Harvey Gantt was the first African American student to enroll at Clemson, entering the University in January 1963.
Harvey Gantt’s enrollment itself was a difficult situation, led by civil rights lawyer Matthew Perry. Anti-black feeling in South Carolina was so strong that the state paid out-of-state tuition to educate some black students elsewhere, keeping them out of Clemson and the University of South Carolina. Gantt himself enrolled at Iowa State University before making his way back down South.
Once at Clemson he soon met his wife Lucinda who entered the same semester as him. He went on to create his own architecture firm and partnered with the city of Charlotte to create the firm Gantt/Huberman Architects. He also got involved in politics soon after and served two terms as mayor of Charlotte, N.C. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Clemson University, with honors, in 1965, and in 1970, he received a Master of City Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Thanks to the efforts of both Gantt's the Harvey and Lucinda Gantt Multicultural Center was created. It is committed to creating diverse learning environments. The center supports and advocates for the needs of all students, challenges students to think critically about themselves and their communities, provides engaging experiential learning opportunities and empowers students to be positive change agents. They are responsible for organizing major events on campus such as the International Festival, MLK Celebration, and multiple LGBTQ events year round. They also offer a student lounge available to all students 24/7 for any academic needs.