Our good friend Bud Ferillo — who once had his office in our building, many years ago — received a well-deserved honor from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina: the Leadership in Diversity Award.
The event was touched by tragedy — Charleston Mayor Joe Riley was supposed to make the presentation to Bud, but was unable to get away because of the horrific murder of nine people during a bible study class Wednesday night.
Nevertheless, the event soldiered on, celebrating some of the bright spots in our state amid the sorrow.
Bud, over the years, has been much more than our friend. For one thing, he done much in the service of the various ministries of the Sisters, including Healthy Learners and Providence Hospital itself.
Beyond that, he’s done a great deal for South Carolina in his long and varied career, particularly as an advocate for social justice.
The Foundation explained the award this way:
The Leadership in Diversity Award was accepted by Bud Ferillo. He was chosen as the recipient of this award because of his exemplary performance in the area of diversity and inclusion. The award honors those that serve as a model and whose accomplishments are made through community engagement, awareness, bridge building, compassionate leadership and courageous advocacy.
Ferillo has served as chief of staff to the Speaker of the House in 1974, Deputy Lieutenant Governor of S.C. in 1983, and worked closely with Gov. Richard W. Riley to draft and pass the state’s Education Improvement Act in 1984. He also produced and directed an award winning film in 2005, CORRIDOR OF SHAME: The Neglect of South Carolina’s Rural Schools, as a part of a multi-year effort to build awareness for the needs of S.C.’s poorest school districts. Ferillo also partnered with the Foundation and the South Carolina State Museum to create the “Faces of Poverty” exhibit. This exhibit was viewed by hundreds of school children and citizens as it traveled throughout S.C.
Reached by phone on Friday, on the way to a meeting with Mayor Riley and the Rev. Joseph Darby to discuss events in the wake of the shootings, Bud expressed his deep appreciation for the recognition.
It meant all the more to him coming from a Catholic institution that is committed to social justice.
I was an altar boy from about age 5 or 6 until graduation from high school, and served hundreds of masses a year in virtually every parish in the peninsula, along with Joe Riley,” he said. “I feel my life is shaped by my Catholic faith, and the priests and nuns at Bishop England High School, who would often slip away and participate in civil rights events.”
Those mentors would have been proud of their student this week.
Also honored at the awards luncheon were:
- The Rev. Tony McDade, who received the Grantee Individual Award “for his work in the GAIHN program. He leads the only organization in the Greenville area that provides for homeless families with children. Rev. McDade puts a large emphasis on collaboration with community partners, helping his organization reach and impact more families.”
- Dee Dee Chewning, who received the Catalyst Award “because of her servant leadership through volunteerism, community involvement and professional contributions.”
- Neighborhood House, which received the Grantee Organization Award because it “has served the poor of Charleston for 100 years now. Its primary function is to provide services to keep people safe, fed, and clothed while also emphasizing the importance of education and self-reliance.”
View the video about Bud below: