October 7, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Setterdahl finds perfect fit at Clemson

Ben Setterdahl thinks he may be annoying people.

The St. Joseph-Ogden senior, who is co-valedictorian, can’t stop talking about Clemson University.


The South Carolina school will be Setterdahl’s home for the next four years.


“I am just so excited and everyone has been so nice to me,” he said.

Setterdahl said he overlooked the ACC school at first and he never saw himself actually becoming a Tiger.

Setterdahl said the college decision process was stressful, but he tried to be as open with his parents as possible and just take everything one step at a time.

“Then as it got closer to decision time I decided it would be at least worth a visit,” Setterdahl said. “As soon as I stepped on campus I felt at home. As we looked around more on our visit I realized it was just the perfect fit for me.”

Setterdahl said his mom, Nikki, was surprised that he decided to attend Clemson, but supportive. His father, Duane, wasn’t as surprised.

“My dad said he saw it coming,” Setterdahl said.


Setterdahl will be majoring in engineering and will likely choose to pursue a civil engineering degree.


“I’m just so excited for a new journey meeting new people in a brand new place,” he said. “I couldn’t see myself anywhere else this fall, and I am so excited about it.”


Setterdahl, who will graduate from SJO on Sunday afternoon, said he has many great memories from his time as a Spartan. This year, he was a part of the We the People Civics team and traveled to Washington, D.C for the National competition.

“It was one of the best weeks of my life,” he said. “I had so much fun.”

Setterdahl said the school he attended for four years and the town he grew up in has taught him many lessons, including it is OK to be different.

“I have learned to not worry about fitting in but instead to do what you like to do and be passionate about it,” he said. “I will definitely miss all the people in my life who have impacted me. I am so grateful for all of my friends and teachers and coaches and will miss all of them the most.”

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