Former Charleston Mayor Riley to Address MUSC Graduates

Contact: Heather Woolwine

May 12, 2016

CHARLESTON, SC – Approximately 625 graduates will receive degrees from the Medical University of South Carolina’s six colleges during commencement exercises scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, May 20, at the Horseshoe on the MUSC campus.

Former 10-term Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. will deliver the commencement address to the graduates.

Riley retired from public office Jan. 11 after serving 40 years as mayor, the city’s longest-serving top executive and one of the longest such tenures in the nation. He is largely credited with revitalizing the city’s urban district through such major projects as Charleston Place, the South Carolina Aquarium and Waterfront Park. He also received much praise for his leadership following the city’s devastation from Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and the racially motivated slayings of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015.

He remains actively involved in plans for an African-American museum on Charleston Harbor, the port of entry for an estimated 40 percent of captive Africans during the slave trade. 

Honors he has received during his tenure as mayor include:

  • President of the National Association of Democratic Mayors.
  • Municipal Leader of the Year by American City & County.
  • Thomas Jefferson Award from the American Institute of Architects for Public Architecture.
  • One of the 25 most dynamic mayors in America, Newsweek magazine.
  • Recipient of The National Medal of Arts.

In the event of inclement weather, commencement exercises will move to McAlister Field House on the campus of The Citadel, beginning at 11 a.m.

MUSC also will confer honorary Doctor of Humane Letter degrees on:

  • Pamela Lackey, president of AT&T South Carolina.
  • Susan Pearlstine, former owner and director of Pearlstine Distributors Inc. and member of the MUSC Foundation board of directors who established the Susan Pearlstine Sarcoidosis Center of Excellence at MUSC.
  • State Rep. W. Brian White, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives since 2001 and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
  • State Rep. Kenneth A. “Kenny” Bingham, a member of the House of Representatives since 2001 and chairman of the House Ethics Committee.

This academic year – August 2015 through May 2016 – MUSC has graduated approximately 982 health care professionals, more graduates than in any previous academic year.

Breakdown of graduates by college and demographics (totals include August and December graduates in addition to May).

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the oldest medical school in the South, as well as the state’s only integrated, academic health sciences center with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and more than 850 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, in fiscal year 2019, MUSC set a new high, bringing in more than $284 million. Find out more about our academic programs.

As the health care system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality and safest patient care while educating and training generations of outstanding health care providers and leaders to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and five additional hospital locations in development, more than 350 telehealth sites and connectivity to patients’ homes, and nearly 750 care locations situated in all regions of South Carolina. In 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. Learn more about clinical patient services.

MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $4.4 billion. The nearly 25,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.