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CCU honors supporters, alumni at annual Founders Day event

September 16, 2015

Coastal Carolina University will honor five individuals at its annual Founders Day convocation, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21, at Wheelwright Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Wade K. Baird, James Carson Benton Sr, and Gerald V. Boyles will receive the University Medallion, created in 2012 to recognize individuals who have contributed to CCU in the areas of service, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and/or scholarship.

Brian Forbus is the Alumnus of the Year, and James Marino is the Young Alumnus of the Year.

Baird is a distinguished professor emeritus of CCU. He was on the psychology faculty from 1976 to 2006, and he chaired the Department of Psychology from 1981 to 1987. He was named Outstanding Professor of Psychology/Sociology in 2003 by the Psi Chi psychology honor society chapter at CCU, which he was instrumental in establishing. He was also named Professor of the Year by CCU’s Student-Athlete Association in 2005. He directed several programs at CCU including Institutional Self-Study, Graduate Regional Studies and the Undergraduate Counseling Center. A native of Pittsburgh, he was educated at Thiel College and the University of Pittsburgh.

Benton is a Myrtle Beach businessman and CCU benefactor. The University’s football field in Brooks Stadium was named the James C. Benton Field in 2006. Benton was associated with C.L. Benton and Sons, the construction company founded by his father in 1938. A veteran of the Korean War, Benton has been active in civic affairs throughout his long career. He served on the boards of Coastal Federal Bank, Dunes Golf and Beach Club, Coker College, Horry County Ecology Board and Anchor Bank. In addition to CCU, his philanthropy has benefitted Clemson University, Coker College and Newberry College, as well as many local charities. Benton received an honorary doctorate from CCU in 2009.

Boyles is a distinguished professor emeritus of CCU’s E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration. He served on the Wall College faculty from 1973 until his retirement in 2007. He was the first dean of the Wall College and was named CCU’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1986. From 2000 to 2007, Boyles held the William J. Baxley Jr. Applied Business Professorship at CCU. He was instrumental in the Wall College’s accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and in the creation of the Wall College of Business building on campus. During his career, Boyles published numerous research articles, mostly about business finance and investments, and presented many papers at professional meetings.

Forbus, CCU Alumnus of the Year, is a certified physician assistant with Coastal Orthopedics in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area. He has been a member of CCU’s Alumni Association Board of Directors for 11 years, serving the last six as president of the executive committee. Forbus spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the new Pi Kappa Phi patio at the recently renovated Atheneum Hall Alumni Center on the CCU campus. Active in civic and CCU affairs, Forbus has served as a mentor and internship supervisor to a number of CCU public health students. He also has been a volunteer coach for recreation centers in Green Sea Floyds and Conway.

Marino, Young Alumnus of the Year, earned a bachelor’s degree in marine science with a minor in coastal geology from CCU in 2013. In July, he joined the Peace Corps for a two-year stint in a small village in the Philippines. He is working to improve the ecosystem there by establishing a marine-protected area for local corals, sea grasses and mangroves. He also is creating a sustainable fishery for the village.