When he took part in student government’s efforts to welcome Harvey Gantt to Clemson in 1963, Joseph D. Swann demonstrated the self-discipline and leadership skills he would later use to help guide the University to national and international acclaim.
A Clemson University trustee for 23 years and two-term vice chair of the board, Swann demonstrated a passion for service throughout his undergraduate career as a ceramic engineering major. He was involved with student government and Blue Key Honor Society and served as vice president of the junior and senior classes. He also lent his talents as a writer to the engineering magazine Slipstick and The Tiger student newspaper.
Swann began his career in the ceramics industry by working as a development engineer for the Ferro Corp. in Cleveland, Ohio. He went on to become the division materials manager and earned an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.
After taking a job with Reliance Electric in 1969, he moved his family back south, eventually settling in Greenville and becoming vice president and general manager of the company. He was named senior vice president in 1995 when Rockwell Automation acquired Reliance Electric, and he became president in 1998. Though he retired in 2007, he continued to serve as chair of the board of directors for integrated power services.
A recipient of the Clemson Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1995, Swann has served as an IPTAY representative and is a past member of the Board of Visitors. All three of his children are Clemson graduates, and his family left a permanent mark on the University in 2003 when the Swann Fitness Center was dedicated after their generous donation.