John Nichols McCarter Jr. was born in Clover, South Carolina and came to Clemson in 1973 as a walk-on linebacker on the Clemson Tigers football team. Although his time on the football team was cut short, he remained involved in the football program and developed integral relationships that would impact his future career.
In 1980, he graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science in
administrative management and was recruited by a former teammate to begin his professional career with Defender Services, a provider of professional services for industrial and manufacturing facilities, commercial and retail businesses, educational institutions, and health care facilities. For more than 35 years, McCarter has remained with the company in various roles, and today is the president and CEO of Defender Services, Inc.
McCarter was elected to the Clemson University Board of Trustees by the General Assembly in 2008 and was reelected in 2010, 2014 and again in 2018. Since his initial election, McCarter has served as Vice Chair for the Board of Trustees and during his tenure on the board, he has served on the following committees, chairing several of them: Agriculture and Natural Resources; Executive and Audit; Finance and Facilities; Institutional Advancement; and Student Affairs. He has also served on the university’s Board of Visitors, the Alumni Board of Directors, the IPTAY Board and the Clemson University Professional Development and Continuing Education Board.
McCarter’s ability to build relationships on behalf of Clemson University with the General Assembly has proven to be a valuable asset, leading him to be an informed, trusted and respected resource among the members.
McCarter is a member of the Thomas Green Clemson Society, the South Carolina Waterfowl Association, the NBSC Columbia Advisory Board, and he is the past president of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. An Eagle Scout, McCarter serves on the Indian Waters Council Executive Board and is a recipient of the Boy Scouts of America’s Distinguished Service Award, the Order of the Arrow. McCarter is also a Mason and a Shriner.
McCarter has dedicated his time and experience to youth athletic associations coaching baseball in the Palmetto Baseball League, basketball at the Cardinal Newman School, and youth softball for the Columbia City League.
McCarter and his late wife, Cass, have two children, Lauren (’12) and Cole (’16). McCarter currently resides in Columbia, South Carolina.