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Order of the Palmetto

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Governor John C. West presented the first Order of the Palmetto in the summer of 1971.   Many of the early awardees were foreign businessmen being recruited to invest in South Carolina.  Over the years, the use of the award has varied from administration to administration and has been used to recognize outstanding achievements of South Carolina citizens, contributions to South Carolina and as a political reward.  Concern by the public over misuse of the award led Governor Hodges to set up a non-partisan panel in 1999 that established criteria and a nomination process for this award and the Order of the Silver Crescent.

This list of recipients of the Order of the Palmetto is as complete as possible based on the extant gubernatorial records available at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, but two major gaps exist due to incomplete records for those periods.  Only two dated presentations have been located for the year 1974 (Governor West).  In addition, no lists have been found for the first twenty months of the Riley administration (all of 1979 and Jan.-Aug. 1980). 

Several sources were used by Archives staff in compiling the list: lists compiled by the Archives staff from two Order of the Palmetto folders in Gov. West’s Gubernatorial Papers at the Archives; an alphabetical card file of the honorees kept by the staff of Gov. Edwards, 1975-1979; a chronological printout from a database of recipients maintained by Gov. Campbell's staff, 1987-1994; a chronological printout from a database maintained by the printing services area of the Governor's Office, Sept. 10, 1980-May 11, 1999; an awards database maintained by Gov. Hodges’ staff; files received from the Legal Counsel of Gov. Sanford, 2003-2007; and a file of copies of certificates presented to honorees whose names do not appear in the other sources. 

Order of the Palmetto, alphabetically by recipient

Order of the Palmetto by Governor