SC State Names Honors College after late Dr. Emily England Clyburn; 2019-20 Clyburn Scholars inducted

(L to R) 2019-20 Dr. Emily England Clyburn Scholars: Tamara Taylor, Simien Chestnut, Vacarie E. Burgess, Jerdaisha Scott, Jordan Brown, Shia Jones

The legacy of philanthropist and devoted SC State University alumna, the late Dr. Emily England Clyburn, will live on through the lives of each student she has impacted, and will continue to impact. On Wednesday, Jan. 22, SC State’s Honors College officially became the Dr. Emily England Clyburn Honors College. Dr. Clyburn’s family, including her husband, U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn, who is also an SC State graduate, joined the university community to celebrate and honor the Loyal Daughter of SC State.

The Naming Ceremony also included an Induction Ceremony, where six students were inducted as Dr. Emily England Honors College Scholars, bringing the total number of Clyburn Scholars to 13.

The 2019-2020 inductees are: Jordan Brown, a sophomore computer science major; Vacarie E. Burgess, a sophomore biology major; Simien Chestnut, a sophomore computer science major; Shia Jones, a sophomore nuclear engineering major; Jerdaisha Scott, a sophomore political science and pre-law major and Tamara Taylor, a freshman accounting major.

The inductees were selected for their outstanding achievements in academic excellence, and for their great potential to be servant leaders in their chosen career fields. There are approximately 200 Honors College students, all of whom have been awarded a merit-based scholarship.

“That is why donorship to our scholarships is so very important because we know the students are smart. They’re bright. They’re intellectually capable, but they also have to have the means and the access to a college education,” said Dr. Harriet Roland, dean of the Dr. Emily England Clyburn Honors College. “Many times, people will see events like this and they will see the glory, but they really don’t know the story of what it took to get to this point, over a 30-year period. There have been challenges along the way. There have been disappointments. There have been stumbling blocks, but on this night, I thank God for Dr. Emily England Clyburn because she and U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn recognized that there was a need on this campus.”

Jones said that the Honors College grants her opportunities to give back to her community.

“By being a part of SC State’s Honors College, I am given the opportunity to continue to excel as a responsible, compassionate and well-rounded leader. I am excited to see what the future holds,” Jones said.

Taylor conveyed that she is moved by Dr. Emily England Clyburn’s contributions to the Honors College and its students.

“I want to follow in the footsteps of Mrs. Clyburn by being a philanthropist- once I get to that level of my career. After learning about her and what she did for the university and the community, I was inspired. I appreciate her for making my education possible,” Taylor said.

Dr. Emily England Clyburn, a native of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, dedicated her professional career to librarianship. She served in South Carolina’s schools, the Naval Hospital in Charleston and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Columbia. At the time of her passing, she was married to Congressman Clyburn for 58 years. Together, they have three daughters: Mignon Clyburn, Dr. Jennifer Clyburn Reed and Angela Clyburn, as well as four grandchildren: Walter A Clyburn Reed, Sydney Alexis Reed, Layla Hannibal and Carter James Clyburn Hannibal.

Dr. Clyburn received a Bachelor of Science degree in education with an emphasis in library science from SC State in 1961. She also attended Atlanta University and the University of South Carolina, where she received a Master of Science degree in librarianship. Additionally, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from SC State in 2010.

During the ceremony, Congressman Clyburn told the audience what motivated his wife to be unwavering in contributing to the lives of students.

“Her father came to South Carolina State. After one year, he had to leave and was never able to come back. That haunted her throughout her entire life. Emily just felt that any young person with enough ingenuity to finish school and go off to college, ought not be denied an education because of their lack of income,” the congressman said.

Congressman Clyburn stated that he still receives phone calls from people who have interacted with his wife. He also listens to stories of how she has inspired them in some way. During Wednesday night’s event, he thanked everyone associated with the university for honoring her and voiced the importance of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“These HBCUs take people where they are and get them to where they need to be. I would not be sitting in the United States Congress today as the number three guy in the United States House of Representatives, were it not for South Carolina State.”

Newly and formerly inducted Dr. Emily England Clyburn Scholars gather with U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn (5th from left) and Honors College dean, Dr. Harriet Roland (last on right) after the Naming and Induction Ceremony

Scholars at SC State will continue to climb toward success, thanks to the selfless giving of individuals such as Dr. Emily England Clyburn.

Roland expressed how generous Dr. Emily England Clyburn and her family have been throughout the years and how determined she was to give back to students into perpetuity.

“What better way to invest in the future and leave your legacy than with young, collegiate scholars? Our students have yet another high bar of excellence to reach, but we know that you [the audience] believe in us, that you love us and that you support us at the Honors College. For that, we’re forever grateful,” Roland said.

The Honors College (formerly the Honors Program) at South Carolina State University was initiated in the fall of 1988. In the fall of 2010, The Honors College was established. The Honors College is designed to provide the best possible education for exceptional students. The college contributes to the strategic plan of the university by attracting gifted and talented students and creating a community of scholars.

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