Sumter-area students get send-off to Tiger Town

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Fifty-nine members of the Clemson University Class of 2023 received a send-off to Tiger Town from alumni and fans from Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties on Thursday.

The send-off, which was held by The Sumter Area Clemson Club at Central Carolina Technical College's Health Sciences Building, congratulated the incoming freshmen pursuing four-year degrees on their admission into Clemson and gave students an official warm welcome into the Clemson family.

In addition to alumni and fans, top-level officials from Clemson attended the event to show support for the newest class. The Clemson tiger cub also made an appearance before dinner.

Attendees dressed in orange and purple and were served tailgate-style food with ice cream for dessert.

Each student was gifted a $2 bill with an orange paw stamped on it and was told to "let people know the power of the paw" by turning their singular bill into hundreds of paw-stamped bills that when spent at away games will flow through the communities they visit even after the tigers have left.

Two lucky students also received "all-in" Clemson footballs signed by Coach Dabo Swinney.

Titus Duren, a 1971 alumnus from Sumter and recipient of the Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award, gave words of encouragement to students.

"It's not going to be easy," Duren said, "but Clemson has everything you need to be successful."

Duren ended with a challenge for students to remember the people who help you along the way and be intentional to help others later.

"Go to Clemson, apply yourself academically, be successful have a good time but be successful; and when you leave there, remember there are other people who should have the same opportunities that you've had."

The event ended with the Baptist collegiate minister at Clemson University Peter Hyatt praying over the students for their safety, education and impact on their community during the next four years in Tiger Town.