Brooks Center director emeritus awarded Order of the Palmetto

May 21, 2024

Brooks Center for the Performing Arts Director Emeritus Lillian “Mickey” Harder has been honored with the highest civilian award in the state of South Carolina.

Brooks Center executive director Janice Crews and State House Rep. Jerry Carter (R-Pickens) presented Harder with the Order of the Palmetto on Monday evening on the Lillian Utsey Harder Stage. The order established in 1971 recognizes citizens for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national or statewide significance.

Harder exceeded those qualifications with flying colors.

She taught in the Department of Performing Arts for 24 years, began an endowed chamber music series in memory of her late parents, served as the director of the Brooks Center for 21 years and was named an honorary alumna of Clemson University in 2017.

“I was absolutely stunned because I knew nothing about this. Little did I know when I decided to make the arts my career that this decision would have enough of an impact to lead to an honor like the Order of the Palmetto. The memories I’ve made at Clemson were achievements of my career and life that I will always cherish. I think Rep. Jerry Carter and others who wrote letters of support on my behalf. My family and I are humbled and very appreciative of this honor,” said Mickey Harder.

Carter said President Jim Clements, President Emeritus Jim Barker, Clemson University Board of Visitors member Hank Owen and City of Clemson Mayor Robert Halfacre submitted letters supporting the nomination.