S.C. Floodwater Commission chair earns doctorate

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Dr. Tom Mullikin, chairman of the S.C. Floodwater Commission, was formally “hooded,” officially receiving his Ph.D. during commencement ceremonies at Columbia International University (CIU), Friday, Dec. 10.

His doctorate in “Transformational Leadership as a Catalyst to Alter Cultural Attitudes About Climate Change in the Evangelical Community: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Approach,” follows several years of study at the historic private Christian university in Columbia, S.C. as well as decades of experience leading global exploratory expeditions to the world’s most remote regions wherein he studied Earth’s most fragile ecosystems and the dynamics of changing climate.

“This is the blessed culmination of a lifetime of work,” said Mullikin during a post-commencement luncheon at Hall’s Chophouse where family and friends gathered along with fellow S.C. Black Belt Hall of Fame inductees. “But the work for me doesn’t end: It now only takes a more focused trajectory.”

During lunch, Mullikin presented Explorer’s Club coins to all in attendance.

Martial arts tournament champion Bruce Brutschy, along with local Karate legend Mike Genova and fellow tournament fighter Col. (Ret.) Steve Vitali, U.S. Marine Corps, presented Mullikin with a plaque which read: “The South Carolina Black Belt Hall of Fame commends fellow SCBBHOF inductee Dr. Thomas S. Mullikin for having been awarded the academic degree DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (Ph.D.) from Columbia International University, December 10, 2021.”

In addition to leading the S.C. Floodwater Commission, Mullikin serves as president of Global Eco Adventures and as a founding partner of the Mullikin Law Firm.

A former U.S. Army JAG officer retired two-star commander of the S.C. State Guard, and currently teaching university professor, Mullikin has spent much of the last four decades traversing every continent on earth, climbing mountain ranges of the world’s seven tallest peaks (including reaching the summits of more than 20 mountains across the globe), logging SCUBA dives in all the world’s oceans – often leading special operations soldiers on his expeditions – while earning a berth in the S.C. Black Belt Hall of Fame.

Governor Henry McMaster, who tapped Mullikin to lead the Floodwater Commission in 2018, said: “Tom Mullikin is one of South Carolina’s uniquely talented citizens who serves as a great ambassador of our state.”

Also attending the luncheon honoring Dr. Mullikin was Dr. Mike Langston, who served as Mullikin’s dissertation committee chair. Langston is a professor of practical theology and chaplaincy at CIU.

CIU is the former Columbia Bible College.

– Pictured (L-R) are S.C. Black Belt Hall-of-Famers Bruce Brutschy, Col. Steve Vitali, Dr. Tom Mullikin, and Mike Genova.