31st Annual Award and Fundraising Gala


Robert M. Hitt III

Secretary of Commerce, South Carolina


Friday, November 3, 2017 Cocktail Reception at 6 pm Dinner at 7 pm Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America 1615 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20062-2000

About the Honoree

Robert “Bobby” M. Hitt III was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to serve as Secretary of Commerce in January 2011. Hitt offers a wealth of economic development experience to the South Carolina Department of Commerce as he was the previous manager of corporate affairs at the BMW Manufacturing Company in Spartanburg, South Carolina and has worked closely with the previous five commerce secretaries. Hitt is a native of Charleston, South Carolina and is of German descent. His ancestor, Peter (Heite) Hitt, was born in 1683 in Siegen, Germany and subsequently emigrated to Germanna, Virginia where he was a silver and iron miner. In 1714, Peter Hitt was one among the twelve pioneer families in the first colony from Siegen to Germanna. In this process, it is believed that Peter anglicized his name from Heite to Hitt. Robert M. Hitt III is a graduate of the University of South Carolina. In 1987, Hitt received the prestigious Nieman Fellowship for journalists, which enabled him to study for a year at Harvard University where he specialized in management and law. Hitt served as the director of planning and development for the Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough law firm and worked at The State and The Columbia Record newspapers for 17 years. He served as managing editor of both publications. Prior to his position as Secretary of Commerce, Hitt was the previous manager of corporate affairs at the BMW Manufacturing Company in Spartanburg for 18 years. Hitt was involved in bringing the BMW Plant to the Upstate, which has proven to be one of South Carolina’s largest success stories regarding economic development and job creation. During his time at BMW, Robert M. Hitt III was chairman of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance and board member of the Upstate SC Alliance, a regional economic development organization. As Secretary of Commerce, Hitt has proven to be a leader in economic development for the state of South Carolina. He has recruited more than $23 billion in capital investments and 86,000 new jobs to the state. During Hitt’s tenure, South Carolina has consistently ranked number one in the export of both completed passenger motor vehicles and tires. Moreover, South Carolina has also led the nation in jobs created from foreign direct investment per capita, in three of the last four years.

About the Award

The Council of 1000 Award and Fundraising Gala is a tradition that was started 30 years ago to raise awareness and financial support for the German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA® (GAHF). It is the signature event of our Foundation. During our Council of 1000 Gala, every year since 1987, GAHF has recognized outstanding leadership and achievements by an American of German-speaking ancestry in business, the arts, education, science, politics and society through Distinguished German-American of the Year Award™.


  • $ 250 per ticket for non-members (early bird discount of 10% until Oct. 2 only) – please use coupon code gala 10% during checkout
  • $ 200 per ticket for members (early bird discount of 10% until Oct. 2 only) – – please use coupon code gala 10% during checkout

To buy tickets, please click here  
If you prefer to pay by check, please send your reservation to: German-American Heritage Foundation Attn: Gala 719 Sixth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001  
or contact: 202.467.5000 or gala@gahmusa.org

To support GAHF go here

you can also send a check to German-American Heritage Foundation

719 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
or contact Christine Yang at 202 4675000 or yang@gahmusa.org