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1956 in Clemson history

Notable alumni

  • Joe Bowen

  • Dan Gentry opens Dan's Diner in a trolley car on Pendleton Road.
  • The Clemson Foundation is chartered, creating the Alumni Association. Former Clemson Alumni Corporation either merges or lapses.
  • African-American students John L. Gainey and John Lonny Dease make application to Clemson Agricultural College, but are rejected. (Riley, Helene M., "Clemson University", Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, 2002, Library of Congress card number 2002108889, ISBN 0-7385-1470-5, page 103.)
  • The Dillard Building is completed.
  • In a spring prank, Rats lead a dairy cow up into the steeple of Tillman Hall. Unfortunately, cows will not go down stairs and the poor beast is put down in the bell tower and the body taken down the staircase.
  • April 4: Obed Ariri born in Owerri, Nigeria.
  • April 29: WSPA-TV, channel 7, signs on this date. It was owned by broadcasting pioneer Walter J. Brown and his company, Spartan Radiocasting, along with WSPA radio (AM 950, now WOLI at AM 910; and 98.9 FM). It has always been a CBS affiliate. Spartan Radiocasting bought several other radio and television stations over the years, and was renamed Spartan Communications in 1995. The radio stations were sold off in 1998, but WSPA-TV remained the flagship of the company until it merged with Media General in 2000. Channel 7 was the last locally owned-and-operated station in the market.
  • June 11: The Board of Trustees adopts a report prepared by Lockwood-Greene engineering firm of Spartanburg that details the devastating losses to the lands of the college if the Hartwell dam project is completed as currently proposed. (Riley, Helene M., "Clemson University", Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, 2002, Library of Congress card number 2002108889, ISBN 0-7385-1470-5, page 103.)
  • June 17: Clemson Trustee T. Wilbur Thornhill presents a strong resolution to the board condemning the Hartwell Dam project. State Senator Edgar A. Brown uses his position and connections with parties on both sides of the issue to broker an agreement satisfactory to both and the trustees postpone action on Thornhill's resolution.
  • July: Clemson alumnus Robert Cook Edwards accepts newly-created position of vice-president for development.
  • July 16: Another Negro student has applied for admission at Clemson, reported Registrar Kenneth N. Vickery, in a story carried July 17 in the Orangeburg, South Carolina Times and Democrat. The application of John L. Gainey of Cheraw, South Carolina, now in the Army, has been received. He wants to attend starting in February, apparently after being discharged from the military. He is now stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. President R. F. Poole of the college said that the application would as a matter of normal procedure, be referred to legal counsel. He said that the college will abide by state laws that bar mixing of the races in schools and colleges. The last application Clemson had from a negro was in 1955, but it was not pursued and that "was the last we heard from him," Vickery said.
  • September 21: Central Dance Association presents Clemson's own Jungaleers at the Friday night "Rat Hop" formal dance. Miss Sally Felton of Columbia is selected from a field of five finalists as the Rat Queen. (TAPS 1957, Volume LXVII, page 152.)
  • September 22: As usual, Clemson opens at home with the Presbyterian Blue Hose, wins, 27-7, in night game. A post-game informal dance again features the Jungaleers as musical hosts. (TAPS 1957, Volume LXVII, page 152.)
  • September 29: Clemson ties number ninteenth-ranked Florida, 20-20, in a road game.
  • October 6: Clemson plays night game at N.C. State, wins, 13-7.
  • October 13: The Tigers blank Wake Forest, 17-0, in a road game.
  • October 25: Clemson, ranked number 20, downs South Carolina, 7-0, in Columbia. The Tigers never throw a pass the entire game.
  • October 30: Dr. Rupert Howard Fike, Class of 1908, IPTAY member number 1, dies.
  • November 2: As part of the Homecoming festivities, Central Dance Association presents Jimmy Sedlar and his band at the Friday night formal dance. Martha Rae Williams of Myrtle Beach is selected as Homecoming Queen during the soiree.
  • November 3: Number thirteen-ranked Clemson defeats fifteenth-ranked Virginia Polytechnical Institute, 21-6, in Memorial Stadium for Homecoming. This was the first ever battle of top 20 teams in the history of Death Valley. At the informal dance on Saturday night, band leader Les Elgart and his sixteen-member orchestra entertain the victorious Tiger fans. Elgart is described as the "trumpet player's trumpet player." (TAPS 1957, Volume XLVII, page 154.)
  • November 10: Clemson, ranked number eleven, ties Maryland, 6-6, in College Park. Clemson connects on only one of six passes, for a total gain of minus one yard, a record. (Martin, Johnny, "Death Valley: 72 Years of Exciting Football at Clemson University", Independent Publishing Co., Anderson, S.C., 1968, Library of Congress card number 68-58849, page 91.)
  • November 16: The Tigers, ranked twelve, are shut out, 0-21, by number eight Florida (Miami) in a road night game.
  • November 19: Clemson begins to fight the campus flooding issue in earnest when the Board of Trustees invite Congressmen and other leaders to tour the threatened areas of the school. Much publicity is received over the event.
  • November 24: Clemson defeats Virginia, 7-0, at home, to clinch the Tigers' first ACC football championship. Second-team All-ACC quarterback Charley Bussey scores the only touchdown on a short first quarter run. (Bourret, Tim, "Clemson University Football Vault", Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, 2008, ISBN 0794824307, page 53.)
  • December 1: The Tigers wrap up 7-2-2 season with a 28-7 win over Furman in Memorial Stadium. Clemson is 4-0-1 in conference play, for first place in the ACC.
  • December 11: The Clemson basketball team beats its first ranked team, a 96-94 overtime win against eighth-ranked North Carolina State, played at home. This was Coach Press Maravich's first year at Clemson.
  • December: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reluctantly suspends construction on the dam project while water diversion proposals are studied. A proposal for diversionary dam locations published in the December 1956 issue of Clemson Topics, (Volume I, No. 3), shows three, one of which is just north of, and parallel to the Southern Railway Seneca River trestle. This one is never erected.
  • The Clemson football team finishes the 1956 season with a 19th place ranking in the Associated Press poll, but none in the United Press International top twenty.
  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon (or SAE) was founded in Alabama in 1856. At Clemson in 1956 Architecture Professor Joseph L. Young founded the Numeral Society. His goal of the Numeral Society was to create a social organization whose purpose was to design and build a homecoming float for Clemson University. The Numeral Society was the first social fraternity at Clemson University. On April 11, 1970 the Numeral Society accepted a charter from Sigma Alpha Epsilon and officially changed its name. Sigma Alpha Epsilon still is responsible for building the homecoming float that carries the homecoming queen onto the field in Clemson's Death Valley.

1955 The 1950's 1957