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Former astronaut Bolden to receive civic leadership award

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Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., a Columbia native and the former administrator of NASA, will receive the David H. Wilkins Award for Excellence in Civic Leadership from Furman University’s Riley Institute on Jan. 9.

Bolden will receive the award, named for S.C. Speaker of the House David Wilkins, at a ceremony at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

Bolden served as the 12th administrator of NASA under President Barack Obama. An astronaut and naval aviator, Bolden retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2003 and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2006. His military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Rep. Weston Newton will receive the David H. Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership. Elected to the S.C. House of Representatives in 2013, Newton is the chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee and serves on the Judiciary Committee.

“At a time when civility in public discourse and cooperative bipartisanship are critical to making progress, South Carolina’s citizens look to their leaders to put aside differences and work together for the good of our state,” said Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute, in a news release. “Weston and Charles exemplify the kind of leadership that moves our state forward.”

Wilkins will co-host the event with the U.S. Secretary of Education and former two-term S.C. governor Dick Riley and Furman president Elizabeth Davis.

A reception for registered attendees begins at 6 p.m., with dinner and the awards presentation following at 7 p.m. Tickets are $125 each and can be purchased by calling 864-235-8330 or visiting the Riley Institute website

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