Krause Center honors Dr. John Palms, ’58, for distinguished leadership and service

John Palms, Ph.D. - Krause Award

The most prestigious award presented by the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics is normally announced at the annual Principled Leadership Symposium, which was canceled due to COVID-19. Despite this, the Krause Center is still recognizing this year’s awardee.

John Palms, Ph.D., a member of The Citadel Class of 1958, is the recipient of the 2020 Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics.

“An internationally recognized scientist and academician, national security advisor, eminent educator and public servant, distinguished Citadel graduate, and tireless advocate for humanitarian causes, Dr. Palms exemplifies to the highest degree, the ethos of the Krause Award and the essence of servant-leadership,” wrote Darin Zimmerman, Ph.D., Dean of the Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics, in his nomination letter.

Palms graduated from The Citadel as a distinguished Air Force ROTC cadet, receiving a commission into the U.S. Air Force. After earning an Masters of Science in Physics in 1959, he began serving as a nuclear weapons officer. Following his Air Force active duty, he completed his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of New Mexico and joined the faculty at Emory University where he served for 23 years, moving from an assistant professor to the university’s Chief Academic Officer.

Palms later served as the President of Georgia State University before becoming the President of the University of South Carolina, where he served for almost 12 years.

“Despite his numerous accolades and many top-tier administrative and advisory roles, Dr. John Palms is a humble human being, who thinks of others before himself, and who sees and seeks the good in his fellow man. His life-long pursuit of excellence with integrity, exemplifying our core values of honor, duty, and respect, qualify him as the ideal recipient of the 2020 Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership, and Ethics.”  Col. Tom Clark, Executive Director of the Krause Center for Leadership & Ethics

Palms has published over 60 scientific and technical papers and reports, and he holds honorary degrees from The Citadel and the University of South Carolina.

In 2012 the University of South Carolina named a building, the John M. Palms Center for Graduate Science Research, in his honor.

The Citadel’s  Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics creates and advances collaborative programs, ethics education, and community engagement to develop principled leaders. The center creates opportunities for leader development through structured courses, ethics bowl competitions, leadership conferences, and service learning & civic engagement programs for Citadel cadets, students, faculty and staff.