Class of ’65 celebrates Clemson ties, generosity

LifeLong-Class65collageFifty years after they walked the stage to receive their diplomas, nearly 100 alumni from the Class of 1965 presented the school a check for $1,227,872 to help future students do the same.

The group gathered near the Class of 1965 sidewalk — a shady path that cuts under the lush oak trees of Fort Hill — to celebrate their Golden Tiger Reunion and present the check to President James P. Clements.

Clements praised the group for their initiative and dedication.

“We cannot thank you enough for establishing this scholarship fund to help students have the same great Clemson experience that you all had,”
he said. “I am so grateful for your forward thinking that will help students for generations to come.”

The Class of 1965 Scholarship Endowment was established in 1989. It made the class one of the first to establish a scholarship in conjunction with its 25th reunion. The class members’ goal was to get the endowment to at least $25,000 by their 25th reunion, and they far exceeded that goal with $43,000 by the time they gathered to celebrate.

The endowment has been growing and regularly providing support for Clemson students ever since.

Lifelong-Kaci-Bennettclass65Rising senior Kaci Bennett, a recipient of Class of 1965 scholarships three years in a row, took the podium to thank them for their generosity.

“I am so excited and incredibly honored to be able to thank each and every one of you for this generous gift,” she said. “As an out-of-state student, part of the reason I chose to go to Clemson was because of the feeling of the Clemson Family. Seeing all of you here today shows me how strong the Clemson Family is.”

“When we started planning our 50th reunion, we decided to put our focus on building our scholarship endowment to a truly significant level,” said Gary Faulkenberry of the 50th reunion planning committee. “We reflected on the many years and the many ways that we have benefited from the education that we received at Clemson. Clemson did not just teach us how to make a living, it also prepared us to make a life. In gratitude for that, we decided that we would use this opportunity — our golden anniversary — to make a lasting impression of our own for future Clemson students.”

Their endowment will do just that, said Clements.

“At the end of this ceremony, you will take a walk down your senior class sidewalk where you will see your names etched into the pavement,” he said. “But, because of your scholarship endowment, the legacy you are leaving behind is much bigger than that. Your legacy is represented by each of the students who benefit from your generosity.”

The contribution to the endowment is part of the Will to Lead for Clemson capital campaign to raise $1 billion to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research. Including the endowment, the class has given a total of $15,122,050 to Clemson initiatives.

While the Class of ’65 was celebrating their 50th, alumni from classes ranging from 1939 to 1967 made it the largest reunion in 10 years.

Lifelong-GoldenTiger

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