December 20

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December 20 in Clemson History

  • 1961: "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.)
  • 1979: Clemson Lady Tigers Basketball team wins the Carolina Christmas Classic, 80-77, over host North Carolina, in the championship game.
  • 2007: Mid-year graduation held.
  • 2008: Clemson mourns the death of Celeste Prince, former first lady
Celeste Orr Prince, 80, former first lady of Clemson University, died December 20 at Cottingham Hospice House in Seneca.
She was the wife of Clemson President Emeritus Philip H. Prince, who served as Clemson’s president from 1994 to 1995. Devoted to her husband's alma mater, she was a tireless advocate for Clemson, particularly after he was selected as a university life trustee in 1989 and as acting president in 1994. Prince's presidency lasted only 11 months — between the resignation of Max Lennon and the appointment of Deno Curris — but it was a period of enormous change for Clemson. Prince led the restructuring of the university from nine colleges to what eventually became the five colleges Clemson has today.
“Celeste Prince’s life as a Clemson first lady, mother, grandmother, wife and head cheerleader for all things Clemson serves as an inspiration to all of us in the Clemson Family,” said President Jim Barker, who was dean of the College of Architecture during Philip Prince’s presidency. “Marcia and I appreciate the friendship and kindness she has shown us over the years. We will miss her greatly.”
In 1999, the Clemson University Alumni Association created the Prince Scholars, an unrestricted scholarship program, to honor the service of the 12th president and his first lady.
A native of Wilmington, N.C., who moved to Rock Hill, S.C., at age 2, she graduated from the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now UNC-Greensboro) in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation. In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sons, Kevin and his wife, Mary Severson Prince, and James and his wife Novella Myers Prince; and two grandsons, Philip Hunter Prince II and Walker Myers Prince.
Mrs. Prince will be buried in a private family gathering in Woodland Cemetery, known as “Cemetery Hill,” on the university campus. A celebration of her life will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 23, at Fort Hill Presbyterian Church in Clemson. The family will receive friends following the funeral service in Tartan Hall at the church.


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