Press Release: GSSM Honors the People of Sonoco Products Company with Townes Award

March 28, 2022

GSSM Honors the People of Sonoco Products Company with Townes Award

Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) and its Foundation honored the People of Sonoco Products Company with the 2022 Townes Award during the twenty-eighth annual Townes Award celebration on Wednesday, March 23.

Named for South Carolinian Dr. Charles Townes, whose visionary spirit and pioneering research led to the invention of the laser, the Townes Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have transformed South Carolina and the world.

GSSM presented the Townes Award to the People of Sonoco Products Company to honor them for Transforming Lives and Creating Community with GSSM, Hartsville, South Carolina, and around the world. Lou Kennedy, President and CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, who was the recipient of the 2021 Townes Award along with her husband Bill, introduced Sonoco’s President and CEO Howard Coker, who accepted the award on behalf of the people of Sonoco.

In 1987, Sonoco President Charlie Coker envisioned a public residential governor’s high school in Hartsville. He worked with then South Carolina Governor-elect Carroll Campbell to charter GSSM, which began educating high school juniors and seniors in fall 1988. Today, GSSM serves more than 4,000 South Carolina students, from elementary through high school, every year and is ranked the top high school in South Carolina.

Since GSSM’s founding, the people of Sonoco have played pivotal roles to ensure the growth and success of the Governor’s School. They have served on the GSSM Board of Trustees and GSSM Foundation Board of Directors, led capital campaigns, and provided significant corporate and personal support to launch new initiatives and fund scholarships.

“We are thrilled to present the People of Sonoco Products Company with the 2022 Townes Award. The contributions of time, talent, and resources of the Sonoco Products Company and its people to GSSM are so significant that two past presidents of Sonoco, Charlie Coker, and Harris DeLoach, were honored individually with the Townes Award. Yet there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people of Sonoco who have worked with GSSM throughout its history to create and nurture the community we have formed and sustain together. Now is the time, and 2022 is the year for all the people of Sonoco Products Company to be so honored,” said Danny Dorsel, GSSM President and GSSM Class of 1990.

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