Atheneum Circle in the center of Coastal Carolina University's campus is being named in honor of James P. Blanton, one of the founders of the institution.
James P. Blanton Circle will be officially dedicated on Wednesday, April 14 at 11 a.m. in honor of Blanton's lifelong service to the university.
Blanton was one of the members of the first committee that met in July 1954 to discuss the establishment of a junior college in Horry County. He has served on the Coastal Educational Foundation, Inc., continuously through the years, and now serves as a director emeritus.
Blanton is known and respected for his commitment to the conservation of the natural resources of Horry County. As a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1967 and 1968, Blanton was the chief author of legislation called Omnibus Law Bill, which established the first training center for law enforcement in the state. Blanton also proposed the state's first ecology bill and focused attention on issues relating to soil conservation and forestry.
In 1987 Blanton founded the Playcard Environmental Education Center. Located on the edge of a 250-acre blackwater swamp 20 miles west of Conway, the center provides educational activities related to the study of the natural sciences and conservation. Created by the Horry County Conservation Foundation, which Blanton also founded, the Playcard Center offers classroom
space, a conference center and nature trails.
He has received numerous awards including the Hetty Ricker Community Development State Award in 1982; the South Carolina Soil and Water Conservation Society Commendation Award in 1989; the State Conservationist of the Year Award in 1989; the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service from the University of South Carolina in 1990 and from Coastal Carolina University in 2001; and he was named Honorary Class Member of Clemson University of 1960.
Blanton is the owner of Blanton Supply Company in Loris, Little River and Marion. He was a founder and vice president of Horry County National Bank and has served on the Conway Hospital Board of Directors.