Clemson awards degrees at summer graduation ceremony

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GREENVILLE — Clemson University awarded degrees to 864 students at its summer graduation ceremony in Bons Secours Wellness Arena.

“Welcome to our home-away-from-home in downtown Greenville,” President James P. Clements said. The arena is hosting graduation ceremonies and men’s basketball games while Littlejohn Coliseum is being renovated.

“This is the day when we celebrate your hard work and your achievements and all of the possibilities that lie ahead for you,” he told the graduates.

Guest speaker U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., told the graduates to do something significant with their lives.

“This is the perfect place in life to reflect and plan because you have the two most precious commodities: time and youth,” he said. “All you need is an objective, a purpose, something to strive for, and if I were sitting where you are now — and I once was — and if I could do it again, I would strive to do something of significance with my life.”

He told them significance is not necessarily about money or fame. He noted that those buried in Arlington National Cemetery are not famous, but that they built a country through their sacrifice.

“Do something that matters. You can start tomorrow,” he said. “For today, congratulations.”

Gowdy, of Spartanburg, was elected to Congress in 2010. He serves on the House Committees on Ethics; Oversight and Government Reform; and Judiciary. He also is chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. In May 2014, he was named the chairman of the House Select Committee on the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.

Gowdy previously was a district attorney for the state’s Seventh Judicial Circuit and also spent six years as a federal prosecutor.

He and his wife, Terri, have two children. Their son graduated from Clemson in the spring, and his daughter will attend University of South Carolina this fall.

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