Forty years ago, the average cost of a new home was $49,000. A gallon of gas was 65 cents. And in 1977 — just out of high school — this Tiger began her job at Clemson University.

She originally wanted to be a school teacher. Instead, she has taught her University Relations colleagues lessons of tenacity, patience and grace under pressure. When a personal tragedy happened in 1992, the university taught her the true meaning of the Clemson Family.

In 40 years, this Tiger has seen new buildings, new technology and the evolution of Clemson as a world-class university.

Meet Debra Galloway.

Title: Executive assistant and business manager

Years at Clemson: 40 — as of Aug. 8, 2017

What I do at Clemson: I serve as the executive assistant to the vice president of University Relations. I also serve as the business manager and budget officer for all departments associated with University Relations, overseeing budgets, managing human resources operations and making sure that daily office operations run smoothly and efficiently.

When I first came to Clemson, I worked in the Chemistry department, which was located in the old Brackett Hall. I worked for the assistant department head and did a lot of work for the professors typing research papers and exams — on a typewriter. From there, I moved to the director’s office at the Cooper Library working for the director and associate director of libraries.

But since 1985, I’ve been working right here with the University Relations group and except for a couple of years that my office was relocated to the Alumni Center, I’ve been in the Trustee House all these years!  I must have found my niche here! When I came here in 1985 we were known as University Relations. Over the years there have been several name changes, but I guess we’ve come full circle and back to University Relations.

What I love about Clemson:  I must love a lot about Clemson since I’ve been here for so long!  But seriously, it’s the people, the Clemson Family, that make this such a great place to work. The people here have seen me through some of the toughest times in my life, and I appreciate that more than anyone knows!

Accomplishment I’m most proud of:  I’d have to say being a wife, mother and “NaNa.” And I’m also proud to say that I’ve been a Clemson Tiger for 40 years! In fact, I’ve been at Clemson through eight university presidents.

Where I see myself in five years: If I haven’t decided to officially retire I’ll probably still be working at Clemson.  After having worked here for so long it’s hard to imagine not coming here most every day! Clemson is truly my home away from home!

Last thing I watched on TV: Probably something on HGTV. I love the home improvement shows on that network, especially Fixer Upper. I’m definitely a decorator at heart.

Guilty pleasure: Handbags and shoes!! (But we won’t talk about how many of these I have!)

One thing that people don’t know about me: The first and only time I’ve been on a plane was in my capacity at Clemson. At the time, I was asked to travel with my boss and his boss to a meeting. I was pretty nervous. In fact, I stressed all weekend before the flight. We traveled on a small plane, where I sat next to President Max Lennon, who took me under his wing (no pun intended) and did everything to make me comfortable.

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