Harvey Gantt (b. 1943) became the first African American student at Clemson University in 1963. Gantt grew up in Charleston, SC, and originally attended Iowa State University. He sued for admission to Clemson as an architecture major and won, transferring from Iowa State in 1963 and graduating in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in architecture. He also married the first black Clemson coed - Lucinda Brawley.
He went on to earn a Master of City Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1971, Gantt co-founded Gantt Huberman Architects in Charlotte, North Carolina, a firm that has won many awards for distinguished building design.
In the mid-1970s, Gantt began his activities in elective politics when he joined the Charlotte City Council, serving from 1975 to 1979, served as Mayor Pro Tem from 1981-1983 and was elected Mayor of Charlotte in 1983, the first African-American mayor of that city. Reelected in 1985, he served in that capacity through 1987. Twice, in 1990 and 1996, he ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Jesse Helms for the United States Senate.
In June 1991, Gantt was one of five alumni recognized by the university as recipients of the 1991 Distinguished Service Award, the Clemson Alumni Association's highest honor.
- Newell, Liz, "Alumni Profile", Clemson World, Summer 1991, Volume 44, Number 2, page 30.