USC Union will welcome University of South Carolina Secretary Emeritus Thomas L. Stepp as the keynote speaker for the university’s Commencement Exercises, which will be held Saturday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the Truluck Activity Center.
Thomas L. Stepp was born on May 7, 1942, in Hendersonville, N.C. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with an A.B. Degree in Economics (Cum Laude) in 1964. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was the founding President of the Alpha of South Carolina Chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the national honor society of economics studies.
Stepp was associated with SC-ETV Network for more than 25 years, serving in various production capacities as scheduling coordinator, assistant to the president, deputy manager and senior vice president from 1982.
In September 1985, Stepp was named Assistant Vice President of the University of South Carolina and Director of the Koger Center for the Arts.
In August 1987, Stepp was elected Secretary of the University and of its Board of Trustees. He served the University concurrently as Treasurer from 2000-2008.
He was Chair of the Commencement and the Gift Naming Opportunities Committees and also served as a member and Secretary of the University’s Board of Visitors.
Stepp was a member of the Shakespeare Theatre Company Board of Trustees from 1987-2003 and its National Advisory Council from 2003-2009. He served three terms on the South Carolina Committee for the Humanities, including multiple terms as chair, and as a member and officer of the Board of Trustees of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics Foundation from 1990-2003.
In addition to Phi Beta Kappa, Stepp continues his membership in the Loblolly Society and the University of South Carolina Alumni Association and Gamecock Club. Stepp and his family are members of St. Martin’s-In-The-Fields Episcopal Church.
In 1992 he was named “Person of the Year” by the Columbia Advertising and Marketing Foundation. He was awarded South Carolina’s highest civilian honor — The Order of the Palmetto — in 2003. He received the University of South Carolina’s highest honor — the honorary doctoral degree — in 2011, and the University’s MLK Day Social Justice Award in 2012.
Stepp has been married to the former Sarah Cauthen since 1964, and they have two children, Carrie (Mrs. Andrew Graves) and Thomas Cauthen Stepp.
Due to limited seating, admission into the USC Union Commencement Exercises is by ticket only for everyone except the Platform Party, faculty members and graduating students.