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

From hometown girl to global traveler, the Clemson Experience gave Gracie Patat wings


This graphic communications major began her Clemson Journey believing her career path was destined to be stateside. She discovered a much bigger world.

As the child of two Clemson University alumni, Gracie Patat has been around the Clemson Family her entire life. But it wasn’t until her acceptance letter arrived four years ago that she started to understand what being a part of Clemson means.

Her college years have meant many different things for Gracie. When she first got involved with different clubs and organizations like the Delta Delta Delta sorority and the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business Recruitment Ambassadors (COBRA), she became part of a larger community. One that gives back and encourages others to make Clemson a place where service is held in high esteem. It’s also the place where she better understood her career goals and her graphic communications major with the help of advisers, professors and staff who steered her in the right direction for her needs.

But it took a leap into the deep end of the study abroad program her junior year to give Gracie a new perspective on just about everything. It was an experience that began with expectations and uncertainty but turned into joy, rich memories and new passions.

“There’s so much out there in the world. I remember walking the streets of Florence, Italy, thinking, ‘This is insane. How did I not know that these opportunities were out there?’”

Gracie Patat, graphic Communications ’23

Those opportunities have refocused Gracie’s thoughts on what she wants to do after graduation. Originally, the path seemed to consist of getting a degree, securing a job in print production and securing the career steps in a specific order. That changed as she looked out of her third-floor window from her apartment in Florence, Italy, to see the Duomo Cathedral in all its magnificence. Her perspective changed even more as she experienced the ancient city with four other Clemson students — all of whom she first met in Italy — enjoying local cuisine and visiting Renaissance palaces. Eventually, she came to the realization that balance and academic success can exist in the same place at the same time.

A young woman with long brown hair wearing a teal-blue shirt kneels before a bank of shallow filing cabinets with one drawer pulled out.  She is reaching for several orange and purple art prints in the drawer.
Gracie Patat’s study abroad experience made her reconsider her career aspirations. Now, she hopes to work for an international company and with clients from around the world.

“We just immersed ourselves in where we were, no matter where we were,” Gracie says. “It wasn’t just school and travel to us. We were drinking it all in. And at the end of our time there, we might have left Florence, but we didn’t leave each other, and we didn’t leave that feeling.”

Now, Gracie expects to use her degree to work internationally, which she had never previously considered. She hopes to work for a global company and with international clients in an effort to bring a blended perspective to those here and around the world. It’s made her more excited for what’s next and all the different ways she can pursue the dreams Clemson has inspired in her.

“I want to make an impact on Clemson, but I also want Clemson to make an impact on me,” Gracie says. “I want to take what I have learned and apply it and spread the Clemson Spirit, the Clemson joy. It’s hard to describe, but I want to show people that it’s more than just a campus.”