Student Affairs

Student Affairs celebrates 2023-24 academic year, honors outstanding students


Student Affairs presented its annual student awards on Wednesday, May 1 during a divisionwide celebration. The 2023-24 year-end celebration also included the official kickoff of the new Student Affairs strategic plan and remarks from both President Jim Clements and Vice President and Dean of Students Chris Miller.

The Almeda R. Jacks Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award is presented in honor of Clemson’s former vice president for Student Affairs. It is given to the best “all around” junior or senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who upholds Clemson’s core values, maintains high scholarly achievement and demonstrates a cross section of involvement.

Co-recipients of the 2024 Almeda R. Jacks Award are Jackson Grant and John Shoemaker.

Grant is a work-study student through the Department of Veterans Affairs in the Office of Military & Veteran Engagement. He is also a U.S. Navy veteran, current Army reservist and battalion executive officer in the Army ROTC program. Among many responsibilities, he leads Green Zone Training to educate faculty and staff on Clemson’s military student population.

Shoemaker is a Thomas F. Chapman Leadership Scholar who served as president of the Interfraternity Council in 2023. He has been recognized for his leadership by earning the Undergraduate Award of Distinction and multiple IFC awards from the North American Interfraternity Conference. Shoemaker is also an active member of Blue Key Honor Society and the University Tour Guide Association.

The R.C. Edwards Outstanding Graduate Student Award is presented in memory of the longtime president best known for leading Clemson from an all-male military college to a major coeducational and integrated university. It is given to the best “all around” graduate student with a minimum 3.25 GPA who exhibits a high level of support for the mission, vision and goals of his/her department while going above and beyond expected duties.

The 2024 R.C. Edwards Award recipient is Mandy Vitale.

Vitale serves as a graduate assistant in the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement, with a focus on leadership education and development. Last fall, she coordinated the IMPACT program allowing first-year and transfer students to arrive on campus early to explore leadership and community engagement opportunities.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Chris Miller spoke to staff and students at the division’s annual spring breakfast.

The Walter T. Cox Graduate Student Award is presented in memory of the 10th university president and longtime vice president for Student Affairs. It is given to a first-year graduate student affiliated with the Division of Student Affairs. The recipient shows excellence as a contributing member of the Clemson community through their leadership, support of the holistic academic experience and commitment to diversity and acceptance.

The 2024 Walter T. Cox Award recipient is Luke Hall.

Hall is a graduate assistant in the Department of Public Health Sciences and chairs the Health and Human Services Committee for Graduate Student Government. He also serves on the steering committee for the Johnson Family Student Memorial and Reflection Garden at Samuel J. Cadden Chapel. This year, Hall has been instrumental in re-launching the student volunteer program for Fall move-in.

The Rising Star Award is presented to a first- or second-year undergraduate who is currently involved in leadership or service activities and is actively pursuing future leadership roles at Clemson.

The 2024 Rising Star Award recipient is Rylie DeWeese.

DeWeese serves as a student assistant in the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement. She assists Clemson’s more than 500 student organizations as a consultant, reviewing resource requests and registration materials. DeWeese is a volunteer with Paw Pantry and serves as social media chair of Kappa Alpha Pi and public relations chair for the Clemson Period Project.

The Matt Locke Leadership Award is presented to a student who demonstrates outstanding leadership with regard to service and devotion to humankind and Clemson University.

The 2024 Matt Locke Leadership Award recipient is Elizabeth Caldwell.

Caldwell is a genetics major and member of the 2021 National Scholars cohort. She helped create the Tigers 4 Accessibility student organization and was recently appointed as the first student to the President’s Disability Commission. Last month, she became the fifth student from Clemson to be named a Truman Scholar since the award’s inception in 1975, named in honor of former U.S. President Harry S. Truman.

Two students received the Frank A. Burtner Scholarship. The scholarship is presented to rising juniors and seniors who display exemplary leadership qualities and outstanding academic records. The 2024 Burtner scholarship recipients are Kellan Fenegan and Gino Vitelli.

Fenegan is a senior political science and communication double major and was recently named president of Clemson Undergraduate Student Government. She is a Dixon Global Policy Scholar and serves as the director of Tigerama as well. Vitelli is a junior computer engineering major and is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity and Tiger Band.

The Susan Delony Academic Achievement Award is presented to a student who demonstrates both high academic achievement and high engagement within their field of study.

The 2024 Susan Delony Academic Achievement Award recipient is Ruxi Xia.

Xia is a biochemistry major who is highly committed to the field of cancer research. She is also committed to giving back to the academic community by mentoring other students. Xia also serves as one of the student leaders of the Paw Pantry, Clemson’s on-campus food pantry.