program and has been recognized for her role as coordinator of Special Education Services at Loris Middle School. She assisted in securing funding for a community center in Bucksport, where she lives.

Johnson, who earned a bachelors degree in psychology in 1998, is a wildlife expert for The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS). He has worked as an animal trainer for hundreds of films and television productions, and regularly films wildlife documentary material for organizations such as the Disney Channel, National Geographic Channel and MTV. He is serving a second term as director of legislation and governmental affairs for the Feline Conservation Federation and is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at California Coast University, studying stress reactions in tigers.