Clemson University’s First African American Dean Has Retired

Frankie O. Felder, senior associate dean at the Clemson University’s graduate school, retired on August 15.  Dr. Felder had served as a dean at the graduate school since 1987. A champion of the interests of students from underrepresented minorities, international students, and all graduate students, she was the first African American dean at Clemson, and the first woman dean in the graduate school.

Jason Osborne, the university’s associate vice provost and dean of the graduate school, said that “Dr. Felder has been a tireless, fearless, and determined advocate for excellence in graduate education and for graduate students at Clemson for 30 years.  She has worked to make Clemson, and our broader community a better place, and has succeeded in moving us far from where we were.  We look forward to continuing to work with her as a faculty emerita and to continuing to benefit from her wisdom.”

Dr. Felder has been researching the history of graduate education at Clemson and plans to write a book on the subject. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, holds a master’s degree from the University of Vermont, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University.


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  1. Thomas Everett Penn says:

    Used my “Way Back” machine for 1968 and freshmen year at “HI”, i.e. Hampton Insitute”. So, guess whose name appeared. None other than yours. My congrats on all which you have achieved & many blessings.

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