Former Mayor Riley to be awarded for service to the arts


Way to go, Joe

Former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. is this year’s recipient of the Mary Ramsay Civic Award for his years of dedication to civic and charitable leadership in the community. Riley will be honored by the Spoleto Festival USA during an award luncheon on Friday, April 8, at the Governor Thomas Bennett House in downtown Charleston.

“Throughout his tenure, Joe Riley has played a major and passionate leadership role, publicly and broadly, to assist in evolving Spoleto Festival USA into an international premier performing arts festival,” say Norma and John Palms, who were the first recipients of the Mary Ramsay Civic Award. Mr. Palms currently serves as a vice president on the Spoleto Festival USA board of directors.

The civic award is given in honor of Mary Croghan Ramsay, who served Charleston as an advocate for those with special needs and promoted the performing arts. The former owner of Croghan’s Jewel Box passed away in 2009 at the age of 87.

Riley spoke to the Post and Courier following Ramsay’s death, saying, “Mary was an extraordinary force for people with disabilities. Charleston and South Carolina are a better place because of her. She supported Spoleto financially and personally, was an advocate of the arts and a leader in the community. The legacy of her achievements in Charleston is extraordinary.”

In 2015, the Mary Ramsay Civic Award was given to philanthropist and chairman of Ingram Industries Martha Rivers Ingram. Other past recipients include former Spoleto chairman and board chairman of the Beach Company Charles S. Way Jr. and former MUSC President Dr. Raymond S. Greenberg.

Tickets to the event, sponsored by South State Bank, can be purchased online or by phone at 843-720-1114. Sales will go to benefit Spoleto Festival USA. Riley is also scheduled to be the guest host of the festival’s 40th Season Celebration Concert in the Gaillard Center on Sat. May 28. Tickets are still available for this concert.

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