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My Clemson: Kate Blackmon ’81

Kate Blackmon '81

The technical knowledge I gained in my first undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Clemson, combined with more human-centered history and English literature classes there, has enabled me to take on a wide variety of challenges in managing human and technical systems. Currently this is as senior proctor of the University of Oxford, a post that dates back to the 1100s.

Two colleges elect proctors each year, and a third elects an assessor. We uphold the University’s statutes and regulations, attend key committees, oversee all examinations, attend official university ceremonies and investigate student complaints and discipline. (But we can no longer hang students for misconduct!) The proctors and assessor are visible because we wear subfusc (academic dress) every day, as well a velvet-sleeved gown, ermine stole and hard-shell mortarboard on official occasions such as degree days (graduations, held in Latin) or the Queen’s Garden Party.

After my year as senior proctor, I will return to my “normal” life, where I am an associate professor of operations management at Oxford’s Said Business School, and a fellow and tutor in management studies at Merton College, which is celebrating the 750th anniversary of its founding this year.

My Clemson: Diana Ivankovic

Diana Ivankovic PhD ’95


DIANA-IVANKOVIC

My husband and I were high school sweethearts when we came to the U.S. from Croatia in 1986 to pursue college degrees. In 1989, with a B.S. in biology and postgraduate training at Greenwood Genetic Center, I joined Miren at Clemson to pursue a graduate degree in microbiology. With a 3-year-old (Sven) and another on the way (Andre), we both walked across the stage of Littlejohn in 1995 to receive our Ph.Ds.

Since then, I have worked as a laboratory coordinator and visiting lecturer at Clemson, become a full professor at Anderson University, had two more children, established the Center for Cancer Research and survived breast cancer. I still teach in Clemson’s summer science program and collaborate with Clemson researchers.

Because of my experience with breast cancer, as well as my mother’s, I have a passion for finding a cure. That’s why I counsel newly diagnosed patients. It’s why I served for many years on the board of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. It’s why I travel abroad with students, even working with shamans in the Peruvian Amazon, searching for new anti-carcinogenic plant extracts. It’s why I work with students at the Center for Cancer Research, trying to inspire my students and fellow researchers to collaborate, share, work together and aim for the stars.

Ivankovic is a professor of biology and the James Henderson director of the Center for Cancer Research at Anderson University, which recently was the recipient of a grant from Coach Dabo Swinney’s All In Team Foundation in support of its breast cancer research.