Nancy O'Dell Receives Honorary Doctorate Degree from Clemson University!

John Gouch, Media Relations
May 10, 2013

CLEMSON — More than 3,000 Clemson University students received degrees Friday at spring commencement ceremonies at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The 2,446 bachelor’s degrees, 551 master’s and 56 doctorates were being awarded in three ceremonies.

As has been his custom, President James F. Barker shook the hand of each of the graduates as they crossed the stage.

Alumna Nancy O’Dell, co-host of “Entertainment Tonight,” received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree at the afternoon ceremony.

“I was thinking it takes a medical student four years of undergrad, plus four years of med school, then three more years of residency to be called ‘doctor,’” she said. “It only took me two seasons of reporting about Justin Bieber.”

O’Dell, who graduated with a marketing degree, told the graduates that when it comes to their futures, “don’t let anybody ever tell you ‘no.’”

She told them that while working in her first job in sales and as a weekend reporter at a small TV station, she knew in her heart that she wanted to become a journalist. A news director at another station discouraged her, saying she would never succeed.

Ignoring the advice, “I decided that I would rather fail doing something I enjoyed than be successful doing something that would just be a grind,” she said. “My wish for all of you is that you will do the same. Be who you are because you’ll always be right.”

Three students and a professor were honored for their achievements Friday.

  • Elizabeth Johnson, a financial management major from Galena, Ohio, received the Norris Medal, which is presented to the best all-around graduating student;
  • Douglas Morte of Sumter and Kelsey Derrick of Greenville received Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards for service to others; and
  • Ashby “Budd” Bodine, emeritus professor of animal and veterinary sciences, was honored as the 2013 Alumni Master Teacher by the Student Alumni Council.