Clemson to present honorary degree to Nancy O’Dell


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CLEMSON — Clemson University is honoring one of its most famous alumni, “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Nancy O’Dell, with an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities at commencement exercises Friday, May 10, at Littlejohn Coliseum. O’Dell graduated summa cum laude from Clemson with a degree in marketing.

Clemson will hold three ceremonies for its spring commencement. Graduates in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities and the College of Business and Behavioral Science will receive degrees at 9:30 a.m. A second ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. for graduates in the colleges of Agricultural Forestry and Life Science; and Health, Education and Human Development. O’Dell will be honored during the 2:30 p.m. ceremony. The third ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. for students in the College of Engineering and Science.

A former Miss South Carolina, O’Dell began working as a reporter and news anchor in her hometown of Myrtle Beach after graduating from Clemson. She later held positions in Charleston and Miami before joining “Access Hollywood,” which she co-anchored for 13 years.

Now O’Dell co-hosts “Entertainment Tonight,” the most-watched entertainment news program in the world, where she has garnered exclusive interviews with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Second Lady Jill Biden, Oprah Winfrey and many other celebrities.

In addition to her work with ET, O’Dell has contributed stories to the “Today” show, “Dateline” and “CBS This Morning”; has hosted live red carpet events for the Emmy, Golden Globe and ESPY awards and VH1’s Critic’s Choice Awards; and produces and hosts HGTV’s “Celebrities at Home.” She also has made guest appearances on numerous television series and in multiple films, including the upcoming "Smurfs 2" movie.

Named one of “Television Week’s” 10 Most Bankable Stars in Syndication, O’Dell has also been honored with three Associated Press Awards, two Society of Professional Journalists Awards, an Emmy Award, seven additional Emmy nominations and the inaugural Beautiful Humanitarian Award. In addition, she was nominated twice for the esteemed ICG Publicists Guild Press Award for excellence in reporting. O’Dell is also a published author with three best-selling books, including her most recent, “Here’s to Fabulous You!,” the winner of the prestigious Addy Award.

She is the creator of "Little Ashby: Star Reporter," an educational kids' app which immediately shot to the Top 20 on the book charts in the iTunes App Store and which recently received a Cynopsis: Kids' Imagination Award nomination, honoring the best in kids programming.

O’Dell regularly contributes her time and talent for philanthropic endeavors, including the American Red Cross, Best Buddies and the March of Dimes. She serves as the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) national ambassador. She and her family formed a foundation with MDA, Betty’s Battle: Fighting ALS, in memory of her mother, who passed away in 2008 from ALS complications.

Seating for the Clemson commencement ceremonies is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional seating will be available on the coliseum’s concourse, where guests can watch the ceremony live on large-screen televisions.

Live video from all three commencement ceremonies will be streamed online at www.clemson.edu.

All guests coming to the May 10 commencement ceremonies should note that backpacks are not allowed inside Littlejohn Coliseum. Security measures adopted after 9/11 and most recently, the Boston Marathon bombings, exclude backpacks and any large bags from the list of items allowed.

Items allowed but subject to search are purses, diaper bags, seat cushions, binoculars, cameras, video cameras, cell phones, radios, Walkman-type radio/recorders and hand-held TVs. Event staff can check umbrellas and strollers at the gates.

Adults attending Commencement should have an official form of photo identification with them, and children should remain with an adult at all times during the event.

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