Director of the Brooks Center for Performing Arts named honorary Clemson alumna
CLEMSON — Lillian U. “Mickey” Harder, director of the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, has been named an honorary alumna of Clemson University.
Harder came to Clemson with her husband in 1972 when he accepted the position as team physician for Clemson Athletics. Since then, she has devoted her time to nurturing performing arts at the university.
In 1986, Harder and her husband, Dr. Byron Harder, established an endowment to create the Lilian and Robert Utsey Chamber Music Series at Clemson University, the only endowed chamber music series of its kind in South Carolina.
In 1996, Harder became the director of the Brooks Center. She has used the position to allow Clemson students and local arts patrons to experience countless performances.
A South Carolina native, Harder holds degrees from Coker College and Converse College and has continued her studies at Boston University, the University of Georgia, Amherst College and the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France.
A member of the music faculty at Clemson prior to directing the Brooks Center, Harder taught piano lessons and music theory since 1972 when music was offered only as an elective. She provided classical music training to students as well as the tools they needed to succeed as musicians long after graduation.
Harder previously received the Clemson Outstanding Faculty Woman Award given by the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the Thomas Green Clemson Award and the Elizabeth O’Neil Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts.
Harder plans to retire later in 2017, but hopes to continue to program the concerts in the Utsey Chamber Music Series and provide support for the performing arts faculty and administration.
The Clemson Alumni Association’s president, Col. Sandy Edge, and past president Danny Gregg presented Harder with the honor in front of her family and friends.
Honorary alumni are selected by the Alumni Association Honors and Awards Committee on the basis of 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.
The Clemson Alumni Association is an open-membership, nonprofit organization. Since its inception in 1896, the program has connected members of the Clemson Family, inspiring pride, celebrating achievement, providing service and strengthening relationships.