Developing leaders by nurturing intellect, courage and service

Ten exceptional students walked across the stage at Commencement this year, sporting medallions hanging on orange ribbons identifying them as Chapman Scholars. They were selected as freshmen for their leadership potential and offered the opportunity to be a part of the Thomas F. Chapman Leadership Scholars Program, designed to enrich their academic preparation beyond the classroom and curriculum. The three-year program also supports the college’s mission to develop leadership abilities in its students.

The program is based, in part, on a leadership theme developed by former Equifax CEO and board chair Thomas F. Chapman ’65 that uses the analogy of The Wizard of Oz characters — the scarecrow, lion and tin man — to communicate the traits of leadership. Chapman characterized
the 10 graduating scholars as “very, very special. This is a culmination of three years of getting to know these young people, watching them grow, develop, learn and hopefully position themselves down the road to make the world a better place.”

A reception was held prior to graduation honoring the Chapman Scholars and recognizing Thomas Chapman’s generosity.

Gantt scholars and donors recognized

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The 2015-2016 class of Gantt Scholars

Members of this year’s class of Gantt Scholars were recognized this spring at a reception that featured remarks by Jim Bostic ’69, Ph.D. ’72, the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from Clemson, and Lee Gill, the University’s new chief diversity officer.

The Clemson Black Alumni Council established the Harvey B. Gantt Scholarship Endowment Fund in 1988 to honor Gantt and to recruit and retain African-American students, with special preference to South Carolina residents and entering freshmen.

In his remarks, President Clements said that Harvey Gantt’s admission to the University was a major milestone in Clemson’s transformation from an all-male, all-white military college to a civilian co-educational desegregated public university. “I applaud him for his persistence and his incredible resolve many years ago to fight the battle to attend Clemson,” said Clement. “As a result, Clemson is better and stronger today.”

Donors establish endowment for out-of-state engineering students

Matt Doyle

Matt Doyle

Matt Doyle, a 2016 engineering graduate from Guilford, Connecticut, never dreamed of attending an out-of-state school. However, not long after he decided to apply to Clemson, Matt was notified that he had been awarded a significant amount of financial aid. Thanks to many generous donors like Chuck and Sue Fish, Matt no longer viewed Clemson as just a Southern university where people wear lots of orange. It was now his future.

Chuck Fish graduated from Clemson in 1982 with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering, and in 2012, he and his wife, Sue, made a commitment to establish an endowed fund, ultimately to leave their legacy and provide College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Science students from out of state with a wonderful college experience. This commitment originated with the Chuck ’82 and Sue Fish Annual Engineering Scholarship, which they have funded over a four-year period.

Prior to establishing the scholarship, Chuck reconnected with one of his classmates, Doug Gray ’82, who serves as a development officer for the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Science. “Because he was in development and in engineering, we talked about doing a scholarship. He was the one who really helped us put it together,” said Chuck. “It’s been great having someone Chuck’s known since college be a part of this with us,” said Sue.

The couple has had the privilege of seeing the impact their commitment has made on students, including Matt Doyle. “He is a wonderful young man, and he was so grateful in having this because the scholarship we did was an engineering scholarship for a student who was out of state,” said Chuck. The couple and Matt have met many times and developed a friendship, ultimately making the scholarship even more meaningful.

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Chuck and Sue Fish

Chuck and Sue’s financial support has made it more affordable for Matt to attend school in South Carolina than in his home state of Connecticut. “Without support like they’ve given me, I don’t think I’d be here. I don’t know where I would be in terms of financials. College is a big undertaking,” said Matt.

“One of the coolest things was that Matt’s mother wrote us a letter. It was the most beautiful letter thanking us for our financial support of her son. It really meant a lot when she wrote us to let us know how much it meant to their family,” said Sue.

Matt admits he has grown a lot in his technical abilities as a civil engineering major and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. “I’ve also grown in my relationships with other people including friends, teachers and, through internships, with other professionals. Overall, I feel really well prepared with moving on into the real world,” he said. And moving on, he is. He has accepted a job in Raleigh, N.C., as a general contractor with one of the nation’s largest construction firms, Brasfield & Gorrie, where he interned during the summer of 2015.

Comporium Inc. partners with Watt Family Innovation Center

The Watt Family Innovation Center

The Watt Family Innovation Center

An innovative South Carolina-based telecommunications company is partnering with the new Watt Family Innovation Center to transform student lives and campus academics. Comporium Inc. has pledged $3 million in financial support and in-kind products and services to the Watt Center and will be a Founding Innovation Partner in the new facility that fosters collaborative research activities, product use and demonstration, and philanthropic support.

“It is wonderful to have another South Carolina-based company on board as a Founding Innovation Partner for this incredible facility,” said President Clements. “Comporium is a world-class leader in telecommunications, and I am grateful for their support.”

Headquartered in Rock Hill, Comporium Inc. is a diversified telecommunications company that embraces innovation to provide voice, video, data, wireless and security products and services. Clemson’s faculty, staff and students historically have collaborated and partnered with Comporium in academic and research areas related to a wide spectrum of interest and business operations. This new relationship centers on a multi-faceted engagement that includes philanthropic support of students, faculty, equipment and operations in the new center.

“Comporium sees a great value in educating students in real-world collaboration to take a technologically advanced idea to the development of a practical application,” said Comporium President and CEO Bryant Barnes ’76. “We believe that the center’s role in fostering entrepreneurship and leadership with an emphasis in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) will serve the citizens of South Carolina. The Watt Center enables the connectivity of the Technology Incubator at Knowledge Park in Rock Hill and others to this network.”

Charles Watt, executive director of the Watt Center, said, “We are excited that Comporium has joined our elite level of Founding Innovation Partners. It is an outstanding family-owned company with corporate operations in Rock Hill.

“Since its original chartering in 1894, it has embraced delivery of innovative products and services that are provided in its telephones, data centers and connected security systems. The company has received numerous national, state, county and local awards for excellence in the telecommunications industry and for its contributions to academic and community activities in South Carolina.”

The Comporium gift is part of the $1 billion Will to Lead for Clemson capital campaign.

For more about the Watt Family Innovation Center, see the feature story in this CW Spring 2016.

A Plan Designed to Build Futures

Chuck Fish graduated from Clemson in 1982 with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering, and in 2012, he and his wife, Sue, made a commitment to establish an endowed fund, ultimately to leave their legacy and provide College of Engineering and Science students from out-of-state with a wonderful college experience. This commitment originated with the Chuck ’82 and Sue Fish Annual Engineering Scholarship, which they have been funding over a four-year period.

Leadership Circle Brunch

Leadership circleMembers of the Leadership Circle came together on Saturday, January 16, in Greenville at a brunch of celebration and appreciation. The Leadership Circle was created in 2009, and since that time 7.6 million in unrestricted dollars have been given to the University administration to address critical needs and opportunities. President Clements addressed the members, as did two students, April Seiler and Jarret Miller, who expressed their appreciation for how these gifts have made a difference in their educations and their lives.

McMillian honored with endowed professorship

Provost Bob Jones (left), Heather and Glenn Hilliard, Patrick McMillan and George Askew, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, at the professorship presentation.

Provost Bob Jones (left), Heather and Glenn Hilliard, Patrick McMillan and George Askew, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, at the professorship presentation.

Professor and naturalist Patrick McMillan, co-creator and host of the Emmy-award winning ETV nature program “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan,” has been named the recipient of the Glenn ’65 and Heather Hilliard Endowed Professorship in Environmental Sustainability.

The Hilliards have given $1 million to establish an endowment at Clemson for a professor to teach and motivate future generations to both treasure and manage the balance between the natural and human-made worlds. The gift qualified Clemson for a dollar-for-dollar match from the state under the SmartState program, creating a $2 million professorship.

“Both Heather and I are thrilled Patrick was selected,” said Glenn Hilliard, a noted business leader, environmentalist, arts patron and education advocate. “The purpose of this professorship is to foster the identification and preservation of natural environments in the state of South Carolina and to identify and support sustainable development and economic growth for our state in places other than in or around our irreplaceable natural environments. “Heather and I love South Carolina and its natural heritage, and we want our state to be a wonderful place to live, play and work for generations to come.” Director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, McMillian has worked as a naturalist, biologist and educator. He is a professional naturalist and faculty member in the forestry and environmental conservation department. “I am extremely humbled and honored to be the recipient of the Hilliard Professorship,” McMillan said. “This gift will greatly advance and embolden our efforts to advance the preservation of the natural and cultural resources that make South Carolina the state that we all love and enjoy. This is a gift that will benefit the economic and environmental integrity of South Carolina for generations.” The Hilliard gift is part of the Will to Lead for Clemson campaign to support faculty and students with scholarships, professorships, facilities and technology.

Swann pledges $3.3M Cornerstone Gift to Clemson athletics facilities 

Joe Swann (center) with President Clements and Coach Brownell.

Joe Swann (center) with President Clements and Coach Brownell.

Joe Swann ’63 has been a lifelong supporter of Clemson, and recently he and his wife, Barbara Ann “Bobbi” Swann, provided a Cornerstone Gift of $3.3 million to athletics. Pushing his lifetime giving total near $5 million, Swann joins fellow board of trustees member Bill Hendrix, along with Betty Poe and an anonymous donor, in their support of Clemson Athletics’ facilities projects.

In recognition of the Swann family donation, the new addition to Littlejohn Coliseum housing practice court, locker rooms and coaches’ offices — the everyday home of the basketball programs — will be named Swann Pavilion.

Swann’s history of philanthropy to the University includes the Swann Fitness Center on campus named in the family’s honor and an endowment of the men’s soccer coaching position. He was a leader of his class and its gift of $1 million to name the Class of 1963 Bridge to Clemson Program.

“Joe Swann has always been an outstanding leader for Clemson beginning with his student days when he served as class president,” said President Clements. “Joe and Bobbi and their children have given incredible support to the University. I am grateful for everything they have done for academics, student life and athletics. Clemson is a special place because of people like Joe Swann and his family.”

The Clemson Athletic Cornerstone Program is a vital part of the new athletics facilities initiative. With new facilities, upgrades or rebuilds planned for football, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer and Vickery Hall, it will be the most comprehensive change to athletic facilities ever undertaken at Clemson.

“We can’t thank Mr. Swann and his family enough for their support of our program,” head basketball coach Brad Brownell said. “I know this first-class facility will be a difference-maker for our student-athletes, and we’re honored to have the Swann family name on the home of Clemson basketball.”

This gift is part of the $1 billion Will to Lead for Clemson capital campaign to support faculty and students with scholarships, professorships, facilities and technology.

View the announcement of the Swann family’s Cornerstone gift:

APO Endowment honors Jack McKenzie

Jack McKenzie ’76

Jack McKenzie ’76

Clemson’s Gamma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega (APO) National Service Fraternity marked its 75th anniversary by establishing a $50,000 endowment to benefit student leadership in honor of Mullins native Jack A. McKenzie ’76, a long-serving member and adviser of APO since the early 1970s. McKenzie is also program manager for Clemson’s Office of Stewardship and Events.

The chapter surprised McKenzie by announcing the endowment at its 75th anniversary banquet with National President John K. Ottenad and National Executive Director Robert J. London in attendance. The room, filled with Gamma Lambda Chapter members both young and old, erupted into prolonged applause as McKenzie’s fellow Gamma Lambda brother Larry Keese ’81 made the announcement.

To contribute to the endowment, go to cualumni.clemson.edu/give/mckenzie. Your gifts will count toward the $1 billion Will to Lead for Clemson campaign.

Celebrating two endowed chairs

At a celebration of two SMARTSTATE endowed chairs, John Ballato, holder of the J.E. Sirrine Foundation Endowed Chair in Optical Fiber, and Anjali Joseph, holder of the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Endowed Chair in Architecture + Health Care Design, are pictured with President Clements. At the luncheon, donors and professors were presented with endowed chair medallions.