Frank Johnstone Jervey

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Frank Johnstone Jervey (November 27, 1893 - May 6, 1983), a Summerville native, was a Clemson alumnus (Class of 1914), a Life Trustee (1965-1975), and Vice President for Development, amongst a very few of his many credentials.


Born in Summerville, South Carolina, on November 27, 1893, Jervey attended Porter Military Academy and matriculated at Clemson College in 1910. A 2002 article by Van Hilderbrand, Jr., in The Tiger states,

"While at Clemson as a student cadet, Jervey participated as a cheerleader and became an avid football enthusiast.
"His most memorable football experience, he always said, was the time Clemson defeated the University of South Carolina 32-0 in 1913 on Bowman field. Jervey played on the freshman football team in 1910 and served as the sports editor for the Tiger in 1913.
"Jervey was not only a sports enthusiast but also a model cadet, receiving the R. W. Simpson Medal for best-drilled cadet in 1911. Jervey left Clemson in 1914 upon graduation, but his influence on this institution was far from over."

He graduated from Clemson in 1914 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Following graduation Jervey worked as an engineer at the Charleston Navy Yard and also at the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, New Haven, Connecticut.


Jervey entered military service in August, 1917 and served as captain, 4th U. S. Infantry Regiment, in the 3rd Infantry Division. He was severely wounded near Chateau Thierry in France in July, 1918. Captain Jervey himself took five machine gun bullets to the leg and was given up for dead by five of his men. Before his men could finish the foxhole that would be his grave, a medical officer came by and reported him alive.

After several months of agonizing pain in French hospitals, Jervey's leg had to be amputated, and he returned to the United States. For his service, Jervey was the recipient of at least five medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism and the Italian Martto de Guerro. The citation for his DSC reads:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Captain (Infantry) Frank Johnstone Jervey, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 4th Infantry Regiment, 3d Division, A.E.F., near Les Franquettes Farm, France, 23 July 1918. Although wounded five times when his company was suddenly fired upon by machine-guns while crossing an open field, Captain Jervey remained in command of his company until he became unconscious.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 32 (1919)


After a short period with the Clemson athletic department, Jervey was employed in 1922 as an ordnance engineer by the Ordnance Corps of the Department of the Army, the department responsible for procurement of guns and ammunition for American Armed Forces. During his distinguished thirty-one year career at Army Ordnance Jervey became known as an authority on small arms and incendiary ammunition.

Jervey served in this civilian capacity from 1924-1953 and became noted as the leading authority of small arms ammunitions in the world. He later received the Exceptional Civilian Service Emblem, the highest award given to a civilian, for his work with the Ordinance Corp. and in the ammunition field. According to Jervey, he also had a hand in the development of the FBI crime lab under the authority of J. Edgar Hoover.

Home is where the heart is

After his retirement from government service, Jervey returned to Clemson and devoted his efforts to various alumni activities. He was responsible for securing $2 million in grants from the Olin Foundation which resulted in the construction of two engineering buildings, Olin Hall (1952) and Earle Hall (1959) to further the school's commitment to Chemical and Ceramic Engineering. In 1960, he received the Alumni Distinguished Service Award and served two terms as national president of the Clemson Alumni Association. He also served Clemson as President of the Alumni Corporation (1955). In 1959, "Mr. Clemson," as those who were close to him would often call him, became vice president of development, a position he would serve in until 1963. On February 21, 1964, Jervey was awarded a commemorative certificate from Clemson President Robert Cook Edwards for his many years of "loyal and faithful" service to Clemson, the state and the nation. In 1965, he was named a life member of the Board of Trustees and served until he resigned on November 14, 1975. Clemson recognized Jervey's service and contributions by awarding him both the honorary Doctor of Science degree and, on April 15, 1981, the Clemson Medallion, the first recipient of the highest public honor granted by the university to a living person.

Personal life

In addition to his Clemson-related interests, Jervey was an active Episcopalian and a vestryman of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. His church commitments were also evidenced by his service on the Boards of Trustees of Voorhees College and Porter Gaud School, both of which are supported by the Episcopal Church.

In 1925 Jervey married Anne Dornin White of Leesburg, Virginia. The Jerveys had one daughter, Mary Jervey Kilby, several grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Frank Jervey died May 6, 1983.


On November 19, 1973, Jervey received what he called his greatest honor, the naming of the new athletic facility building after him, stated the 2002 Tiger article. "Jervey always had Clemson athletics in his heart and always occupied a corner office in the building overlooking the baseball field. Jervey was said to have a PA system in his office, and it is rumored he used it to call down plays and advice to the dugout during games.

"On Feb. 18, 1975, the Frank Johnstone Jervey Education Fund was established by an anonymous donor, who gave $100,000 to honor Jervey. The endowment establishes scholarships for students with exceptional academic ability and leadership qualities.
"When told of the endowment in his honor, Jervey said, 'I am amazed and most grateful because it is going to something that means more to me than almost anything.'
"Jervey was later given the first Clemson Medallion, making him the first person to receive the three highest honors Clemson can bestow: the Alumni Distinguished Service Award, the Honorary Doctor of Science Degree and the Clemson Medallion. In 1977, Jervey was named to the U.S. Army Ordinance Hall of Fame at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland for his service in World War I/II and the Korean conflict.
"Many people mourned his death on May 6, 1983, as a man who had helped shape this University, this state and this nation. He always said, 'It is a distinct pleasure to serve Clemson in any way that I can.'
There is little Clemson can do to give back to this man all that he has given. To honor him in 1993 during the 81st Commencement Ceremony, Jervey was named Emeritus Trustee of Clemson University. There is no doubt that 'Mr. Clemson' served Clemson University in every way he could and will always be missed both as Clemson's premier ambassador of goodwill and as a great friend." Hilderbrand, Jr., Van, "Mr. Clemson" served the University in many ways.", The Tiger, 11 October 2002.
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