The Clemson Alumni Association has recognized Steve C. Griffith Jr. of Prosperity as one of four recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest honor.
Distinguished Service Award honorees demonstrate a dedication to enhancing the value of the university for future generations, professional and public service and personal accomplishments that serve as a model for present and future Clemson students.
Griffith graduated from Clemson in 1954 and from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1959. He retired as general counsel and vice chairman of Duke Power in 1997 after 30 years with the company. Prior to joining Duke Power, he practiced law in Newberry from 1959 to 1964 and served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1960 to 1962.
In 1988, Griffith was appointed by President Ronald Regan to chair the Presidential Commission on Catastrophic Nuclear Accidents. He also served on the board of directors for Nuclear Mutual Limited from 1988 to 1997. He chaired the American Bar Association section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law in 1994.
Griffith led a campaign among Clemson alumni who worked at Duke Power to make donations to Clemson; those donations were matched by Duke Power and led to the establishment of an endowed chair position in engineering. Griffith has donated annually to the Clemson Fund since his graduation and has been an IPTAY member since 1976.
Griffith supported and donated money in 1988 to start the Clemson Crew men’s and women’s rowing teams. Later women’s rowing became a varsity sport at Clemson. Today, he is affectionately known as the “Father of the Rowing Team.”
Griffith served on the Clemson Board of Visitors from 1983 to 1985 and on the Clemson University Foundation board of directors from 1989 to 1993.
Griffith has been active in service to his community, both in the Charlotte, N.C., area and in Newberry County. In 1989, he chaired Charlotte’s Arts and Science Campaign, which raised nearly $2 million. He helped establish the Lawyers Volunteer Program for the Charlotte Bar Association, and Duke Power’s legal department received a special recognition award from the N.C. Bar Association for having full staff participation in this program. In 1995, Griffith received the Robinson Award, Duke Power’s highest honor, for his work to help establish a homeless shelter.