Award Recipient

Henry Dargan McMaster

Awarded: Knight Commander’s Accolade – March 24, 2022

Henry Dargan McMaster was born May 27, 1947, in Columbia, South Carolina. He attended the University of South Carolina where he was a member of the Carolina Student Legislature, earning his bachelor’s degree in history in 1969.

In 1973, he graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he was on the editorial board of the South Carolina Law Review. Later that year, he was admitted to the Richland County Bar Association. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves, receiving an honorable discharge in 1975.

Upon graduation from law school, he was a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond in Washington, D.C., and joined the law firm of Tompkins and McMaster in 1974. He was admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, U.S. Court of Claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. McMaster practiced law for more than 40 years as a federal and state prosecutor and in private practice.

In 1991, he was appointed to the state Commission on Higher Education and joined the Board of Directors of the nonprofit South Carolina Policy Council where he also served as chair. He chaired the state Republican Party from 1993 to 2002. He was elected attorney general of South Carolina in 2002 and reelected in 2006. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2014.

McMaster was sworn in as governor in January, 2017, following then-Governor Nikki Haley’s appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and was elected to a full term as governor in November 2018.

McMaster served as Province Commander from 1974 until 1991, the longest to hold the position in South Carolina. He was inducted into the Province’s Court of Honor in 1979.

A true KA family, all four McMaster brothers are KAs from Rho Chapter. He and his wife, Peggy, have two adult children, Henry D. McMaster, Jr. (Rho–South Carolina ’06) and Mary Rogers, and reside in Columbia.