When Doyle Carr and his family were touring colleges with the oldest of their three daughters, they had a list of over 20 stops to make. Clemson wasn’t on it. At the suggestion of a family friend, the Carrs decided to visit Clemson with no appointment on their tour of higher education institutions in the Carolinas.

Doyle says his entire family was treated like gold, and the University became anything but a quick stop for them. On the strength of that visit, his oldest and youngest daughters decided to attend Clemson. Doyle and his wife retired there. Over 20 years after his youngest daughter graduated, Doyle himself became a Clemson student.

Doyle is proud of the fact that his wife and their three daughters collectively hold nine college degrees. He’s looking forward to earning his first one and making it an even 10.

“The poor girl at the Hendrix Student Center was so confused when I went to get my TigerOne ID and told her I was a transfer student,” Doyle says, laughing. “I attended the University of Cincinnati in the late 60s, but I had to withdraw because of my day job, so the only thing a university has with my name on it is a cancelled check.”

Doyle Carr

Doyle Carr (left) with several members of his family at a Clemson Football game.
Image Credit: Doyle Carr

Doyle graduated high school in 1963, went to work full time and attended night school at the University of Cincinnati. However, Doyle’s work and education pursuits were interrupted when he was drafted into the Army. After serving his two-year tour, he returned to work with UPS. He fully intended to continue pursuing his education, but a work promotion he couldn’t pass up had him traveling too much to finish out college.

Doyle certainly doesn’t regret his decision: he enjoyed a 35-year career with UPS that saw him wear many hats. He looks back on his career as three big chunks of time: one third in operations, one third in human resources and the final third in labor relations. His frequent flyer miles measure in the millions, and he did well enough for himself that he could witness all three of his children achieve the one thing that he never got around to finishing.

“My family has been so supportive of me once they were able to start breathing again after I told them,” Doyle says. “People get to my age and want to jump out of airplanes or tie a rubber band around their belly and jump off a bridge. I thought I’d finally get that degree.”

Doyle and his wife, Judy, have been residents of upstate South Carolina for years now. Like their daughters who are now proud Clemson alumni, Doyle and Judy have made Clemson an integral part of their lives. They’re members of the Clemson Society and have been members of IPTAY for 15 years; Doyle says a couple of stays in the hospital have been the only things that have kept him from game days.

Doyle initially considered a business degree, but having lived and breathed that world for decades, he decided to pursue something different. His youngest daughter had majored in parks, recreation and tourism management, and after looking into the major he thought he might be able to put it to use in his everyday life and in his community.

Doyle Carr pictured on his first day back as a college student after more than 50 years.
Image Credit: Doyle Carr

During a summer 2019 internship, Doyle was pleased to see that his intuition was correct. He and a group of students developed a plan and worked with the City of Seneca to begin a tailgating and shuttle system dubbed From the Alley to the Valley. The system works to shuttle Clemson game day travelers from the Ram Cat Alley area to Clemson in order to alleviate some of the parking issues on campus and stimulate the economy of Seneca’s downtown business district.

Doyle says his chosen major has opened his eyes to issues that have always been hiding in plain sight, such as the economics of travel and tourism. He said he was shocked to learn of what a large impact travel and tourism can have on a city or country’s gross domestic product, and the knowledge has colored much of what he reads in news, whether that news is international, domestic or coming from down the street.

“Things I would have ignored are now piquing my interest,” Doyle says. “It is eye opening to realize how travel and tourism affect quality of life in our own community and how important they are to the reputation of communities in upstate South Carolina and society as a whole.”

Doyle has also enjoyed interacting with students and faculty who have treated him like an equal and often take advantage of the experience he has accumulated in the business world. Other than issues Doyle has encountered getting up to speed with unfamiliar technology and alternate forms of course delivery delivered online, he says he has fit right into class discussion and has enjoyed his experiences in the major so far.

“The experience has been incredibly stimulating for me, and I’ve been so impressed by the caliber of students that are with me in class; they’re really top notch,” Doyle says. “The interactions I’ve had on campus are really hard to put a price tag on, and it’s been great to know that because of who I am and my background, I’ve been able to add something different that has improved other students’ experiences.”