By Jackie Todd, University Relations
Many times, a “thank you” is enough. When the recognition happens in front of 80,000 fans, it takes on a new meaning.
This fall, seven faculty and seven staff members were recognized at Clemson home football games – on the field, during the game, in front of a packed house. The Professor of the Game and Star Staffer of the Game program was initiated by President Jim Clements to honor faculty and staff – this important group of individuals who Clements says works hard to make a difference for the university and its students.
Many of those recognized had never been on the Memorial Stadium field before. All of them appreciated the opportunity.
“It was really a great honor to be recognized,” said Sophie Wang. An assistant mechanical engineering professor and director of the Interdisciplinary and Intelligence Research Lab in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, Wang was selected as Professor of the Game for the Nov. 26 competition against rival University of South Carolina (USC). “I’d like to thank all Clemson faculty, staff, students, and fans for the great game-day atmosphere,” she said.
This was Wang’s second invitation to a Clemson football game. The first was in 2012 when she joined the mechanical engineering department as an assistant professor.
“Both games were overwhelming successes,” said Wang. “I am very proud of our team and shall keep watching more games and witnessing more wins.”
Janeen Putman also witnessed Saturday’s win against USC. A student services program coordinator in the mechanical engineering department of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, Putman watched the game with her husband, Brad, and their daughters. During the second quarter, Putman’s family joined her on the field as she was recognized as Star Staffer of the Game.
After the ceremony, Putman reflected on her recognition and what it means to her and to Clemson’s staff members.
“With the president and Clemson Athletics working together to recognize seven of us this year, it has just been amazing,” she said. “No award out there lets 85,000 of our community know just how hard we work, but this does. For me this came at a time where it has been hard to get everything done with my job in a standard work week and I wondered if I was making a difference and an impact as I had hoped. I have been at Clemson since I began my freshman year of college here in fall 1995 and I can honestly say that I have never had an experience that tops this one. The honor that was bestowed upon me shows me, and hopefully other staff members, that our hard work and dedication is appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed. I didn’t think I could love Clemson any more before this, but I do.”
The Professor of the Game and Star Staffer of the Game recognitions began in 2014. Clemson Athletics accommodates and supports the on-field recognition and those selected join President Clements in the President’s Suite on game day.