South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas to present keynote at Wilkins Awards Dinner Jan. 8 in Columbia

S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas will offer remarks during a dinner recognizing winners of the David H. Wilkins Awards for Excellence in Legislative and Civic Leadership.

South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas will offer remarks on principled leadership Tuesday, Jan. 8, at a Columbia dinner honoring the recipients of the David H. Wilkins Awards for Excellence in Legislative and Civic Leadership.

The 14th annual event presented by Furman University’s Riley Institute is held in conjunction with the opening of the S.C. legislative session and will take place at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The evening begins with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by the dinner and awards presentation at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $125 each and can be purchased online at Table sponsorships are also available.

This year’s Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership winner is S.C. Senator John Matthews, who represents District 39 that includes portions of Berkeley, Calhoun, Colleton, Dorchester and Orangeburg Counties. The longest-serving African-American S.C. state legislator, Sen. Matthews is known for his willingness to work across the aisle to support progress in education, health care and economic development.

The David H. Wilkins Excellence in Civic Leadership Award, which honors a community leader whose work has improved the lives of South Carolinians, will be presented to Charlotte Berry. In her lifetime of service and philanthropy, Berry has served as national chair of Volunteers of the American Red Cross, as a founding member of Women in Philanthropy, and through service on numerous boards of community organizations.

Lucas was first elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1999 to serve District 65, which represents portions of Darlington, Kershaw, Lancaster and Chesterfield Counties, and he has served as House Speaker since 2014. Currently a partner at the law firm of Lucas, Warr, & White, he has worked in local government as financial director, county administrator, county attorney and city judge.

For more information, contact the Furman News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107. Release is online at:

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