The Daily Gamecock

College of HRSM collects NASCAR gift

$40,000 scholarshiop donation honors late Gamecock athlete at SEVT conference


The NASCAR Foundation gave $40,000 to USC’s sport and entertainment management department Thursday during the Sport Entertainment and Venues Tomorrow conference at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

The foundation donated the money, designated for scholarship funds, to honor the late Jim Hunter, who played football for the university before establishing a lengthy NASCAR career during which he served as NASCAR vice president of corporate communications, a founding board member of the NASCAR Foundation, president of Darlington Raceway and a member of the motorsports media.

“Jim Hunter was on our board of directors, and because of his legacy and background here at the university, the family felt that it was fitting for them to choose this as one of the charities,” said the foundation’s senior marketing coordinator Jennifer George.

Jim Hunter was a tailback and tight end for USC and also played baseball for the Gamecocks, according to Matt McKernan, Hunter’s son-in-law and a 1988 USC graduate.

He added that Hunter also played a role in lobbying between South Carolina and NASCAR.

“One of the hallmarks of his success was his ability to really connect with people, build relationships,” McKernan said. “He was always focused on helping others.”

Now the money that commemorates Hunter will indeed be helping sport and entertainment management students afford their education.

The money will give a continued opportunity for students who wouldn’t have the chance to study in the sport and entertainment management department, said Andy Gillentine, the department’s chair.

“It’s going to give what Jim would’ve wanted,” he said.

Still, Gillentine doesn’t know the specifics on how the money will be distributed to students.

“I’m not positive on how much we can give year one, year two, year three — but I do know that even if it’s anywhere from $500 to $2,500 ... it’s a great thing,” he said.

The department’s scholarship committee and university financial services will determine how much the department can allot every year to maintain the fund. Gillentine hopes the fund will gain further contribution over the years.

“I think it’ll continue to grow, because there are so many people that felt so strongly about Jim,” Gillentine said. “I think people will want to continue to honor his memory this way.”


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