1968

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1968 in Clemson History

Events that occurred in 1968:

  • Daniel Hall is completed.
  • A former partner in The Study Hall remodels the ex-Feedbag hardware store into the Red Carpet Lounge.
  • Geraldine Labecki begins tenure as dean of the newly-established School of Nursing. She will serve until 1980, and Mary Lohr will take her place in 1981.
  • First enrollees of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, approved by the Board of Trustees in 1967.
  • Schilletter dining hall completed.
  • "Death Valley: 72 Years of Exciting Football at Clemson University" by Johnny Martin is published by the Independent Publishing Company, Anderson, South Carolina, containing a Foreward by Paul W. "Bear" Bryant. Copyright 1968 by Wilton E. Hall, publisher, The Anderson Independent & Daily Mail.
  • February 8: Statement of Dr. Robert C. Edwards, President, Clemson University:
Clemson University's administration for a long time has been aware of the dangers to young people posed by a nationwide increase in use of marijuana and other drugs. Our Student Health Service has stressed to our students the dangers of drugs and has been watchful for any evidence of usage which might develop.
I have no personal knowledge of the use of such drugs at Clemson and hope we find none; but in a student body of 6,000 there will always be a few offenders in almost any category. However, the Student Health Service has seen no evidence of illegal drugs at Clemson.
We were aware that Billy E. Bowles of the Charleston News & Courier had visited Clemson recently, seeking evidence of possible drug usage. Dean Walter Cox, Vice President for Student Affairs, talked to Mr. Bowles and was quoted in the News & Courier.
When the Bowles articles appeared we considered it prudent, proper, and obligatory immediatly [sic] to ask the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the allegations made in those articles. Governor Robert E. McNair and Chief J. P. Strom of SLED share our concern and assured us of full cooperation.
We shall await results of the SLED investigation. Meantime we are continuing the efforts of our own staff to be alert to dangers in the drug field.
No further action will be taken until and unless we have in hand evidence to support action. Should such evidence develop, we will act promptly and decisively. We have not countenanced and we will not countenance the use of illegal drugs -- or any other law violation -- on the Clemson campus.
Nothing we have said or done should be construed as reflecting on the Clemson student body as a whole. We are confident that any offenders that may exist constitute a very small minority among Clemson students. We are not going to judge anyone on the basis of unsubstantiated hearsay.
(Source: Series 12, Student Disorder - 1968, Collected Materials on Drugs, Correspondence, Office of the President, Robert C. Edwards, Special Collections)


  • February 8: The Orangeburg Massacre takes place at the almost all-black South Carolina State University when state law enforcement officers fire on a crowd of African-American students as firemen extinguish a bonfire, lit in protest of the refusal two days earlier of the white owner of the All Star Bowling Lane, the only alleys in Orangeburg, to let black students bowl there. When the shooting stops, 28 are injured and three students are killed. At trial, billed as the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest, all nine defendants were acquitted. Cleveland Sellers was the only person imprisoned as a result of the incident. He represented the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was convicted of inciting the riot that preceded the shootings. He wrote The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC in 1973. Sellers was later pardoned for the offense and is now the director of the African-American Studies program at the University of South Carolina.
  • February 20: The American Folk Ballet appears in the Field House (Fike) at 8 p.m.
  • March 12: The Federal Communications Commission informs WSBF by Western Union Telegram that permission has been granted for moving the transmitter to East Campus in High Rise dormitory No. 2.
  • April 4: Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 39.
  • April 20: A steam operated passenger train operates through Clemson for the first time since about 1950 when the Southern Railway runs a steam excursion behind Southern 2-8-0 No. 630 from Atlanta to Spartanburg.
  • June 5: The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, a United States Senator and brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, took place shortly after midnight on June 5. He was killed following celebrations of his successful campaign in the Californian primary elections while seeking the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States. The perpetrator was a 24-year old Jordanian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Kennedy because of the senator's stance towards Israel. As of 2008, Sirhan remains incarcerated for this crime.
  • August: Mason Williams' instrumental "Classical Gas", released in February, and performed several times on the Smothers Brothers Show on CBS, reaches number two on the Billboard charts, and receives much airplay at WSBF.
  • September 21: Clemson's first football game of the season, played away at Wake Forest, is televised on ABC, the sixth time the Tigers have been broadcast. Jim Phillips begins broadcasting Clemson games as the new voice of the Tigers. The Tigers and Demon Deacons play to a 20-20 tie.
  • September 28: The Tigers travel to Georgia, losing, 13-31.
  • October 5: In Atlanta, Clemson is downed by Georgia Tech, 21-24. Tech leads, 6-10, at halftime. The Tigers score in the third quarter, but Tech scores twice in the last period for the win. (TAPS 1969, Volume 59, page 60.)
  • October 12: Clemson hosts Auburn for Homecoming, losing 10-21. This is the War Eagles' eighth straight win over the Tigers. Although Clemson holds Auburn to 37 offensive yards and no points in the first half, Clemson only kicks a field goal in the second half to Auburn's three touchdowns. (TAPS 1969, Volume 59, page 62.)
  • Fall: The Student League for Black Identity (SLBI) is founded on campus "to promote black awareness through encouragement of black history courses, the study of black culture, and the black man's relationship with his society."
  • October 19: The Tigers defeat Duke, 39-22, in Memorial Stadium.
  • October 26: Clemson plays at Alabama, lose, 14-21. A fourth quarter Tiger fumble proves fatal to the Clemson victory hopes. (TAPS 1969, Volume 59, page 64.)
  • November 2: Clemson takes on N.C. State in Raleigh in the Tigers' seventh televised game, aired by ABC. The Tigers prevail over the Wolfpack, 24-19. Clemson scores with 53 seconds left in the game for the win. (TAPS 1969, Volume 59, page 68.)
  • November 9: Clemson defeats Maryland, 16-0, in College Park. The Terrapins only manage six yards rushing. (TAPS 1969, Volume 59, page 70.)
  • November 16: The Tigers host North Carolina, defeating the Tarheels 24-14 in a rainy game. The Tigers lead, 10-7, at halftime but score twice in within three minutes in the second half. (TAPS 1969, Volume 59, page 72.)
  • November 23: South Carolina defeats the Tigers in Memorial Stadium, 3-7, wrapping up Clemson's 4-5-1 season, 4-1-1 in conference play, for second place in the ACC. Although the Tigers stop the Gamecocks from scoring seven times, a 73-yard punt return by USC's Defensive Back Tyler Hellams in the third quarter turns out to be the only touchdown of the game, and the margin for victory for the Cocks. (TAPS 1969, Volume 59, page 74.) With this loss, Clemson hands the ACC crown to 6-1 N.C. State.
  • November 30: Clemson plays its first basketball game in Littlejohn Coliseum, defeating Georgia Tech, 76-72.
  • December 6: The Greenville News reports that the Clemson Student Senate has voted to recognize the Student League for Black Identity as a new campus organization, the aim of which is to "promote black awareness through encouragement of black history courses, the study of black culture and of the black man's relationships with his society." (The Tiger, "Clemson Senate Accepts Black Identity League", Friday 6 December 1968, via Series 37 Folder, "C.U. Students Black, not dated-1979," Special Collections, Strom Thurmond Institute, Clemson University.)


1967 The 1960's 1969