The Clemson Alumni Association recognized Carla Searcy Norville of Kiawah Island with the designation of Honorary Alumna 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.
Carla’s devotion to Clemson began at a young age when her high school sweetheart, now husband, Mitch, began his career as a Mechanical Engineering student at Clemson. Carla attended College of Charleston and spent much of her free time in Tiger Town visiting her future husband and supporting Clemson athletics. Mitch and Carla married in 1982 and began to build their Clemson legacy.
Over the years, the impact she has made on Clemson has been often confused of that of a Clemson graduate. She has volunteered in various capacities throughout the years and provided financial support to many Clemson initiatives that she is passionate about.
Carla currently serves as Co-Chair for the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences Campaign Cabinet. Along with her husband, Carla is a dual Cornerstone Partner for Academics and Athletics. They also provided a generous gift to support the development of the Ernest R. Norville Endowed Chair in Biomedical Engineering.
Carla’s dedication extends beyond Clemson’s campus. She has devoted her time to the annual arts gala, championed by Clemson’s former first lady, Marcia Barker. Although only one of her biological children attended Clemson, her youngest son Taylor, Carla is affectionately regarded as a second mother by many current and former students. She has opened her home, hosted tailgates, and provided support and quiet study spaces as needed. To the Clemson Men’s Basketball team, she is also lovingly known as “Mom,” passionately cheering them on from courtside seats or wherever the team’s journey takes them.
Wil Brasington, Executive Director of the Clemson Alumni Association, expressed, “It is a privilege to honor Carla in this manner. Honorary Alumni are a select group chosen by Clemson Alumni themselves. Those chosen exemplify unwavering dedication and passion for the Clemson Family.”
Carla is also deeply committed to serving her local community. During their time in Virginia, she served as president of the Forestville Elementary School PTA and chaired various fundraisers at Langley High School. She has also dedicated her time to the Wellesley Service League, a nonprofit organization focused on providing volunteer services to the community, spanning areas such as education, children, the elderly, culture, and other charitable interests. Since her return to SC, Carla has served on the Artisphere Board of Directors.
The Honorary Alumna designation was presented to Carla while surrounded by her family and friends by Clemson Alumni Association Board of Directors Chair, Jeff Duckworth, Clemson University President Jim Clements; Vice President for Advancement, Brian O’Rourke and CEO of the Clemson Alumni Association, Wil Brasington, at the Norville’s tailgate prior to a home football game.
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 2024 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.