Trailblazer. Outstanding role model. Strong Clemson advocate.
Celeste “Clete” Boykin, a Manning native, grew up in Lancaster and graduated summa cum laude from Lancaster High School. Once at Clemson, she was one of the first African Americans to be a member of Tiger Band.
In 1979, she graduated with honors and received a Bachelor of Science degree in plant sciences. She joined E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company as the first African American woman to work as a sales and marketing representative in the company’s Agricultural Chemicals business.
After managing du Pont’s $1.5M plant nursery business in Florida, she joined the company’s Government Affairs office in Washington, D.C. There she managed a variety of policy issues including agriculture, transportation, environmental, trade secrets and defense matters related to the Kevlar® para-aramid synthetic fiber used in protective vests and helmets.
In 1989, she earned a Master of Arts in International Relations from the American University in Washington. She also attended the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Citizens Academy as member of its Class of 2011.
In 2014, she received the Washington Government Relations Group’s Reginald “Reg” Gilliam Lifetime Achievement Award for her excellence as a government relations professional.
Upon retiring from DuPont in 2015, as senior manager for government affairs, she started her own government consulting firm, CDB ProjX. She works with Clemson’s Governmental Affairs organization to help foster positive relationships with federal officials. She is based in Brandywine, Md., where she lives with her spouse Kim Sescoe, and their niece and nephews.
Among Clete’s many volunteer leadership roles for Clemson, she is a former member of both the University’s Board of Visitors and the Clemson University Foundation Board of Directors. Currently, she chairs the Clemson Institute for Parks Board of Advisors. She is a member of the Clemson University Tiger Band Association and a longtime board member of the Baltimore/Washington, DC Clemson Club.
She has helped to organize various Clemson events in the Washington area, including 2017’s Clemson Day at the White House honoring the University’s national championship football team. She also helps students of color in the D.C. area who are interested in attending Clemson with advice about the correct points of contact on campus and taking campus tours.
Clete is a member of the Clemson Legacy Society, which honors donors who have included Clemson in their estate plans, and she supports Clemson athletics as a member of IPTAY.
Clete is an extremely proud member of the “Benet Babes,” a group of Clemson alumnae who lived on the fourth floor of Benet Hall and who won the 1978 Women’s Intramural Flag Football Championship. In 2015, the group established a scholarship fund to give future students the opportunity to make their own lifelong friends and memories while getting a high quality Clemson education.
Clete’s community service activities include being on the board of the Washington Government Relations Group Foundation; being a board member on the Potomac Riverkeeper Network Leadership Council; volunteering for McKenna’s Wagon, a mobile food service that feeds people in need throughout the D.C. area; raising funds for AIDS charities by riding her bicycle 250 miles from Philadelphia to Washington; and participating in two 100 mile bike rides to support the fight against multiple sclerosis.
She is a member of the board of the South Carolina Business Council and is vice chairman of the board of directors of the Briggs, De Laine, Pearson Foundation, which focuses on providing free after-school and summer tutoring for individuals from low income backgrounds in Clarendon County, where she was born.