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2011 Inspiring Women

Vivian Ayers-Allen • • •
Poet, cultural activist

Vivian Ayer-Allen is the founding director of the "Brainerd Institute Project," a subsidiary of The ADEPT Publications New American Folk Center, Inc. She has been recognized by Cambridge Who's Who for dedication, leadership and excellence in all various aspects of her career. She has made significant contributions to literary arts, for facilitating and promoting the artistic efforts of others, and for her preservation of an important South Carolina cultural landmark.


Mignon L. Clyburn • • •
Former commissioner, FCC 

Mignon L. Clyburn was nominated as a member of the Federal Communications Commission on June 25, 2009, and sworn in August 3, 2009. Her term expired June 30, 2012.

Clyburn has a long history of public service and dedication to the public interest. Prior to her appointment as commissioner, she served as the representative of South Carolina’s sixth district on the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSC) for 11 years. She was sworn in for her first term in July 1998, and was subsequently reelected in 2002 and 2006. She served as chair of the PSC from July 2002 through June 2004.


Maria Buse • • •
Physician, professor

Dr. Maria Buse joined the faculty at MUSC in 1957. Her career has been marked by sustained excellence in research, teaching and mentorship. She has had continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health for nearly 50 years. She has made substantial and sustaining contributions toward understanding basic mechanisms through which diabetes mellitus alters cellular function, ultimately resulting in micro- and macro-vascular disease, and organ failure. Dr. Buse was the first woman in MUSC’s 179-year history to receive the honor of Distinguished University Professor in 2003. She is recognized for her groundbreaking work in medical research and for her efforts to forge new roles for women and create opportunities for future generations.


Darlene Marie Goff • • •
Brigadier General 

Brigadier General Goff made history on January 7, 2011, when she was promoted from Colonel to Brigadier General. She became the first female general officer in the South Carolina National Guard. She is recvognized for her dedicated service to the people of South Carolina and for opening new frontiers for women’s military leadership in the Palmetto State.


Kaye Hearn • • •
South Carolina Supreme Court Justice

The Honorable Kaye Hearn, South Carolina Supreme Court Justice, made history in 2000 by becoming the first female chief judge of the Court of Appeals; on May 13, 2009 she became only the second woman in state history to be elected to the South Carolina Supreme Court. She is recognized for effecting change through her visionary leadership throughout the public sector.


Nikki Randhawa Haley • • •
Governor of South Carolina

Nikki Haley was elected the 116th Governor of South Carolina on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, as  and as South Carolina's first female governor.

As one of the strongest fiscal conservatives in state government, she was first elected to represent the 87th District in Lexington County in 2004; when, as a virtual unknown, she beat the longest serving state legislator in a Republican primary. In 2008, Haley was sent back to the Statehouse with 83 percent of the vote – the highest percentage earned by any lawmaker facing a contested South Carolina election that year. She won the Republican Party nomination for governor on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.

She graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor of science degree in accounting and, following her graduation, worked as accounting supervisor for a private company and five of its subsidiaries. She then returned to the family business and helped oversee its growth into a multi-million dollar operation. She was born in Bamberg, S.C.


Bonnie McElveen-Hunter • • •
Former ambassador and chair of the American Red Cross

Bonnie McElveen-Hunter was not only was she the first female chair of the American Red Cross, but was also the founder and CEO of Pace Communications and a former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland. She is recognized for her for her extraordinary leadership in solving pressing challenges both domestically and globally as well as her professional leadership and consistent commitment to excellence.


Frances Scott • • •

Frances Scott is the mother of U.S. Representative Tim Scott. She is recognized for her selfless commitment to her children and for serving as an inspiration to mothers everywhere who nurture, encourage and support the lives and success of their children.