SC Humanities is pleased to announce the FY2024 Board of Directors who will begin their terms on November 1, 2023: Bill Comer of Lexington, Charles McDonald of Hanahan; Floyd Nicholson of Greenwood, and Benjamin T. Zeigler of Florence.
Bill Comer is a Certified Public Accountant who began his professional career working in public accounting for PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG. He went on to serve as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Audit Officer, and Corporate Compliance Officer for national and international companies primarily in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries that were privately-owned and publicly held. A native of Union, South Carolina, he lived and worked in San Diego for 24 years before retiring and moving back to South Carolina where he resides in Lexington with his wife, Nancy. They are the parents of Brett Comer and Erin Montgomery who live in Lexington with their families. Bill is a graduate of Wofford College with a B.A. in Government and the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Accounting. He is in the process of completing his MBA from Clemson University, which is a “better late than never” goal. Currently, Bill serves on the Board of Directors of Preservation South Carolina and the Union County Historical Society, on the Board of Visitors of the University of South Carolina Palmetto College, and on the Session of Cherokee Presbyterian Church in Gilbert.
Charles McDonald is a music professional and educator with over 30 years’ experience leading and managing music departments and programs, working closely with ministry leaders and choirs, coordinating outreach activities in collaboration with ministry leaders, and supervising and directing staff musicians. This includes mentoring, teaching, planning and managing performances. Charles has performed with the Citadel Military College Gospel Choir at Disney World, and performed with Mass Choir of St. James Presbyterian Church, USA at the Russell Senate Building Rotunda, in Washington, DC. Having been reared in the Charleston, SC community, Charles has very deep roots in the Lowcountry’s rich cultural soil.
Senator Floyd Nicholson was born in Greenwood County, South Carolina, the tenth child of the late Marion and Nona Nicholson. He is a graduate of Brewer High School and South Carolina State University. He continued his education at Clemson University and the Institute of Government at the University of South Carolina and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Lander University. Prior to his election as Senator for SC Senate District 10 in 2008, he served as a member of Greenwood City Council from 1982-1993 and as the Mayor of the City of Greenwood from 1994-2008. He was the first African American elected as Mayor of the City of Greenwood and the first African American elected as Senator for District 10. He served as Senator from 2008-2020. He is a former teacher, coach, and school administrator. He has served on numerous boards, including the Greenwood Partnership Alliance, Safe and Drug Free Schools (Greenwood School District 50), American Red Cross and Salvation Army, among many others. In the SC Senate, Senator Nicholson served on the Education Committee, Medical Affairs Committee, Finance Committee, Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee and General Committee. He also served on the Joint Legislative Voting System Research Committee, Joint Legislative Municipal Incorporation Committee (Chairman) and Special Study Committee on the Department of Juvenile Justice. He is currently serving as chairman of the board for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Lakelands and on the board of Upper Savannah Council of Governments. He is a member of the SC Athletic Hall of Fame Commission and is a Meals on Wheels volunteer. He and Mamie are members of Mt. Olive Baptist Church where he serves as Chairman of the board of deacons.
Benjamin T. Zeigler was born in Florence, SC and graduated magna cum laude from The University of the South in 1992 and then received a M. Phil from Oxford University in 1994 and a JD from Harvard University in 1997. He is an attorney with Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA in Florence, specializing in governmental and tax-exempt finance. He has held leadership roles in a variety of civic endeavors, including: McLeod Health, Board of Trustees (Chairman 2020-2023); Pee Dee Land Trust (Chairman, Board of Directors, 2004-2008); Archaeological Institute of the Pee Dee (Chairman, Board of Directors, 2021-present); Florence County Historical Society (President, 2012-present); South Carolina Junior Golf Association (Chairman, Board of Directors, 2015-2019); Francis Marion Trail Commission (Chairman, 2006-2009); Belle W. Baruch Foundation (Hobcaw Barony) (Chairman, Board of Trustees, 2015-2021); Wright Foundation for Southern Art (Chairman, Board of Trustees, 2014-2016); Watson Cup Junior Golf Matches (SC v. Scotland) (2018-present). He has also served on the Boards of the Francis Marion University Foundation, the Florence County Museum, the South Carolina Historical Society, the University of South Carolina Caroliniana Library, the South Carolina Golf Association, the South Carolina Tourism Alliance, the South Carolina Archaeological Research Trust, and he has served on the Vestry of St. John’s Anglican Church. He is a member of the American Council on Germany. Zeigler wrote the foreword to Steve Smith’s book Francis Marion and the Snow’s Island Community: Myth, History, and Archaeology and the essay “Art, Culture, and History” for Martha Severens’s (ed) book The Wright Collection of Southern Art. His wife Belle is from Spartanburg and is the Executive Director of the Eastern Carolina Community Foundation. They have one son, Gene, who is a junior at the University of South Carolina and plays on the University’s golf team.
Board Members continuing to serve are: Jennifer Thomas (Chair) of Greenville; Brenton Brown (Vice Chair) of Columbia; Alli Crandell (Secretary) of Conway; Leslie Walker Bickford of Rock Hill; J. W. Nelson Chandler of Mount Pleasant; Eric Crawford of Orangeburg; Tom Crosby of Columbia; Jay Dowd of Bradley; Jennifer Gunter of Columbia; Bonnie Hargrove of Beaufort; David Hodges (Past Chair) of Columbia; George D. Jebaily of Florence; Isaiah McGee of Orangeburg; S.C. (Cal) McMeekin, Jr. of Columbia; Lucas McMillan of Greenwood; Dollie Newhouse of Irmo; Otis Pickett of Clemson; David Stone Jr. of Florence; and Ashlye V. Wilkerson of Columbia.
SC Humanities bids a sad farewell to two outstanding Board Members who retired from the Board in 2023: Richard Brown (Past Secretary) of Columbia and James E. Smith, Jr. of Columbia. Each served South Carolina Humanities with great diligence and passion and will be sincerely missed.
The Board of Directors of SC Humanities consists of volunteer academic and public members. Board members initiate and develop projects, seek to make the humanities accessible statewide, and take active roles in fundraising. Open nominations for Board Members occur annually. For more information about serving on the Board of SC Humanities, contact Executive Director Randy Akers at 803-771-2477.