Clemson Forever

Historic campus building to house new student activity center

President Clements, Bryant Barnes, Anne Barnes Grant, Lea Barnes Taylor and Sandy Barnes

President Clements, Bryant Barnes, Anne Barnes Grant, Lea Barnes Taylor and Sandy Barnes

IN 1915, FRANK S. BARNES SR. OF ROCK HILL was his family’s first Clemson College graduate, and the Sheep Barn was built on campus. A $1 million gift to Clemson ensures that those two legacies will benefit students for years to come.

The Sheep Barn is the oldest surviving building associated with the agricultural land where the University now sits and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. No longer needed for its original purpose, the Sheep Barn will be renovated to serve as a vibrant social center for student engagement.

After graduation, Barnes went on to establish the Rock Hill Telephone Company. His son, Frank Jr., attended Clemson College and graduated in 1942. He devoted his career to the telephone company and became its president in 1968.

Frank Jr. also remained loyal to Clemson. A member of the board of visitors and foundation board, he was honored by the Alumni Association with its Distinguished Service Award and by the University with its President’s Award. In 1997, he was awarded the Clemson Medallion.

“Frank Barnes Jr. exemplified every excellent quality we hope Clemson graduates represent in their lives,” said President James Clements as he announced the gift from Barnes’ children. “We want to see the qualities that he displayed in his life — and passed along to all who knew him — showcased in this new venue to enrich the Clemson experience of our students for many generations to come.”

The gift from Barnes’ four children — Bryant Barnes, Frank “Sandy” Barnes III, Lea Barnes Taylor and Anne Barnes Grant — will transform a historic agricultural landmark into the Barnes Center, a space for student activity and engagement.

“Students want and need a welcoming, accessible and inclusive place to connect on campus in a positive Clemson environment,” said Gail DiSabatino, vice president for Student Affairs. “As a vibrant student hub on campus, we can meet these needs while preserving and honoring Clemson’s rich and honorable agricultural history through the restoration of this great venue.”

From concept development through daily operation, the Barnes Center will provide opportunities for student employment, leadership, graduate assistantships and internships, and experiential learning.

Four generations of Barnes family members have received Clemson diplomas. The Barnes family has established three endowment funds for Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science, creating fellowships, lectureships and the Frank Barnes Sr. Telecommunications Laboratory in the Fluor-Daniel Engineering and Innovation Building This gift is part of Clemson’s $1 billion Will to Lead campaign to support faculty and students and the engagement opportunities and facilities they need.

A Tiger’s lasting legacy

Suzanne Pickens

Suzanne Pickens

AS A STUDENT, SUZANNE PICKENS ’11 WAS AN ACTIVE PART OF CAMPUS. NOW AS AN alumna, she wants to give that same opportunity to students for generations to come.

To do so, Pickens has established an endowment within Student Affairs. After receiving a family gift, Pickens had the opportunity to donate to an organization of her choice. While many might have used the funds for personal use, Pickens chose Clemson as the beneficiary.

“I hope that these funds will help students have opportunities that they may not have thought were possible. I also hope that in turn, these students will continue to work hard to make Clemson a better place than they found it, because that was my goal.”

Pickens and her mother are very passionate about the University, which is why their decision to make a significant private gift to Clemson was one that was easy. Their hope is that the Pickens Family Endowment will inspire current students to reach their true Tiger potential.

In addition to the gift, Suzanne has committed to enhancing it over the next five years through the Clemson Family Endowment Program. Because endowment funds are continually invested and only a percentage of the earnings spent, the seed investment grows over the years, creating a perpetual gift that continues to sustain the University and students who benefit from the funds. Because the endowment provides unrestricted support, it allows the president and administrators to direct the resources to Clemson’s highest priority within that program area.

Currently, Suzanne puts her communication studies and business administration degree to good use at Chick-Fil-A corporate in Atlanta. She attributes her professional success to her Clemson professors and real-life experiences gained through leadership roles in campus organizations.

During her student days, Suzanne was an active member of Panhellenic Council, Tiger Brotherhood, Student Alumni Council, Order of Omega and Blue Key Honor Society, where she learned the true value of being a part of the Clemson Family. Today, she is thankful that Clemson encourages students to get involved on campus to become more well-rounded individuals.

And she is committed to helping that continue for the next generation of the Clemson Family.

To learn more about how you can establish a Clemson Family endowment, call 864-656-2121, email or visit

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