JoVanna King named honorary alumna of Clemson University

JoVanna King of Anderson has been named an honorary alumna of Clemson University.

King is senior director of estate planning and principal gifts at Clemson. She has supported Clemson for more than 25 years, working in the Donor Research and Major Gifts departments. King has been involved in raising more philanthropic money than any employee in Clemson history.

King has worked on all three of Clemson’s capital campaigns, including the recently ended The Will to Lead campaign, which raised more than $1 billion.

King earned her bachelor’s degree in public affairs and business administration from Columbia College. She also received an associate’s degree from Anderson College.

“Her dedication and commitment to Clemson are remarkable,” said Wil Brasington, director of the Clemson Alumni Association, “I cannot think of anyone more deserving to receive this honor than JoVanna.”

“She epitomizes a devoted Clemson alumna,” wrote Ann Hunter, a past president of the Clemson Alumni Association who was among those who nominated King. “She understands Clemson and the Clemson determined spirit because she is a part of Clemson and Clemson is a part of her.”

Honorary alumni are selected by the Alumni Association Honors and Awards Committee on the basis of outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to Clemson University or the Clemson Alumni Association. To see past honorary alumni or to view the award guidelines, visit the honorary alumni web page.

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The Clemson Alumni Association is an open-membership, nonprofit organization. Since its inception in 1896, the program has connected members of the Clemson Family, inspiring pride, celebrating achievement, providing service and strengthening relationships.

Orangeburg native Frank Inabnit named honorary alumnus of Clemson University

Frank Inabnit III of Jacksonville, Florida, has been named an honorary alumnus of Clemson University. Inabnit is a native of Orangeburg and son of the late Frank and Mary Stewart Inabnit.

Inabnit has been a loyal IPTAY member for 45 years. He has served as an IPTAY representative and has contributed to the Clemson Alumni Association for more than 25 years.

His father was an alumnus and grandmother lived in Central, which provided Inabnit the opportunity to visit Clemson often as a child.

He attended Florida Junior College and the Rochester Institute of Technology and he worked for most of his career in electrical drafting and programming. Inabnit retired in 2008 and enjoys spending time with family and visiting Clemson as often as possible.

His sister, Catherine Inabnit, was inspired to nominate him, writing, “Frank was born deaf. He has never heard the word Clemson. He’s never heard ‘Tiger Rag’ or the alma mater, but Clemson has been a very important part of his life and occupies a large and very special place in his heart.”

The Clemson Alumni Association president, Col. Sandy Edge, along with university President James P. Clements, presented Inabnit with the honor in the presence of his friends and family.

Honorary alumni are selected by the Alumni Association Honors and Awards Committee on the basis of outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to Clemson University or the Clemson Alumni Association. To see past honorary alumni or to view the award guidelines, visit the honorary alumni web page.

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The Clemson Alumni Association is an open-membership, nonprofit organization. Since its inception in 1896, the program has connected members of the Clemson Family, inspiring pride, celebrating achievement, providing service and strengthening relationships.

John Komo named Honorary Alumnus at Clemson University

A Clemson University professor emeritus who is credited with helping students succeed in life is among the latest group of university faithful to be named Honorary Alumnus.

Dr. John J. Komo served as a professor in the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for 34 years before retiring. His latest honor puts him in the same club as Charles Daniel, Frank Howard, Buck Mickel, Hugh Leatherman and more than 200 other honorary alumni, according to the Clemson Alumni Association.

Komo thanked family, friends and colleagues as they gathered in Riggs Hall to help celebrate the honor.

“It’s wonderful to be recognized, but for me, it’s always been about providing the best education for the students,” Komo said. “That was always my favorite part of the job. ”

Komo, who still lives in Clemson, established an endowed fellowship in 2007 for graduate students in his department. Many of his former students and colleagues have given to the fund.

Komo’s colleagues said he served as a teacher, mentor and friend to thousands of students in the College of Engineering and Science. Former students hold Komo in high regard, crediting him with their success in life, colleagues said.

Dr. Dan Noneaker, chairman of the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said he worked closely with Komo, mentoring students and planning course offerings and content.

“Over the past 21 years, it has been consistently apparent to me that the university and Clemson’s students have had a rare friend and treasure in Dr. Komo,” Noneaker said.

The Clemson Alumni Association awards Honorary Alumnus status based on outstanding service to the university or association, lifelong devotion to the university and demonstrated loyalty to university and the association.

Ann Marie Alexander, the university’s senior director of Corporate and Foundations Relations, said she was extremely impressed that Komo would be so generous and gracious not only with his dedication to students but also with his support of Clemson University.

“I could see how proud Dr. Komo was of the students and the department to which he dedicated his professional career,” she said. “His passion was, and is, the students. He is a humble person and never sought public accolades for his activities over the decades to support the students, department and College of Engineering and Science.”

Komo has served as an outstanding teacher of critical undergraduate and graduate courses, providing the fundamental engineering underpinnings for multiple generations of graduates, Noneaker said.

After his retirement, Komo continued to teach core undergraduate courses to ensure students had access to experienced instruction in key topics. He has also shared his expertise in communication systems with many graduate students over the decades.

“Many Clemson ECE graduates who have gone on to high-impact engineering careers attribute their success in no small measure to Dr. Komo’s commitment to their development as engineering professionals,” Noneaker said.

Here is what former students had to say about Komo:

Noland Suddeth, director of energy management and process controls at Duke Energy, said, “He was a professor of mine in the late ‘70s, and he was great. He and Dr. Gowdy had a huge influence on my return to grad school. In the last 31 years, he has been a good friend and mentor. He always put the students first.”

Laurie Joiner, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said, “Dr. Komo has been my wonderful teacher, advisor, and friend. As a student it was obvious how much he loves teaching and working with students. Through him I learned what a fulfilling career academia can be, and he has continued to mentor me in my academic career.”

Bruce Churchill, who works in the Office of the CTO at Ericsson, said, “Dr. Komo’s passion for teaching and nurturing of students and constant encouragement are major contributors to my professional success. He always took whatever time and resources required by the student for issues, both professional and personal. I began my interaction with Dr. Komo initially in the professor-student relationship during my undergraduate years at Clemson, which progressed to mentor as Dr. Komo functioned as my lead advisor during my graduate career and ultimately to close friend during my professional career.”

To honor Komo with a contribution to his endowment, go to http://cualumni.clemson.edu/give/john-komo.

Bobby Couch named Honorary Alumnus of Clemson University

CLEMSON — James Robert “Bobby” Couch Jr., assistant director of athletics and IPTAY executive director of major gifts, has been named an Honorary Alumnus of Clemson University by the Clemson Alumni Association.

“I’m ecstatic and truly honored to be named a Clemson University Honorary Alumnus,” said Couch. “The day that Brian O’Rourke [director of Development and Alumni Affairs] brought me and my family here, the Clemson family has wrapped its arms around us and never let go. I work and live every day to return that passion I feel exuding from the hearts of all that are Solid Orange.”

Couch came to Clemson in 2005 as assistant director of athletics and IPTAY’s executive director of major gifts. Since then, he led the Clemson University Athletic Department through its first-ever $28 million and $185 million fundraising campaigns, secured the largest major and planned athletics gift in Clemson history and funded the restoration of the “Heisman Bible.”

As current associate athletic director for development for athletics and director of IPTAY major gifts, Couch manages a portfolio of 150 prospective donors and makes 200 visits per year.

“For many years, Bobby has served as a tireless ambassador of the university and he has demonstrated the passion and dedication to see Clemson achieve its goals that is usually only found among our alumni,” said Wil Brasington, alumni relations senior director. “Because of that, we felt it was only fitting to express our appreciation through this high distinction and, in doing so, we declare him ‘one of our own,’ a Clemson alumnus.”

Couch continues to support Clemson University by being a major donor to the Scroll of Honor, a Clemson Forever Fund and IPTAY donor and a children CATs and Cub member. He also serves as a board member for the Scott Hannon Foundation and the Golden Strip YMCA and participates as a member of the St. Mary Magdalene Building Committee, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

“Clemson is our life. Christi and I have watched our four boys grow up here,” said Couch. “I don’t know what life would be like without Clemson.”

Honorary alumni are specially selected by the Alumni Association Honors and Awards Committee for their outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to Clemson University or the Clemson Alumni Association. To see past honorary alumni or to view the award guidelines, visit the honorary alumni web page.

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Clemson Alumni Association
The Clemson Alumni Association, an open-membership, nonprofit organization since its inception in 1896, connects members of the 140,000-strong Clemson Family, inspiring pride, celebrating achievement, providing service and strengthening relationships with Clemson University and with each other.

Mary Dalby Bradley Named Clemson Honorary Alumna

The Clemson Alumni Association (CAA) has named one of the university’s most enthusiastic and dedicated champions, Mary Dalby Bradley, an honorary alumna for her lifelong devotion and demonstrated loyalty to her adopted school.

Mary wed her husband, Phil, in 1963 while he was a student at Clemson and has supported the school ever since.

“Mary Bradley has earned her way into the Clemson family with a smile on her face each step of the way,” said Clemson President Emeritus James F. Barker in his nomination letter. “After they were married, she and Phil moved into married student housing in our prefabs. This began a lifelong love affair for Mary with all things Clemson.”

The Bradleys have become well known for hosting meetings of Clemson in the Lowcountry — a group that keeps Clemson alumni in the Charleston area in touch with one another and with the university — at their home on Johns Island, where they have built a “tavern” next to the main house that is decked out from top to bottom in Clemson paraphernalia.

“One visit to their home confirms their ‘all-in’, ‘orange-blood’ relationship with Clemson,” said Thomas Thornhill, former president of the Alumni Association “The tavern next to their home contains practically every Clemson memento ever made.”

“(Mary) hosted events in the Lowcountry for decades to bring the Clemson Family to celebrate, mourn and strengthen our bonds together,” said Barker. “This leadership and hosting continued into her service and commitment to our Board of Visitors. Further, Mary has been joyful in her financial support of Clemson. The Bradley Award in the Creative Inquiry program is a wonderful example of a gift helping to transform undergraduate education on our campus.”

Ann Hunter (left), past president of the Clemson University Alumni Association, gives Mary Bradley a certificate naming her an Honorary Alumnus of Clemson University.

The Clemson alumni and development staff reiterated Barker’s sentiment in a letter supporting Bradley’s nomination.

“Mary is a true giver of time, talent, and treasure to Clemson,” it reads. “Though she married into the Clemson family, Mary’s commitment to our university is unmatched. Her work with Clemson in the Lowcountry has brought a warmth to the organization for over a decade, as she opens her home and brings that special touch only Mary has. She leads with her heart, which truly bleeds orange.”

Any Clemson alumnus can nominate someone to be an honorary alumnus. Honorary alumni are selected based on their outstanding service to Clemson and/or the CAA, their lifelong devotion to Clemson University and their demonstrated loyalty to Clemson and the CAA.

To see a list of past honorary alumni or to view the award guidelines, visit the honorary alumni web page.

Bruce Yandle, Dean Emeritus of CBBS, Named Honorary Alumnus of Clemson University

CLEMSON — Bruce Yandle, dean emeritus of the College of Business and Behavioral Science and Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of economics, has been named an Honorary Alumnus of Clemson University by the Clemson Alumni Association.

“This is a high honor,” he said. “I join the ranks of my favorite people: my former students and others who came to Clemson. Having the opportunity — the privilege — of being in the classroom at Clemson is the high point in my professional life.”

Yandle began as an economics professor at Clemson in 1969 and retired in 2000. He returned to serve as dean of the College of Business and Behavioral Science from 2004 to 2007. As a senior fellow of Clemson’s Strom Thurmond Institute of Government Affairs, he produces a quarterly newsletter that analyzes national, regional and state economic trends and activity. He also is a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at the Mercatus Institute at George Mason University.

Yandle has served as executive director of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, as a member and chairman of the South Carolina State Board of Economic Advisors and as chairman of the board of trustees of Spartanburg Methodist College.

He has written more than 100 journal articles and written or edited 16 books.

“When Dot and I first visited Clemson in April 1969 for interviews, the campus and town looked like a dream come true,” he said. “It still does!”

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the award than Bruce Yandle due to his extended involvement and enthusiasm for the university,” said Missy Ryan, senior director of development.

Honorary alumni are specially selected by the Alumni Council for their outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to Clemson University or the Clemson Alumni Association. To see past honorary alumni or to view the award guidelines, visit the honorary alumni web page.

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John Seketa Named Honorary Alumnus of Clemson University

CLEMSON — The Clemson Alumni Association has named retired assistant athletic director John Seketa as an honorary alumnus in recognition of his hard work and devotion to Clemson University and the Alumni Association.

Over the past 28 years, Seketa has contributed to the athletic department’s success. During home football games, Seketa was game manager, coordinating all game-day activities in Clemson athletics, Tiger Band, the university administration and several student groups.

He also was executive director of the Tiger Letterwinners Association. He expanded football reunion activities and Clemson University Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies, significantly increasing attendance. In 2004, Seketa received the ACC Basketball Officials Association Fred Bakarat Award for outstanding service and dedication to the ACC and its basketball officials.

“John has played a significant role in enhancing all our Olympic sports by generating marketing plans and concepts that promote opportunities for our fans,” said Bill D’Andrea, executive senior associate director for IPTAY external affairs. “His contributions in this area have made a profound impact on our coaches’ ability to recruit.”

Seketa has also played a crucial role in making Military Appreciation Day a celebrated campus tradition, lobbying for its creation and designing the annual football Military Appreciation Day T-shirts that benefit Clemson’s Army and Air Force ROTC programs. Two years ago, ACC administrators invited Seketa to share his expertise in Clemson’s military recognition, resulting in similar observances of Military Appreciation Day at every ACC institution.

“There is no question that John Seketa’s leadership has established Clemson as the best in the nation with regard to our Military Appreciation Day,” said D’Andrea.

Seketa continues to serve the university as a member of Tiger Brotherhood and of the Clemson Corps Scroll of Honor Committee. On the committee, he assisted the creation of the Scroll of Honor Memorial by monitoring design modifications and the construction progress, as well as developing sources for fundraising. Seketa also volunteers for Toys for Tots, Wounded Warriors and Families of Fallen S.C. Military.

Seketa received his Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1981. Before arriving at Clemson, he was the promotion director at Eastern Illinois University.

Any Clemson alumnus can nominate someone to be an honorary alumnus. Honorary alumni are specially selected by the Alumni Council for their outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to Clemson University or the Clemson Alumni Association. To see past honorary alumni or to view the award guidelines, visit the honorary alumni web page.

– Ashley Hedrick

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Alfred G. Wheeler Jr. Named Honorary Alumnus of Clemson University

CLEMSON — The Clemson Alumni Association has named entomologist Alfred G. Wheeler Jr. an honorary alumnus of Clemson University.

During his career as an entomologist, Wheeler became the world authority on the insect family Miridae and published the awarding winning text “Biology of the Plant Bugs.” After working 25 years with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Wheeler retired to Clemson as an adjunct member of the entomology program.

In his 17 years at Clemson, Wheeler published more than 115 refereed papers. He has served on 16 graduate student advisory committees, mentored several Creative Inquiry undergraduate research projects, volunteered to coordinate the entomology seminar series for six years and worked as editor of South Carolina Biota for more than a decade. Wheeler also established a $100,000 endowment to support research expeditions for entomology graduate students.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that Dr. Alfred G. Wheeler Jr. will be a remembered name in the annals of entomology, and, to our benefit, his name will be forever tied to Clemson University, his chosen professional home,” said Patricia Zungoi, professor of entomology.

Any Clemson alumnus can nominate someone to be an honorary alumnus. Honorary alumni are specially selected by the Alumni Council for their outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to Clemson University or the Clemson Alumni Association. To see past honorary alumni or to view the award guidelines, visit the honorary alumni web page.

— Ashley Hedrick

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