Sullivan Tapped for Interim Advancement Post

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HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Jan. 27, 2012 – Charles L. Sullivan Jr., retired executive vice president of Sonoco Products, has accepted an appointment to serve as Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement, following Tom Giffin’s retirement from the position, Coker College President Robert Wyatt announced today.

“In the nearly two years since Tom joined our team, Coker has not only seen growth in overall giving, but, with Tom’s leadership, our advancement operation has become a more robust, more professional and more successful unit,” said Wyatt. “While I am naturally, disappointed to see him leave, I fully respect and support his judgment.”

Last year, giving to Coker College rose nearly 25 percent over the previous year and constituted increases in foundational support, major gifts and gifts to the annual scholarship fund.

“Knowing full well the critically important nature of our advancement work, I am extraordinarily grateful that Charles Sullivan has accepted my request that he serve as Interim Vice President of Advancement while a national search for Tom’s replacement, which will begin immediately, is completed,” Wyatt said.

“Charles brings with him an exceptional portfolio of professional experience both in higher education advancement and in private enterprise,” Wyatt added.

Before he retired from Sonoco in 2010, Sullivan had global operating responsibility for the company’s businesses serving consumer markets, including Sonoco’s rigid paper and plastic containers, flexible packaging, closures, pack centers, point-of-purchase and fulfillment, graphics management and laser-engraved printing cylinders. He also served as a member of the company’s executive committee.

Sullivan joined Sonoco in 2000 after 19 years of service with Cargill, an international marketer and processor of agricultural, financial and industrial products, including positions as regional director of Cargill Asia/Pacific and as president of Cargill’s Salt Division.

He served as chairman of the Salt Institute and as a member of its CEO Council and is a member of the American Management Association.  He is the past chairman of the Associate Member Council of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and also served on the President’s Advisory Council of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

In 2010 the Gravure Education Foundation and the Gravure Association of America honored Sullivan with the prestigious Gravure Person of the Year Award.

Since joining the Coker College Board of Trustees in 2002, he served as Vice Chair from 2002 to 2006 and as Chair from 2006-2010. He also served on the steering committee of the Gateway to the New Century Campaign, the College’s recent record-breaking capital campaign, which raised $24 million.  The fundraising effort enabled the college to make significant investments in the campus community, including the construction of the 40,000 square-foot, $6.5 million Charles W. and Joan S. Coker Library-information Technology Center.  Millions of dollars from the campaign also went to improving academic programs, residence halls and campus landscaping.

A proud alumnus of Clemson University, Sullivan is a member of the Clemson University Foundation Board and serves as a member of the Executive Committee for its $600M Will to Lead Campaign.  He serves both as the Chair of the Foundation’s Development Committee and as the Chairman of Clemson’s Corporate and Foundation Taskforce, which is focused on corporate and foundation giving to Clemson.

Especially active in Hartsville, he has served a number of community organizations including as a member of the Board of Deacons at First Baptist Church and as president of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of the Upper Pee Dee.

He is married to Betty Young Sullivan, Coker College Class of ’71, who received Coker’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2009.  They have two children, Rosemary and Duncan, and four grandchildren.

“While thousands are supporters, and hundreds are deeply committed to Coker College, I dare say that none is better qualified with the combination of personal disposition, innate talent and professional experience to provide the assistance that Coker most needs at this time,” Wyatt said.

“I am humbled by his willingness to help us, and I look forward to the present opportunity we have to learn from him.”


Photo:  Charles L. Sullivan Jr.



Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.


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