|Position:||IPTAY Executive Director|
Bennett, a 1955 Clemson graduate, entered as a freshman in 1951. He quickly got involved in campus life by being named president of his freshman class and holding other class offices throughout his career. Bennett was President of Blue Key, the CDA, and held offices in Alpha Phi Omega and Tiger Brotherhood. He was a varsity cheerleader for three years and the head cheerleader his senior year in 1954. He persuaded his father to buy a small cannon that would be fired after the Tigers scored a touchdown. That tradition is still carried on today.
After his graduation in 1955, Bennett served two years in the army at Fort Knox, KY, where he was Commander of the Honor Guard. In 1957, he started a nine-year sales career with ESSO in the Southeast. He returned to Clemson in 1967 as the first Alumni Field Representative. He moved to the athletic department as Assistant Athletic Director for Business and was later named Executive Secretary of IPTAY in 1977. Under his leadership, annual contributions to IPTAY doubled to more than 2.3 million and memberships increased from 9,800 to 15,000.
In 1979, Bennett was named Associate Athletic Director for Financial Development at Vanderbilt University. In 1986, he became Athletic Director at Furman University and in 1989 was named Vice-President for Development at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, TN. In 1984, Bennett was named the National Athletic Fundraiser-of-the-Year.
His civic duties include serving as President of the Clemson Chamber of Commerce, President of the Sertoma Club, and serving on the Board of Governors of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Nancy, served as co-chairs on two United Way Campaign Cabinets in Nashville. On August 14, 2001, Bennett received the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor in South Carolina.
Bennett has been honored by Clemson as a member of the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame and in 1986 he received the Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. In 1999, Thurmon and Diane McLamb endowed the position of Executive Director of IPTAY in honor of George Bennett and the David Wells Family created an endowment to honor Nancy Bennett.
A native of Columbia, SC, he and his wife, who has a Master's degree from Clemson and was elected to City Council in Clemson in 1996, have been married for over 40 years. They enjoy activities with their two children, their spouses, and grandchildren, Jeff and Jodi Bennett, and Bonnie and David Dixon, in addition to attending Clemson events. Their grandchildren are sustaining Tiger Cubs...Megan 16, Bennett 12, Brooks 10, Augusta 9, Austin 6, Alex 3, and Cameron 2.