Samuel Rhett Cecil ’23 doubled up on his family’s legacy, reinforcing its military heritage by commissioning into the U.S. Marine Corps as a second lieutenant on May 10. When he earned his Clemson degree on May 11, his family’s ties to Clemson extended to four generations.
Cecil’s grandfather, Jim Hendricks ’68, M ’71, attended both ceremonies. “I was commissioned into the Army in the same auditorium 55 years ago!” said Hendricks, whose father, James Rhett Hendricks ’37, earned a degree in vocational agriculture from Clemson.
The day after the commissioning ceremony at graduation, Hendricks found himself deeply moved for the second time in as many days. “The graduation ceremony was special,” he said. “At the end, President Clements told the graduates to have someone who had been influential and very important to their success at Clemson to reposition their class ring to have the ‘C’ pointing out. Sam asked me to change his ring. Just a few tears came to the eyes.”
Cecil is the seventh of Hendricks’ family members to earn a Clemson degree, a list that will soon grow to nine. Cecil’s brother, Aaron, is a rising junior studying mechanical engineering, and his cousin, James Collins, is a rising sophomore studying wildlife and fisheries biology.
“Clemson has always been a part of my life,” said Hendricks. “First memories are ice cream and watching the cadets march on Bowman Field on Mother’s Day. Now, the newest memory is my grandson commissioning into the Marines and earning a degree, carrying on our family legacy here with such honor.
“I could not be prouder.”