Skip to Content

University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

Thomas Cooper Society invites community to annual dinner with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, Program Room


The Thomas Cooper Society of the University of South Carolina Libraries is inviting all members of the community to its annual dinner with special guest Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on Monday, April 11, 2016 at Capstone House. The society will present Dr. Gates with the Thomas Cooper Medal for distinction in the arts and sciences at the event.

Dr. Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, and an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic and institution builder.

Dr. Gates has authored or co-authored twenty books and created 15 documentary films including Wonders of the African World, African American Lives, Faces of America, Black in Latin America, and Finding Your Roots. His six-part PBS documentary series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (2013), earned the Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Program — Long Form, as well as the Peabody Award, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, and NAACP Image Award. His latest film is a four-hour documentary series, And Still I Rise: Black America since MLK, airing on PBS in April 2016. A companion book he co-authored with Kevin M. Burke was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in 2015.

Dr. Gates, who has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Time, now serves as chairman of, a daily, online magazine he co-founded in 2008. In 2012, The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader, a collection of his writings edited by Abby Wolf, was published. Dr. Gates was a member of the first class awarded “genius grants” by the MacArthur Foundation in 1981. In 1998 he became the first African American scholar awarded the National Humanities Medal. He was named to Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential Americans list in 1997, to Ebony magazine’s Power 150 list in 2009, and to its Power 100 list in 2010 and 2012.

The Thomas Cooper Medal has previously been awarded to Pat Conroy, James Dickey, Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Norman Mailer, Elmore Leonard and many others.

Dr. Thomas Cooper, for whom the main library at the university is named, was the second president of South Carolina College and distinguished as both a scientist and political economist.

The dinner will take place Monday April 11, 2016 at the university’s Capstone House in the Campus Room. The reception will begin at 6 p.m., and dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Reservations are required and can be made at Tickets are $100 per person for members and non-members.

Direct inquiries to Maggie Bergmans at 803-777-3142 or