Originally created 07/03/05

Sen. Clinton fails to impress graduate



Just look at all the mileage Bill Clinton got out of shaking hands with President Kennedy.

A recent college graduate from Aiken also shook the hand of a famous politician when he earned his associate's degree May 1.

Kevin Wills, the son of Frank and Debra McMurry, shook hands with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) at his graduation from Paul Smiths College in Paul Smiths, N.Y.

He downplayed the experience.

"It was pretty cool," said Mr. Wills. "I mean, I just thought about she used to be the first lady."

When Mr. Clinton was a delegate to Boys Nation as a high school student, he met Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden. The handshake was captured on film, and the footage was broadcast to the country when Mr. Clinton ran for president three decades later.

If Mr. Wills has any political aspirations, he played them close to the vest.

He earned an associate in surveying technology degree and plans to continue his studies this fall at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga.

He said he will continue with his surveying technology studies or enter the civil engineering program.

Mr. Wills is working as a surveyor for a Mooresville, N.C., company this summer.

He also said that Mrs. Clinton spoke at his graduation. Apparently, however, the handshake was more memorable than her speech.

"She was just talking about all the graduates and about learning skills... and to go out and work," he said. "Then she went off talking about other stuff."

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.