Celebrating Our Graduates; Student Affairs; Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

A Dailey Walk: December 2023 marks historic Clemson graduation date for father, daughter


Ginger Dailey has been coming to Clemson most of her life. And not just for Tiger football games.

At the age of 4, she unexpectedly found herself in a Clemson classroom on more than one occasion.

“In 2006, there were at least two instances where I didn’t have a sitter and had to bring Ginger in a stroller into the classroom,” recalls her father, Bobby. “To her credit, she was very good and did not cause a disruption.”

The beginning of Ginger’s long-standing relationship with Clemson University came as her father was closing his first chapter, one delayed eight years following service in the United States Navy.

Bobby ’06 was the first in his family to attend and graduate from Clemson, but his affection for the Upstate institution began at an early age. His father was offered a football scholarship by Clemson legend Frank Howard, but instead enlisted in the Navy and was sent to the Pacific during World War II.

Bobby’s non-traditional path to Clemson took an initial detour in 1996 when he headed off to Great Lakes, Illinois, for bootcamp. After a year of active duty, he would go on to serve with the Navy Reserves until 2004 as an equipment operator.

After completing his service, he enrolled at Clemson. It was a natural fit, given his affinity for the orange and white as well as Clemson’s rich tradition of supporting military students.

But Bobby quickly discovered it wasn’t an easy transition.

“Going back at age 26 to complete an undergraduate degree when you have a job, you’re married and have established a life, was difficult,” he admits. “We lived in Spartanburg at the time, so I commuted for an hour drive each way to and from campus for three years.”

By the time Bobby graduated from Clemson, he was bringing his family to home football games. Over the years it’s proven to be a bonding opportunity with Ginger, who recalls her younger days cheering on her all-time favorite player — quarterback Tajh Boyd. In January 2017, they reveled together in Clemson’s 35-31 triumph over Alabama when Dabo Swinney’s Tigers claimed the school’s second national championship in Tampa, Florida. Still today, they tailgate prior to games in IPTAY’s Lot 6, a mere stone’s throw from Memorial Stadium.

Ginger’s college decision came down to Clemson or Drexel University in Philadelphia. At the time, she couldn’t tour campuses due to the impact of a global pandemic. Instead, she relied on gut feeling and the schools’ marketing materials. One night at their dining room table, she revealed the decision to her parents … she was Tigertown Bound.

“Clemson was 100 percent the right fit for me,” she says. “If I had gone anywhere else, I would’ve ended up transferring to Clemson.”

Ginger Dailey and others in the Student Affairs creative suite
Ginger Dailey (middle) served as a UPIC social media intern with Student Affairs creative services her last two years at Clemson.

Ginger lived in Douthit Hills as a freshman while taking pre-business classes. When it came time to declare a major, she was interested in marketing after taking Cooper Fine’s introductory course.

Since that time, she’s engaged in several meaningful experiences in support of her degree program. She’s helped run a golf tournament with a sports marketing class. She’s utilized graphic design skills to create a consumer ad. And so much more.

The most meaningful experience may have been an internship with the Student Affairs creative services team, where she regularly contributes social media content and has even found a niche as a video host.

“It was the first position I’ve held that interested me in exactly what I wanted to do,” she says. “I decided to stay on four semesters, and it’s helped diversify my portfolio and showcase the creative media aspect I’m interested in.”

Bobby beams with pride when reflecting on her transformation from a shy, introverted personality to that of a thriving Clemson student.

“She’s come alive at Clemson and is set up to be successful,” he says. “She’s more engaging and has learned so many things. I’m proud of the young lady she’s become.”

For years — including his undergraduate days — Bobby owned and operated a weekly newspaper in Spartanburg County. Citing both a decline in the industry and desire to gain new skills, he looked into pursuing an MBA from Clemson. He enrolled in January 2021.

“The way business is conducted in the 21st century is so different,” he says. “From information technology to operations to financial management classes, it all fits together to give you a good broad-based business education. I’d recommend the MBA program to anyone.”

In a unique twist, father and daughter were enrolled in classes at the same time. They found time to help each other along the way, too. Ginger fondly recalls a time she was responsible for a business simulation project and spent the better part of an hour and a half on the phone consulting with Bobby.

“If he ever needs a marketing perspective, I’m the girl,” she laughs.

Ginger and Bobby Dailey
Ginger and Bobby Dailey are graduating together from the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business at the same ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023.

Toward the end of sophomore year, Ginger’s academic adviser informed her she only had three semesters remaining to qualify for early graduation. As Bobby began looking at his own degree progress, he realized earlier this year he could potentially finish in December­ — same as Ginger.

After checking with Ginger to ensure she was comfortable with the plan and that it wouldn’t take the shine off her accomplishment, Bobby delayed one of his classes so they could be on a path together toward graduation on Dec. 21, exactly 17 years to the day he earned his first degree from Clemson.

“It’ll be such a unique experience, to be graduating beside my dad,” Ginger says. “I’m looking forward to the ceremony, but I’m fully prepared to bawl my eyes out.”

Bobby says he’s had his time in the limelight, and he wants the 21st to be special for Ginger.

“We’ll focus more of the day on Ginger,” he says. “I’m excited to walk across the stage and earn my MBA from President Clements, but I want the day to be more about her.”