When Gov. Henry McMaster is inaugurated Wednesday to his first full term, it will be the first time he takes his oath of office before thousands of people.
When he replaced former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley as governor in 2017, McMaster was sworn in at a semi-public Statehouse ceremony.
On Wednesday, the governor will receive the full pomp and circumstance of an inauguration ceremony on the Statehouse steps.
The ceremonies will begin with a 9 a.m. prayer service at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Columbia. The public is welcome to attend at the church just two blocks from the capitol. McMaster chose a slightly different tack than normal, as it has been recent tradition for the service to be at nearby Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.
The swearing-in ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on the Statehouse’s southern steps. Dr. Leon Winn of the Rock Hill Baptist Church in Manning will give the invocation. First Presbyterian’s Derek W.H. Thomas will provide the benediction. The Citadel Color Guard will also participate. Retired marine Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner will be sung by University of South Carolina School of Music Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard Conant.
Also performing at the inauguration ceremony will be the Hammond School Select Ensemble, Lakewood High School Concert Choir with guest singers from Morris College, Claflin University Concert Choir, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Choir and Musical accompaniment by the 282nd Army Band of Fort Jackson. According to the inaugural committee, Governor McMaster selected a group of participants and performers “who reflect the unique talent and rich history of South Carolina.”
The public is also invited to the McMaster Family Open House at the Governor’s Mansion from 2-4 p.m.
The day then concludes with the 7:30 p.m. invitation-only Governor’s ball at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
McMaster was elected to his first full term as governor last year after succeeding Haley in 2017. He was previously the lieutenant governor. McMaster became the first governor to choose his lieutenant governor after voters changed the state constitution in 2012, picking Travelers Rest business owner Pamela Evette.
At 71 years old, McMaster will be the oldest person ever inaugurated as South Carolina’s governor. He is not the oldest to hold the office, yet. Former Gov. James Byrnes was 72 when his term ended in 1955.