- Thomas Fetters - historian of Palmetto State railroading
Events in 1961 in Clemson history
- Kinard Laboratory of Physics is completed.
- WSBF-FM airs the East of Midnight show.
- January 2: The Great Rose Bowl Hoax - not technically a Clemson event, but still noteworthy in college legend. The greatest prank of all-time is pulled at the Rose Bowl during the Minnesota Golden Gophers - Washington Huskies game when fourteen students at Cal Tech, located right there in Pasadena, conspire to change the Huskie card section instruction sheets to create ever more confusing images, culminating with "CAL TECH" during halftime. NBC broadcasts the stunt nationwide in a live telecast seen by millions. The Washington marching band is so stupified that they stop playing and then stalk off the field, refusing to cue the last card, as the stunned stadium begins to laugh. Unbeknownst to them, the merry pranksters have left the last card unchanged. Even the broadcasters in the booth are left at a loss for words. The conspirators had swapped the documents when they knew that the Huskie cheerleaders would be off at Disneyland.
- January 7: A Saturday morning auto accident between two automobiles on the Anderson highway near Pendleton kills one Clemson student instantly and leaves three others with injuries. William White, a day student from Simpsonville, is killed in the collision. (The Tiger, Friday, 13 January 1961, Volume LIV, Number 14, page 1.)
- January 13-January 14: The Clemson Theatre shows Bob Hope and Lucille Ball in "The Facts of Life." Friday night late show is "Beyond The Time Barrier", "a spectacle of the world of tomorrow" at 10:30 p.m.
- January 15-January 16: The Clemson Theatre shows Spencer Tracy and Fredric March in "Inherit The Wind".
- January 17-January 18: The Clemson Theatre shows "Tess Of The Storm Country."
- February 6: Pianist Roger Williams and his company are featured in the fourth concert of the Concert Series at 8 p.m. The first popular song recorded by Williams was "Autumn Leaves", in 1955, the only piano instrumental to reach the number one position on "Billboard" magazine's popular music charts. (Still true in 2009 - Ed.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cwXzT-NEgE Williams invites the audience backstage to visit him at all concerts. His interest in the public stems from a boyhood experience in Des Moines, Iowa. After a piano concert by the Polish genius Ignacy Jan Paderewski, young Roger waited for 45 minutes outside in the freezing cold to meet his idol. When the pianist finally appeared it was to rush to a waiting automobile. "I didn't even get near enough to touch him or get an autograph," says Williams. "It was then and there I resolved that if ever I became famous I would never disappoint anyone who wanted to talk to me." (The Tiger, Friday, 13 January 1961, Volume LIV, Number 14, page 1.)
- February 6-February 10: Clemson observes National Religious Emphasis Week. Two speakers are presented. Dr. Edmund Perry speaks in the college auditorium in the evenings of February 7-February 9, and Dr. W. F. Dewan, C.S.P., speaks the same evenings in the College Chapel in the dormitories (located on the 8th level above the Loggia in Johnstone.) The public is invited to join Clemson students, faculty and staff to hear the visiting clergymen. Dr. Perry, a native of Georgia, received his A.B. degree from the University of Georgia in 1944, in philosophy, his B.D. in 1946 from Emory University and his Ph.D. from Northwestern in 1950. He has served as director of the Wesley Foundation at Georgia State College for Women and the Georgia Military College. He was assistant professor of religion at Duke University and director of undergraduate studies from 1950-1954. At present Dr. Perry is chairman and associate professor of history of religions department at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. He is also an ordained minister in the Methodist Church. Dr. Dewan, Catholic speaker for Religious Emphasis Week, will speak on subjects concerning the spiritual life, chosen primarily but not exclusively for Catholic students and faculty. Father Dewan will also direct a three-day retreat for Catholic students with a brief talk each morning before breakfast on "Thoughts for Today," preceded by Mass and Communion. (The Tiger, Friday, 13 January 1961, Volume LIV, Number 14, pages 1,3.)
- February 17-February 18: Central Dance Association presents versatile arranger, conductor and performer Earl Bostic at Midwinters dance. The dances were rescheduled from February 10-11 after CDA found that there were no high calibre orchestras available for those dates. Friday night tickets are $4, and $4.50 for Saturday night, with a Saturday afternoon concert for $1.50, however, a block a tickets may be purchased for $8 that includes both dances and the concert. Both dances are informal. Bostic has worked with such well known jazz artists as Lionel Hampton, Don Redman, Paul Whiteman, Louis Prima and Cab Calloway. For the last two years, Bostic and his band have placed second in the Playboy Poll. (The Tiger, Friday 13 January 1961, Volume LIV, Number 14, page 1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uimQ9-VdtDs&feature=related
- The first computer arrives on campus, used in the math department.
- Skelton's Home and Auto opens in the two-story building on College Avenue which is now occupied by Tiger Town Tavern.
- Students of Industrial Education build a full-scale model of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley. It is now displayed in the State Museum in Columbia.
- The Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Savannah District, fills in the Seneca River to force water through newly dug diversion channel west of the Clemson campus. Thus begins the filling of Lake Hartwell, which later leads Southern humorist and newspaperman Lewis Grizzard to observe that "Clemson is Auburn with a lake."
- Charlie Pell, future Clemson head football coach, is member of the University of Alabama's national championship team.
- September 23: Clemson road trips to Florida, loses, 17-21.
- September 29: First formal dance of the fall, the "Rat Hop", is held with the Blue Notes providing the music. New dance sensation, The Twist, is seen on campus for the first time. Miss Dia Bettencourt, of Savannah, Georgia, is selected Rat Queen. The Phi Kapps, a singing quartet of Phi Kappa Delta fraternity also sing with the Blue Notes on some numbers. (TAPS 1962, page 34.)
- September 30: The Tigers drop home game to Maryland, 21-24. Central Dance Association sponsors informal dance after the game with the Clovers as musical act. (TAPS 1962, page 34.)
- October 7: Clemson defeats North Carolina, 27-0, in Chapel Hill.
- October 14: Wake Forest defeats the Tigers, 13-17, in Death Valley.
- October 21: The Tigers travel to Duke, win, 17-7.
- October 28: Clemson plays at Auburn, losing, 14-24.
- November 3: Fifth annual Tigerama is staged, with an opening pep rally, a performance by Tiger Band, and fireworks afterwards. Kappa Delta Chi wins top skit award with Delta Kappa Alpha taking the fraternity division. The Phi Kapps, a well-known vocal quartet on campus also performs. Miss Tigerama, Ann Sherman, is crowned. (TAPS 1962, page 37.) Following Tigerama, Central Dance Association sponsors a dance from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. with Hank Ballard and the Midnighters providing the music. Fraternity and houseparties follow the dance.(TAPS 1962, page 38.)
- November 4: The Tigers defeat Tulane, 21-6, in Memorial Stadium. Miss Mary Ann Brunnemer, of Winnsboro, is crowned Homecoming Queen at Halftime. Larry Elgart and his Orchestra provide "dreamy" music for post-game dance (TAPS 1962, page 38.)
- November 11: Clemson plays South Carolina in Columbia, losing, 14-21.
- November 18: The Tigers defeat Furman, 35-6, in Death Valley.
- November 25: Clemson blanks N.C. State, 20-0, in Memorial Stadium to conclude 5-5 season, 3-3 in conference, to tie for third place in the ACC.
- December 20: "Despite early morning thunder showers, flames consumed the Horticulture Building Monday, Dec. 20. The two story frame structure housed several thousand dollars' worth of experimental equipment, much of which was specially made and irreplaceable. The countless papers and products of years of research that were destroyed are considered priceless. In addition to the structure, two pickup trucks, parked behind the building, were destroyed by fire. The fire was discovered by a passing motorist who drove to the Clemson fire station to turn in the alarm. He then drove one of the fire trucks to the scene of the disaster while other firemen were aroused. Firemen fought the blaze for two hours with two hoses but were unable to do anything except contain the flames. The heat was so great that it scorched the sides of of a new trailer parked some distance from the fire. The trailer contained barrels of oil. Authorities think the source of the fire was at the back of the building where there were fuse boxes and an oil furnace. There is also the possibility that the building was hit by lightning." (The Tiger, "Occurs Monday, Dec. 20 - Fire Disaster Strikes Horticulture Building", Friday 12 January 1962, Volume LV, Number 15, page 6.)