Distinguished Alumni Award

The highest honor bestowed by the College of Charleston Honors College, the Distinguished Alumni Award publicly recognizes Honors College alumni who are noted for their professional achievements, their contributions to society, and their support of the College of Charleston. Honorees have performed exceptional service for the College of Charleston through cumulative contributions or by extraordinary efforts that advance the both the Honors College and the College of Charleston.


 Kenny Gardner

Kenyatta L. Gardner '08

Kenyatta (Kenny) Gardner graduated summa cum laude from the College of Charleston Honors College in 2008 with a degree in political science. In 2011 he graduated first in his class from the Charleston School of Law. He currently works as a litigation attorney with Butler Snow LLP, practicing within the law firm's tort, transportation, and specialized litigation group. In 2021, Kenny was named to the ‘Ones to Watch’ list for Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law and Construction Litigation by the Best Lawyers in America. He was also previously named to the Lawyers of Color “Hot List” in 2013. Kenny is active in many associations such as the James L. Petigru American Inn of Court and the Defense Research Institute. He is a board member of the Turning Leaf Project, a non-profit organization that serves adult men recently released from incarceration. In addition, he founded a volunteer organization that combats homelessness and poverty in Charleston, SC and extensively participates in pro-bono work and indigent defense.


2020 - Stephanie B. Wheeler '03
2019 - Susan West Story '93
2018 - Michael S. Shemtov '00
2017 - Arlinda Locklear, J.D. '76
2016 - Lisa Broome, Ph.D '92
2015 - Melissa Siegel, Ph.D '03
2014 - James G. Hodge Jr., J.D., LLM '89
2013 - Howard L. Hall, Ph.D '85
2012 - Wills Geils, MD '88
2011 - Beth Middleton Burke, J.D. '94
2010 - Steve Swanson '89

  1. Graduate of the Honors Program/College at the College of Charleston
  2. Exemplary Professional Achievements
  3. Significant Contributions to Society
  4. Distinguished Service to the Honors College and the College of Charleston