Charleston, SC Chapter of The Links Announces 2020 Gala Host Committee


Dr. Paula Orr

The Charleston, SC Chapter of The Links has announced its host committee for A Celebration of Excellence in Education, set for Saturday, February 22, 2020 at the Marriott Charleston Ballroom at 6:30pm. Dr. Paula Orr, president of the Charleston chapter, announced plans to celebrate the excellence of eight historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) at the 2020 fundraising event.

The Links Love HBCUs gala will provide an opportunity for the Links to raise scholarship support for students enrolled at Allen University (Columbia); Benedict College (Columbia), Claflin University (Orangeburg); Clinton College (Rock Hill); Denmark Technical College (Denmark); Morris College (Sumter); South Carolina State University (Orangeburg); and Voorhees College (Denmark). 

“Significant challenges face HBCUs and their students. Diminishing federal, private and public financial support can be supported by our collective efforts,” Dr. Orr said. “The host committee consists of community leaders who agree that HBCUs have been pivotal in the realization of the American Dream that has provided educational and professional opportunities for African Americans,” she continued.

Congressman James E. Clyburn

Congressman James E. Clyburn is chairman of the 2020 Host Committee – Clyburn is the Majority Whip and the third-ranking Democrat in the United States House of Representatives.  He previously served in the post from 2007 to 2011 and served as Assistant Democratic Leader from 2011 to 2019.

Congressman Clyburn is a passionate supporter of historic preservation and restoration programs.  His efforts have restored scores of historic buildings and sites on the campuses of HBCUs.  His legislation created the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, elevated the Congaree National Monument to a National Park, and established the Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

Other members of the Host Committee follow:

Rev. Byron Benton

Rev. Byron Benton, Pastor, Mt. Moriah Mission Baptist Church

The Rev. Dr. Byron L. Benton is a native of Greensboro, NC and a graduate of North Carolina A&T University. Pastor Benton completed his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary (Princeton, NJ) with a focus on Homiletics and Pastoral Care and has a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University (Philadelphia, PA).

He became the senior pastor at Mt. Moriah MBC in December of 2018. Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Inc. was founded in 1982.

Jonathan Green

Jonathan Green, Ambassador of Arts, City of Charleston

Painter and printmaker Johnathan Green is considered one of the most important contemporary painters of the Southern experience. Born in Gardens Corner, SC, Green was the second of seven children. He was raised in the home of his maternal grandmother, where he learned the Gullah Dialect and culture of the coastal Southeast.

Green graduated from Beaufort High School. He joined the U.S. Air Force in order to travel and obtain an education. He received a B.F.A, degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982.

His work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including The Morris Museum (Augusta, GA); The Afro-American Museum (Philadelphia, PA); The Naples Museum of Art (Naples, FL); and The IFCC Cultural Center (Portland, OR). Green has received numerous awards recognizing his work and civic contributions. In 1996, Green received an honorary doctorate from the University of South Carolina. In 2009, Green received the Key of Life Award in visual fine arts at the NAACP’s fortieth Image Awards.

Wilbur Johnson, Esq.

Wilbur Johnson, Esq. / Partner, Young Clement Rivers LLC

Wilbur E. Johnson has served as the firm’s Managing Partner since 2009.  He practices primarily in the area of employment and labor law. Prior to joining the Young Clement Rivers in 1994, Johnson worked as an assistant attorney general in the office of the Attorney General of South Carolina.  While attending law school, he was the recipient of the Earl Warren Legal Training Fellowship.  Johnson is also a certified Circuit Court Arbitrator. He received the J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1979 and the B.A. from Augusta State University in 1976.

Marlon Kimpson

Marlon Kimpson, Esq. / Partner, Motley Rice LLC

Marlon Kimpson is an American politician from the state of South Carolina. He is a member of the South Carolina Senate, representing the 42nd district. Kimpson attended Morehouse College, graduating in 1991, and the University of South Carolina School of Law, graduating in 1999.

At the Motley Rice Law Firm, Kimpson represents victims of corporate malfeasance, from investors in securities fraud cases to people injured or killed in catastrophic incidents.

Kimpson also represents individuals, state and municipality pension funds, multi-employer plans, unions and other institutional investors in securities fraud class actions and mergers and acquisition cases to help recover assets and improve corporate governance.


Brenda Lauderback

Brenda Lauderback, Chair, Board of Directors, Denny’s, Inc.

Brenda Lauderback is the Chairman of Denny’s Corporation. A member of the board of directors of Sleep Number Corporation and Wolverine World Wide, she was also the past President of Wholesale and Retail for Nine West Group, Inc., a footwear manufacturer and distributor. 

Lauderback has also been Vice President and General Manager for the Department Store Division of Target Corporation which included Dayton’s, Hudson’s and Marshall Fields. Lauderback was born in Pittsburgh, PA and earned her B.S. degree in marketing from Robert Morris University (PA).  

In 2016, she was named as the board chair of Denny’s Inc. Lauderback has also served on the board of nonprofit organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the South Carolina Aquarium and as a member of the Committee of 200. In 2017, she was named to the National Association of Corporate Directors’ Directorship 100 list. Lauderback has been featured in Ebony, Jet, Essence, Black Enterprise, Forbes and Savoy magazines.

Dr. David E. Rivers

Dr. David E. Rivers, Senior Director, MUSC

David Rivers is currently the Director of Public Information and Community Outreach (PICO) at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Since 1995, he has served MUSC in promoting partnerships between academic institutions, government agencies and elected officials, business and industry, faith-based groups and community activists. Rivers also currently serves as Advisory Board Chairman for the ongoing National Conference on Health Disparities (NCHD).

Rivers earned undergraduate and graduate degrees and completed coursework toward a doctoral degree at Georgia State University. He is a graduate of the National Urban Fellows Program in Public Administration (Yale University) and the Riley Institute Diversity Leadership Program (Furman University). He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Allen University (Columbia, SC).

He is Chairman of the James E. Clyburn Research and Scholarship Foundation and President of the Jonathan Green Foundation. He is also a member of the Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards for the National Forum for Black Public Administrators; the Center for Latino Community Health (Long Beach, CA); the National Urban Fellows; the Sea Island Comprehensive Health Care Corporation (Johns Island, SC); and Allen University. 

Joan Robinson-Berry

Joan Robinson-Berry, Vice President, Boeing Global Services

Joan Robinson-Berry is Vice President and Chief Engineer for Boeing Global Services. As engineering leader, Robinson-Berry is responsible for strengthening Boeing’s enterprise engineering and encouraging a company-wide approach to meet customer, business and operational priorities, with an emphasis on safety, quality, and integrity.

Previously, Robinson-Berry was Vice President of Engineering, Modifications & Maintenance for Boeing Global Services (BGS), providing support to BGS’ government and commercial customers. She also formerly served as vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina (BSC), where she held leadership responsibility for the facilities in North Charleston. 

Robinson-Berry holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and a Master of Science in Engineering Management & Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside. Robinson-Berry is an Associate Technical Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Fellow of the African Scientific Institute. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Charleston Southern University (Business), Allen University (Law) and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Engineering).

Arnold Singleton

Arnold Singleton, Senior Vice President, Santee Cooper

Arnold Singleton is currently the Senior Vice President of Power Delivery at Santee Cooper, South Carolina’s state-owned electric utility company where he also served as Vice President of Administration.    

The native of Ehrhardt, SC, Singleton has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from The Citadel, a Master of Science in administration and human resources from Central Michigan University, and a Doctor of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.  Singleton is also a licensed professional engineer in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland.

The Charleston (SC) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is a 501 © 3 organization serving underserved populations in the trident region. The Charleston chapter will celebrate 69 years of service at its February 22nd gala. For sponsorship opportunities, to reserve tables for college alumni or purchase individual tickets, email Dorothy G. Harrison, Gala Chairperson, at [email protected] or call 843.727.2530.



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