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Tigers paint South Carolina Capitol orange for Clemson Day


Images from Clemson Day at the State House 2024
Students, faculty, staff and other stakeholders enjoyed Clemson Day at the South Carolina State House on Wednesday, February 28.
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South Carolina’s Capitol displayed a distinctly different look Wednesday, February 28 during the annual observation of “Clemson Day.” With the Clemson flag flying underneath the American flag and South Carolina flag atop the State House, the Tigers took over downtown Columbia for several hours to celebrate the University’s contributions over the past year.

As is tradition, Clemson’s largest contingent to date made its way into the gallery of both the Senate and House of Representatives for recognition in front of state legislators. Notable guests included representatives from the Board of Trustees, Board of Visitors, and board of directors from the Alumni Association, Clemson University Foundation and IPTAY. Also present were executive leaders from the University, along with faculty, staff, students and industry partners.

Rep. Jason Elliott ’93 (R-Greenville) took the microphone in the House of Representatives just after 10 a.m. and offered welcome remarks to begin a day of celebration.

“Clemson recently celebrated a decade of success under the leadership of President Jim Clements,” he said, noting the school’s record number of undergraduate applications, increase in national merit scholarships and robust graduation rates. “And with the help of this General Assembly, Clemson is developing the state’s first veterinary school.”

Clements followed suit at the nearby Palmetto Club with a brief program that included introductions and a welcome from Senate President Thomas Alexander ’78 (R-Oconee) and Rep. Jerry Carter (R-Pickens).

“I’ve been in higher education for 35 years, and I don’t think anyone does it better than Clemson,” Clements said. “We’ve tripled applications and doubled fundraising and research. We have great facilities and want our students to have the very best experience. We were built to serve South Carolina through education, research and service. It’s in our DNA.”

Carter, a resident of Clemson, lauded University leaders for continuing to build partnerships with the City of Clemson — recently highlighted at the State of Clemson event. Alexander, 2014 recipient of the Clemson Alumni Distinguished Service Award and native of Walhalla, dubbed his alma mater “the standard of South Carolina.”

After lunch, Clemson Athletics took center stage. The Department of Transportation presented a new highway sign honoring the 2023 men’s soccer national championship — the program’s fourth overall — to Director of Athletics Graham Neff, Head Coach Mike Noonan and student-athletes Adam Lundegard and Terry Watson. The group then assembled in the Senate where a resolution was read in honor and recognition of the accomplishment.

Noonan cited his program’s ultimate goal of creating a memorable experience, while Neff marveled at Clemson’s unique leadership alignment and quest for competitive excellence. Lundegard, meanwhile, mentioned the unique distinction of being a member of Clemson’s last two national championship teams (2021 and 2023).

“I was part of the 2021 team that won the national championship, but this was extra special to be able to represent Clemson and be part of this incredible day on the State House grounds,” he said. “Having this type of recognition validates the amazing experiences I’ve had at Clemson.”

Lundegard and Watson were far from the only students in attendance. Several leaders from student government and other organizations were on hand for the festivities. Included in the group was Kylie Foley, a senior management major from Franklin, Tennessee. Her older brother, Mason, is a Clemson graduate and former student body president. Foley has carved her own path, however, as a member of Clemson Undergraduate Student Government, Alpha Delta Pi, IPTAY Student Advisory Board and Student Alumni Council.

Sen. Kent Wilkins receives the Board of Visitors Legislative Leadership Award from Heather Simmons Jones
Sen. Kent Williams, pictured with Heather Jones, received the 2023 Board of Visitors Legislative Leadership Award.

“It was great to see and hear about everything that’s happening at Clemson,” said Foley, a student assistant in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. “Seeing the alumni who willingly give of their time and care so much about Clemson is inspiring.”

Each year, the Board of Visitors honors an individual in the General Assembly for demonstrating a history of service, legislative support and leadership, and measurable and significant contributions to the advancement of Clemson University. The award was presented by Heather Simmons Jones ’97 M’12.

This year’s recipient is Sen. Kent Williams (D-Marion). He is a member of the Finance and Agriculture and Natural Resources committees and worked with Clemson on important legislative and budget priorities. He is a passionate supporter of the Pinckney Scholars program, 4-H and Extension across South Carolina.

“I’m thankful for this great honor,” Williams said. “Clemson provides world-class opportunities to students, and I’m immensely proud to have contributed a small part to its continued success.”