There are people you meet who give every indication of being Clemson alumni. Loyalty, enthusiasm and dedication to all things orange seem to radiate from them. Bobby Couch Jr. and John Komo are those type of people. This past fall, the Alumni Association made it official by bestowing on them the title of “Honorary Alumnus.”
Couch, who came to Clemson in 2005 as assistant director of athletics and IPTAY’s executive director of major gifts, responded, “From the day that Brian O’Rourke [associate vice president for advancement] brought my family and me here, the Clemson family has wrapped its arms around us and never let go. I work and live every day to return that passion I feel exuding from the hearts of all that are Solid Orange.”
Since then, he has led the athletic department through its first-ever $28 million and $185 million fundraising campaigns, secured the largest major and planned athletics gift in Clemson history and funded the restoration of the “Heisman Bible.” As current associate athletic director for development for athletics and director of IPTAY major gifts, Couch manages a portfolio of 150 prospective donors and makes 200 visits per year.
“For many years, Bobby has served as a tireless ambassador of the University, and he has demonstrated the passion and dedication to see Clemson achieve its goals that are usually only found among our alumni,” said Wil Brasington, alumni relations senior director. “Because of that, we felt it was only fitting to express our appreciation through this high distinction and, in doing so, we declare him ‘one of our own,’ a Clemson alumnus.”
John Komo served as a professor in the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for 34 years before retiring and is credited with helping students succeed in life as well as in the classroom.
“It’s wonderful to be recognized, but for me, it’s always been about providing the best education for the students,” Komo said when he received the honor. “That was always my favorite part of the job.”
Komo, who still lives in Clemson, established an endowed fellowship in 2007 for graduate students in his department. Many of his former students and colleagues have given to the fund in recognition of him as a teacher, mentor and friend.
“Over the past 21 years, it has been consistently apparent to me that the University and Clemson’s students have had a rare friend and treasure in Dr. Komo,” said Dan Noneaker, chair of the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Many Clemson ECE graduates who have gone on to high-impact engineering careers attribute their success in no small measure to Dr. Komo’s commitment to their development as engineering professionals.”
Honorary alumni are selected by the Alumni Association Honors and Awards Committee for outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to the University or the Alumni Association.