The Moore School recognized three alumni and one corporate partner this week during their 36th Business Leadership Dinner. The four awards given at the dinner include the Distinguished Young Alumni, Distinguished Alumni, Distinguished Service and Distinguished Corporate Partner awards.
The four recipients were first recognized for their outstanding achievement in business and service to the Moore School two years ago at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when the Business Leadership Dinner had to be postponed.
Distinguished Young Alumni
The Distinguished Young Alumni award posthumously honored Cheslie Kryst (’13 marketing and human resources management), who died in January 2022. Kryst, a four-year member of the UofSC track & field program, still holds three marks on South Carolina’s track & field all-time top-10 records list. Also a South Carolina Honors College graduate, Kryst went on to earn her J.D. and MBA from Wake Forest University. She was a civil litigator with Charlotte, North Carolina, law firm Poyner Spruill before being crowned Miss USA in 2019.
Setting the record for the longest consecutive reign as Miss USA — 557 days due to the pandemic — Kryst competed in the Miss Universe Competition in December 2019 where she placed in the top 10 among 90 countries. She later became a correspondent for the “Extra” entertainment show, regularly interviewing some of the world’s top stars, including Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks. In Kryst’s memory, the Moore School is establishing the Cheslie Kryst Scholarship Fund.
The Distinguished Alumni award winner Tom Barnes (’90 economics and management science) gained notoriety in the finance world. Barnes sold his global trade management software company, Integration Point, to multinational mass media organization Thomson Reuters in 2018. He currently owns the 319 Capital Partners private equity firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
He has continued to give back to his alma mater with the Barnes Family Business Scholarship for undergraduate management science, international business or finance students. Barnes also served for five years on the Board of Directors for the Folks Center for International Business.
The Distinguished Service award winner Scott Blackmon (’73 finance and management) was instrumental in establishing and growing Columbia-area banks during much of his career before retiring a decade ago; he was involved in the founding and growth of NBSC, Regions Bank, Arthur State Bank and Vistabank. During his banking career, Blackmon served on numerous boards and committees for civic organizations to enrich the community where he lived. Those organizations included United Way of the Midlands, Sistercare domestic violence shelter, Junior Achievement, American Lung Association, Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Trustus Theatre, Vista Guild and many others.
Blackmon spent a number of years serving his alma mater, including as a founding member of the original University of South Carolina-Business Partnership Foundation Board of Advisors in 2001. He recently served as the board’s co-chair.
Distinguished Corporate Partner
For the inaugural Distinguished Corporate Partner award, the Moore School recognized Sonoco Products Company for their collaborative and dedicated support. While they are certainly generous financial contributors to the Moore School, Sonoco supports UofSC by employing numerous students and alumni. They gave a substantial gift when the new Moore School building opened in 2014 when they named the main venue space the Sonoco Pavilion.
Sonoco also gifted their name to the Sonoco International Business Department with ongoing support that includes:
- Helping the Moore School attract and retain outstanding international business faculty.
- Promoting IB faculties’ research productivity and global visibility. The Sonoco International Business Department faculty have been in the Top 2 worldwide for research productivity in international business for 30-plus years, according to the renowned Journal of International Business Studies.
- Lauding the real-world, experiential teaching and the innovation of the department for consulting projects on hot topics like design thinking, sustainability and global strategy. Other real-world opportunities include study abroad immersions and internships with organizations around the globe.
- Assisting in recruiting and attracting high-quality students to the undergraduate and graduate programs.
Sonoco also sponsored the Sonoco Visiting Fellows Program, which offers Fellows the opportunity to collaborate and engage with professors and researchers from the Moore School as well as the school’s community of stakeholders and partners. Sonoco executives also serve on Moore School center boards.
Along with alumni winners mentioned and the alumni who work for Sonoco, the Moore School has more than 55,000 alumni living and working in nearly 100 countries around the world. Nominations are now being accepted for the 37th Business Leadership Dinner with the date and location of the event to be announced later