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.