Sawyer and Graham Receive Alumni Association Awards

Gayle Sawyer (left) and George Sawyer

Sharon Graham, accepting the award on behalf of Tommy Graham

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – May 20, 2014 – Director emeritus of Kalmia Gardens of Coker College George P. Sawyer, Jr. and Coker College alumnus Tommy Graham, Jr. received Coker College Alumni Awards on this year’s Alumni Day.

Sawyer, nominated by past president of the alumni association Electa Small, was presented the Alumni Association Special Recognition Award.

“The lasting effects of the many projects that Dr. Sawyer worked on during his tenure at the College led the Alumni Association Award Selections committee to recognize and honor him this year,” said Tiletha Lane, director of alumni relations and special events.

“The tremendous difference and impact that he has made in Hartsville and at Coker will live on through his legacy and will continue to bring a better quality of life for those at the College and within the community.”

Graham, nominated by alumna Pat Huff, was posthumously presented the Distinguished Service Award.

“Although I never had the opportunity to personally know Tommy, I realize through his friends and family what a giving and Godly man he was,” said Lane. “Tommy used his talents that were fostered at Coker to help others and to serve the community. He truly lived his life to give.”

Sawyer joined the Coker College faculty in 1969 and served for 45 years. He also nurtured and tended Kalmia gardens for several years and helped found Trees for Tomorrow. He has advised the Streetscape Committee, Recreation Committee, Fire Department, Chamber of Commerce, and Tourism Committee for the city of Hartsville, as well as the Cotton Trail in the Pee Dee region.

Graham earned a bachelor of music degree from Coker College in 1996. He was a trumpet soloist with the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Piedmont Chamber Orchestra. Graham served as a part-time music director for 20 years in the Pee Dee area and as a part-time music evangelist. He taught general music, chorus and band at Briggs Elementary.

Release written by media relations coordinator Elizabeth McCarley.

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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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