Daniel G. Clodfelter ’72
Daniel G. Clodfelter came to Davidson in 1968 with no small degree of self-knowledge, even as a young man. On his college application, he described his greatest strengths as poise in front of a group, ability to organize, and eagerness to learn; his greatest weaknesses as impatience with people who were slow to cooperate, and a tendency toward stubbornness. He listed his primary career interest as politics.
Today, Clodfelter is a North Carolina state senator, widely known and largely admired for the same personal traits he used to describe himself as a high school senior. Much has come between then and now, as those roots of a young man’s self-awareness spread and deepened in the rich soils of leadership and service at Davidson, and then well beyond.
Danny Clodfelter arrived here a National Merit Scholar, and soon proved his mettle in student government; on the debating team; as a student representative for trustee and faculty committees; even on national television as one of Ralph “Nader’s Raiders,” in defense of better working conditions in the textile mills of Kannapolis—and, always, always, in the classroom.
“He was able to engage professors in discussions at levels different from the rest of the class,” his classmate, and Davidson College’s president-elect, Tom Ross once observed.
Young Dan presided over SGA his senior year, and graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with the Class of 1972—as Davidson’s seventeenth Rhodes Scholar. His hometown of Thomasville, N.C., celebrated the honor with a Daniel G. Clodfelter Day. After two years at Oxford, Dan and his wife Elizabeth Bevan were off to New Haven, Conn., where he pursued his degree from Yale University School of Law. He returned to his native state to clerk for U.S. District Court Judge James B. McMillan in Charlotte. In 1978 he joined the law firm of Moore and Van Allen, where he continues a successful practice focusing on antitrust, competition, and insolvency cases.
In the eighties and nineties, he served on the Charlotte City Council, as well as on a wide variety of regional and statewide committees and organizations, even finding time to serve on the advisory committee which formed the Davidson College Friends of the Arts. Since 1999, he has served as N.C. State Senator from District 37 in Charlotte. Today, from their home in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood, Dan and Elizabeth continue to fulfill one of their most important roles, as parents of their two daughters, Julia, Davidson Class of 2005 and Catherine, Davidson Class of 2009.
For your distinguished career in which you have brought tenacity and open-mindedness to the legal and political tasks at hand; for the high standard of ethics you have humbly brought to your twin professions; for the recognition given to you by your peers in the legal and political communities; and for the distinction you reflect upon Davidson through your achievements, we honor you, Daniel G. Clodfelter, Class of 1972, with the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of your 35th reunion, this 28th day of April, 2007.