CLEMSON — Clemson University officials will hold two ceremonies to recognize the achievements of the school’s graduates. Officials will award degrees to approximately 1,250 students in Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17.

Seniors line up to enter their commencement ceremony.

Seniors line up to enter the spring commencement ceremony.

Students receiving doctoral degrees will be recognized in Clemson’s first Doctoral Hooding Ceremony at 10 a.m. that day in the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. Doctoral degree recipients will be presented with their diplomas, followed by the hooding.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and also will be shown live online on the ClemsonTV website.

University officials will bestow an honorary Doctorate of Humanities on South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal at the graduation ceremony in Greenville for her devotion to law, public service and the people of South Carolina.

In 1988, Toal became the first woman to serve as a justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. She will have served as chief justice from 1996 until her retirement Dec. 21, which makes her the longest-serving member of the court.

Toal was born and attended elementary and high school in Columbia. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Agnes Scott College and her law degree in 1968 from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she served as managing editor, leading articles editor and book review editor of the South Carolina Law Review. She is a member of the Order of the Coif, Mortar Board and Phi Beta Kappa.

Toal practiced law with the Haynsworth Law Firm in Greenville and with Belser, Baker, Barwick, Ravenel , Toal & Bender in Columbia for 20 years prior to her election to the South Carolina Supreme Court. When she was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1968, women comprised less than one percent of the licensed lawyers in South Carolina.

As a lawyer, Toal appeared in all levels of trial and appellate courts in South Carolina. She also had considerable experience as a litigator in United States District Court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and made one appearance as co-counsel before the United States Supreme Court.

Toal has been active in public service. She served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing Richland County for 13 years. She was the first woman in South Carolina to chair a standing committee of the House of Representatives and served as chairman of the House Rules Committee and chairman of the Constitutional Laws Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee.

She is married to a law-school classmate, William T. Toal. They live in Columbia and have two daughters and two grandchildren.

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