Charlotte Lucke Ph.D. ’22 was a bit melancholic amid her doctoral hooding ceremony two years ago. How could she leave the place — and people — she called home for six years?
After leading a monthly literary-quality arts and culture magazine based in Greenville, the Rhetorics, Communication and Information Design (RCID) graduate has returned to serve as the managing editor of Clemson World. Clemson World tells the stories of alumni and donors thrice annually through creative and innovative writing, design, photography, video and technology.
“I love it here,” Lucke said. “Clemson has this reputation and following that is so strong. People are in the Clemson Family — I didn’t know about that until I moved here. This is an institution that people feel connected to. We get to communicate about the research and programs and help build the Clemson identity.”
The path from Alamo City to Tigertown
The San Antonio native arrived in Clemson in 2016, the culmination of a journey that began in earnest seven years earlier at the University of North Texas. As an undergraduate student, Lucke was reading the work of Victor Vitanza when she was invited to his lecture in Denton, Texas.
The RCID doctoral program’s founding director enthralled Lucke. It was enough for her to commit to earning her master’s from the University of Houston to prepare her to ultimately study the art of persuasive speaking and writing under Vitanza at Clemson.
“I was very moved by his work,” Lucke said. “I decided I was going to study with him.”
Her six years at Clemson were packed with challenges and growth. Lucke taught courses for the Department of English and founded a magazine showcasing agriculture in her home city. Then, in 2018, her father was diagnosed with cancer.
Lucke moved home for six months to be his primary caretaker after he had complications from a liver transplant in 2020. He was able to travel to her doctoral hooding ceremony and later passed away in September 2023.
“The RCID community was incredibly supportive,” she said. “They let me take the time I needed to care for myself and my father. He was very proud of me.”
‘It feels right’
Lucke left Clemson with the goal of becoming a professional in magazine writing, journalism and copywriting outside of academia. It led her to TOWN Carolina, where she served as managing editor and directed a staff of freelancers to cover art, culture and food happenings in the Upstate. Her stint with the magazine never forced her to leave her home in Clemson, and although she enjoyed her new career, Lucke missed academia.
Lucke is ecstatic after starting with Clemson World in December 2023. She loves being on campus and, of course, has her favorite spots. One would be the Carillon Gardens, where she’d squeeze in the rare nap between teaching, reading and seminars.
“I love the sun and have so many memories of being a doctoral student on this campus,” Lucke said. “I would go into different buildings, find empty classrooms and read just to get a sense of it. Walking around now, it’s really moving. It feels right.”
“I think Clemson World helps alumni feel connected to the University,” she shared. “Magazines are great for storytelling and beautiful writing. They also give a voice to people who don’t otherwise have an outlet, and they are resources for the community. I love to be a part of that.”
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