Jane Duckworth named Honorary Alumna

Jane Duckworth receives a certificate naming her an honorary alumna from Danny Gregg, president of the Alumni Association board.

Jane Duckworth receives a certificate naming her an honorary alumna from Danny Gregg, president of the Alumni Association board.

Jane Duckworth of Atlanta is the newest Clemson honorary alumna. Her diploma may say Meredith College, but her life says Clemson loud and clear.

A member of the President’s Leadership Circle, she co-chaired the Will to Lead athletics capital campaign committee with her husband, Ed, during the leadership phase; is chair of the tennis capital campaign committee; and supports the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts and scholarships for the College of Business and Behavioral Science. The Duckworths also donated $500,000 to create the Duckworth Pavilion, an enhancement to the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center, and have been inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Cumulative Giving Society.

After graduating from Meredith College, Duckworth taught elementary school in Clemson while her husband, Ed, completed his degree in civil engineering at Clemson. They have three children, Jeff Duckworth ’88, Leeanne Melvin ’90 and Jim Duckworth.

Honorary alumni are selected by the Alumni Association Honors and Awards Committee for their outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to the University or the Alumni Association.

New Alumni App Available

iphone app alumni_A new Clemson Alumni app is live and available in iTunes. The app pulls stories from the RSS feeds on official Clemson websites including the Newsstand, Athletics, Clemson World and Tigers on the Move. After downloading, you will be able to customize your app experience based on the content you want to see. In addition, you can update contact information through the app and find upcoming events. The app is not yet available through Google or Android stores. To download, go to the App Store and search for Clemson Echo.

Marking our History


The next time you visit campus, you may notice some new additions in the form of three historical markers. These markers will commemorate the contributions of Native Americans and African-Americans in the history of our University and the land it occupies.

A plaque at the Calhoun Bottoms will commemorate the Native Americans and African-American slaves in the development of the land where Fort Hill now stands. A plaque at Woodland Cemetery — a.k.a. Cemetery Hill — will commemorate the burials of the family of John C. Calhoun, as well as slaves and convict laborers who built many of the earliest buildings on campus. The third plaque will be located near Lee Hall, where slave quarters for Fort Hill once stood and where a stockade later housed convicts working on construction, to acknowledge the role of enslaved people and prisoners at both Fort Hill plantation and in the construction of early campus buildings.

For Clemson to move forward as an environment of true inclusive excellence — a place where every individual feels valued and able to achieve his or her full potential — we must start by being honest about our past. We must be willing to discuss it, learn from it and, in the process, discover more about one another. Because, for better and for worse, each of us is shaped by the generations who came before us. A greater understanding about our history will lead to a greater understanding about the challenges and opportunities that face us today.

These markers are a small — but significant — step forward in our efforts to be a more inclusive campus. In order to make progress in this area, how we tell the story of Clemson needs to be inclusive as well. Many know the story of Anna Calhoun and Thomas Green Clemson and John C. Calhoun. But the University was not built by these people alone. Many enslaved people and prisoners, as well as the Native Americans who lived here for centuries before the Clemsons and Calhouns even set foot on this soil, literally laid the foundation for this University. Now we are telling more fully their stories to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and campus visitors.

The historical markers are only one piece of the puzzle. There is much more work to be done, but I am pleased with our progress. Our Diversity Advisory Council has been looking at seven specific initiatives, some of which we are already implementing:

• Expand the Office of Diversity.

• Create a multi-cultural center.

• Increase the minority representation of faculty, staff, students and administrators.

• Develop a tracking and reporting system to measure our progress in inclusive excellence.

• Emphasize diversity and inclusion in the ClemsonForward strategic plan.

• Enhance the use of inclusive images in University marketing.

• Provide a fuller presentation of the University’s history reflecting the important contributions of minorities and women in the development of the University.

I am also pleased to report that we have hired a new chief diversity officer. Lee Gill comes to Clemson from the University of Akron, where he served as chief diversity officer and associate vice president for inclusion and equity. He brings with him more than 20 years of experience in higher education, and I am excited to have him join my leadership team. I also want to commend the board of trustees task force on the history of Clemson for the work they did to examine how we need to tell the full Clemson story. The historical markers are part of their recommendations on how we can educate people on the accurate history of the University. You can read their full report of recommendations at They received a great deal of feedback from students, faculty, staff and alumni throughout the process, and I want to say thank you to everyone who sent them their input.

Clemson should be a place where every member of the Clemson family, regardless of background, feels like they are valued. At the end of the day, we are working to make Clemson an even better University, and it will take all of us to achieve that.

James P. Clements


McMillian honored with endowed professorship

Provost Bob Jones (left), Heather and Glenn Hilliard, Patrick McMillan and George Askew, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, at the professorship presentation.

Provost Bob Jones (left), Heather and Glenn Hilliard, Patrick McMillan and George Askew, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, at the professorship presentation.

Professor and naturalist Patrick McMillan, co-creator and host of the Emmy-award winning ETV nature program “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan,” has been named the recipient of the Glenn ’65 and Heather Hilliard Endowed Professorship in Environmental Sustainability.

The Hilliards have given $1 million to establish an endowment at Clemson for a professor to teach and motivate future generations to both treasure and manage the balance between the natural and human-made worlds. The gift qualified Clemson for a dollar-for-dollar match from the state under the SmartState program, creating a $2 million professorship.

“Both Heather and I are thrilled Patrick was selected,” said Glenn Hilliard, a noted business leader, environmentalist, arts patron and education advocate. “The purpose of this professorship is to foster the identification and preservation of natural environments in the state of South Carolina and to identify and support sustainable development and economic growth for our state in places other than in or around our irreplaceable natural environments. “Heather and I love South Carolina and its natural heritage, and we want our state to be a wonderful place to live, play and work for generations to come.” Director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, McMillian has worked as a naturalist, biologist and educator. He is a professional naturalist and faculty member in the forestry and environmental conservation department. “I am extremely humbled and honored to be the recipient of the Hilliard Professorship,” McMillan said. “This gift will greatly advance and embolden our efforts to advance the preservation of the natural and cultural resources that make South Carolina the state that we all love and enjoy. This is a gift that will benefit the economic and environmental integrity of South Carolina for generations.” The Hilliard gift is part of the Will to Lead for Clemson campaign to support faculty and students with scholarships, professorships, facilities and technology.

Toal receives honorary degree

Jean Toal (center) with the Clemson University trustees.

Jean Toal (center) with the Clemson University trustees.

South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal is the latest recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Clemson. The degree was bestowed on her at the December 2015 graduation ceremony in Greenville for her devotion to law, public service and the people of South Carolina. In 1988, Toal became the first woman to serve as a justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. She retired as chief justice on December 21, making her the longest-serving member of the court. When she was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1968, women comprised less than one percent of the licensed lawyers in South Carolina.

Toal practiced law with the Haynsworth Law Firm in Greenville and with Belser, Baker, Barwick, Ravenel, Toal & Bender in Columbia
for 20 years prior to her election to the South Carolina Supreme Court. She served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing Richland County, for 13 years. She was the first woman in South Carolina to chair a standing committee of the House of Representatives and served as chair of the House Rules Committee and chair of the Constitutional Laws Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

Swann pledges $3.3M Cornerstone Gift to Clemson athletics facilities 

Joe Swann (center) with President Clements and Coach Brownell.

Joe Swann (center) with President Clements and Coach Brownell.

Joe Swann ’63 has been a lifelong supporter of Clemson, and recently he and his wife, Barbara Ann “Bobbi” Swann, provided a Cornerstone Gift of $3.3 million to athletics. Pushing his lifetime giving total near $5 million, Swann joins fellow board of trustees member Bill Hendrix, along with Betty Poe and an anonymous donor, in their support of Clemson Athletics’ facilities projects.

In recognition of the Swann family donation, the new addition to Littlejohn Coliseum housing practice court, locker rooms and coaches’ offices — the everyday home of the basketball programs — will be named Swann Pavilion.

Swann’s history of philanthropy to the University includes the Swann Fitness Center on campus named in the family’s honor and an endowment of the men’s soccer coaching position. He was a leader of his class and its gift of $1 million to name the Class of 1963 Bridge to Clemson Program.

“Joe Swann has always been an outstanding leader for Clemson beginning with his student days when he served as class president,” said President Clements. “Joe and Bobbi and their children have given incredible support to the University. I am grateful for everything they have done for academics, student life and athletics. Clemson is a special place because of people like Joe Swann and his family.”

The Clemson Athletic Cornerstone Program is a vital part of the new athletics facilities initiative. With new facilities, upgrades or rebuilds planned for football, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer and Vickery Hall, it will be the most comprehensive change to athletic facilities ever undertaken at Clemson.

“We can’t thank Mr. Swann and his family enough for their support of our program,” head basketball coach Brad Brownell said. “I know this first-class facility will be a difference-maker for our student-athletes, and we’re honored to have the Swann family name on the home of Clemson basketball.”

This gift is part of the $1 billion Will to Lead for Clemson capital campaign to support faculty and students with scholarships, professorships, facilities and technology.

View the announcement of the Swann family’s Cornerstone gift:

APO Endowment honors Jack McKenzie

Jack McKenzie ’76

Jack McKenzie ’76

Clemson’s Gamma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega (APO) National Service Fraternity marked its 75th anniversary by establishing a $50,000 endowment to benefit student leadership in honor of Mullins native Jack A. McKenzie ’76, a long-serving member and adviser of APO since the early 1970s. McKenzie is also program manager for Clemson’s Office of Stewardship and Events.

The chapter surprised McKenzie by announcing the endowment at its 75th anniversary banquet with National President John K. Ottenad and National Executive Director Robert J. London in attendance. The room, filled with Gamma Lambda Chapter members both young and old, erupted into prolonged applause as McKenzie’s fellow Gamma Lambda brother Larry Keese ’81 made the announcement.

To contribute to the endowment, go to Your gifts will count toward the $1 billion Will to Lead for Clemson campaign.

Clemson moves into top tier of research universities

This spring, Clemson met another strategic goal when the Carnegie ClassificationTM released their latest rankings of U.S. colleges and universities. Clemson was classified in the top tier for research activity with the R1 designation of “Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity.”

President Clements credited the work of faculty over many years and addressed the benefits of the new classification during his report to the trustees in February. “This recognition raises the University’s national profile and will help us to recruit top faculty and compete successfully for more research funding,” he said. “In turn, this will support our core mission of education and help us to fulfill our land-grant mission to South Carolina to drive economic growth and solve real problems.”

Since 1970, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education has been providing a framework to describe and recognize different types of educational institutions in the United States. The rankings are determined by a number of statistical measures including research and development expenditures, research staff including postdoctoral appointees, and doctoral conferrals.

Paul Mardikian, senior conservator at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, chisels away deposits on the Hunley’s propellor.

Clemson dedicates Memorial Stadium flagpole to Skardon

Ben Skardon with President Clements and Army ROTC cadets

Ben Skardon with President Clements and Army ROTC cadets

On Military Appreciation Day, Col. Ben Skardon, a dapper 98-year-old World War II veteran, sat amid a crowd of news media and admirers at the foot of the Memorial Stadium flagpole, which was being permanently dedicated to him.

After graduating in 1938, Skardon was commissioned into the Army, going on to become the commander of Company A of the 92nd Infantry Regiment PA (Philippine Army), a battalion of Filipino Army recruits on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. He became a prisoner of war and lived through one of the most infamous ordeals of World War II, the Bataan Death March.

Skardon survived for more than three years in prisoner-of-war camps, despite becoming deathly ill. Two fellow Clemson alumni, Henry Leitner and Otis Morgan, kept him alive by spoon-feeding him and eventually trading his gold Clemson ring — which he had managed to keep hidden — for food. Leitner and Morgan did not survive the war.

He served in Korea in 1951-52 and retired as a colonel from the Army in 1962. He joined the Clemson English faculty and was named Alumni Master Teacher in 1977. He taught until his retirement in 1985.

In recent years, Skardon has become well known in military circles as the only survivor who walks in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March in White Sands, New Mexico. He has walked 8.5 miles in the event for the last nine years.

“For me personally, he has been a teacher, mentor and friend for more than 30 years,” said Clemson alumnus David Stalnaker of Dallas, Texas. Stalnaker and his wife, Eva, donated the money to erect the honorary flagpole. “Probably due to his Bataan experience, the American flag is very special to Col. Skardon. He tears up when he sees the Stars and Stripes going up into the sky. Thus, we thought the flagpole in Clemson Memorial Stadium would be a fitting tribute to this exemplary Clemson man. We hope that everyone will pause for a moment when they see that beautiful flag flying in the stadium and think about the sacrifices people like Ben Skardon have made to keep us free.”

Skardon gave his perspective on the honor. “One of the blessings which I have grown to cherish in my 81 years of association with Clemson University is the friendships that I have established with my Clemson family,” he said. “The flagpole I hold in reverence because it flies our national banner, which is symbolic of the thousands whose lives made it sacred. I am especially indebted to Henry Daniel Leitner and Otis Foster Morgan.

“At football games at Clemson in Death Valley, the name is ironic for me. Memories flood my mind. Tears come to my eyes. So many brave men and women are represented by our flag.”


Col. Skardon’s 9th year in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March

Retired U.S. Army Col. Ben Skardon, 98, recently completed a more than eight-mile walk in the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 20, 2016. Skardon is the only survivor who walks in the memorial march and this is the ninth year in a row he has done it.