As Vice President for Student Affairs Almeda Jacks made her way in front of the podium prior to Saturday’s residence hall naming ceremony, chatter continued to emanate from the crowd of about 100 people in front of the Core Campus complex.

Families, staff and guests gathered in DesChamps Hall following the residence hall naming ceremony on April 6, 2019.

Families, staff and guests gathered in DesChamps Hall following the residence hall naming ceremony on April 6, 2019.
Image Credit: Patrick Wright

Jacks addressed the eager audience more than once before things finally started to settle down.

“We came here today for a formal ceremony,” Jacks joked, “but if you ask me this feels more like a family reunion!”

The remark was met with hearty laughter, but it was indicative of the environment surrounding a special day for the families of five deceased, long-serving members from Clemson University’s Board of Trustees. In a move consistent with university policy, four residential communities and one dining facility will soon feature new names: Mickel Hall (formerly Stadium Suites), Gressette Hall (Core A), McAlister Hall (Core B), DesChamps Hall (Core C) and Cribb Hall (Core D).

Jacks first served as vice president for Student Affairs in 1992. She worked with four of the five trustees who were honored. Her colleague, President Jim Clements, does not enjoy that same distinction because his tenure began just over five years ago. But that didn’t stop the university’s 15th president from recognizing the vast accomplishments of those who helped pave Clemson’s path to success.

“Together, these trustees served for a combined 136 years,” he explained. “Four of them earned the Thomas Green Clemson Medallion, the highest public honor conferred by the university. Three earned the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor given by the Clemson Alumni Association. Among them are military veterans, football stars and members of the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame.

President Jim Clements speaks during a residence hall naming ceremony on April 6, 2019.

President Jim Clements speaks during a residence hall naming ceremony on April 6, 2019.
Image Credit: Patrick Wright

“They were all visionary leaders, not only for our university, but for their communities and the great state of South Carolina. Their legacies at Clemson will forever be remembered, and now future generations of students will know their names.”

Board of Trustees Chairman Smyth McKissick acknowledged the day’s special guests, which included more than 60 members alone from the five families. Among them were several Clemson graduates as well as current students. Following the ceremony, the families were treated to photographs with Clements and McKissick who flanked the large, mounted boards proudly displaying the buildings which will soon officially bear the names of these trustees.

Kathy Bush Hobgood, assistant vice president for University Housing & Dining, offered closing remarks and spoke candidly about the memories Clemson students from past, current and future generations will share when reminiscing of their time in these first-class facilities. She also spent time with many members of the families who were honored.

“It was so lovely to visit with the families,” she said. “These dedicated men were treasured board members to us, but was an additional level to hear the families share memories of their dad or granddad and reflect on what the naming would have meant to them.

“One son (Kenneth Cribb) said to me, ‘Daddy has been gone a long time and it means so much to the family for Clemson to remember him in this way.'”

That’s what family reunions are all about.

HONOREE BIOS

President Jim Clements and Board of Trustees Chairman Smyth McKissick with the Cribb family following a residence hall naming ceremony on April 6, 2019.

The Cribb Family
Image Credit: Patrick Wright

Cribb Hall (Core Campus D)

  • Named in honor of Kenneth Cribb
  • Served on the Board of Trustees from 1963-82
  • Served on the Clemson University Board of Visitors, Clemson University Foundation Board of Directors and Alumni National Council
  • Earned undergraduate degree from Clemson in 1943, while also serving as president of Blue Key Honor Society
  • Passed away in 1982
President Jim Clements and Board of Trustees Chairman Smyth McKissick with the DesChamps family following a residence hall naming ceremony on April 6, 2019.

The DesChamps family
Image Credit: Patrick Wright

DesChamps Hall (Core Campus C)

  • Named in honor of William Green DesChamps
  • Served on the Board of Trustees from 1975-95, and in an emeritus capacity from 1995-2009
  • Earned the Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award and Clemson Medallion
  • Earned undergraduate degree from Clemson in 1938 before enlisting in the U.S. Army
  • Former president of IPTAY and member of its Board of Directors
  • Passed away in 2009
President Jim Clements and Board of Trustees Chairman with the Gressette family following a residence hall naming ceremony on April 6, 2019.

The Gressette family
Image Credit: Patrick Wright

Gressette Hall (Core Campus A)

  • Named in honor of Lawrence Gressette Jr.
  • Served on the Board of Trustees from 1989-2007, including time as chairman and in an emeritus capacity from 2007-13
  • Recipient of the Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, Clemson University Foundation Volunteer of the Year Award, Clemson Medallion and President’s Award
  • Former South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year
  • Inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 2003
  • Earned undergraduate degree from Clemson in 1954 after attending on a football scholarship, earning three varsity letters
  • Former lieutenant in the U.S. Army
  • Passed away in 2013
President Jim Clements and Board of Trustees Chairman Smyth McKissick with the McAlister family following a residence hall naming ceremony on April 6, 2019.

The McAlister family
Image Credit: Patrick Wright

McAlister Hall (Core Campus B)

  • Named in honor of P.W. McAlister
  • Served on the Board of Trustees from 1972-89, including time as chairman and in an emeritus capacity from 1989-2008
  • Earned the Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award and Clemson Medallion
  • Earned his undergraduate degree from Clemson in 1941 before serving in World War II as an infantry officer who served in combat with distinction throughout the Pacific theater
  • Passed away in 2008
President Jim Clements and Board of Trustees Chairman Smyth McKissick with the Mickel family following a residence hall naming ceremony on April 6, 2019.

The Mickel family
Image Credit: Patrick Wright

Mickel Hall (Stadium Suites)

  • Named in honor of Buck Mickel
  • Served on the Board of Trustees from 1975-95, and in an emeritus capacity from 1995-98
  • Earned Institutional Advancement Award and Clemson Medallion
  • Former South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year
  • Inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 1986
  • Passed away in 1998