Clemson Celebrates 50 Years of Tiger Band

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To mark the golden anniversary of Tiger Band, it will hold a reunion celebration on homecoming weekend

CLEMSON - In 1955, students across America were vaccinated for the Polio, Ann Landers started her advice column, and Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald's restaurant. That year, kids were dancing to Chuck Berry's "Maybellene," "Ain't That a Shame," by Fats Domino and "Rock Around the Clock," by Bill Haley and the Comets. Families were making their way to a place called Disneyland or tuning in to "Dave Crockett" on television.

At Clemson University, the male students were adjusting to campus life with women coeds, The Clemson House was a hotel, and Duke Ellington and his big band performed during a campus dance. Tuition was $100 for the year for in-state students.

1955 was also the year Clemson College Band changed its name to Clemson Tiger Band to honor the school's mascot.

To mark the golden anniversary of Tiger Band, the band will hold a reunion celebration Friday-Sunday, Nov. 4-6, homecoming weekend. "We'd like for all past band members to come," said Bruce Cook, a former Clemson band director (1966-1989) and one of the event's organizers. Hosted by the Clemson University Tiger Band Association, the reunion also will include the annual alumni band performance, an alumni reception in Littlejohn Coliseum and other fun events.

"1955 was a tremendous year for Clemson," said Mark Spede, current director of the band. "Women had been on campus for only a short time, male students were no longer required to be members of the cadet corps, and the school was also expanding its curriculum. Things were changing in Clemson and across the entire country."

"We'd like for all past members of Tiger band to bring their photos and other band memorabilia to share with one another," Cook said.

For more information about the 50th anniversary party, call the band office at (864) 656-3380.

Other interesting facts from 1955

James Dean and Albert Einstein died.

The Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees to win the World Series.

The Quaker Oats Company invented instant oatmeal.

Crest toothpaste with fluoride was introduced.

Illinois enacted the first car seat belt legislation.

Clemson facts from 1955

The school was known as Clemson Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Clemson defeated the University of South Carolina, 28 to 14. The game was played in Columbia at the State Fair Grounds on "Big Thursday."

Dr. Robert F. Poole was president of the college and out-of state-tuition was $300 per year.

Clemson's first all women's organization was formed and named the Clemson Co-ed Association.

The freshman class totaled 1,067 new students, a record high at the time.

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