World War II veteran presented with Clemson’s Distinguished Service Award


CLEMSON – Fort Motte, South Carolina, native and World War II veteran James T. McCabe of Clemson is being honored by the Clemson Alumni Association with the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor that the association bestows on former Clemson Tigers.

James T. McCabe
James T. McCabe

McCabe entered Clemson as an engineering student in 1943. After several semesters, he withdrew and answered the call to serve his country in World War II. After serving in the United States Navy in the South Pacific, McCabe returned home to St. Matthews, where he worked for the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). He was then employed by DuPont as an assistant chief inspector at the Savannah River Plant and later began a very successful career in asphalt sales with Standard Oil, which later became Esso and is known today as ExxonMobil. Upon retirement, McCabe spent an additional 10 years in the asphalt business working with SEACO Asphalt in Columbia, expanding their operation from four asphalt tankers to more than 50.

Although he never graduated from Clemson, McCabe and his wife, Barbara, have been avid supporters of academics, athletics and the arts at the university for many years.

In 1999, McCabe honored the memory of his friend, Joe “Bogie” Bryant, a former Clemson football player, with a $100,000 endowment to IPTAY. In 2011, he sponsored the naming of the baseball locker room at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in honor of his long-time friend and former Clemson baseball coach, Jack Leggett HA’17. During his professional career, McCabe coordinated and secured $500,000 worth of asphalt for the parking lots in and around Memorial Stadium and was responsible for extending the runway at Oconee County Airport so the Clemson University plane could land and take off from Seneca instead of the Anderson County Airport.

In 2007, the McCabes established the Brian J. O’Rourke ’83 Unrestricted Endowment for the Performing Arts and in 2012 they established the Ann Harvin Hunter (’80, M’82) Leadership Endowment for the Clemson Alumni Association. McCabe has been a member of IPTAY for more than 65 years and is a significant benefactor and member of the John C. Calhoun Cumulative Gifts Society. The McCabes most recently provided their support to the Clemson University Tiger Band with a $100,000 scholarship endowment.

In his letter of support, Jack Leggett states, “Through the years, Jim has shown tremendous loyalty, passion and an overall commitment for Clemson overall… He goes above and beyond in his willingness to invest his time, talent and resources to promote the university – both academics and athletics.”

The McCabes are Friends of the Brooks Center for Performing Arts, Friends of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, members of the Calhoun Lecture Series and remain very active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Clemson Cotillion, the Anderson Touchdown Club, the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, the South Carolina Historical Society and the Hibernian Society of Charleston.

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.

The McCabes live in Clemson and have one son, James T. McCabe Jr., and his wife, Jane, who live in Anderson. They also have two grandsons, Tennent, who lives in Oakland, California, and Lee, who is a senior at Newberry College.

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

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