Clemson honors trustee, history professor
Clemson University has bestowed its highest public honor, the Clemson Medallion, on Trustee Smyth McKissick of Greenville and former Clemson history professor and administrator Jerry Reel of Clemson.
The Clemson Medallion recognizes individuals “who have given long and sustained commitment and significant service to Clemson University,” according to the school.
“These two gentlemen each have devoted decades of their lives to Clemson and its faculty, staff and students,” said President James P. Clements. “Clemson would not be the university it is today without their hard work and leadership.
“It is a great honor to recognize them for their dedication, exceptional example and continuing impact.”
McKissick, a member of Clemson’s board of trustees since 1998, is the fourth-generation chief executive officer of his family-owned textile business, Alice Manufacturing Co. He was chairman of the search committee that picked Clements to succeed Jim Barker last year and leads the committee overseeing the university’s $1 billion Will to Lead capital campaign. He is a 1979 Clemson graduate with a bachelor’s degree in administrative management and received the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, in 2012.
Reel, who began his service to Clemson as a faculty member in 1963, retired in 2003 as senior vice provost. He is Clemson’s official historian, with two books on the subject to his credit.
A native of New Orleans, he came to Clemson with plans of staying just long enough to finish his research for his doctorate but fell in love with the place and stayed.
McKissick and Reel are the 36th and 37th recipients of the award since it was established in 1980, joining a list of honorees that includes Sen. Strom Thurmond, former President R.C. Edwards and Greenville visionary Buck Mickel.