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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • Meghan Keeler stands holding her award with S.C. Governor Henry McMaster, S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Duane Parrish and S.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association COO Douglas O'Flaherty on the Governor's mansion lawn.

South Carolina tourism management student awarded by State leaders

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster honored the University of South Carolina College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management’s Meghan Keeler as one of the state’s best tourism management students.

Keeler received the 2021 Tourism Student Award in a Feb. 28 ceremony at the governor’s mansion along with eight other college students from across the state. The award is sponsored by the South Carolina Travel and Tourism Coalition and recognizes the state’s outstanding, full-time students from tourism programs across South Carolina.

Keeler is a junior tourism management major from Columbus, Ohio, with a 3.88 GPA. She serves as a College of HRSM Leader and is interning with the university’s admissions office. Since beginning her academic journey at the University of South Carolina, Keeler has held several leadership positions in Chi Omega and has also gained career experience at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

As a 2021 South Carolina Tourism Student Award recipient, Keeler received a $1,000 scholarship along with a plaque in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement.

“Y'all are the lucky ones,” McMaster said to the winners. “You've got so many years ahead of you to be in this arena. More and more people are discovering South Carolina.”

Keeler was nominated for the award by Professor Drew Martin. He attended the award ceremony along with School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Director Robin DiPietro.

The ceremony included remarks from South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Duane Parrish and South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association COO Douglas OFlaherty.

“You should be proud of your accomplishments, and you should also be proud because you have chosen to pursue careers in an industry that has a profound impact on our economy and quality of life,” Parrish told the award-winning students. “As tourism industry professionals, you will help shape the visitor experience for your respective destinations, encouraging travelers to discover new experiences, broaden their horizons, and feel right at home even when they are far from home … There is no finer industry to work in than the tourism and hospitality industry, especially here in South Carolina.”

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