Ruthie Millar Distinguished Alumni And Grayson Kelly DSC0861
Ruthie Millar and Grayson Kelly

Press Release                                                                                        

Date: November 4, 2022

Contact: Lisa Garrett,

(By Lisa Garrett)

Ruthie Millar Receives 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award

PENDLETON, SC – Being engaged in the community and valuing her personal and professional relationships are the keys to Ruthie Millar’s success in her job as director of community outreach at Clemson Downs and as an alumni ambassador telling the Tri-County story.

“My personal motto is that relationships are the most important aspect of your job and your personal life,” said Millar, a 2011 graduate of TCTC who is the recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award. 

The recipient of this award must have been awarded a degree, diploma or certificate from Tri-County; must have graduated at least one year ago; and must have made significant contributions to the College, the Alumni Association or the community.

Longtime friend Carol Burdette, who is president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Anderson County, met Millar when she moved to Pendleton in the late 1980’s and they became fast friends. “I can see why Ruthie was chosen as TCTC’s distinguished alumna recipient.  She is one of the College’s best ambassadors. When she talks about Tri-County, you want to hear about her great experiences. Ruthie has a contagious, welcoming personality and is one of the kindest people I know. There’s no hug like a hug from Ruthie Millar. We’ve been friends for 30 years. She is a jewel of a friend to me and to Tri-County Technical College.”

Although Millar began college at Lander University after graduating from Seneca High School in 1986, and will complete her bachelor’s degree in business administration in May of 2023, she says her TCTC marketing degree stands out.

“I’m proud to receive the Lander degree years later, but the TCTC degree stands out because of its everyday real-world applications that are taught by instructors who are career professionals,” said Millar. “At least once a month I am reminded of the value of the insight of many marketing instructors who said, ‘Always know your customer inside and out – it’s how you can best help them.’” 

Millar says she incorporated those strategies in her six years as director of memberships for the Clemson Chamber of Commerce and in her current position at Clemson Downs. 

Millar didn’t start her career as a marketing professional; instead she began as a small business manager and owner. She managed a small café in Pendleton for several years and later owned a jewelry shop for a decade on the square downtown. “I’m an Oconee native but Pendleton became my home,” said Millar.  A year later, she joined TCTC’s Corporate and Community Education (CCE) Division as part-time evening receptionist. “I enjoyed engaging with people and getting to know them. Not long after I began, former CCE Dean Neil Lark told me marketing was my niche and I should pursue it.”

When she accepted a job in the TCTC marketing office, she enrolled in evening classes so she could better serve the students and customers in the community.

“I really enjoyed the outreach aspect where I was able to interact with high schools and community partners,” she said.  “I discovered a love for marketing and TCTC. I found myself telling the TCTC story because as a student, I had such a wonderful experience in the classroom and as an employee.”

When the opportunity arose to join the Clemson Downs team, she said, “I couldn’t turn it down. I love my job and my relationships with the residents and the community. I learn something new every day from our residents’ life experiences.”

She maintains a constant connection with TCTC through the Clemson Downs staff, many of whom are either students or graduates.

“One third of our certified nurse aides are TCTC graduates. We rely on TCTC and its programs to enhance the care we provide to our residents.  If our employees receive an education at Tri-County, we know they will be exceptional employees,” she said. 

About Tri-County Technical College

Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, industrial electronics, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit