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Clemson University Trustee Emeritus Louis P. Batson Jr. dies



GREENVILLE – Louis Batson Jr., 91, trustee emeritus of Clemson University and Greenville businessman, died Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Greenville.

Louis P. Batson Jr. presides over a trustees meeting in 1985.
Louis P. Batson Jr. presides over a trustees meeting in 1985.

Batson was elected to Clemson’s board of trustees in 1979 and served the maximum of three consecutive terms as chairman from 1985 to 1991. In 1987, Batson was selected to be a Successor Member of the board.

“We lost a dear friend in Louis Batson,” said Smyth McKissick, chair of the board of trustees. “He was a man of incredible integrity who deeply cared for so many people. He was a great mentor and leader.

“Louis loved Clemson University and we owe him a great debt of gratitude for helping to build the foundation that Clemson University stands on today,” he said.

“Louis Batson was truly an amazing person,” Clemson President James P. Clements said. “He had a significant impact on Clemson University through his leadership and service, which helped to make Clemson the university it is today. He was also an incredible leader for our state and for the manufacturing industry. He truly exemplified the notion of servant leadership, and a big part of his legacy is the thousands of students who benefit from a Clemson education.”

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, of 67 years; daughters, Ann B. Smith (Rhett) of Pendleton, who is senior director of annual giving at Clemson, Vivien R. Batson of Greenville and Elizabeth A. Batson of Pawley’s Island; sons, Louis P. Batson III (Cheryl), and Glenn E. Batson (Susan), both of Greenville; sister, Joanna B Stone of Greenville; brother, H. Elliott Batson (Salley) of Easley; and grandchildren, Rhett H. Smith Jr. of Nashville, Tennessee, Davis B. Smith of Pendleton, Laura Batson of Greenville, Glenn E. Batson Jr. (Kit) of Clemson, Emma B. Simmons (Mason) of Clemson and Kathryn Ann Batson of Greenville, Brady Roberts of Clemson, Daniel Roberts of Greenville and Matthew (Maggie and Emilia) Roberts of Charleston, along with a number of nieces and nephews.

Batson was the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his service to Clemson, including the 1981 Distinguished Alumni Award and the Clemson Medallion, the university’s highest public honor, in 1988. Batson was also a charter member of the Clemson University Founder’s Club, a group of donors who give at least $10,000 annually to Clemson.

Professionally, Batson was the chairman of the Louis P. Batson Company and its affiliates. Batson corporations, founded by Louis P. Batson Sr. in 1948, export textile manufacturing equipment worldwide.

He was also director of First Union National Bank of South Carolina, former director of the Greater Greenville and South Carolina chambers of commerce, and a member of the Business and Industrial Council of the 103rd Congress.

Batson worked very closely with the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Health System and the United Negro College Fund. The Cancer Care Center at Greenville’s St. Francis Hospital was named in his honor in 1992.

He graduated from Clemson with honors in 1948.

There will be a celebration of his life in the Sanctuary of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church in Greenville at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, with visitation to follow in the Orders Parlor.

Memorials may be sent to the Phyllis and Louis P Batson Jr. Endowment, Clemson University Foundation, P.O. Box 1889, Clemson, SC 29633-1889; to the Poor Clare Nuns at the Monastery of Saint Clare, 37 McCauley Road, Travelers Rest, SC 29690; or to the Louis P Batson Jr Cancer Endowment for Patient Care, St. Francis Foundation, 1 St. Francis Drive, Greenville, SC 29601.

See the full obituary here.

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