Jim McCabe was born and raised in Ft. Motte, South Carolina. He entered Clemson as an engineering student in 1943. After several semesters, he withdrew as a student and answered the call to serve his country in World War II. After serving in the United States Navy in the South Pacific, McCabe returned home to St. Matthews, where he worked for the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). He later began a very successful career in asphalt sales with Standard Oil which later became Esso – known today as ExxonMobil. Upon retirement, McCabe spent an additional 10 years in the asphalt business working with SEACO Asphalt in Columbia, expanding their operation from four asphalt tankers to more than 100.
Although he never graduated from Clemson, McCabe and his wife, Barbara, have been
avid supporters of academics, athletics and the arts at the university for many years. In 1999, McCabe honored the memory of his friend, Joe “Bogie” Bryant, a former Clemson football player, with a $100,000 endowment to IPTAY. In 2011, he sponsored the naming of the baseball locker room at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in honor of his long-time friend and former Clemson baseball coach, Jack Leggett HA’17. During his professional career, McCabe coordinated and secured $500,000 worth of asphalt for the parking lots in and around Memorial Stadium and was responsible for extending the runway at Oconee County Airport so the Clemson University plane could land and take-off from Seneca instead of the Anderson County Airport.
In 2007, the McCabes established the Brian J. O’Rourke ’83 Unrestricted Endowment for the Performing Arts, and in 2012, they established the Ann Harvin Hunter (’80, M’82) Leadership Endowment for the Clemson Alumni Association. McCabe has been a member of IPTAY for more than 65 years and is a significant benefactor and member of the John C. Calhoun Cumulative Gifts Society.
The McCabes are Friends of the Brooks Center for Performing Arts, Friends of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, members of the Calhoun Lecture Series and remain very active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Clemson Cotillion, the Anderson Touchdown Club, the Huguenot Society of South Carolina and the South Carolina Historical Society.
The McCabes live in Clemson and have one son, James T. McCabe Jr.