A friend just brought this to my attention:
Fred Sheheen, former commissioner of the state Commission on Higher Education, and father of state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, died Monday in a car crash.
Kershaw County Coroner David West confirmed Sheheen’s death….
Sheheen was the older brother to Bob Sheheen, D-Kershaw, former speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives….
I’m just stunned to hear this.
I knew and respected Fred — and his brother Bob, the House Speaker when I first arrived in SC — long before I ever heard of Vincent.
As head of the CHE, Fred was the kind of public official that even Doug Ross would have appreciated. One of the stranger things about our fragmented system of government in South Carolina is our huge profusion of public colleges and universities, each governed by its separate, autonomous board of trustees. We have no board of regents or other central authority to decide how best to allocate higher education resources and to prevent duplication of effort.
The CHE had limited ability to say “no” to what the universities wanted to do, but where it did have that power, Fred exercised it to the utmost. He didn’t just say “no” when schools wanted to duplicate efforts or waste resources; he said “HELL no!”
Which didn’t make him the most popular guy in the state, but he certainly won my respect.
This is just terrible news, for the Sheheens and for South Carolina…
And setting aside for a moment what he did in his public life, Fred was a model for how a person should be – always working, always doing and totally devoted to his family. He was involved in so many causes and organizations that quietly made South Carolina a better place.
The last time I saw him he was snagging at a school benefit. Great dancer, and he had a ball doing it. Love to my favorite Sheheen, older brother Austin.
Make that sHagging.