Distinguished Service Award - Harold D. "Doug" Kingsmore '55

Uploaded by ClemsonUniversity on 29.03.2011

(Female narrator) Doug Kingsmore.
Were you on campus during Clemson’s 1954 baseball season? You know, the year we won
the first ACC Championship in any sport! I know you remember number 44. He was that outstanding
outfielder who broke a host of university records that year, including being the first
in Tiger baseball history to hit ten home runs in a single 22 game season.
Yes, Doug Kingsmore knew how to make a difference on the field. And he carried that same drive
for excellence into every area of his life.
Doug and his younger sister, Judy, grew up in the Union County mill town of Buffalo,
South Carolina. His parents, Samuel and Evelyn Kingsmore, both worked in the local textile
mill and they taught their son the value of hard work at an early age.
(Doug Kingsmore) My dad believed in a strong work ethic. My
first job at age ten was delivering the Spartanburg Journal. It was an afternoon paper in Union,
being in the Spartanburg coverage area. I think I had about 46 customers.
(Narrator) During his years at Union High School, Doug
developed valuable teamwork and leadership skills as he excelled in many sports, including
football, basketball and his favorite, baseball. A pivotal point in Doug’s life came as a
result of the opportunity he had to play baseball on the South Carolina All State High School
team under Clemson’s Coach, Walter Cox. Doug reported to Newberry College on a football
scholarship after graduation. But soon after arriving for pre-season training, he got an
important call.
(Doug Kingsmore) I received a call down there one day and it
was from Walter Cox saying, “You don’t need to be playing football. You get on a
bus tonight and you come to Clemson and Frank Howard and I want to talk to you about playing
baseball at Clemson.”
(Narrator) After some thought, Doug followed his coach’s
advice and enrolled at Clemson the following week. As a student athlete he played baseball
for Clemson all four years, lettering and joining the Block “C” club his sophomore
year when he moved onto the varsity team. And he earned South Carolina “All-State”
Honors for three consecutive years while he was at Clemson. Preparing himself for both
a career in baseball and business management, Doug found the guidance of his economics professor
to be invaluable.
(Doug Kingsmore) In addition to Coach Cox, who later became
President of the University, there’s one particular person that framed my career. His
name was Wallace Trevillion. He was my econ teacher and he ended up being my tutor and
mentor, suggesting the kinds of subjects that I take to fit with the curriculum that I had
chosen, which was Industrial Management. He was the one person that probably influenced
my career at Clemson more than anyone else from an academic standpoint.
(Narrator) But the start of that stellar career in business
would be delayed about three years. Upon graduating from Clemson in 1955 with a BS in Education
with an emphasis in Industrial Management, Doug signed with the Baltimore Orioles organization
and spent three years as an outfielder in their minor league farm system.
He also married his college sweetheart, Vicki Heard, whom he met through his college roommate.
Fifty-six years, two sons, daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren later, Doug and Vicki
delight in sharing their lives and Clemson traditions with their children. Both Sam and
Twila, and Mike and Susan, all Clemson alumni, are raising the next generation of Kingsmore
When Doug left the Orioles, he began his lifelong career in textiles. He began at Textron Corporation
as a Personnel Manager. Moving to Riegel Textile Corporation a couple years later, he moved
up the corporate ladder there for the next 24 years. Doug was quickly recognized in the
industry as a leader who made a positive difference everywhere he went. Consequently, competitive
textile giants began seeking his management acumen to turn their troubled companies around.
This led him to President and CEO positions at Avondale Mills, Cannon Mills, Graniteville
Company and Southern Weaving. Even in retirement, Doug has provided consulting services to Milliken
and Spartan Mills.
Along the way his leadership and competitive spirit have impacted many. As President and
CEO at Cannon Mills, he struck a deal with Wal-Mart’s Sam Walton that grew business
for both companies.
While turning Cannon Mills around, he also faced the largest union election bid that
had been held in the U.S. at that time. His active leadership in the campaign secured
the union’s defeat with 67% of the vote favorable to the company.
Active in regional and national professional organizations throughout his career, Doug
was recognized in 1967 as one of America’s “Best Textile Executives” by the Wall
Street Transcript. He received the Bronze medal that year in great company, behind Roger
Milliken and Burlington’s Hank Greenberg.
Throughout his life, Doug has been committed to making a difference wherever he lived,
whether he was serving in community Lion’s Clubs, Rotary Clubs, or organizing the first
Little League Baseball program in Johnston, South Carolina – and it’s still thriving
Similarly, his commitment to make a difference for Clemson has never wavered. An IPTAY member
since 1972, he and Vicki are members of the Leadership Circle, the John C. Calhoun Society
and the Clemson Legacy Society. The Kingsmores also stepped forward to assist the Athletic
department with the renovation of the University’s baseball stadium in 2000, which now bears
his name.
(Doug Kingsmore) It’s been rated as one of the top five university
baseball stadiums, in the country. And we’re proud of that. And even as we speak, we’re
making more improvements internally at the stadium. So we’re real happy that we were
able to do that.
(Narrator) Doug’s competitive spirit, which he describes
as hating to lose more than he enjoyed winning, has given much of his success. And he has
especially enjoyed applying this spirit of excellence in service to Clemson on the University’s
Board of Trustees. Elected to three consecutive terms by the South Carolina legislature beginning
in 1990, Doug chose to move to a very active Emeritus status in 2002.
(Doug Kingsmore) Being on the board has just been a renewed
experience. Working with people like President Barker, who incidentally in my opinion, is
going to go down in history as the best President in the history Clemson University. He has
brought that much to this university. His One Clemson, which unites academics, athletics,
alumni, when you get all of those people pulling on the same end of the rope, you get things
(Narrator) Talent, hard work, a competitive spirit, and
the right attitude can make a big difference in this world. And Doug Kingsmore has been
applying these principles throughout his life, making a difference in the lives of his friends,
his family, his employees, his community and his University.
(Doug Kingsmore) I think having a positive attitude is one
of the greatest assets that a person can have. Most of the time if you have a positive attitude
you can make things happen that you might think is impossible.