Pic of Rosa GraydenHer father was the first African-American taxi driver in the Clemson area. Her mother worked as a maid. After watching her parents work long, hard, and exhausting hours, she knew that she wanted to do something more. Between her father’s 15-hour driving shifts and her mother’s strong work ethic, this Tiger learned the importance of perseverance, which got her to where she is today.

Meet Rosa Grayden.

Title: Office Manager
Years at Clemson: 26 years

What I do at Clemson: I run daily operation in the department of sociology, anthropology and criminal justice in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences. I also work with the President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff.

What I love about Clemson: There is work to be done and more to accomplish. I have seen a lot of change here.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I am very proud of the work that I do with the President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff. There are a lot of people hired here who have a strong work ethic, but struggle with reading and math. I believe that reading should be fundamental for everyone. Through my position as chairperson for the staff side of the Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff, I helped to start the Literacy Program which gives staff the opportunity to become more educated at this institution of higher learning. This program is open to any staff who feel they need more development in their math and reading skills. Clemson has been able to supply educational resources for the Literacy Program, and we have volunteers who will do one-on-one mentoring with those who want extra assistance. Empowering these individuals with the fundamental tool of literacy has such a profound impact, so I am proud to be a part of that.

I also formed the African-American parent coalition in Pickens County. We focus on putting more black history in school. Typically, black history is only talked about during Black History Month, but I want people to understand that our history is part of our daily lives, and not just for one month each year. Teaching young black students about their history and where they come from gives them a sense of pride, which empowers them to be successful and stay motivated in school.

Where I see myself in five years: To be retired, but most of all, to hand off the torch of leadership in moving forward and consistently keeping life real at Clemson. I would love to see people take more time to laugh on campus. When you have happy people, you have a happy life. I would love to see at least once a year some time of extraordinary motivational summit on campus. It doesn’t have to be just about education, but something to make people laugh. That is what relieves stress.

Last thing I watched on TV: Steve Harvey

Guilty pleasure: I like to read and eat popcorn!

One thing most people don’t know about me:  I love baseball. I used to play baseball when I was younger, which is hard for most people to believe. I played on a league in Clemson and I have always loved the sport. People wouldn’t think that I played sports, so when I tell them I played baseball they’re usually surprised. Now that I am no longer a kid, I don’t get the chance to play anymore. I still enjoy sports though, especially football. I am a big Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins fan.

Want to nominate a colleague to be featured in Meet a Tiger? Contact Jackie Todd at jtodd3@clemson.edu.