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Greenville Business Magazine

Hayne Hipp Remembered As Philanthropist, Businessman

Sep 01, 2020 03:33PM ● By David Dykes

By Cindy Landrum

Prominent Greenville philanthropist and businessman Hayne Hipp played a crucial role in getting two of downtown’s most visible projects – Falls Park’s iconic Liberty Bridge and the Peace Center’s renovation for the Performing Arts - funded.

Through his less public, behind-the-scenes efforts to improve Greenville and South Carolina, he touched countless lives and will continue to impact generations.

Hipp died Aug. 27. He was 80.

“Much of Greenville’s revitalization and subsequent success can be traced to the leadership and influence of Hayne Hipp,” said Greenville County Schools Superintendent Dr. Burke Royster. “Hipp was representative of a generation of citizens who refused to give up on Greenville and worked tirelessly to ensure that as our economy rebounded from the collapse of the textile industry, so too did the systems that support a high quality of life for all citizens.”

Hipp was one founder of the Alliance for Quality Education, which later became Public Education Partners of Greenville County.

Hipp knew Greenville could do more to connect the private sector with public schools, said Grier Mullins, PEP’s founding executive director. PEP invested more than $8 million in Greenville County Schools’ students and teachers since its founding in 1985.

“Clearly, he was right – a visionary as usual,” Mullins wrote in a Facebook post.

Hipp also helped start the Urban League of the Upstate.

But perhaps none of Hipp’s efforts were as far-reaching as the Liberty Fellowship, a value-based leadership program he co-founded with his wife Anna Kate in conjunction with The Aspen Institute. More than 300 South Carolinians have graduated from the program, including several judges, state and federal elected officials and business leaders.

“Hayne is truly a legend in our state,” the Liberty Fellowship wrote in a tribute on its website. “After an extraordinary business career and service in the community, he channeled his energy into creating Liberty Fellowship with his wife Anna Kate in 2003. We are forever grateful for their vision to push South Carolina forward through its leaders.

“Hayne’s dedication to South Carolina lives on in each Fellow, and we are determined to carry on the work of creating a more just society together,” the tribute said.

Winthrop University political science professor Scott Huffmon is a Class of 2015 Fellow. “Hayne put his money and effort where his mouth was and worked diligently to make SC a better place… His legacy will benefit South Carolina for generations to come,” Huffmon wrote on Twitter.

Hipp was CEO of Liberty Corporation, a publicly held organization that included insurance companies and television stations with additional investments in media, real estate and technology ventures. Hipps’ grandfather, W. Francis Hipp, started the company in 1919. Liberty Corp. merged with Raycom Media in 2006, ending its long Greenville business history.

In 2004, Hayne Hipp ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Greenville County Council.

Hipp is a member of the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame. He is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor. He was a former trustee of Washington & Lee University, his alma mater, and had an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Hipp finished hiking the Appalachian Trail at age 73. 

“He influenced Greenville’s trajectory and evolution through his storied community engagement, including his many years of service on the Chamber’s board of directors, serving as its chair in 1985,” Carlos Phillips, president and CEO of the Greenville Chamber, said of Hipp. “We have all benefitted from and will miss Hayne’s fresh and candid perspectives on matters to improve the well-being of our community and state.”

Hipp is survived by his wife; two daughters, Mary Hipp of Greenville and Anna Hayne “Tres” Small of Athens, Ga., a son, Francis Reid (Brice) Hipp of Greenville; six grandchildren, Camilla, Hayne and Reid Hipp of Greenville and Hannah, Clara and Samantha Small of Athens, Ga.; his brother, John Carter of Atlanta; his sister, Mary Jane Brock of New York; his sister-in-law Elese Reid of New York; two nieces, Susanna Brock and Morgan King; and two nephews Walker Brock and Austin Hipp.

Memorial contributions may be made to Falls Park Endowment c/o Community Foundation of Greenville, 630 East Washington St., Suite A, Greenville, SC 29601, or the charity of one’s choice.