Duckenfield Scholars return to campus to host symposium

Ten years ago, Clemson’s first Duckenfield Scholar, Lindsay Green-Barber, went abroad to study at Oxford. This spring, she and the 16 other Duckenfield Scholars have traveled back to Clemson to return the favor.

The group of alumni planned and executed a Clemson Global Symposium, held in March, to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of a program they consider life changing. Oxford University professor Ken Addison provided the keynote address.

The Christopher J. Duckenield Scholars Program was established by the family and friends of Chris Duckenfield, who was Clemson’s vice provost for computing and information technology. He was also an alumnus of St. Peter’s College of the University of Oxford. The program enables one or two members of the Calhoun Honors College, who demonstrate extraordinary talent, motivation, commitment and ability, to attend St. Peter’s College. Duckenfield Scholars also are expected to demonstrate the ability to adapt to the tutorial style of learning that exemplifies university education at Oxford and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

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.