The Clemson Medallion

Two trustees awarded Clemson’s highest honor

In March, Thomas B. McTeer Jr. and Joseph D. Swann were awarded the Thomas Green Clemson Medallion, the University’s highest public honor. The Clemson Medallion is awarded to those members of the Clemson Family whose dedication and service embody the spirit of the University’s founder. These two long-serving trustees who worked quietly and passionately have made immeasurable contributions to Clemson through leadership, teamwork and perseverance from classroom to career.

Thomas B. McTeer ’60

William Shakespeare said, “When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain,” and Thomas B. McTeer’s more than 35 years of service to Clemson as a man of few words but great action are a testament to this statement.

And to think this longtime Tiger fan almost became a Gamecock.

McTeer was set on playing Carolina football when Coach Frank Howard offered him a last-minute scholarship. He would go on to become one of the longest-serving members of Clemson’s Board of Trustees, his passion for teamwork and unity evoking a drive that would see the University through challenge and triumph, from integration to winning a national football championship and becoming a top-25 public university.

As an industrial management major, McTeer played football and ran track; was involved in student government, Tiger Brotherhood and Blue Key Honor Society; and served as vice president of the Central Dance Association and the senior class.

President of McTeer Real Estate since 1964, McTeer also has served on the Columbia Board of Realtors and the Columbia Zoning Board of Adjustment Appeals, and offers his skills and expertise to Clemson as a member of the Real Estate Foundation Board.

McTeer’s Clemson legacy has also continued through family ties. All three of his daughters are Clemson graduates as well as one of his grandchildren; two grandchildren are current students. An IPTAY and Clemson Fund donor, McTeer established the Sandra B. McTeer Memorial Scholarship Endowment in memory of his late wife. Chair of the board from 1981 to 1983, he was named Trustee Emeritus in 2012 after retiring from his tenure that began in 1976.

Joseph D. Swann ’63

When he took part in student government’s efforts to welcome Harvey Gantt to Clemson in 1963, Joseph D. Swann demonstrated the self-discipline and leadership skills he would later use to help guide the University to national and international acclaim.

A Clemson University trustee for 23 years and two-term vice chair of the board, Swann demonstrated a passion for service throughout his undergraduate career as a ceramic engineering major. He was involved with student government and Blue Key Honor Society and served as vice president of the junior and senior classes. He also lent his talents as a writer to the engineering magazine Slipstick and The Tiger student newspaper.

Swann began his career in the ceramics industry by working as a development engineer for the Ferro Corp. in Cleveland, Ohio. He went on to become the division materials manager and earned an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

After taking a job with Reliance Electric in 1969, he moved his family back south, eventually settling in Greenville and becoming vice president and general manager of the company. He was named senior vice president in 1995 when Rockwell Automation acquired Reliance Electric, and he became president in 1998. Though he retired in 2007, he continued to serve as chair of the board of directors for integrated power services.

A recipient of the Clemson Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1995, Swann has served as an IPTAY representative and is a past member of the Board of Visitors. All three of his children are Clemson graduates, and his family left a permanent mark on the University in 2003 when the Swann Fitness Center was dedicated after their generous donation.

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