Lisa Hendrix dotting the i as 2023 Mother of the Year

Lisa Hendrix Named 2023 Clemson University Mother of the Year

Lisa B. Hendrix Named 2023 Clemson University Mother of the Year

The Clemson Student Alumni Council and Tiger Brotherhood proudly bestowed the title of “Mother of the Year” upon Lisa B. Hendrix, continuing a tradition that began in 1949. Over the years, this honor has been awarded to individuals who have demonstrated unwavering dedication and loyalty to Clemson University.Lisa Hendrix dotting the i as 2023 Mother of the Year

Lisa Hendrix, a 1979 Clemson graduate, exemplifies the qualities of a true Clemson enthusiast. Her professional journey began in the realm of education as a preschool teacher. Later, she ventured into the corporate world, serving as a Unit Marketing Director for Chick-fil-A. Her career spanned over 25 years, the last six as the Development and Event Director for the Historic Rock Hill Society. Upon her retirement, Lisa, alongside her sister Andrea, selflessly devoted herself to caring for her mother, and her sister Dawn, who lives with an intellectual disability. Despite her full-time caregiving responsibilities, she continues to extend her “Clemson Mother” role to any student in need.

Throughout her active career, Lisa maintained a deep connection to her beloved alma mater, Clemson University. Regardless of her place of residence, she found a way to engage with her local Clemson Club. Her involvement included a leadership role on the Board of Directors for the York County Clemson Club, where she also served as President. Lisa’s dedication extended to an eight-year tenure as President of the Clemson University Parent Development Board. She actively contributed to the Clemson Women’s Alumni Council, the Clemson University Board of Visitors, the Clemson Alumni Board of Directors, and currently volunteers her time and resources to the Fort Hill Clemson Club.

During her time as a student, Lisa was affectionately known as the ‘mother’ to her fellow residents on the 4th floor of Benet Hall. Four decades later, she continues this nurturing role among the group fondly referred to as the “Benet Babes,” working tirelessly to keep the group connected and spearheading the Benet Babes Scholarship. As a member of the Parent Development Board, her favorite annual event was the Welcome Party for incoming students, where she made it abundantly clear to all students that she was available to assist with anything they needed, including inviting them for dinners at her home.

Rhonda Aull-Hyde, Lisa’s nominator, friend, and former college dorm mate, noted, “Everything that Lisa does, and I mean everything, is done for the good of either Clemson academics or Clemson athletics. Lisa was born to be a mother, and one can see how this role seamlessly integrates into her service and loyalty to Clemson.”

The President of the Clemson Student Alumni Council, Parker Stambaugh, emphasized the significance of recognizing someone who consistently gives so much to others, stating, “Lisa exemplifies the definition of selflessness, and we are proud to present her with this award.”

Lisa resides in Seneca with her husband, Guy ’77. Along with her and her husband, Guy, Lisa has a family full of Clemson Tigers. Her grandfather, Dennis Burnett, graduated in 1920. Her father, William Burnett, graduated from Clemson in 1952. Her mother, Mary Alice Burnett, received her Master’s Degree in 1976. Her sister, Andrea McBride, graduated in 1984 and her children, Emory and Mary Kathleen graduated in 2005 and 2010 respectively.

Since 1949, Clemson University has celebrated a “Mother of the Year.” This honor, awarded by the Clemson Student Alumni Council and Tiger Brotherhood, recognizes individuals who embody a deep love for Clemson, exhibit a profound commitment to the community, and live a life that reflects the Clemson spirit. Lisa Hendrix received this prestigious award at her Clemson residence and was further acknowledged during the Homecoming festivities in October.


Katherine Taylor “Kathy” Sexton Named 2022 Clemson University Mother of the Year

There are many Tigers who go the extra mile to show their love and devotion for Clemson University. Each of them dedicates themselves to leaving Clemson a better place than they found it. It is extraordinarily special when those individuals are not Clemson graduates themselves.

Kathy Sexton is just that kind of Tiger. Most of the students at Clemson call her the “stand-in mom and cook.” She is the one who is there to lend a hand or a home cooked meal when their own mother is out of state or too far away to get there in just that moment.

Kathy has a Facebook group well known to Clemson parents called “3 Shrimp and 3 Hushpuppies.” As a local parent she began the group in February of 2020 so parents, grandparents, and loved ones would have a resource to contact if their Clemson student needed anything. Whether they are having a rough day, or if they are homesick for Mom and the comforts of home, Kathy prepares and delivers to them special treats. Hugs are always a part of the package. A picture of the student is taken at each visit and sent to the parent. Every student that she and her husband meet automatically becomes their adopted student and this relationship continues beyond graduation. Kathy considers her interactions with the students to be a ministry of love and concern for each student she meets. She reminds them that she is only a phone call away if they need a listening, non-judgmental ear and if a hug is needed, she will gladly come to them. She wants them to always know how special and loved they truly are.

Kathy is a retired nurse who, as she describes in her Facebook group, “grew up in a kitchen where my mother was a constant presence.” She explains that she shared that same type of experience with her own children, Jennifer and Robert, creating lifelong memories that centered around cooking.

The most asked question: what does “3 Shrimp and 3 Hushpuppies” mean? Her answer explains a little deeper why she has chosen to become the “extra mom” to Clemson students. On family vacations, she and her daughter could never finish their meals so one day Jennifer suggested they split an order and each would have three shrimp and three hushpuppies. It became a standing joke between the two whenever they would go out to dinner. In 2015, Jennifer passed away and the memory of their shared joke came to mean so much more.

After Jennifer passed away, Kathy began to spend more and more time cooking in the kitchen, the place she was most relaxed, and the activity that gave her the most comfort. She describes it as her “therapy” explaining when she is in the kitchen, her mind can focus on the joyful times she spent cooking with her mother and her children.

Eventually, her time in the kitchen became a new source of joy, one where she could help comfort others when their own family is unable to be with them. Her Facebook group is filled with photos of smiling students holding birthday cakes with personal messages, multi-course meals for them and their roommates, homemade cookies, pies, casseroles, and Kathy’s famous enchiladas. Family members can even request their student’s favorite meal. Even if Kathy has never made it before, she will give it a try and ensure they get a taste of home.

Kathy was nominated for Mother of the Year by a Clemson mom who appreciates the love that Kathy shows to children who are not her own. Susan Cannon describes Kathy, who she has never met, as “the epitome of a “Clemson Mom” for out of state, local and non-local parents/students. She has a servant’s heart. She lost her daughter and to honor that daughter, she has become “mom” to so many. Cooking and baking home cooked treats to celebrate special occasions or just because students need a home cooked meal.”

“Being able to recognize someone who gives so much to others is such a special honor for the Clemson Student Alumni Council,” said council president, Lane Josey. “Kathy exemplifies the definition of selfless and we are proud to present her with this award.”

Kathy lives in Clemson with her husband, Rob ’79, ‘81, and in addition to cooking and being a die-hard Clemson fan, what she most enjoys is spending time with her family, especially her two young grandsons. As a member of FBC Clemson she bakes the communion bread for the church every month.

Since 1949, Clemson University has celebrated a “Mother of the Year.” The Mother of the Year is selected by the Clemson Student Alumni Council and is someone who loves Clemson, shows a great passion for the community and lives a life that exemplifies the Clemson spirit. The award was presented to Kathy at her home in Clemson and she was recognized during the Homecoming festivities in October.




Keisha Uhle ’89 Named 2021 Clemson University Mother of the Year

There are many Tigers who make up the Clemson Family. Each has their own way of showing their love for the university.

The Clemson Student Alumni Council recognized Keisha Uhle ’89 as the 2021 Clemson University Mother of the Year prior to the Boston College game during Homecoming festivities.

There are a few special Tigers who go above and beyond, dedicating themselves to leaving Clemson a better place than they found it.

Keisha Uhle is just that kind of Tiger. For her dedication as a champion for quality education for all students and her lifelong advocacy for the special needs community, she was selected by the Clemson Student Alumni Council as the 2021 Clemson University Mother of the Year.

Keisha graduated from Clemson University in 1989 earning her degree in Early Childhood Education. She received her master’s in Elementary School Counseling from the University of South Carolina in 1991. As a student at Clemson, Keisha was an active student, serving as the President of Clemson’s chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children, a role that would later have a great impact on her life personally, and professionally.

A native of Aiken, Keisha has been a lifelong advocate for those with special needs, especially her oldest son who lost his vision as a toddler. When he became a student at Clemson, Keisha dedicated herself to working with Clemson’s Student Accessibility Services office to install talking pedestrian traffic lights at the intersection of Highway 93 and College Avenue. These crosswalk signals provide an auditory signal for visually impaired pedestrians to know when it is safe to cross an intersection. This addition now assists students with various needs to travel safely to class.

Keisha is pictured with her father, Jim Fuqua.

Keisha continues to be a champion for students who are in need in her hometown. Serving as a guidance counselor at Aiken Elementary School, she developed the Backpack Program, an initiative to discretely provide non-perishable food items to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch to ensure they have meals during the weekend at home when they cannot depend on school meals. This program allows children to maintain their confidence while addressing the food insecurity issue prevalent in many public school systems.

Keisha also developed the school’s Watch Dog Program where local male role models serve as mentors to students, and she introduced the students to the school’s first therapy dog, Kappa. Once a guide dog for her son, Kappa visited the school two times each week offering comfort to students dealing with heightened issues. In recognition of her dedication to her school and the children in her community, Keisha was named Teacher of the Year in 2020.

“It is always a special honor to be able to recognize someone who gives so much to others,” said Clemson Student Alumni Council president, Jack McCloud. “Keisha is the epitome of what it means to be selfless. Her love for Clemson, her students, her community and those with special needs makes her beyond deserving of this recognition.”

Keisha Uhle ’89 and her family “dotted the i” prior to kickoff.

In addition to Keisha, her three siblings, their spouses, her five nieces and nephews and all three of her children attended Clemson. She has been married to her husband Mike for more than 27 years and has been a counselor at Aiken Elementary for 14 years. Prior to her role as counselor, Keisha taught kindergarten, first and third grades.

Since 1949, Clemson University has celebrated a “Mother of the Year.” The Mother of the Year is selected by the Clemson Student Alumni Council and is someone who loves Clemson, shows a great passion for the community and lives a life that exemplifies the Clemson spirit. The award is presented to the honoree during Clemson Football Homecoming each year.