In a recent column Brian Hicks praised Sen. Fritz Hollings for his unselfish advocacy for changing the name of the Hollings Judicial Center in downtown Charleston to the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center in honor of the Charleston judge whose rulings paved the way for the U.S. Supreme Court civil rights decision in 1954. Hicks, among others like Mayor Joe Riley, also supported the decision to erect a statue to honor Sen. Hollings for his distinguished career.
As governor of South Carolina, Hollings pioneered the creation of the state’s technical college system, and is widely regarded as one of its most successful chief executives. Many consider him to be the state’s most important federal officeholder of the 20th century. He is a graduate of The Citadel class of 1942, which is famous for its roster of distinguished military and civilian leaders. Among his acts of service to his alma mater is his successful effort to secure federal funding that proved indispensable to rebuilding Padgett-Thomas Barracks, the most prominent landmark on the campus.
Beyond his portrait displayed in the library, one can find on campus no visible or otherwise prominent recognition of his service to his nation, state and alma mater. A tribute commensurate with his significance could entail naming part of the new building housing the school of humanities and social sciences as the “Hollings Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences,”or a major academic program in his honor.
The Citadel recently created an endowed chair named for Citadel alumnus Mayor Joe Riley. The retiring mayor himself will occupy it. Surely the college should create a permanent testimony at The Citadel to the life and career of Sen. Hollings.
Gary Nichols, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of History