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Rep. Gary Simrill and Nella Barkley to receive Wilkins Leadership Awards

Photo of a purple Riley Institute banner with the state capital building behind.
The Riley Institute at Furman University’s 2019 David H. Wilkins Leadership Awards will be presented in Columbia, South Carolina, in January.

State Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York) and Nella Barkley, community leader and president of Crystal-Barkley Corporation, will receive The Riley Institute at Furman University’s 2019 David H. Wilkins Leadership Awards recognizing outstanding legislative and civic leadership in the state.

State Rep. Gary Simrill

The awards will be presented on the first night of the legislative session, Jan. 14, 2020, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The fifteenth annual event begins with a reception for all registered attendees at 6 p.m. The dinner and awards presentation follows at 7 p.m. Tickets are $125 each.

Simrill, the legislative award recipient, is currently the House majority leader and vice-chair of the Ways and Means Committee. He is described by his colleagues as hard-working, knowledgeable and personable — a leader who consistently embraces ideas that move the state forward regardless of which side of the aisle they originate from.

Barkley, the civic award recipient, has spent much of her life in leadership roles at organizations devoted to improving the lives of South Carolinians by elevating education, sustaining and improving the arts and creating opportunities for marginalized populations.

“The Riley Institute is proud to recognize leaders with the ability to put aside their differences and work together for the good of South Carolinians. We all benefit from the pragmatic, principled leadership of Rep. Simrill and Nella Barkley,” said Don Gordon, executive director of The Riley Institute at Furman.

A portrait of a woman at a table with her desk calendar open.
Nella Gray Barkley

The annual awards are named for David H. Wilkins, who served as speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives and as U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Wilkins will co-host the event with former U.S. Secretary of Education and former two-term Governor of South Carolina Dick Riley and Furman President Elizabeth Davis.

Tickets may be purchased by calling 864-235-8330, or by visiting Furman.edu/WilkinsDinner. Sponsorships are also available.

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