November 2002

Clemmie E. Webber, PhD

1993 National Mother of the Year

Clemmie E. Webber, PhD is the recipient of many coveted honors and awards. One such national honor, National Mother of the Year for 1983, was awarded to this mother of three and resident of Orangeburg, South Carolina. She was selected over a field of candidates from each of the 50 states. Dr. Webber competed for the national award presented by the American Mothers Committee as an earlier recipient, that same year, of the South Carolina Mother of the Year. The American Mothers Committee is a nonpolitical, nonprofit, interfaith, interracial, and multicultural organization that includes a literacy program and children’s reading program. Its main purpose is to honor motherhood. By examples learned from family elders, Webber consistently demonstrated a philosophy of universal love and open communication. She and her husband, Paul Webber (now deceased), maintained and practiced firm beliefs that children are more likely to imitate behaviors they see daily than adopt values preached. Having grown up in an atmosphere of an extended family home, Webber modeled her parenting style after that of her parents and grandparents. Her teacher parents and her grandmother encouraged the children to read and think critically and to engage their elders in meaningful dialogue. Clearly, as an early advocate of women’s rights and suffrage and co-founder of the literacy movement in South Carolina, Webber’s mother was the source and recipient of many family discussions. In addition, Webber’s astute observations of parental impact can be attributed to her maternal grandmother. Her grandmother, a former midwife and practical nurse, provided care during the week and immersed the children in observing nature. During this time, Webber indicates that she and her siblings were challenged to think creatively about conversations, daily observations, and readings. Webber has been honored to receive another prestigious award from the state of South Carolina, the Order of the Palmetto. This is the highest honor a South Carolina Governor can bestow upon a citizen. Other state and local recognition for her unwavering effort and advocacy in education include such citations and awards as The South Carolina Educators Association Award for exemplary effort toward the passage of the South Carolina Education Finance Act of 1977, the SC Legislative Black Caucus Award in recognition of outstanding civic and educational achievements, election to a three-year term on the Steering Committee of the National Council of Governmental Ethics Laws, election to the Policy Board of the Center for Science Education at the University of South Carolina, the Sertoma Club of Orangeburg’s Award for Significant and Meritorious Service to Mankind, South Carolina School Boards Distinguished Service Award, membership in the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education; induction to the SC Black Hall of Fame, and appointment by the Governor of South Carolina to a five-year term as a Commissioner on the Education Commission of the States. Webber is a retired professor of Science Education at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. Throughout her career, Webber has been at the forefront of many community issues and served on many civic boards.