Determined Spirits

Dan Stanzione, Charles Dalton, Thomas Alexander and Steve Griffith

Dan Stanzione, Charles Dalton, Thomas Alexander and Steve Griffith

Clemson has graduated many an ambitious man and woman. Each year, the Alumni Association recognizes a select number of those who have demonstrated an extraordinary level of commitment to its three tiers of evaluation: enhancing the value of the University for future generations; professional and public service; and personal accomplishments that serve as a model for present and future Clemson students.

Whether in the House or in the boardroom, the classroom or the CEO suite, the 2014 Distinguished Service Award recipients have always displayed a drive to do better, to be better for both themselves and for the sake of giving back to their Clemson community.

Thomas C. Alexander ’78

The world of politics has a special draw for Sen. Thomas Alexander. Something in these hills spurred him on to a political career that began with Walhalla City Council in 1981 after completing his bachelor’s degree in economics. He was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives in 1986 and served for two terms before becoming the senator for S.C. Senate District One.

Chair of the Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, as well as the Public Utility Review Committee, Alexander also chairs the Health and Human Services Subcommittee and serves on the Senate Finance Committee, the Medical Affairs Committee, the Banking and Insurance Committee and the Joint Bond Review Committee. He holds multiple leadership responsibilities in the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Alexander has been a strong supporter of Clemson through legislative initiatives to provide funding for Public Service Activities, the Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing facility, new research facilities through the S.C. Research University Infrastructure Act and endowed faculty positions through the SmartState Center of Economic Excellence program.

Owner of Alexander Office Supply, located in Oconee County, Alexander has received the Franklin G. Mason Award from the S.C. Lions Foundation, the S.C. Chamber of Commerce Business Advocate Award, the S.C. Commission for the Blind Foundation Legislator of the Year Award and an honorary doctorate of humanities from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Charles E. Dalton ’64

For Charles Dalton, Clemson always has been a family affair. He grew up in Pickens, attending campus events with his family before enrolling as a student. His three children followed suit.

For more than 35 years, he has been a loyal donor to Clemson University and for 40 years he has been an IPTAY member, recently serving as president. He has served on the University’s Board of Visitors, the Clemson University Foundation Board of Directors and the Alumni Association Board, and gave a major gift to the WestZone project.

But Dalton’s leadership has been evident in his community and throughout the state as well. He has served on the boards of organizations ranging from Upstate Alliance of South Carolina and Cannon Memorial Hospital to the Palmetto Conservation Center and the Peace Center for the Performing Arts. Recognized as the S.C. Development Ally of the Year, he was presented the S.C. Individual Initiative Award by the governor and the Outstanding Community Service Award by the Better Business Bureau.

After co-owning and operating the family’s furniture store, Dalton’s Furniture and Carpet, he became president and CEO of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative in 1982, then added the roles of president and CEO for Blue Ridge Security Solutions in 1992.

His love of Clemson dance weekends during his college years was the impetus for him to develop Blue Ridge Fest, an employee-driven event hosted by Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative that features live performances by beach music entertainers.

Steve C. Griffith Jr. ’54

Steve Griffith knows power — both at the capital and in the grid. After devoting his first few post-graduation years to practicing law in Newberry and then serving in the S.C. House of Representatives, Griffith became part of Duke Power. He retired as general counsel and vice chair in 1997 after more than 30 years with the company.

In 1988, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to chair the Presidential Commission on Catastrophic Nuclear Accidents. He also served on the board of directors for Nuclear Mutual Limited from 1988 to 1997, and chaired the American Bar Association section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law in 1994.

Affectionately known as the “Father of the Rowing Team,” Griffith provided support to start the Clemson Crew men’s and women’s rowing teams. Having served on the Board of Visitors and the Clemson University Foundation Board of Directors, Griffith led a campaign among Clemson alumni at Duke Power for donations that were matched by the company. These gifts made possible the establishment of an endowed chair in engineering.

In 1989, he chaired the Arts and Science Council Campaign in Charlotte, which raised nearly $2 million. He helped establish the Lawyers Volunteer Program for the Charlotte Bar Association, and in 1995, Griffith received the Robinson Award, Duke Power’s highest honor, for his work to help establish a homeless shelter.

Daniel C. Stanzione Sr. ’67, M ’68, PhD ’72

Daniel Stanzione is a Tiger three times over. An Air Force cadet and a member of Delta Kappa Alpha fraternity, he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, then stayed at Clemson to complete a master’s degree in environmental systems engineering and a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering. He credits Professor Maurice Wolla for introducing him to his first small computer and preparing him for the professional world.

President emeritus of Bell Laboratories, Stanzione began his career at the company in 1972 and worked his way up through the ranks, becoming president in 1995 as well as COO of Lucent Technologies in 1997. A Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, he has published a multitude of papers on computer simulation, microprocessors and software designs. He continues to serve as a director or adviser for several technology companies.

Elected to the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and a member of the President’s Advisory Board, Stanzione established an endowment benefiting women majoring in engineering. He is a founding member of the Clemson Leadership Circle and Barker Scholars Endowment, and a member of the John C. Calhoun Society and the Clemson Legacy Society. Stanzione serves on the Clemson University Foundation board of directors, and the corporate and foundation relations committee of The Will to Lead capital campaign.

To see videos that capture the essence of these four determined spirits, go to and click on “In These Hills.

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