Sullivan to Deliver 2011 Winter Commencement Address

For more information
, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Nov. 8, 2011 – Charles L. Sullivan Jr., retired executive vice president of Sonoco Products, will present the 2011 winter commencement address and be awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters, President Robert Wyatt announced today.

"We are honored that Charles has accepted our invitation,” Wyatt said. “In the faces of Coker’s newest graduates and their families, Charles will see optimism founded in the confidence that comes with lessons well learned.  In his, our guests will see the satisfaction of personal achievement and open-hearted generosity.

“Charles Sullivan’s extraordinary career and his personal commitment to our region’s young people will inspire and challenge us all,” Wyatt added. “Winter Commencement 2011 will be remembered as a wonderful family celebration and treasured as an important milestone in amazing Coker stories that are yet to unfold.”

Before he retired from Sonoco in 2010, Sullivan had global operating responsibility for the Company's businesses serving consumer markets, including Sonoco’s rigid paper and plastic containers, flexible packaging, closures, pack centers, point-of-purchase and fulfillment, graphics management and laser-engraved printing cylinders. He also served as a member of the Company's executive committee.

In 2010 the Gravure Education Foundation and the Gravure Association of America honored Sullivan with the prestigious Gravure Person of the Year Award.

Sullivan joined Sonoco in 2000 after 19 years of service with Cargill, an international marketer and processor of agricultural, financial and industrial products, including positions as regional director of Cargill Asia/Pacific and as president of Cargill's Salt Division.

Since joining the Coker College Board of Trustees in 2002, Sullivan served as Vice Chair from 2002 to 2006 and as Chair from 2006-2010. He also served on the steering committee of the Gateway to the New Century Campaign, the College’s recent record-breaking capital campaign, which raised $24 million.  The fundraising effort enabled the college to make significant investments in the campus community, including the construction of the 40,000-square foot, $6.5 million Charles W. and Joan S. Coker Library-information Technology Center.  Millions of dollars from the campaign also went to improving academic programs, residence halls and campus landscaping.

He served as chairman of the Salt Institute and as a member of its CEO Council and is a member of the American Management Association.  He is the past chairman of the Associate Member Council of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and also served on the President’s Advisory Council of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. He is a member of the Clemson University Foundation Board.

Especially active in Hartsville, he has served a number of community organizations including as a member of the Board of Deacons at First Baptist Church and as president of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of the Upper Pee Dee.

Sullivan is married to Betty Young Sullivan, Coker College Class of ’71, who received Coker’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2009.  They have two children, Rosemary and Duncan, and four grandchildren.

Winter Commencement will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 16 in the Watson Theater of Coker College’s Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center.  Because seating is limited, the service will be broadcast live online. For more information, call 843-857-4111.

Photo: Charles L. Sullivan Jr.


Established in 1908, Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.


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