Regional director to address 2018 USC Sumter graduates

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The new director of a regional agency charged with improving quality of life in Sumter and surrounding counties, who previously had a distinguished military career, will be the commencement speaker for University of South Carolina Sumter later this spring.

The college sent out a news release this week on its annual commencement ceremony, which will be held May 9 at 11 a.m. in USC Sumter's Nettles Auditorium.

Chris McKinney, executive director of Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, will address 2018 USC Sumter graduates.

McKinney has served as the COG's leader since he was hired in October. The COG is a quasi-governmental agency that serves the four-county region of Sumter, Clarendon, Lee and Kershaw counties and traditionally has worked with area municipal and county governments to assist them in enhancing quality of life in the region.

A native of Texas, McKinney, 49, earned an Associate Degree in Meteorology from the Community College of the Air Force. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from American Military University and a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership from Columbia Southern University.

In his last position in the Air Force, McKinney served as command chief master sergeant for the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base. The position served as the wing's senior enlisted leader and was just below the wing commander and vice wing commander.

McKinney's 30-plus years in the Air Force included combat tours of duty in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq and Afghanistan.