|John McKee Spratt ’64 Receives an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
October 28, 2008
Contact: Bill Giduz
Shirley Chisolm once said that “Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.” If Representative Chisolm had it right, then The Honorable John McKee Spratt has paid his rent in full.
John grew up in York, South Carolina, and he and his wife, Jane Stacy, still call that town home. After graduating from York High School, where he was student body president, he came to Davidson College, where he majored in history, won election to Phi Beta Kappa, and—once again—served as student body president. In this role he was a strong advocate for the college’s racial integration.
Following graduation, he studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship. He completed a law degree at Yale before entering the U.S. Army, where he served as a captain from 1969 to 1971 and earned a Meritorious Service Medal. He returned to South Carolina to practice law, lead a bank, own a farm, and manage a small insurance agency. He also took leadership positions at York’s First Presbyterian Church, the Chamber of Commerce, Divine Saviour Hospital, and the local United Way.
In 1982, John was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat from South Carolina’s Fifth District. Now in his 13th term, he chairs the House Budget Committee and serves on the House Armed Services Committee. With a well-deserved reputation on Capitol Hill for hard work, fiscal responsibility, and legislative effectiveness, he has been praised as a bridge-builder and as one who “consistently demonstrates a depth of knowledge about the work of the House that few can match.” In a 2006 survey of congressional staffers, John finished in the top three in the categories of “Workhorse” and “House Member I’d Like to See Win the Presidency in 2008.”
A loyal Davidson alumnus, John has served on the Board of Visitors and Board of Trustees. He generously gives his time and energy to the Davidson in Washington program, and in 1997, he received the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
In view of these many accomplishments, perhaps John’s most inspiring achievement has been to help Jane raise and nurture three daughters, and to find the time to delight in their impressive careers and growing families.
BECAUSE you have consistently chosen to use your intelligence and education in the service of your fellow citizens, and to further our national ideals of opportunity and justice for all; and
BECAUSE, with an easy humor and an abiding passion, you are known among your peers and your constituents for straight talk and getting the job done; and
BECAUSE your natural blend of “Hill style” and “home style” encourages presidents and farmers alike to call you “John”; and
BECAUSE you are a visible and effective ambassador of the liberal arts, bringing honor to alma mater through courageous public engagement, and exemplifying Davidson’s mission of leadership and service among its graduates;
NOW THEREFORE, on this 25th day of October in the year 2008, Davidson College honors you, John McKee Spratt, and names you Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Posted By: Bill Giduz