Simrill is majority leader in the S.C. House of Representatives and serves as the second vice-chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. He also chairs the Ways and Means Higher Education subcommittee. Simrill, a lifelong resident of Rock Hill, has represented House District 46 (York County) since 1992.
“There is no stronger advocate for higher education in South Carolina than Gary Simrill,” said Jerry Cheatham, chair of the SCICU Board of Trustees. “Gary appreciates the power of a college education to transform lives. He has worked to put college within the grasp of deserving South Carolinians, including through his support of the state Tuition Grants Program, which last year provided more than 12,000 South Carolina resident undergraduates with grants to stay in-state and attend private colleges and universities of their choice.”
“Gary Simrill has successfully tackled the major issues facing South Carolina by working with both sides of the aisle,” said SCICU President and CEO Perez. “We at SCICU are honored to have the opportunity of acknowledging Gary’s principled leadership and support for independent higher education by naming him our Legislative Champion for 2021.”
For many years SCICU has hosted students from its 20 member colleges and universities for a Statehouse Day during Independent Colleges and Universities Week, during which the Legislative Champion meets with students and discusses the importance of the S.C. Tuition Grants Program. The Statehouse Day celebrates the culmination of the student letter-writing program in which SCICU students who are Tuition Grants recipients send thousands of thank-you letters to their S.C. representatives and senators for their continued support of the S.C. Tuition Grants Program.
This year, as a COVID-19 precaution, the Statehouse Day will be virtual – students will meet with Rep. Simrill, via video link, and will share on social media the positive impact of the Tuition Grants Program.
“Meeting with the Legislative Champion has always energized students,” said Perez. “Although COVID-19 halted our plans to bring students to the Statehouse this year, the pandemic won’t diminish their enthusiasm.”