By Stan Welch – A clearly surprised Rusty Burns, Anderson County Administrator, watched speechlessly as the County Council presented a resolution Tuesday night honoring his daughter Alexandria “Ali” R. Burns for her remarkable academic achievements during her four years at The Citadel.
Burns graduated this past May, as the salutatorian of her class, repeating a feat she also accomplished at Pendleton High School. Among her academic accomplishments were being on the Dean’s list for her entire four years, by maintaining a grade point average of 3.2; earning Gold Stars for four years by maintaining a GPA of 3.7; being in Thehe Citadel Honors Program for her last three years; and being in the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society for her last three years.
She was also on the Commandant’s and President’s List in the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010. She enjoyed The Citadel Scholar’s and Life Scholarships during her four years, while attaining the rank of Cadet Major and serving as the Fourth Battalion Academic Officer in her senior year.
In addition, Burns donated hundreds of hours of community service performing such services as volunteering at the Roper Hospital Pharmacy, tutoring at a local elementary school, and assisting with various other charity athletic and community events.
The entire County Council and a large portion of the administrative staff were in on the surprise. Since Burns makes the agenda for the Council meetings, along with Council Chairman Tom Allen, Allen concealed the presentation within the agenda item Chairman’s remarks.
Burns’ wife Kay, and Ali, came quietly down the aisle to stand behind Burns as the resolution was being read. When they moved inside the railing to join him and the Council, he simply threw up his hands and fell back in his chair. As the entire Council and crowd laughed, Councilman Eddie Moore looked at Burns and said “We got you!”
During the scheduled awards presentations, Councilwoman Cindy Wilson presented a resolution recognizing the Lady Mustangs of Palmetto High School for winning the State AA High School Championship in girls’ softball. The championship was the first in the school’s history in that sport.
Alexandria Burns, center, was honored by Anderson County Council for outstanding academic achievement during her four years at The Citadel. She is pictured with her parents, Rusty and Kay Burns.