Hayes Mizell, an Always United member who has served on United Way of Midlands Education Council since 2005, was named the 2020 Kemp Dewitt Award winner in July. The award recognizes a volunteer whose service has made a measurable impact.
“When I think about and the spirit of this award, I couldn’t think of a better recipient,” said Sara Fawcett, United Way of Midlands President and CEO. “His dedication and commitment to the Midlands and the state are a part of who he is and what he does to help improve the lives of others.”
Hayes semi-retired in 2003, but his involvement and commitment to education and to the Midlands community only seemingly grew after this.
He has been instrumental in the growth of the Midlands Reading Consortium through his service on the MRC Oversight Committee.
“Hayes Mizell’s dedication and service on United Way of the Midlands’ Education Council speaks to his commitment to fighting for a quality education system that carries youth in the Midlands from cradle to career,” said Melissa Dunn, United Way of Midlands director of education.
In 1994, the Beacon of Hope Award was created to recognize a volunteer serving the United Way of the Midlands. Kemp DeWitt was the first recipient of the Beacon of Hope award in recognition of her commitment to United Way’s Speakers Bureau. DeWitt made more than 300 presentations to civic and employee groups during 1994. In 1995, the award was renamed the " Kemp DeWitt Award" to recognize a volunteer whose creativity and passion have made a measurable impact.
He has been the distinguished senior fellow of Learning Forward, a 13,000-member organization dedicated to improving the professional development of educators.
Between 1966 and 1982, he directed the South Carolina office of the American Friends Service Committee, where he advocated and monitored the desegregation of the state’s public schools and was engaged in a broad range of other activities to improve the education of students from low-income and minority families. During this time, he also co- founded the South Carolina affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1979 he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as chairman of the National Advisory Council on the Education of Disadvantaged Children. In the mid-1980s, he worked with Gov. Richard Riley and others in developing recommendations that became the basis for South Carolina’s historic Education Improvement Act.
Hayes received an associate degree from Anderson College and a bachelor’s from Wofford College. He did graduate work in American history at the University of South Carolina.