The Clemson Alumni Association recently honored Andrew Bernard “Andy” Cajka Jr. with the designation of Honorary Alumnus of Clemson University. The distinction of Honorary Alumnus/a is a special recognition intended for steadfast Tiger supporters whose “blood runs orange” but who never attended Clemson.
Andy Cajka has been an enthusiastic supporter and volunteer of Clemson University for many years. A 1982 graduate of Bowling Green State University, Cajka settled in Greenville, SC with his family and immediately began building connections in the Greenville, Spartanburg and Clemson communities.
Cajka is the founder and president of the Southern Hospitality Group, LLC, a hotel management and development company in Greenville. He and his company were engaged by Clemson University in an effort to acquire a professional hotel management group to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Clemson University Complex Corporation which includes the James F. Martin Inn, the Clyde V. Madren Conference Center and the John E. Walker Sr. Golf Course. In this role, Cajka was faced with developing creative ways to address campus housing concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through his leadership, the Martin Inn provided special accommodations for student athletes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Graham Neff, Clemson University Athletic Director, “this effort proved to be vital not only for COVID mitigation controls, but also turned a negative student experience necessity into a positive opportunity.”
Cajka has shown his support for the future of Clemson University by commissioning and financially fronting an architectural design and site study which served as the catalyst for the proposed Clemson Alumni and Visitor’s Center which will be located on the conference center campus.
He has volunteered on the Clemson University Research Foundation Board of Directors for more than a decade, serving as its chairman since 2019. He has lectured on entrepreneurship in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business and provided unrestricted gifts to support the president’s initiative to provide completion grants to students who have a financial need arise during their time at Clemson. Cajka also supported various events including the Clemson Hoops Basketball Reception, the Cadden Chapel Run fundraiser and the First Tee National Golf Tournament. He also played a role in the planning of the Clemson Men of Color conference and provides assistance to the Hospitality Management curriculum In the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Department at Clemson.
Clemson Alumni Association Executive Director, Wil Brasington, stated, “Andy is a prime example of why the alumni association created the designation of Honorary Alumnus. He has served Clemson as if it were his alma mater and in turn has had an incredible impact on the university and our students.”
In addition to his support for Clemson University, Cajka has served on the boards of Southern First Bank, Visit Greenville, One Spartanburg, is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina and helped to found St. Joseph’s Catholic School.
The Honorary Alumnus/a designation was presented to Cajka while surrounded by his family and friends during the Clemson vs. Furman game. Wil Brasington was joined by Clemson Alumni Association board Chair Jeff Duckworth, vice president for Advancement Brian O’Rourke, and university president Jim Clements, in presenting Cajka with the honor along with a host of Clemson staff and friends.
Honorary alumni are selected by the Alumni Association board of directors on the basis of outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to Clemson University or the Clemson Alumni Association. Nominations for the 2023 Honorary Alumnus/a designation open in October and close January 31. To nominate a deserving person, to review past honorees or to view the award guidelines, visit the Clemson Alumni website at alumni.clemson.edu/honoraryalum.