About the Townes Award

Since 1993, the Governor's School for Science & Mathematics has presented the Townes Award to honor individuals, businesses, or institutions that have transformed South Carolina and the world. Past winners have hailed from academic, business and political sectors.

Dr. Charles H. Townes (1915-2015) was a native South Carolinian, Furman graduate and Nobel Laureate in physics. In 1964, Dr. Townes received the Nobel Prize for his work in quantum electronics leading to the invention of the laser. This breakthrough transformed not only science, but also our everyday lives. The laser now is a ubiquitous part of the modern landscape in everything from supermarket bar code scanners to Blu-rayTM players, as well as surgery, fiber optic communication, laser printers and weapons guidance systems.

The 2021 Townes Award Celebration

The 2021 Townes Award was presented to Lou and Bill Kennedy of Nephron Pharmaceuticals. Watch the program on YouTube:


Order of the Event
MC: Alicia Barnes, Anchor, WIS News 10
Welcome Beth Dinndorf
Executive Director, GSSM Foundation
Recognition of Sponsors James Gergen
President & CEO, CPM Federal Credit Union
President, GSSM Foundation Board of Directors
GSSM Greetings Danny Dorsel '90
Interim President & Senior Vice President for Residential, GSSM
Board of Trustees Greetings Bob Brown
President, Integrated Systems
Chair, GSSM Board of Trustees
Convection Currents Experiment Devin Laye '21 and Elena Morgan '21
Alumni Speaker Dr. Shelley Elvington '96
Director of Analytical Operations, Genentech
Student Speaker Payton Baggott '22
Introduction of Honorees Dr. Ashley Daugherty
Chief Scientific Officer, Nephron Pharmaceuticals
GSSM Foundation Board Member
Presentation of Townes Award Beth Dinndorf and Danny Dorsel
Honoree Remarks Lou and Bill Kennedy
Co-owners, Nephron Pharmaceuticals