CLEMSON — Clemson University President James P. Clements urged new graduates, faculty, staff and alumni at Friday’s summer graduation to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

“Yes, we must do our homework and we must understand the consequences of our decisions,” Clements told the crowd of more than 6,000 gathered at Littlejohn Coliseum. “We must also be willing to act with courage and conviction if we are to make a difference. Making a difference requires action. There is an old farming adage that says, ‘Nobody ever plowed a field by turning it over in their mind.'”

At the ceremony, Clements conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities on Clemson graduate Frank Hanckel, ’55.

Board Chairman David Wilkins (left) and President James P. Clements confer an honorary degree on Frank Hanckel.

Board Chairman David Wilkins (left) and President James P. Clements confer an honorary degree on Frank Hanckel.

Hanckel, a lifelong resident of Charleston, is the former president and chief executive officer of Coburg Dairy Inc. He has served the residents of the Lowcountry throughout his career, holding executive positions with the Charleston Metro Chamber board of directors, Charleston Clean City Commission, Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission, Charleston Rotary Club, Lowcountry Red Cross, March of Dimes, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and Trident United Way. He also served as an officer in the United States Army.

The 965 degree candidates from Clemson’s colleges of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences; Architecture, Arts and Humanities; Business and Behavioral Science; Engineering and Science; and Health, Education and Human Development made the exercises one of Clemson’s largest summer ceremonies ever.

They included Eddie Railey and his daughter, Reagan, who graduated together. Eddie Railey did most of his studying online in Kuwait and Afghanistan, while working for two different defense contractors.

Also graduating were four students from the College of Business and Behavioral Science’s dual-degree program with the University of Aarhus in Denmark and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain. Two of the students are from Clemson — Patrick Baubly and Jerry DeHanis — and two are from Spain — Cristina Irisarri Garcia and Ines Bermejo Vilaplana — who traveled from Madrid to Clemson for the ceremony.

grad2Three outstanding students and two teaching assistants were honored: Amin Bibo and Dale Hitchcock were presented with bronze medallions for earning Outstanding Graduate Researcher Award honors; Ryan DeFever received the Faculty Scholarship Award; and Qiong Chen and Vanessa Young each were presented with the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award.

“Today, I challenge our faculty and staff to continue to seize those opportunities, small and large, to make a difference in our world — and I challenge this graduating class to do the same,” Clements added. “You have been privileged to receive an excellent academic education at one of the nation’s finest public universities.

“I hope that your years at Clemson have also instilled in you a desire to be a good person, to keep your word, to listen and learn from others and to make a difference in your homes, in your community and in the world. If you have learned these lessons, you will be a true success wherever your Clemson education and your life take you.”


Clemson University
Ranked No. 21 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.