Coastal Carolina University will honor five individuals at its annual Founders Day event, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24 at Wheelwright Auditorium on campus. The event is free and open to the public.
The late H. Franklin Burroughs, Guy Skipper Cameron and Charles L. Watson will be named honorary founders of the university. Charles Joyner and John Vrooman will be the first recipients of a new honor, the University Medallion, which was created to recognize individuals who have contributed to CCU in one or more of the following areas: service (to education or the community), entrepreneurship, philanthropy and scholarship.
H. Franklin Burroughs (1962-2002) was a Conway attorney who helped lead CCU during its first crucial years of independence. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Coastal Carolina College in 1984 and a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1987. Burroughs was named to CCU's first board of trustees in 1993 when the institution separated from the University of South Carolina system, and served as board chairman for the 1999-2000 term. He was an early advocate of the football program and was one of its first benefactors.
Guy Skipper Cameron (1900-1966) was a Myrtle Beach civic leader and the first woman to serve on the Horry County Higher Education Commission, the organization that oversees CCU's tax millage. Cameron was a member of the commission from 1961 to 1966, serving on the building, nominating, and building and site committees. She was instrumental in determining the present location of the campus. She also chaired the education committee of the Greater Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and was named Citizen of the Year by the chamber for 1965.
Charles L. Watson (1939-1998), a Conway attorney and businessman, was a CCU benefactor. He served on the board of visitors of CCU's E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration, where he also taught classes in accounting and business law. In 1993, Watson created a scholarship at CCU to benefit local graduates. An army veteran, he attended Coastal Carolina College in 1965 and 1966, before earning a bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina in 1968 and a law degree from the USC School of Law in 1974. He was an avid CCU baseball fan and supporter, and CCU's baseball stadium was named in his honor in 2000.
Charles Joyner is the Burroughs Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Southern History and Culture at CCU. He earned doctoral degrees in history from the University of South Carolina and in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of "Down by the Riverside," a landmark study of rice plantations along the Waccamaw River, and other books. He has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Berkeley and many other universities. His numerous awards include Honorary Life Membership in BrANCH (British American Nineteenth-Century Historians), the South Carolina Humanities Council's Governor's Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities, and the Lifetime Commitment Award from Bluegrass on the Waccamaw, a local music organization. He was recently inducted into the South Carolina Academy of Authors and received the National University Press Award.
John Vrooman, professor emeritus of history, was a member of the CCU faculty for 31 years, serving in many capacities including academic dean, head baseball coach and interim athletic director. As head baseball coach for 13 seasons, he achieved a record of 372-271 and led the program during two significant milestones in Coastal Carolina athletic history: when the Chanticleers joined the NAIA ranks in 1975 and their ascension to NCAA Division I in 1986. Vrooman's teams won six consecutive Big South Conference titles from 1988 to 1993, won the Big South Tournament in 1991 and 1992, and scored the program's first NCAA Regional appearance in 1991. Prior to joining the CCU faculty, Vrooman was chief of military personnel and later director of personnel of the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. A native of Oak Park, Ill., he earned a bachelor's degree in history from Wesleyan University and a master's degree in history from Rutgers University. He was twice named Big South Coach of the Year (1988, 1990) and was inducted into both the George F. "Buddy" Sasser CCU Athletic Hall of Fame and the Big South Conference Hall of Fame. CCU's baseball field is named in honor of Vrooman and his parents, the late Irv and Bernice Vrooman.