Floyd D. Spence Exhibit

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"Floyd Spence devoted his life to the simple proposition that there are certain principles worth defending. Freedom, democracy, and the promise of global stability achieved through a policy of peace through strength formed the core values that Floyd advanced during his long and distinguished career in the military and then in public service."
Rep. Floyd Spence and Capitol
Representative Floyd Spence in front of the U.S. Capitol
Those words were part of a statement by U.S. Representative Bob Stump (R-AZ) speaking on behalf of the House Armed Services Committee on the occasion of the death of fellow Representative Floyd Spence. In his press release of August 17, 2001, Rep. Stump referred to Rep. Spence as "a patriot, a gentleman, and one of the most ardent and tireless advocates for our men and women in uniform."

Floyd Spence was born in Columbia, South Carolina and attended Lexington High School, where he earned academic and athletic honors. Following graduation, Spence attended the University of South Carolina and again distinguished himself. As a student, he joined social, leadership, and service fraternities; served in student government; received a number of honors and awards; and was a member of the football, basketball, and track teams.

Spence in Naval uniform
Spence in his Navy uniform
Spence enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve while still in high school, and as an undergraduate served as a Battalion Sub-Commander of the Navy ROTC unit at USC. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an Ensign and entered active duty during the Korean Conflict. He later became Commanding Officer of a Naval Reserve Surface Division and the Group Commander of all Naval Reserve Units in Columbia, S.C. Spence graduated from the Defense Strategy Seminar of the National War College and the National Security Seminar of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He retired from the Naval Reserve in 1988 with the rank of Captain.

In 1956, Spence graduated from the USC School of Law. While attending law school, he was elected editor of the South Carolina Law Quarterly, Chief Justice of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity, Vice President of the Law Federation, and was a member of the Law Federation cabinet. After earning his degree, he became a partner in the firm of Callison and Spence in West Columbia, where he worked until he was selected to represent South Carolina's 2nd District in Congress in 1970. Spence in San Francisco, 1964
Spence in San Francisco, 1964

This exhibit is intended to highlight aspects of Floyd Spence's life and career as a student, as one of the early pioneers of the South Carolina Republican Party, and as a member of the General Assembly and the U.S. Congress. His colleague, Lindsey Graham, said of Spence's passing:
"Floyd was also one of the select few who was universally respected and admired by everyone in Congress... It's customary in Congress to refer to a colleague as the gentleman or gentlewoman from the state they represent. When the Speaker said 'the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Spence,' well, that truly captured the essence of the man."

Spence bumper sticker
A Spence campaign bumper sticker

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