the History of Tigerama

Joe Sherman at class ring collection in Alumni Center (1973)

Joe Sherman at class ring collection in Alumni Center (1973)

“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

Past Tigerama events

1957 Maryland The First Tigerama Joseph B. Blandford, Jr.
1958 Wake Forest Tigerama ’58 William R. Hill & Ronald Ellis
1959 Maryland A Little Bit of Broadway Robert H. Boles
1960 North Carolina Tigerama ’60 Charles E. Corley, III
1961 Tulane Celebrating Homecoming Charlie C. Hagood
1962 North Carolina Tigerama ’62 Washington P. Timmerman, II
1963 Maryland Tigerama ’63 Norman F. Pulliam
1964 North Carolina Tigerama ’64 Gerald Wayne Caughman
1965 TCU Tigerama ’65 Elmer Earl Burch, Jr.
1966 Duke Tigerama ’66 William Michael Click, III
1967 Maryland Tigerama ’67 Robert Daniel Bowen
1968 Auburn Tigerama ’68 George Alston Gore
1969 Wake Forest Tigerama ’69 John E. Settle, Jr.
1970 Auburn Tricentennial Birthday of SC Joseph J. Turner, Jr.
1971 Wake Forest Clemson – 1984 Robert S. McCants, III
1972 Virginia Clemson – Its Future Thomas W. Cleveland, Jr.
1973 Virginia Clemson – As You Like It Pickens McCollum Lindsay
1974 Duke Tigerama ’74 Charles Merritt Grace, IV
1975 Wake Forest Hollywood 6 Decades ’25-‘75 Barrett Edward O’Dell, Jr.
1976 Duke Hollywood Homecoming – The Movies Come to Clemson Matthew Jay Watkins
1977 Virginia Tiger Tales Douglas Jennings, Jr.
1978 Virginia Tech Super Heroes Wallace Edgar Vaughn
1979 Virginia Salute to Walt Disney Michael Chevis Crapps
1980 Virginia Tech A Tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein Nancy Marie Blomgren
1981 Virginia Great American Heroes John Witherspoon Gilpin
1982 Kentucky Storybook Clemson Janet Rebecca Helms
1983 Virginia Clemson’s Real Life Reruns John F. Renfro, III
1984 Duke Cartoon Clemson Vivian Case Bailey
1985 Virginia Cinema Clemson William Gerald Emory, Jr.
1986 Duke Fairytale Clemson Susan Victoria Flake
1987 Virginia Daytime TV Jeffrey Owen Duckworth
1988 Duke 2088: The Next 100 Years Martha E. Emory (Zinkevicz)
1989 Georgia Tech Cloak and Dagger Clemson Joe Michael Ferguson
1990 Duke Cartoon Clemson Catharine Shea Powell (Morris)
1991 Virginia Cowboy Clemson Stacey Scott Cooper
1992 Duke Tiger TV Classics Heidi Lynn Douglas (Wright)
1993 East Tenn. St. Silver Screen Clemson Christopher Gill Goodier
1994 Wake Forest Clemson through the Decades Bethany P. Crandell (Goodier)
1995 North Carolina Clemson Cereal Bowl Brooks Brendan Saucier
1996 Georgia Tech A Rock Solid Tradition for 100 Years Cheryle S. Spaulding (Turner)
1997 Virginia The Magical World of Clemson Andrew Jacob Everhart
1998 Maryland Rockin’ Around the Clock Elisa Fitler Miot
1999 North Carolina Paws for the Millennium Brent Wayne Fleming
2000 Maryland Friday the 13th: Scare Your Paws Off Catherine C. Heatly (Gilbert)
2001 North Carolina The Greatest Show on Earth Edward Walton Norris
2002 Wake Forest Saluting Our Paws and Stripes Heather Marie Walls
2003 Virginia Where the Tigers Play Michael Kearse Reidenbach
2004 Utah State The Future is Orange Emily Grace Andersen
2005 Duke Go West Young Tiger Harrison Mark Trammell
2006 Georgia Tech There’s Something in These Hills – A Year of Anniversaries Katie Suzanne Spearman
2007 Central Michigan Shakin’ the Southland David James Duncan
2008 Duke An Orange State of Mind Margaret Alexander Stoddard
2009 Coastal Carolina Legends of the Valley Brian Michael Park
2010 Miami Roaring Horizons Helen Elizabeth Oxner
2011 Boston College Through the Eyes of a Tiger Tyler Davisson Smith
2012 Maryland The Spirit of ’89 Grace M. Clayton
2013 Boston College Pawprints in the Sand Preston Berkeley
2014 Syracuse Hear Our Roar Ali Fehling
2015 Boston College Homecoming 101: A Lesson on Legacy Seth Rhoden
2016 NC State Coming Home To Clemson Caroline Lewis
2017 Wake Forest Orange Crush Samuel Reinert
2018 NC State Beneath the Orange Colored Sky Abby Martin