President of SC Technical College System Receives Highest Civilian Honor
Dr. Tim Hardee is Awarded Order of the Palmetto
In a surprise ceremony, Governor Henry McMaster bestowed the Order of the Palmetto onto SC Technical College President Dr. Tim Hardee in recognition of a lifetime of service to the state and people of South Carolina. The Order of the Palmetto is the highest civilian honor awarded by the governor and is presented to South Carolinians who demonstrate extraordinary lifetime achievement, service and contributions of national or statewide significance.
Dr. Hardee was unaware that he had been nominated, and when asked to attend a budget meeting at the governor’s office on September 26, 2023, he had no idea that he would instead be greeted by family and friends who had come to see the presentation. Once Hardee made doubly sure there was no need for a budget discussion, Governor McMaster explained to everyone in attendance that the Order of the Palmetto is given to an individual whose service has reached the highest level and who contributes to the life and well-being of the people of South Carolina. He declared that Dr. Hardee “richly qualifies” for the award and added that his contributions have helped South Carolina’s technical college system be recognized as the best in the United States.
“I don’t usually like surprises, but this is a really good one.”
McMaster then read the inscription aloud: "‘In grateful recognition of your contributions and friendship to the State of South Carolina and her people, I do hereby confer upon Tim Hardee the Order of the Palmetto with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto.’”
“I don’t usually like surprises, but this is a really good one,” Dr. Hardee said upon receiving the award. “I’m a little speechless,” he admitted before adding that he felt blessed to be in this position. “It’s been an honor to serve the citizens of the state.”
Fittingly, the Order of the Palmetto was first given in 1971 by Governor John C. West who is known for being the state senator who helped Fritz Hollings draft the legislation that established South Carolina’s technical college system. It seems only right that the governor’s highest award will now hang in the office of the current president of the technical college system.
The South Carolina Department of Archives and History maintains a historical list of recipients of the Order of the Palmetto. Dr. Hardee’s name along with other individuals who have received the Order of the Palmetto from Henry McMaster will be added to the historical list once the sitting governor leaves office.