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Oct 18, 2023

Dr. Rhondda Thomas, Dr. Jim Bostic named ACC UNITE Award Recipients

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Dr. Rhondda Robinson Thomas and Dr. James E. “Jim” Bostic Jr. have been named Clemson’s recipients of the 2023 ACC UNITE Award, which was created in 2021 to honor individuals affiliated with the league who have made an impact in the areas of racial and social justice. Over the past several decades, both Thomas and Bostic have played pivotal roles in the development of education and programming of African American history at Clemson.

Dr. James E. (Jim) Bostic and his legacy has included success in education and business, as well as philanthropic support for efforts to provide a more diverse campus at Clemson. His service and contributions to Clemson University are lengthy – from becoming the first African American to earn a doctorate at Clemson in 1972, to the leadership of IPTAY, Bostic has consistently served Clemson and created incredible opportunities for those who have come after him. In addition to earning Clemson’s Highest Honor – The Clemson Medallion – in 2016, he partnered with Dr. Thomas to help support the Call My Name program, which has been a key part of historical storytelling at Clemson.

Bostic’s desire to pay it forward goes well beyond what’s listed on a resume. He and his wife helped fund the Edith H. and James E. Bostic Presidential Scholarship as part of the Harvey B. Gantt Scholars program for diversity scholarships. His name is also on the Dr. James E. Bostic Presidential Scholarship in the College of Engineering and Science and the James E. Bostic Endowed Leadership Program for Resident Assistants.

Dr. Rhondda Thomas, Clemson University’s Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature, has dedicated her career to the research and storytelling of African-American history at Clemson. Her project, Call My Name, has been extremely influential around campus and a model nationally for uncovering and explaining history. Dr. Thomas has specifically dedicated significant time to the athletic department, where she has led several lectures and programs on Clemson’s history, as well as designed heritage walks and runs to important sites on campus, making the stories more accessible to all involved.

She has published Call My Name, Clemson: Documenting the Black Experience in an American University Community, which received honorable mention in the National Council on Public History’s 2021 book awards. She also wrote Claiming Exodus: A Cultural History of Afro-Atlantic Identity, 1774-1903, and co-edited The South Carolina Roots of African American Thought, A Reader. She was Clemson University’s Researcher of the year in 2021.

The winners will be celebrated throughout the 2023-24 athletics season.

About the ACC UNITE Award:

The UNITE Award is an initiative of the ACC’s Committee for Racial and Social Justice (CORE – Champions of Racial Equity) and was developed and approved by its 15 member institutions.

The UNITE Award is presented annually to individuals who:

  • Best exemplify ACC CORE’s mission to promote and encourage racial equity and social justice through education, partnerships, engagement and advocacy;
  • Have helped create meaningful, lasting change by improving systems, organizational structures, policies, practices and attitudes;
  • Have been a pioneer and/or helped pave the way for minorities either at the institution or in the community

Clemson ACC UNITE Award Recipients:

  • 2021: Craig Mobley (MBB), Cookie Blakney (WBB)
  • 2022: Wayne Jenkins (MTF), Barbara Kennedy-Dixon (WBB)
  • 2023: Dr. Rhondda Thomas, Dr. Jim Bostic