Clemson senior Thomas Marshall III shares his thoughts
with fellow members of the class of 2020
Dear Class of 2020,
When you walked into your last class before spring break, you never thought that that would be some of your last Clemson moments. The last time you would see that friend, the last time you would chat with your favorite professor or the last time you would take a stroll across Library Bridge looking over the sparkling Reflection Pond.
The harsh reality is, it was. COVID-19, the coronavirus, or whatever you want to call it has turned our lives upside down. No, I’m not talking about the Upside Down, the creepy alternate universe in Stranger Things, but it sure feels like that some days. Our graduation ceremony has been postponed, and some of us have lost job offers, not knowing what is next for post-graduation plans. The reason it hurts so bad is that humans crave celebration. We need celebration and ceremony to gather, to mark milestones and to enjoy life. We love those end-of-the-year awards, those last functions where they honor the seniors — we love it all. Ceremonies make transitions easier for us. Well, we don’t have that luxury. But there is something we do have…
We have Clemson.
Well stated, Thomas Marshall III ’20. We DO have Clemson, one of the greatest benefits of all, the Clemson family.
Thank You, and Good Luck in our New Normal.
And a Clemson is fortunate to have you, Mr. Marshall.
I am BobbyFister’s widow, May. He loved Clemson greatly. Even after being drafted in his Sophomore year in the Army, he returned two years later, having met me, and spent a glowing three years on the Dean’s List at his beloved Clemson. We enjoyed that last year together, having married in 1957. Our first child was born three weeks before Graduation! As a civil engineer he worked in Greenville, Atlanta, Savannah, ending his career owning his own business accompanied by that same daughter, Anne Daniels, born in Clemson. She was Clemson’s 10,000 engineering graduate. Her sister Jane McNabb is also a Clemson grad and has flourished in the banking business. Our son Jimbo and daughter Sandra Cika (also a CU student) are big Tiger fans along with grandchildren . Thomas’s letter brought tears to my eyes and I’m sure many others!
Beautiful post. Thank you for that personal and heartfelt letter. My experience at Clemson was in graduate school only, but you expressed every sentiment I felt, my 3 boys experienced, and now my 2 grandchildren must have also felt. This is indeed an experience that continues through generations . Well done Thomas Marshall.
You have accurately described the feelings I had as a freshman in 1965! Some things seem to not change in 55 years. Even though I was the third generation to attend Clemson, I was awed by the people, classes and professors. But, I was at CLEMSON!! What could be better? My daughter, Laurie, graduated from Clemson; and this fall, my grandson, Jack will start his Clemson adventure. I hope his memories will mirror ours.
That gentleman sitting on the bench in Walter Cox Plaza would be proud of Clemson men and women – staff and faculty, but mostly, he would be beaming at the Class of 2020 – what a class of achievers and doers in spite of a blow to the solar plexus chakra. Thanks Thomas for the letter to all of us not just you 2020’ers. Proud son! GO TIGERS!!
So True! Go Tigers. We are All In!