FLORENCE, S.C. – State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter will receive an honorary degree and provide the address at the Francis Marion University spring commencement ceremonies.
Cobb-Hunter said she was honored to be receiving the honorary degree. She said the decision came as a total surprise.
“Francis Marion University is a great institution that has produced a lot of fine graduates doing a lot to improve South Carolina,” she said. “I am honored that they considered me worthy.”
Francis Marion will be the third higher-education institution to give Cobb-Hunter an honorary degree. She has also received honorary degrees from the Medical University of South Carolina and the College of Charleston.
Cobb-Hunter has served as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives since 1992. Cobb-Hunter represents House District 66 which includes roughly the eastern half of Orangeburg County. She was the House minority leader from 1997 to 2000, and is first vice chairwoman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Cobb-Hunter is No.1 in seniority among the 124 members of the South Carolina House of Representatives.
She is a social work administrator in Orangeburg with degrees from Florida A&M University and Florida State University.
Cobb-Hunter is also a committeewoman in the Democratic National Committee and president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
The university is also expected to award honorary degrees to retired professor of English Ted Whisnant and outgoing Vice President for Business Affairs Col. John J. Kispert.
Whisnant was an English professor at Francis Marion from 2003 to 2018. During his time at Francis Marion, Whisnant also served as the supervisor of the English education program.
Kispert, who spend 30 years in the Marine Corps, has served as the vice president for business affairs at FMU since 2001. He is retiring from the University in July.
Nearly 400 graduate and undergraduate degrees will be conferred during the ceremonies which are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 4, in the Smith University Center Gymnasium.