It was Ricky Cox’s first time in a college football stadium. He wasn’t there just to watch the Clemson Tigers defeat the Louisville Cardinals. Cox was honored as a part of the Professor of the Game and Staff Member of the Game program, created by President Jim Clements in 2014 in order to honor the hard work of faculty and staff throughout the university.
Cox is a tradesman in custodial and recycling services for University Facilities. He installs and maintains equipment from soap dispensers to big machinery like Caterpillar loaders. Additionally, he is part of the team runs Clemson’s game day recycling program, which was named the National Champion last year in the GameDay Recycling Challenge – an annual competition among colleges and universities around the country. His work keeps the university’s equipment running so that we can continue to recycle and enjoy a beautiful and clean campus.
Accompanied on to the field by his girlfriend, Janet Roach, Cox described the experience as memorable. “I truly enjoyed this day and will never forget it,” he said.
Along with Cox, Lisa Benson, Ph.D., was also honored on the field. Benson is a two-time Clemson graduate and has been a professor of engineering and science education since 2006. She is not the only Clemson Tiger in her family. Combined, her family boasts a total of eleven Clemson degrees. She teaches engineering and science education graduate-level classes which focus on the ways we teach students and communicate with other audiences about engineering, science and technology. Her research focuses on the relationship between student motivation and learning as well how students’ plans and goals for the future affect the way they learn in the classroom.
Accompanied by her husband, Eric, an entomology professor, who she describes as “one of the biggest Tiger football fans I know,” Benson said the experience left her feeling humbled. And the in-person interaction, she said, helps put faces to the names of the many faculty and staff members who make a difference at Clemson.
“It is important to recognize faculty through this program because it gives those in the President and First Lady’s Suite a chance to get to know individual faculty and staff members,” she said. “When we all get to meet in person, it makes real the stories that others may hear or read about the accomplishments of faculty and staff members, which helps build up our whole community at Clemson.”