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World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley bestowed with honorary doctorate


Among Clemson University’s 4,000-degree recipients this week is David Beasley, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme and 113th governor of South Carolina. He will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities during the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences commencement ceremony at 1 p.m., Thursday, May 6. Gov. Beasley’s son Ross is also set to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in political science at the same ceremony.


“It is truly an honor to be awarded this prestigious degree by Clemson, which has a special place in my heart. The University enriched my life in so many ways and taught me important lessons that have guided me throughout my career. I feel blessed to be part of Clemson’s inspiring community,” Gov. Beasley said.


Gov. Beasley has dedicated his career to serving others. As the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), he bridges political, religious and ethnic boundaries to fight world hunger and champion economic development and education. Under his leadership, WFP was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.


The honor for Gov. Beasley was approved by the Clemson Board of Trustees at its spring quarterly meeting in April. The board’s policy on honorary degrees states Clemson University intends to be highly selective in awarding honorary degrees to the highest qualified and most deserving candidates, and authorized honorary degrees should represent lasting recognition of unusual and exemplary service of outstanding individuals. Gov. Beasley is the first honorary degree recipient at Clemson since 2018.


“I am pleased that we are able to recognize David Beasley for his accomplishments at Commencement. His entire career has been dedicated to serving others, and he has made a tremendous impact on our state, nation and world,” said Clemson University President Jim Clements. “We are proud to have him as a member of the Clemson Family.”


Before joining the World Food Programme in April 2017, Gov. Beasley spent a decade working with high-profile leaders and on-the-ground programme managers in more than 100 countries, directing projects designed to foster peace, reconciliation and economic progress. He traveled to as many as 30 countries a year, organizing, leading, or participating in conferences and missions in Kosovo, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen.


Born in Lamar, South Carolina, David Beasley attended Clemson University from 1976-78. He was first elected to public office at 21, serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1979 to 1992. As Governor of the U.S. state of South Carolina from 1995 to 1999, Beasley guided the state during years of economic transformation, helping to reshape the state’s economy into a healthy, diverse and robust market.


Beasley is married to the former Mary Wood Payne and is the father of four children.

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