Dr. John Palms, 1958, honored by the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics at the Citadel


Palms, former president of the University of South Carolina, honored at his alma mater’s military review parade

Photo above, left to right: Dr. John Palms, the Citadel Class of 1958, recipient of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics, stands next to the Citadel Commandant of Cadets, Colonel Thomas J. Gordon, USMC (Ret.), during the national anthem, to provide an update on the South Carolina Corps of Cadets Dedicated Military Parade in Palms on March 4, 2022.

The Citadel’s Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics strives to create opportunities for leadership development, in support of the college’s mission to educate and develop principled leaders. Additionally, the Krause Center strives to recognize outstanding principled leaders among Citadel alumni.

Due to a pandemic-forced break in the calendar, Dr. John M. Palms was recognized as the 2020 recipient of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics during the South Carolina Corps of Cadets dress parade on the campus on March 4, 2022.

“We are very pleased to honor and recognize Dr. John Palms as the 2020 recipient of the Krause Center for Leadership & Ethics Award for his service as a military officer, nuclear scientist, professor and president of the University of Carolina South, which is unparalleled among Citadel’s list of distinguished alumni,” said Bill Krause.

Palms was nominated for the 2020 award by the CEO of the Citadel Foundation and by the Dean of the Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics in 2019.

I have the distinct privilege of presenting the nomination of Dr. John M. Palms, 1958, for the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics. An internationally renowned scientist and academic, national security adviser, eminent educator and public servant, distinguished Citadel graduate and tireless advocate for humanitarian causes, Dr. Palms exemplifies, to the highest degree, the philosophy of the Krause Prize and the essence of the servant leadership. . This is the story of a life well lived, of a man running to win the prize of ascending calling.

Darin T. Zimmerman, Ph.D., Dean of the Citadel Swain Family School of Sciences and Mathematics

By Zimmerman’s naming, Palms was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to the United States in 1951, becoming a citizen in 1956. He earned a degree in physics from the Citadel as an Air Force ROTC Distinguished Cadet in 1958, receiving a commission in the United States Air Force (USAF). While on active duty with the USAF, Palms earned a master’s degree in physics, served as a nuclear weapons officer, and taught physics at the Air Force Academy. After being honorably discharged in 1970, Palms completed a doctorate. in physics and joined the faculty of Emory University, where he rose through the ranks, eventually being appointed Charles Howard Chandler Professor of Radiation and Environmental Physics. Palms’ 23-year career at Emory was marked by ever-increasing responsibility and leadership, culminating in his role as the university’s director of studies. This accumulated experience led to a two-year turn as president of Georgia State University, after which he accepted the invitation to become the 26and president of the University of South Carolina, a position he held faithfully and successfully for 12 years.

Left to right: Col. Tom Clark, USMC (Retired), Executive Director of the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics, congratulates Dr. John Palms, ’58, recipient of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics, on Le 4 March 2022, during the South Carolina Corps of Cadets Military Parade, March 4, on campus in Charleston, South Carolina.

To complement his remarkably successful career, he chaired as a director the boards of directors of several national companies. He has fellowships named in his honor at Purdue University and Linn State Technical College, as well as a scientific research center named after him at the University of South Carolina.

Jay Dowd, III, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, The Citadel Foundation

According to Dowd’s nomination letter, Palms received honorary doctorates from several institutions of higher education, including The Citadel in 1980 and the University of South Carolina in 2002. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from two of the institutions including he graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2003 and from the Citadel in 2009. In 2002, he was awarded the Order of the Palm, the highest honor bestowed by the state of South Carolina.

Other recipients of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics, launched in 2011, include Col. Myron C. Harrington Jr., ’60; Lt. Gen. Mike Steele, ’67; Dr. Stephen Sittnick, ’77; Senator Fritz Hollings, ’42; former Charleston major (now Citadel professor) Joseph P. Riley Jr., ’64; William B. Sansom, ’64; Gen. William W. Hartzog, ’63; W. Henry Johnson Jr., ’75 and Frank P. Mood, ’60.

John Palms, Ph.D. - Krause Award
John M. Palms, Ph.D., The Citadel Class of 1958, recipient of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics, 2020.

Read the full Citadel Foundation CEO appointment letter here.

Read the full nomination letter from the Dean of the Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics here.

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