John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service:
Champ Covington stayed pretty busy during his Davidson college days, and if you look at what kept him occupied, there are clues to what has kept him busy since he graduated in 1966 with a degree in English. Champ was a cheerleader, a young man who knew how to have fun and encourage others to join him. He was part of the YMCA student service corps, giving time and effort even then to make his community a better place to live. And Champ was an avid golfer in those days, captain of Davidson's team.
It is understood in many communities that Davidson alumni are the ones to turn to when a job needs doing, and it seems that in upstate South Carolina, Champ Covington has been that man for over thirty years. It's no wonder he created the Thornblade Classic, turning his lifelong love of golf into a way to bring resources and attention to public education and charities in the Greenville area. With all the boards he's sat on and led and the economic development he's spearheaded, it may have been the only way he could find the time to play.
After Davidson, Champ moved quickly into the building trade and into the role of a community leader. The homes and shopping centers he's built could fill a small town. But building in the conventional sense was not enough. Determined to improve the communities where those new homes were built, Champ has raised funds for public education and for the arts. He has served the boards of the United Way, local hospital system, Urban League, and Chamber of Commerce, among many others. He's helped create a high school for young artists, and a place for them to experience the arts and to perform one day. His leadership of the South Carolina Infrastructure Bank Board insured fair allocation of millions of dollars in highway funds for new and improved rural roads throughout his region of the state of South Carolina. And he has taken his schoolmate Joe Martin's initiative for improving race relations-having lunch one day a week with a member of another race-into his own community and given it life and leadership.
For these good works and others, Champ Covington has been recognized many times over. He has been named Greenville's Most Influential Person of the Year and has received the Greenville Urban League's prestigious Whitney M. Young Humanitarian Award. He has received South Carolina's Order of the Palmetto, not once, but twice.
Because you are a builder not just of structures, but of community; because you are a champion for progress in all its forms, because you have stood up and fought for children, healthcare, education, transportation, and the arts; because you are valued in your community as a source of wise counsel and a fair-minded consensus builder; and because you have made your alma mater proud, the Alumni Association presents to you, Howard Wall Covington, Jr., the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service, on the occasion of the Class of 1966's 35th Reunion, April 21, 2001.