David Lyle Knows Their Stories

David LyleThere are 493 names etched on the stones that make up Clemson University’s Scroll of Honor — a memorial to the University’s alumni who died while fighting for their country. Through his volunteer work with the Clemson Corps, David Lyle ’68 knows the stories of all 493 soldiers.

Lyle, who participated in Air Force ROTC during his years at Clemson, has researched and verified each honoree as a former Clemson University student and hero who died in service to our country. He has spent hundreds of hours of his own time on ancestry websites, filing through paper records and driving to cemeteries to complete the work.

“I’m all in,” Lyle said. “This is where my love is.”

A native of Walhalla, South Carolina, Lyle never considered attending college anywhere other than Clemson. He enrolled in 1963, when it was still required for students to join the University’s ROTC program. He spent the next seven years — in undergraduate and graduate classes — at Clemson.

A microbiology major as an undergraduate, Lyle had not intended on spending a career in the military. But life doesn’t always end up the way we plan. In 1968, he graduated with his bachelor’s degree, and in 1970, he went into the U.S. Air Force, swapping a lab coat for a uniform.

In the Air Force, Lyle was deployed to bases from Montana to South Korea. The military, and eventually a civilian career in medical technology and research, took him all over the country.

Lyle retired in 2009 and wanted to come back home. He and his wife, Judy, had stayed connected to Clemson and were involved with an alumni group in Washington, D.C. Since moving back to Walhalla, they have also given back to Clemson. In addition to his time serving the Clemson Corps, Lyle recently decided to support the Class of 1968 ROTC Endowment through an estate gift that will provide scholarships to Clemson Corps cadets.

When asked about this decision, Lyle’s answer was simple: “Clemson is family.” He added, “Giving back through your estate is a no-brainer.”

By giving toward the Class of 1968 Endowment, Lyle is among the Clemson supporters who are ensuring that Clemson men and women will receive a world-class education while also preparing to serve their nation — both of which have significantly shaped Lyle’s life and career.

“I had no idea when I started at Clemson University where I was going to end up,” he said. “Through the years, Clemson University has changed. The Clemson Corps has become bigger than anyone ever imagined. But in many ways, this University has stayed the same. It is still a family.”

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