SC honors historian Walter Edgar
By Peggy Binette, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-5400
Walter Edgar has been called a true South Carolina treasure. On May 2, the State of South Carolina recognized the University of South Carolina historian for being just that.
Edgar, the Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, was honored for his commitment to and love of sharing the state’s rich history with not one but three proclamations. Edgar will retire May 31 after 40 years of teaching and service.
The proclamations -- one by Gov. Nikki Haley that declared it “Dr. Walter B. Edgar Day,” a joint resolution of the S.C. Senate and House, introduced by Sen. John Courson, and a third resolution initiated by Rep. James Smith -- were presented to Edgar at a retirement party that featured family, friends, colleagues, community leaders, legislators and judges.
“The presence of the large number of public and community leaders at the event signifies not only the respect and admiration that these leaders have for Professor Edgar and his work but also their love and commitment to the state of South Carolina and its history and progress,” said Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
A native of Mobile, Ala., Edgar arrived in South Carolina in 1965, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in history from the University of South Carolina. After serving as a captain in the U.S. Army, he returned to his adopted home and to the university, where he has dedicated himself to the teaching, research and sharing of South Carolina and Southern history.
His contributions to USC have been many. He founded its public history program, has served as the director of the Institute for Southern Studies since 1980 and holds four professorships. He is an acclaimed writer, editor, speaker and radio show host.
He has written or edited more than a dozen books, including “South Carolina: A History,” regarded as the definitive book on the Palmetto State’s history, and “The South Carolina Encyclopedia,” which he edited. He hosts the popular “Walter Edgar’s Journal” on S.C. ETV Radio and shares the fascinating chapters of the state’s history through dozens of community lectures and talks each year.
In 2010 he was honored by the S.C. Higher Education Foundation’s Lightsey Society as laureate for the South Carolina Educational Hall of Fame. He has received five honorary degrees, including ones from Coastal Carolina University and Davidson College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.
On Saturday (May 4), Edgar addressed graduates at the university’s afternoon commencement. He called USC a “wonderful place” and “a great school,” and shared its history and legacy with them. He also told them they were obligated as graduates and citizens to ensure that future generations have the same opportunity to earn a quality college education.
“Some 235 years ago, South Carolina’s founding fathers took a quotation from Virgil’s Aeneid: ‘Prepared in mind and resources’ as one of our state’s mottos,” Edgar said. “It appears on the front of our state seal. These men were in the midst of a desperate fight, but the motto exudes their confidence in the future and destiny of South Carolina.”
News and Internal Communications