CHARLESTON, S.C. - John M. Rivers, Jr., was recognized by the Southern Conference with the 2012 Distinguished Service Award at the league's annual honors dinner held on May 30 in Asheville, N.C.
Rivers has impacted the College of Charleston as a leader and philanthropist at the highest level. His involvement spans four decades and includes support of the CofC Athletics Department, the College of Charleston Libraries, the School of Communications, and more.
Rivers' impact permeates the College of Charleston campus enjoyed today, as his support for the Rivers Communication Museum and the Addlestone Library building effort will benefit students for years to come. He also has generously supported both academic and athletic scholarships.
In 2003, Rivers spearheaded the creation of the College of Charleston Cougar Classic, a women's golf tournament held annually at the esteemed Yeamans Hall Club in Charleston. Now approaching its 10th anniversary, the tournament has become the nation's most prestigious women's collegiate golf event, with plans to host eight of the nation's top 10 teams in 2012. Everything to do with the tournament, from the location and amenities, to the beautiful trophy and "best gift bags in the country," reflects Rivers' sense of style and steadfast commitment to excellence. He has inspired others to contribute more than $1 million over the past decade in support of the Cougar Classic.
Over the past year, Rivers led the effort to secure a new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van for the CofC women's golf program. Within a few months, he secured the needed pledges from his myriad of contacts within the community and beyond, and the van was purchased for use during the 2011-12 season. The "Cougar Van" provided an instant spark to the team, which now travels in luxury similar to other top programs around the country.
A native Charlestonian, Rivers is an excellent example of leadership within philanthropy. He not only supports the programs for which he is most passionate, but also motivates others to find their own passion at The College.
The Distinguished Service Award program began in 2002 as a way for the SoCon to recognize individuals from its member institutions who have contributed to all aspects of the university. Each member institution selects an honoree based on their contribution to the institution.
Rivers was one of 12 recipients of the award along with honorees David Allen Vaughn (Appalachian State), Thomas R. Culler (The Citadel), William D. Vinson (Davidson), Cecil and JoAnna Worsley (Elon), James M. and Carol N. Ney (Furman), Richard T. Evans (Georgia Southern), Jim and Betty Allen (UNCG), Dr. Larry W. Cox (Samford), Dean and Mary Jane Heavener (Chattanooga), Fred Q. Cantler (Western Carolina) and Dr. Mack C. Poole, III and Dr. Melvin D. Medlock (Wofford).