Born in 1912 in Manning, S.C., John Asbury Zeigler has held tight to his Southern roots. His philosophy in life is that everyone can, and should, make a difference. And he certainly has. His generosity and goodwill has not gone unnoticed.

On Aug. 7, Zeigler was given the Order of the Silver Crest award, which recognizes individuals who make a significant contribution to a particular South Carolina city or community. Zeigler was nominated by the College of Charleston School of the Arts and was presented the award by College of Charleston Board of Trustees member Jeff M. Schilz, on behalf of Governor Nikki Haley.

Zeigler’s accomplishments are almost too many to list and start as early as college. While at the Citadel, he founded and served as the editor of The Shako, the university’s literary magazine. After that, he enlisted in the Navy. Stationed in Alaska, Zeigler was a radioman and Naval correspondent for the Army newspaper Glacier Gazette. Later in life, he co-founded The Book Basement, which was located in his family home across from the College of Charleston, a house that was acquired in 1971 by the college. Additionally, Zeigler has made many generous gifts to the college and other organizations. He has given nearly $800,000 to the College of Charleston throughout his life in the forms of scholarships and awards. He’s also contributed to cultural organizations like the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Spoleto Festival USA.

Zeigler has been recognized by other organizations for his selflessness and devotion to the greater good. The College of Charleston Alumni Association honored him with the Alumni Award of Honor, the only award given by the organization to non-graduates, in 2010; The Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized him for his philanthropic activities on National Philanthropy Day in 2010; and at the May 2011 commencement ceremony, the college presented Zeigler with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.