Munns and Allen Receive Honorary Degrees
USC Aiken Honors Long-time Supporters
Aiken, SC (05/09/2018) — Honorary degrees were conferred upon Vice Adm. (ret.) Charles Munns and Ernest R. Allen by the USC Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina during the spring commencement at USC Aiken on May 9.
"USC Aiken is extremely grateful for Admiral Munns' leadership and vision, while Mr. Allen's efforts have guaranteed that USC Aiken is well positioned to offer South Carolina employers young leaders who are articulate and critical thinkers," Jordan said. "We are indeed fortunate that they both remain stalwart ambassadors for the University of South Carolina Aiken."
Admiral Munns, received an honorary doctorate of public service and was also the keynote speaker for the event.
A member of the South Carolina Commission for Higher Education, Munns is "staunchly committed to public higher education at all levels and understands the transformative impact obtaining a baccalaureate degree can have on graduates and their families," said Chancellor Sandra J. Jordan.
Munns served for 34 years in the U.S. Navy's most high-profile and challenging positions. In his last assignment for the Navy, he was commander of the U.S. Submarine Force, which included all U.S. submarines worldwide.
As a submarine officer, he spent his career preserving the nation's security, operating its nuclear submarine reactors and safeguarding its nuclear weapons. He has also led a large Department of Defense acquisition program, serving as program manager for the $7 billion Navy Marine Corps Intranet project. This brought secure, cost-effective, modern computing to the Department of the Navy. It is the largest corporate intranet in the world and is used by U.S. Navy employees worldwide.
The admiral also served as commander of NATO submarines, working with all NATO member countries to provide safe and effective submarine policies and procedures.
Although he retired from active duty as a naval officer in 2007, Munns continues to serve the U.S. Department of Defense as a special advisor to the U.S. Strategic Command. Additionally, he serves as president of Munns Advisement LLC and a special advisor to ASM - International Materials Information Society.
He was president and chief executive officer of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC from 2007 through 2009. In this position, he assembled a team that won a Department of Energy contract. After facilitating a seamless transition, he led the company that would go on to operate the Department of Energy site in a safe, effective and efficient manner, employing more than 9,000 people with an annual budget of $2 billion.
While at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, he partnered closely with USC Aiken to help establish emerging programs relevant to meeting national security and next-generation workforce demands. He continues to collaborate with the university on a variety of initiatives, particularly those related to cybersecurity, engineering and environmental remediation. Munns has also served as chairman of the board for the Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness.
An honorary doctorate of humane letters was awarded to Allen who was an active member of the Aiken County Commission for Higher Education for more than two decades and served as the commission's chair beginning in 2014.
While he retired from his position in May 2017, Mr. Allen remains a champion for the USC Aiken.
As an executive with Campbell Soup Company and Pepperidge Farm Inc., for many years, he dedicated much of his time, talent and resources to civic and community efforts. Allen worked tirelessly to ensure an affordable and accessible baccalaureate higher education for students.
His close relationship with South Carolina legislators allowed him the opportunity to lobby on behalf of USC Aiken and all of higher education in South Carolina.
Throughout his association with the Aiken County Commission for Higher Education, Mr. Allen's mission was to create a university in Aiken that helps students achieve their personal and educational goals.
During his more than 20 years of involvement, he guided the commission and helped shepherd USC Aiken through a period of tremendous growth. Milestones that occurred during his tenure include construction at USC Aiken of two residence halls, the Convocation Center, the Roberto Hernandez Stadium, significant upgrades across campus, and establishment of the Veteran and Military Student Success Center.
In addition to leading the county higher education commission, Allen has served with many organizations in the county and state, including USC Aiken's Partnership Board, the Aiken County Human Affairs Commission, Aiken Chamber of Commerce and the United Way among many others. He served as chair of USC Aiken's Annual Fund Drive and chair of the Aiken County Manufacturers Council.
"Mr. Allen's efforts have guaranteed that USC Aiken is well positioned to offer South Carolina employers young leaders who are articulate and critical thinkers," Jordan said.