Clemson University trustee presented with Clemson’s Distinguished Service Award


CLEMSON – Clemson University Trustee John N. “Nicky” McCarter Jr. of Columbia is being honored by the Clemson Alumni Association with the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor that the association bestows on former Clemson Tigers.

John N. "Nicky" McCarter Jr.
John N. “Nicky” McCarter Jr.

McCarter graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science in administrative management in 1980. After graduation, McCarter began his professional career with Defender Services, a provider of professional services for industrial and manufacturing facilities, commercial and retail businesses, educational institutions and health care facilities. He remained with the company in various roles, and today, McCarter is the president and CEO of Defender Services Inc.

McCarter was elected to the Clemson University board of trustees by the General Assembly in 2008 and was reelected in 2010, 2014 and again in 2018. Since his initial election, McCarter has served as vice chair of the board of trustees and on the Agriculture and Natural Resources, Executive and Audit, Finance and Facilities, Institutional Advancement and Student Affairs committees.

In his letter of support, retired president of Rockwell Automation Power Systems and fellow Trustee Joe Swann states, “Nicky’s love of and passion for our university has never been questioned… [He] is a valuable asset to our university. The rapport he has cultivated with members of the General Assembly is very beneficial to Clemson when a member needs additional information or explanation from a person they trust and respect.”

McCarter is a member of the Thomas Green Clemson Society and the South Carolina Waterfowl Association and is the past president of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. An Eagle Scout, McCarter serves on the Indian Waters Council Executive Board and the NBSC Columbia Advisory Board. McCarter is also a Mason and a Shriner and a former baseball coach for the Palmetto Baseball League.

The prestigious Clemson Alumni Distinguished Service Award is based on three main criteria: personal and professional accomplishments; dedication and service to Clemson University; and devotion to community and public service. Members of the Clemson family nominate potential winners, who are then selected by the Clemson Alumni Association as outstanding alumni, public servants and examples to others.

McCarter and his late wife, Cass, have two children, Lauren (’12) and Cole (’16). McCarter currently resides in Columbia.

The Clemson Alumni Association, an open-membership, nonprofit organization since its inception in 1896, connects members of the more than 156,000-strong Clemson Family, inspiring pride, celebrating achievement, providing service and strengthening relationships with Clemson University and with each other. For more information, visit

Want to Discuss?

Get in touch and we will connect you with the author or another expert.

Or email us at

    This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.