Emil Alexov, a professor in the department of physics and astronomy, has received the 2018 Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, one of the highest honors for a faculty researcher at Clemson University.
The Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievements in Research was presented to Mashrur Chowdhury, Eugene Douglas Mays Professor of Transportation and professor of civil engineering, automotive engineering and computer science. Chowdhury leads the Center for Connected Multimodal Mobility. Researchers at the center will focus on improving mobility of people and goods.
The Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievements in Research was presented to Thomas Britt in the Department of Psychology. Britt has published 70 empirical articles since his arrival here at Clemson, as well as nine books and 40 book chapters. Dr. Britt has 11 different papers that have been cited at least 100 times.
John Powell Smith, county coordinator of vegetable crops and small fruits, was presented the Alumni Award for Cooperative Extension Distinguished Public Service. Smith supervises 22 county agents comprising the horticulture program team, and is a frequent representative of Clemson at state and local workshops.
A Clemson University professor emeritus who is credited with helping students succeed in life is among the latest group of university faithful to be named Honorary Alumnus.
Dr. John J. Komo served as a professor in the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for 34 years before retiring. His latest honor puts him in the same club as Charles Daniel, Frank Howard, Buck Mickel, Hugh Leatherman and more than 200 other honorary alumni, according to the Clemson Alumni Association.
Komo thanked family, friends and colleagues as they gathered in Riggs Hall to help celebrate the honor.
“It’s wonderful to be recognized, but for me, it’s always been about providing the best education for the students,” Komo said. “That was always my favorite part of the job. ”
Komo, who still lives in Clemson, established an endowed fellowship in 2007 for graduate students in his department. Many of his former students and colleagues have given to the fund.
Komo’s colleagues said he served as a teacher, mentor and friend to thousands of students in the College of Engineering and Science. Former students hold Komo in high regard, crediting him with their success in life, colleagues said.
Dr. Dan Noneaker, chairman of the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said he worked closely with Komo, mentoring students and planning course offerings and content.
“Over the past 21 years, it has been consistently apparent to me that the university and Clemson’s students have had a rare friend and treasure in Dr. Komo,” Noneaker said.
The Clemson Alumni Association awards Honorary Alumnus status based on outstanding service to the university or association, lifelong devotion to the university and demonstrated loyalty to university and the association.
Ann Marie Alexander, the university’s senior director of Corporate and Foundations Relations, said she was extremely impressed that Komo would be so generous and gracious not only with his dedication to students but also with his support of Clemson University.
“I could see how proud Dr. Komo was of the students and the department to which he dedicated his professional career,” she said. “His passion was, and is, the students. He is a humble person and never sought public accolades for his activities over the decades to support the students, department and College of Engineering and Science.”
Komo has served as an outstanding teacher of critical undergraduate and graduate courses, providing the fundamental engineering underpinnings for multiple generations of graduates, Noneaker said.
After his retirement, Komo continued to teach core undergraduate courses to ensure students had access to experienced instruction in key topics. He has also shared his expertise in communication systems with many graduate students over the decades.
“Many Clemson ECE graduates who have gone on to high-impact engineering careers attribute their success in no small measure to Dr. Komo’s commitment to their development as engineering professionals,” Noneaker said.
Here is what former students had to say about Komo:
Noland Suddeth, director of energy management and process controls at Duke Energy, said, “He was a professor of mine in the late ‘70s, and he was great. He and Dr. Gowdy had a huge influence on my return to grad school. In the last 31 years, he has been a good friend and mentor. He always put the students first.”
Laurie Joiner, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said, “Dr. Komo has been my wonderful teacher, advisor, and friend. As a student it was obvious how much he loves teaching and working with students. Through him I learned what a fulfilling career academia can be, and he has continued to mentor me in my academic career.”
Bruce Churchill, who works in the Office of the CTO at Ericsson, said, “Dr. Komo’s passion for teaching and nurturing of students and constant encouragement are major contributors to my professional success. He always took whatever time and resources required by the student for issues, both professional and personal. I began my interaction with Dr. Komo initially in the professor-student relationship during my undergraduate years at Clemson, which progressed to mentor as Dr. Komo functioned as my lead advisor during my graduate career and ultimately to close friend during my professional career.”
To honor Komo with a contribution to his endowment, go to http://cualumni.clemson.edu/give/john-komo.
CLEMSON — James Robert “Bobby” Couch Jr., assistant director of athletics and IPTAY executive director of major gifts, has been named an Honorary Alumnus of Clemson University by the Clemson Alumni Association.
“I’m ecstatic and truly honored to be named a Clemson University Honorary Alumnus,” said Couch. “The day that Brian O’Rourke [director of Development and Alumni Affairs] brought me and my family here, the Clemson family has wrapped its arms around us and never let go. I work and live every day to return that passion I feel exuding from the hearts of all that are Solid Orange.”
Couch came to Clemson in 2005 as assistant director of athletics and IPTAY’s executive director of major gifts. Since then, he led the Clemson University Athletic Department through its first-ever $28 million and $185 million fundraising campaigns, secured the largest major and planned athletics gift in Clemson history and funded the restoration of the “Heisman Bible.”
As current associate athletic director for development for athletics and director of IPTAY major gifts, Couch manages a portfolio of 150 prospective donors and makes 200 visits per year.
“For many years, Bobby has served as a tireless ambassador of the university and he has demonstrated the passion and dedication to see Clemson achieve its goals that is usually only found among our alumni,” said Wil Brasington, alumni relations senior director. “Because of that, we felt it was only fitting to express our appreciation through this high distinction and, in doing so, we declare him ‘one of our own,’ a Clemson alumnus.”
Couch continues to support Clemson University by being a major donor to the Scroll of Honor, a Clemson Forever Fund and IPTAY donor and a children CATs and Cub member. He also serves as a board member for the Scott Hannon Foundation and the Golden Strip YMCA and participates as a member of the St. Mary Magdalene Building Committee, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
“Clemson is our life. Christi and I have watched our four boys grow up here,” said Couch. “I don’t know what life would be like without Clemson.”
Honorary alumni are specially selected by the Alumni Association Honors and Awards Committee for their outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to Clemson University or the Clemson Alumni Association. To see past honorary alumni or to view the award guidelines, visit the honorary alumni web page.
Clemson Alumni Association
The Clemson Alumni Association, an open-membership, nonprofit organization since its inception in 1896, connects members of the 140,000-strong Clemson Family, inspiring pride, celebrating achievement, providing service and strengthening relationships with Clemson University and with each other.
The Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievements in Research was presented to Joseph Kolis in the Department of Chemistry. Kolis’ group studies the synthesis and chemistry of novel inorganic compounds with unusual structures and properties. The group is particularly interested in chemistry under very unusual reaction conditions, such as with very high temperatures and pressures, or in exotic solvents.
Smyth McKissick has played many roles in his association with Clemson University through the years: student, alumnus (having graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in administrative management), benefactor and trustee. University officials have now bestowed the school’s highest honor on the Greenville native.
McKissick has been engaged with the university continuously. He has been a trustee since 1998, chairing or serving on numerous committees, including Finance and Facilities, Educational Policy, Institutional Advancement, Student Affairs, Research and Economic Development, Executive and Audit, and Agriculture and Natural Resources. He served as chairman of the presidential search committee that, along with the board of trustees, selected Clemson’s 15th president, Clements, last fall. He also served as a member of the search committee that, along with the board of trustees, named Clemson’s 14th president, James F. Barker, in 1999. He is an IPTAY member, served as Clemson University Foundation director, and currently chairs the university’s $1 billion capital campaign, The Will to Lead.
In 2012, he received the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor: the Distinguished Service Award.
McKissick is the fourth generation of his family to lead the family-owned textile business, Alice Manufacturing Company, where he has served as CEO since 1998. Smyth and his wife, Martha, have three children. Their daughter, Holly, is a Clemson graduate. “Clemson University is still that student-centered university that cares most about students and the faculty and provides a student experience that affords young people the opportunity to be the best they can be. I’m proud of Clemson for putting that at the nucleus of all we do,” he said. “One of the great joys of my Clemson experience has been working with wonderful volunteers and serving next to great leaders who are all committed to the betterment of our university.”
Laneika K. Musalini M ’11 is director of grants at Tri-County Technical College and a grants writer and administrator for Community Colleges of Appalachia. She also is founder and CEO of Women’s Empowerment. The 2013 recipient of Clemson’s MLK award for Excellence in Service-Community Member award, she was awarded the Duke Energy/Clemson University Center for Workforce Development STEM Innovator Award in 2012.
Raven Magwood ’12 graduated from Clemson at the age of 19 with a 4.0 GPA. She published her first book at age 12, and followed that up with another during college, 7 Practices of Exceptional Student Athletes. Magwood has written a screen play, “Switching Lanes,” scheduled to be released as a feature film later this year and travels as a motivational speaker.
Tripp James ’02, M ’04 has founded, operated and harvested several successful small businesses and currently serves as small-business programs manager for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of Leadership Greenville, he has heavily invested his time and talent in PULSE, Greenville’s organization for young professionals. A member of the College of Business and Behavioral Science Alumni Loyalty Board, he serves as a mentor for students.
Thomas Rhodes ’06 heads his family business, Rhodes Graduation Services, and is owner of Sumter Advertising Company and chief operating officer of Custom Bike Rings in Summerton. He designed the 2014 Clemson Orange Bowl Ring for Coach Dabo Swinney. Last year, he helped establish the Distinguished Clemson Athletes award to honor former athletes who are making a difference in their communities through non-athletic endeavors.
George Nathanial Magrath ’06 is completing a two-year ocular oncology fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. During his time at the Medical University of South Carolina, he was the first resident in South Carolina to perform laser-assisted cataract surgery. He developed web application algorithms for diagnosing complex eye diseases, melanoma and ocular inflammation, which were featured in Review of Ophthalmology and Ocular Surgery News.
Tia Nicole Williams ’05 is owner and operator of the SERVPRO franchise in Cayce, West Columbia and Lexington. She also is owner and editor of the Lexington Anchor, a monthly online publication. Former secretary and current treasurer of the Columbia Clemson Club, Williams is communications chair of the State Chamber Small Business Council and a company adviser for State Chamber Business Week, teaching high school students about business.
Steven Foushee ’05 is a project manager for Moss 7 Associates, a construction management firm in Greenville. He is the youngest of only seven registered Design Build Institute of American professionals in the state. A volunteer with the U.S. Green Building Council’s South Carolina chapter, he was in charge of education and outreach for green building initiatives. He is a member of Clemson’s Construction Science Management Industry Advisory Board.
Hannah Hopkins Pittman ’03, M ’13 is director of professional development for the S.C. Association of School Administrators. Treasurer of the Columbia Clemson Club since 2011, Pittman led efforts to fund a $25,000 scholarship endowment that revitalized the involvement of Richland County alumni. A member of Women’s Alumni Council, Pittman planned and coordinated “Bring Your Daughter to Clemson” Weekend that raised approximately $8,000 for scholarship.
Brian Ammons ’08 works in investor relations with Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan. In 2012 he was one of six people to receive the company’s highest award in both sales and marketing. A board member of Give Us Names, a nonprofit organization formed by Clemson alumni, he spearheaded a partnership with a Chicago-based theatre company founded by alumni to donate profits from a stage production to the charitable organization.
Mary Kathryn Dempsey ’08 is a senior fundraising consultant for Blackbaud in Charleston. A member of the Charleston Junior League and Clemson in the Lowcountry, she volunteers with the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center. Dempsey devoted a lot of time to the Young Alumni Council — as a representative, at-large member and president. She is vice chair of the Alumni Council Engagement Committee and a currently serves on the Alumni Board of Directors.
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