Clemson Honors the Best of Its Own

In April of this year, the Alumni Association awarded six recipients with the Distinguished Service Award — the highest honor the association bestows on those who graduated from the University.

The Distinguished Service Award is based on three main criteria: personal and professional accomplishments; dedication and service to Clemson; and devotion to community and public service. Members of the Clemson Family nominate potential honorees, whom the Alumni Association then selects as outstanding alumni, public servants and examples to others.

Celeste De Laine Boykin ’79

Trailblazer. Outstanding role model. Clemson advocate.

Celeste “Clete” Boykin was the first Black woman hired by E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company as a sales and marketing representative in their agricultural chemicals business. She later joined their government affairs office and became senior manager before starting her own government consulting firm, CDB ProjX.

Boykin currently chairs the Clemson Institute for Parks board of advisers and advises prospective students of color in the Washington, D.C., area.

Boykin is a proud member of the “Benet Babes,” a group of women who lived on the fourth floor of Benet Hall. In 2015, the group established a scholarship fund to allow future students to make their own lifelong friends and memories while getting a quality Clemson education.

Boykin volunteers for a mobile food service that feeds people in need and raises funds for AIDS charities and multiple sclerosis.

She is vice chair of the board of the Briggs, De Laine, Pearson Foundation, which focuses on providing free after-school and summer tutoring for individuals from low-income backgrounds in Clarendon County.


John L. Easterling III ’80

Admired businessman. Community volunteer. “Mr. Clemson.”

After graduating with a degree in business administration, John Easterling earned his MBA from the University of South Carolina. He began working in property management for Pulliam Investment Company in 1983 and rose to become president in 1997 and owner in 2007. Today he is a senior associate with NAI Earle Furman, the largest commercial real estate brokerage and property management firm in Upstate South Carolina.

At Clemson, Easterling is a charter member of the Master of Real Estate Development program’s board of directors and a former member of the Board of Visitors, the IPTAY board of directors and the Alumni National Council. He has served as a county coordinator for the Clemson Advocates program and president of the Spartanburg County Clemson Club.

Easterling has served more than two decades in multiple leadership roles for the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, now called OneSpartanburg. He is a former chair and current member of the Downtown Development Partnership Board and the Spartanburg Tomorrow Political Action Committee.


J. Allen Martin ’69

Respected professional. Caring friend and mentor. “A Clemson gentleman.”

Allen Martin served as chief of staff for 22 years for U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), then co-founded The Livingston Group, where he specializes in international affairs and is lead partner for health care, pharmaceuticals, science, technology and telecommunications.

He has strong working relationships with many national and international leaders and officials and is well respected for his in-depth knowledge of governmental decision-making processes.

Martin is a longtime leader of the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., Clemson Club and a former Alumni Association and Foundation board member. He is a current member of the Order of the Oak, a select group of supporters and ambassadors who provide guidance and engage in philanthropic efforts to further Clemson’s long-term goals.

Martin has hosted numerous Clemson events in the Washington area. He employs at least one Clemson student intern each year and mentors alumni interested in working in government, public policy or politics.

Martin has received the Order of the Palmetto for his service to South Carolina.


John W. Parris ’58

Conservationist. Innovative educator. Clemson ambassador.

John W. Parris taught agri-science and technology for eight years, during which time he co-founded the S.C. Accredited Horse Show Association.

In 1966, Parris was named associate director then executive director of State Land Resources Commission. After retiring in 1994, he became state director of public affairs for agricultural education and the FFA. He now serves as director of the S.C. Agri-News Service.

The first South Carolinian named to the National Conservation Hall of Fame, Parris introduced drip irrigation and conservation tillage technology to South Carolina agriculturalists. He successfully promoted natural resource and stormwater and sediment control legislation.

Parris secured approval from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for Clemson’s landscape architecture major. He is a charter member and former chair of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences Alumni Board. He provides scholarships to agriculture students through the John W. Parris Agricultural Leadership Endowment.


John W. Raymond ’84

Four-star general. Trusted adviser. Military heritage leader.

Commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduating from Clemson, Jay Raymond is now the highest-ranking military leader in any branch of service to graduate from Clemson.

When the U.S. Space Force was established in 2019, Raymond was appointed chief of Space Operations. He is the senior uniformed Space Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of all space forces. He is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, providing senior uniformed advice to the president and secretary of defense.

As the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for operations, Raymond served in the Middle East in support of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Japanese government recognized his leadership of U.S. humanitarian and relief efforts in Japan during its 2011 earthquake disaster. He was also awarded the French National Order of Merit for his contributions to French and American military cooperation.

A donor to academic and athletic programs, Raymond sponsors an annual scholarship for Air Force ROTC cadets.


Mitchell S. Scott ’75

Industry champion. Generous philanthropist. Dedicated Tiger supporter.

Micky Scott is president of Collum’s Lumber Products, a fourth-generation family-owned company founded in the 1930s, one of the most advanced sawmill and planer operations in the Southeast.

He and his family are recognized as the first Academic Cornerstone Partner of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences because of generous endowments they established.

Scott helped Clemson create its Wood Utilization + Design Institute and is a board member and corporate partner. He also helped the Real Estate Foundation develop its Timberland Legacy Program.

He has donated lumber for research by students in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation and to help construct a graduate house at the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science in Georgetown.

He supports the nonprofit Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, which protects heirs’ property and promotes its sustainable use to provide increased economic benefit to historically underserved families in the Lowcountry, Midlands and Pee Dee.


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