Skip to Content


HRSM Announces 2015-16 Distinguished Alumni, Friends, Faculty and Student Awards

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management (HRSM) is proud to announce its 2016 Distinguished Alumni and Friends of the College Award recipients. The following individuals will be recognized at a formal ceremony held at USC on March 24:

myles soloman

Myles Boer Solomon ’99, Sport Administration

Myles Boer Solomon is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. A 1999 alumnus of the Department of Sport Administration, Solomon is the principal at Element Sports Group and the president of Solomon Sports Management, LLC. He earned his law degree from USC in 2003. Based in Atlanta, he is currently a member of the Georgia Bar and specializes in sports law and contracts, including agent representation for NCAA Division I athletic directors, football and basketball coaches, as well as NFL coaches. He has served as an adjunct professor in the SPTE department and previously worked and as an attorney for Bassi, Edlin, Huie & Blum LLP in San Francisco, an attorney for Coca-Cola in Atlanta, and as a law clerk for the Law Offices of Craig Kelly in Columbia.

Nirjary Desai

Nirjary Mukesh Desai ’03, Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

Nirjary Mukesh Desai is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Young Alumni Award. A 2003 alumna of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, she is the founder, owner and principal project manager of KIS (cubed) Events, an exclusive destination and special event management and planning company. Born in Ndola, Zambia, she grew up in South Carolina and, after earning her degree from USC, moved to London to pursue her MBA in international marketing and management. Her distinctive vision and business acumen has garnered features on Bravo TV, the Wedding Channel, Harpers Bazaar Bride India, Huffington Post and Glambitious Magazine. She can also be seen making a guest appearance in the film "Meet The Patels." Conde Naste Brides Magazine has voted Nirjary as one of the Top 50 destination wedding planners in the world.

Tom Jackson

Thomas M. Jackson, Sr.

Thomas M. Jackson, Sr. is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Service Award. Jackson is a 1958 graduate of USC where he studied business and retailing. He began his career working for eight years in St. Louis with Pet Mile Company. Following that, Jackson returned to South Carolina where he opened the first Icee franchise in the state and served as general manager for the next 31 years. In 1998, he bought Palmetto Candy and Tobacco in the Vista and ran it until retiring in 2010. He has served as president of the Columbia Sales and Marketing Association, is a member of the Columbia Rotary Club and is an adamant supporter of the Gamecocks and higher education. He is the College of HRSM’s longest standing board member and is also an active member of My Carolina and the Gamecock Club. He is married to B Jackson and together they have six children.

The Ragsdales

Ragsdale Family

The Ragsdale family is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Friend of the College Award. Proud supporters of USC with a family full of Gamecocks, the Ragsdale’s recently left an estate gift to benefit the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management and the Office of Student Affairs, where both Charles and Emily serve on the Parent’s Advisory Council.

Charles is a 1987 alumnus of the college, with a BAIS degree, while Emily earned her associate’s degree in retailing in 1976. One of their daughters, Schall, graduated in August 2015 with a degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management from HRSM, while their younger daughter, Emily, is set to graduate from USC in May.

The College of HRSM Distinguished Alumni and Friends of the College Awards were established in 1981 to recognize alumni who have established records of distinction in their respective fields or endeavors. These individuals have outstanding professional achievements as well as exhibit responsible citizenship within the communities that they serve. The College of HRSM has over 20,000 alumni.