David Wistar Daniel
1867 - 1961
Born in 1867 in Laurens County, David Wistar Daniel cultivated a passion for education through family influence and personal experience. His father served Laurens County as superintendent of education and as a teacher in the public school system where Daniel received his boyhood education. After Daniel graduated from Wofford College in 1892, he too taught several years in the S.C. public school system, including a period in Central in the 1890's.
Dr. Daniel began his career at the new Clemson College in 1898 as a teacher. Upon receiving a master's degree from Vanderbilt in 1901, he as promoted to instructor. After earning his doctorate in English, Dr. Daniel was promoted to assistant professor of English and to full professor in 1913.
During his long career at Clemson, Dr. Daniel served as director of the English department, as later as dean of the School of the Arts and Sciences in 1925. Among his many distinguished students was a young Strom Thurmond. The famed politician spoke fondly of Dr. Daniel at a commencement speech at our school in the early 1980's. Clemson University's modern English building is named in honor of Dr. Daniel as is a small road on campus.
Along with Daniel's professional commitment to Clemson, he remained dedicated to the public school system. He served on the S.C. State Board of Education for 12 years and led the State Teacher's Association as president. South Carolina honored his service by awarding him the 1951 American Legion of South Carolina plaque for distinguished service. In 1956, our newly-established high school in Central was named for him. He aided the school system in acquiring the land for the buiding. In 2012, our new school opened on the same site.
Although he traveled throughout America to deliver his messages, he was always happy to come home to Clemson, to his wife, Eva, and daughter, Evelyn. He lived the last years of his life in his home near the present-day Clemson House, where he could look out his den window and see Bowman Field. Upon his death in 1961, Dr. Daniel was honored by buriel in Woodland Cemetery on the campus of the Clemson University.