CU recognizes death march survivor

Clemson University has started an endowment to honor professor emeritus Ben Skardon—a Clemson alumnus and survivor of the Bataan Death March during the Second World War. The Col. Beverly “Ben” Skardon Clemson Ring Endowment will help fund the Clemson Ring Ceremony. For many years, Skardon took part in that ceremony, sharing the story about how his Clemson ring saved his life. Two of his fellow Clemson alumni were held with him, and they took care of Skardon when he fell ill to several diseases. Skardon was dying and needed nourishment, so one of the alumni—Otis Morgan—offered to trade Skardon’s gold Clemson ring for food, which sustained Skardon and helped bring him back to health. He survived until the Japanese surrendered and the prisoners were freed. After returning, Skardon eventually joined the Clemson Faculty. One of his students would later become Clemson’s president, James Barker. And Barker has said Skardon was among his favorite professors.