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CCU to celebrate three honorary founders at Founders Day

September 7, 2011

A former chancellor, a hospital administrator, and a longtime supporter and advocate of Coastal Carolina University will be honored at the University's 25th annual Founders Day ceremony at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19, in Wheelwright Auditorium. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Ronald G. Eaglin, Frank M. Watts and the late Nancy Arthur Smith will be added to the list of 83 founders and honorary founders who played important roles in the growth and development of CCU and the promotion of higher education in the region.

Eaglin was chancellor of USC Coastal Carolina College from 1985 to 1992. Under his leadership, Coastal Carolina (then a branch campus of the University of South Carolina) built its first residence halls, added 10 new degree programs and increased its grants and private giving by more than 500 percent. He was instrumental in the movement that led Coastal Carolina to break from USC and become an independent, state-supported institution in 1993. One of CCU's residence halls was recently renamed in his honor.

Smith (1918-2002) was a longtime supporter and advocate of Coastal Carolina University, along with her husband, Dr. R. Cathcart Smith (1914-2001), for whom CCU's science building is named. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University, Smith was keenly interested in higher education. The Nancy Arthur Smith Distinguished Visitors-in-Residence series was established in August 2004 to bring noted artists and scholars to support campus residencies for artists and intellectuals who have distinguished careers in the arts, history, archaeology, international affairs or philosophy.

Watts was chief executive officer for the Loris Hospital System for 26 years, retiring in 1995. Prior to that, he was assistant administrator for Conway Hospital for 10 years. He organized the Little River Medical Center in 1978 and served on its board until 1992. From 1978 to 2002, Watts was on the board of directors of the Coastal Educational Foundation, serving as vice president and president from 1982 to 1984. He served on various CEF committees, including nominating, finance, land use and academic affairs.