In May 2020, Greg Garvan and Priscilla Quirk established the Carrie Kilgore Endowed Scholarship for students participating in the newly established 1967 Legacy Program led by associate professor Valerie Frazier ’91 through the Office of Institutional Diversity. The program, named after the year the College of Charleston was racially integrated, is a multi-year initiative that aims to improve the recruitment, retention, graduation and workplace success of African American students through scholarships, enhanced and extended education support, and professional preparation, as well as research experiences around African Americans’ contributions to the College.
Greg and Priscilla, proud parents of Brady Quirk-Garvan ’08, have endowed this scholarship in honor of Carrie Trapp Kilgore, an African American woman who helped raise Greg and his siblings in Spartanburg, S.C. Kilgore and her husband John welcomed the three Garvan children into their lives and their home when they had no need to be so expansive. She was a South Carolina native, from near Columbia, and was a born leader. Her love for the Garvans encouraged Greg to grow a social consciousness as a teenager that has lived on throughout his life. “I may not always know what to do about injustice, but Carrie’s eyes help me see it; and I try to help where I can,” says Greg. “Her love for me taught me to do my best to try and love others, even those that I strongly disagreed with. God bless her and her presence in our lives.”
One of the most beloved people in Greg’s life, he says that Carrie had an almost perpetual smile and more love in her heart than anyone he knew. She also had a very strong clear moral compass and a belief that “God doesn’t love ugly,” as a rebuke to keep them from being mean. “Her ability to smile as she set you right was an amazing sight to see,” says Greg. He never doubted the love in her heart when she taught them right from wrong. Greg and his siblings considered her as a third parent in the house during their formative years. She even taught them how to do The Twist in their kitchen!
By creating this opportunity, Greg and Priscilla aim to continue honoring the special relationship between Carrie Kilgore and the Garvan family. They also created a scholarship in her honor at the Avery Research Center in the late 1990s. The Carrie Kilgore Endowed Scholarship, the first named scholarship established for the 1967 Legacy Program, is intended to help create opportunities for African American students to feel at home at the College through financial, emotional and relationship support that will ultimately create a sense of ownership and empowerment. As Rénard Harris, the College’s chief diversity officer, states of the 1967 Legacy Program, “This project is not supposed to be the same old same old. These students will get to tell their own story and how you should engage with them as opposed to someone telling them how they should engage. They take complete control, and that’s the beauty of life.”
To learn more about the 1967 Legacy Program, which will launch in Fall 2021, please click here.