the History of Tigerama
“I got the idea for Tigerama while I was at the University of Florida,” said Joe Sherman, retired director of the Clemson News and Director of Alumni Relations. “Florida had this big student talent show the night before Homecoming called ‘Gator Growl,’ and when I came back to Clemson in 1956, I persuaded the alumni council to fund a show like it for the next year. I got Blue Key to sponsor and coordinate the show and things started rolling from there.”
The inaugural performance of Tigerama took place on November 8, 1957, but not before months and months of preparation took place. It was vitally important for the first production to be a successful venture so that Tigerama would be able to continue in the future. In order to ensure this success then, Blue Key President-elect Joe Blandford launched the campaign, “What is Tigerama?” This tactic was used to get everybody on campus interested in this new idea. At the time, Tigerama became the hottest thing Clemson had seen since the original administration building burned in 1894.
The 10,000 or so fans that braved the cold that first night were treated to an exciting performance. Featured on the first program were Mac McCahan, a fire eater; juggling specialist Dale Tinsly; and majorettes Phyllis O’Dell, Diane Austin, and Carolyn Willis. Later during the evening Miss Austin was chosen as the very first Miss Tigerama. Stan Kenton and his Modern Jazz Orchestra provided musical entertainment for the gala event. There were also skits performed at the first Tigerama. The Canterbury Club walked away with the first prize purse of $75 for their skit entitled “A Dining Hall Panorama.”
But the show didn’t end there. No sir. As the grand finale, the Pyro Display Company of Florida put on a large fireworks display. During that first year the fireworks cost $850 and have steadily increased in price over the years. “Those fireworks were the things that carried the show during the first three years,” said Sherman. “They were very expensive, but that was the real crowd pleaser.”
Tigerama is more than just a production each year on the eve of the Homecoming football game, it’s more a feeling that each and every student on the Clemson campus experiences. It is something that every student takes pride in, because it’s produced entirely by the students. It is their opportunity to steal the spotlight for a brief moment. It truly is a significant facet of the Clemson tradition.
From “The History of Tigerama”
By Jill Mixon–The Tiger (October 1983)
A Description of the vision Behind the 2019 tigerama and homecoming theme
“Welcome to the Dynasty”
It is no surprise to any Clemson student, alumni, faculty, or fan that this university is something special. But now with two College Football National Championship wins in three years, the rest of the nation is starting to catch on too. Of course it is impossible to understand the electric feeling of being a Clemson Tiger without first stepping foot in Clemson, but it is easy to see the exponential growth consuming our campus because of Clemson’s climbing national popularity. There always has been “something in these hills”, but there has never been as rare of time as now to be a Clemson student.
The week after our Clemson Tigers won the 2018 National Championship, Sports Illustrated headlines spread the news of “Dabo’s Dynasty” with the caption “Little Old Clemson Rules College Football,” and no one could disagree; With 2 titles in 3 years, “Little Old Clemson” had done the unthinkable and capped off a perfect season in California, making history as the first undefeated CFP team! In the words of Coach Swinney, “When you get a young group of people that believe, are passionate, they love each other, they sacrifice, they’re committed to a single purpose, you better look out. Great things can happen.” All this athletic success easily proliferates as we continue to attract the best players, coaches, students, and staff. However, just as Clemson football has found tremendous success, so too are great things happening for our academics and campus life. With a groundbreaking new business school underway, cutting-edge research facilities, strong alumni programs, the brand new Douthit Hills living community, and a united commitment to excellence, Clemson is undertaking a total transformation and becoming the paramount example for well-rounded university success.
Our nationally-ranked football program and academics, paired with a passionate and driven student body that come together to form the Clemson Family- This is what makes the Clemson Dynasty.
This Homecoming season, we celebrate the 2018 National Championship and the historic undefeated 2018 season. However, as we celebrate, we still hold our expectations high to the prize again-- hopes of hoisting up another National Championship trophy at the end of the 2019 football season. It is this attitude that makes the Clemson student and athlete so successful. We are a competitive student body with a vision for greatness, and just as ecstatic as we were to win in 2016 and 2018, we are just as determined to bring another victory home to the place we love most. This campus has a Trophy Mentality, and that is what will fuel this Clemson Dynasty for years to come and ensure that this dynamic university success is only just beginning.
So, Clemson Family, buckle up...get ready...and Welcome to the Dynasty!
-- Jack Debbout, Tigerama Director 2019