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Singapore: Jarrett Lucero ’13

After graduating from Clemson in 2013, I took an engineer position at a medical device company in Pendleton, SC. After one year, I entered the PhD program at Clemson for Materials Science and Engineering. I was working full time, doing research, and taking classes for almost two years.

In 2016 I felt a different calling in life. I could no longer ignore the voice in my head telling me that I wasn’t where I needed to be. So, to the confusion of my parents, I left my company in October of 2016 and began remotely consulting for online businesses.

You could call it a pivot.

Since I could work anywhere there was WiFi, I went all in and bought a two-month ticket to Vietnam. I had no friends that lived there and no one to travel with. I didn’t even make travel plans until I got to Asia, I just loaded my stuff into a backpack and climbed on a plane.

Some highlights:

Hiroshima, Japan was absolutely moving. You see buildings that survived the atomic blast in 1945. When you stand next to them, inside the rebuilt city, it is a very powerful experience.

Singapore was great, too. I say it is perfect for those who don’t want to get culture shocked too hard. It is very high tech, modern, clean, safe, with excellent transportation, and enough Indian and Asian culture to satisfy the junior traveler.

Chiang Mai, Thailand is the Asian hub for people working remotely (called Digital Nomads) and it’s clear why. It’s a really fun, smaller city at the foot of the mountains. I miss the night time food markets and weaving a moped through aggressive traffic.

In Hanoi, I found a bar with an open mic night and got to play a short concert.

In Thailand, I signed up for a 2-day retreat through a monk university. We spent 2 days in near-total silence learning about Buddhism, the life of a monk, and spent hours each day meditating using the methods they taught to us.

My advice to future travelers would be:

Pack and repack your bag several times so you know where to trim down your belongings. I had to ship half my stuff home midway through the trip. Although it was expensive, having a lighter backpack made a huge difference.

Don’t be intimidated by the local language or culture. Almost anywhere you go in the world, you will find friendly people willing to help you. If you learn about 5 basic phrases in each language you can survive a few weeks. Be polite, respectful, and get comfortable communicating with your hands.

Finally, don’t overthink it. The world is basically one big back yard with really good food everywhere. Do some basic research on where you’re going and just… go!

In the picture above, I’m on top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. More photographs at www.instagram.com/jarrettlucero

McMillan named Alumni Master Teacher

Kerri-McMillan-with-students

Students chose Kerri D. McMillan as the 2016 Alumni Master Teacher. McMillan is a senior lecturer in the finance department of the College of Business and teaches courses in investment analysis, risk management, insurance and personal finance to 150 upper-level undergraduates each semester. The award for outstanding undergraduate classroom instruction is presented each spring to a faculty member nominated by the student body and selected by the Student Alumni Council.

“I am so honored to be the recipient of this award. I was still so excited Monday night, I could hardly sleep,” said McMillan. “I especially enjoyed hearing what my students had to say about me. I truly love my field of finance and teaching our Clemson students. When I pull into Sirrine Hall parking lot, I count my blessings. I love every day I am in the classroom.”

Alumni Master Teacher Award co-chair Parkwood Griffith said McMillan’s penchant for instilling passion in her students where it might not have been before and showing them the real-world applications for what they learn in her class helped set her nomination apart. “Students felt like she encouraged and prepared them about finance in the real world,” said Griffith.

McMillan received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southeastern Louisiana University and an MBA from the University of South Carolina. Before coming to Clemson, she spent a decade as a portfolio manager and securities analyst for an investment management company in Greenville.

Thanks a Billion!

View From Sikes WTL Celebrat

When I talk to students, I talk a lot about the lessons I learned from my mother. She was an incredible woman, and she taught me and my three older siblings so much. One big thing she taught us was the importance of expressing gratitude and how to write a good thank-you note.

This column is my personal thank-you note to all of you for your support and generosity over the past 10 years of the Will to Lead campaign. We would not have been successful in this campaign without each one of our donors, and Clemson will be forever grateful for that support.

We reached a record-breaking milestone of raising $1,062,528,346 — the largest fundraising effort in South Carolina history, and the largest ever for a public university with an alumni base our size. The amount of money we raised during the campaign is a very impressive number, but the campaign was never about just numbers. It was about making a difference in the lives of our students. It was about making a difference for the state, nation and world through ground-breaking research and incredible public service. It was about taking Clemson to the next level, enabling us to go further as a university than we ever have before.

Because of your donations, students are able to attend Clemson who might not have been able to otherwise. Because of your donations, we are able to hire and support world-class faculty and staff who are among the top experts in their fields. Because of your donations, we are able to build amazing new facilities for academics, research, student life and athletics. Because of your donations, we are able to give our students real-world experiences and opportunities for engagement that will make them better prepared for the workplace or graduate school.

Those are all things that you made happen, and the money raised during this campaign will continue to make a difference for generations to come.

So whether you donated $1 or $1,000 — thank you! You made this possible!

Go Tigers!

James P. Clements, Ph.D.

 

 

 

2016 Distinguished Service Award

DSA Award_024dEVERY YEAR THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION accepts nominations for the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a former student.

This year’s honorees are, as the name of the award says, a distinguished lot. They have been recognized by their peers professionally for impressive achievements. They have contributed to their communities both publicly and privately, serving on boards and volunteering without expectation of reward or recognition. They have stayed connected with Clemson, giving back in time and talent and resources to benefit current and future students.

At their core, more than anything else, these folks reflect those characteristics that define Clemson University. They are visionary, bold, competitive, determined and proud. They value family, tradition and loyalty. And they love orange. They are Tigers, through and through.

The pages of this magazine don’t contain enough space to list their many accomplishments and achievements or the numerous ways they have found to make their communities better places to live and Clemson a better place to learn. We’d have to double the pages to enumerate their activities as students and their involvement as alumni.

Here they are, this year’s Distinguished Service Award honorees, with just a sampling of what makes them stand out.

Bryant Barnes4aBryant Graves Barnes ’76
Rock Hill, South Carolina
President and CEO, Comporium

Quiet yet affirmative leadership

Bryant Barnes is the fourth generation of his family to lead Comporium, a Rock Hill-based telecommunications company, and his leadership has resulted in a dynamic, streamlined and progressive company. Under his leadership, Comporium partnered with the city of Rock Hill to transform an eyesore of an empty parking lot into Fountain Park and is now working to transform a vacant textile mill into a bustling mixed-use development. Barnes has been deeply involved with area charitable organizations in support of children, health care and education.

Under his leadership, Comporium also contributed $1 million in 2009 to the Optoelectronics Research Center of Economic Excellence in the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Barnes was one of the founding partners of the Barker Scholars Endowment, and the Barnes family contributed $1 million to repurpose the Sheep Barn at Clemson to be “The Barnes Center,” in honor of his father. Comporium is the latest Founding Innovation Partner of the University’s Watt Family Innovation Center, to which they have pledged $3 million in financial support and in-kind products and services.

 

Janine Bowen026aJanine Anthony Bowen ‘89, M ‘91
Atlanta, Georgia
Shareholder, LeClairRyan PC

Diplomatic problem solver

With a master’s in industrial engineering and experience working with Andersen Consulting and IBM, Janine Bowen went on to earn a law degree. She rose to partner at McKenna, Long & Aldridge, then founded JACK Attorneys and Advisors, a technology and intellectual property firm. The list of organizations she serves makes it clear that she has a strong commitment to the poor and homeless in her community.

In her Clemson involvement, Bowen exhibits what one colleague called “a remarkable and rare collaborative dynamic,” displaying an analytical approach that would allow her to identify potential problems and recommend solutions. She has been the face of the Clemson family to many students in industrial engineering, providing support financially and through volunteerism. She established an endowment for the department in 2009, and an endowment supporting the PEER (Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention) in 2011 in honor of her mother.

 

Grant Burns11aE. Grantland “Grant” Burns ’88
Greer, South Carolina
Vice president and general counsel, AFL

A leader through challenges

As an attorney with two prominent firms in Greenville, Grant Burns represented clients in trials and arbitrations in 20 states. He moved on to corporate practice with AFL, a telecommunications firm, along the way being named one of Greenville’s “Best and Brightest, 35 and Under.” He has broad community involvement, with membership on boards of organizations that provide housing, shelter and economic development.

He served as president of the Clemson Alumni Association during the transition that changed the group into a smaller Alumni Board and larger Alumni Council, leading that process with courage and foresight. One colleague commented that she did “not recall having seen someone who has had an impact [on Clemson] in such varied ways, prior to turning 50.” He has demonstrated his love for Clemson through the use of his time, the sharing of his talents and the gift of his resources.

 

Leslie Dunlap Callison02aLeslie Dunlap Callison ’81
Lexington, South Carolina
Community Technology Advisor, Connect South Carolina

Consensus builder

Leslie Callison has had a lasting impact on the future economic development and educational success of many counties in South Carolina through her collaborative approach to assisting them in achieving technology certification. Committed to her local community as well, she was a founding director of Columbia’s EdVenture Children’s Museum and extensively involved in supporting her children’s schools.

Her consensus building approach was essential as she chaired the task force charged with implementing a reorganization of the Clemson Alumni Association and its governance structure, resulting in the engagement of more volunteers and enhanced vitality and responsibility. She served as president of the Alumni Association the following year, a position her father also held. She has been a loyal and vocal defender of Clemson and is recognized in Columbia as “that woman who wears orange 365 days a year.”

 

Doug Richardson016aDouglas “Doug” Duke Richardson ‘64
Clemson, South Carolina
Retired, Director of Finance & Administration for Institutional Advancement and Treasurer, Clemson University Foundation

Humble servant leader

Doug Richardson brought what he had learned during his distinguished career in banking and consulting to a position at Clemson, leading the Clemson University Foundation to great achievement, establishing structures, formalizing procedures and methodologies, and stewarding significant growth of endowments. He helped lead the real estate acquisition, financing and development of CU-ICAR. He is a veteran, with tours of duty at the Quartermaster Depot in Philadelphia and in Vietnam. In his church, he has served as a leader, peacemaker, mentor for youth and bridge builder between persons of different backgrounds and perspectives.

Active on the Class of ‘64 reunion committee, Richardson, along with his wife Wilmer, has supported current and future students through a legacy gift for the class endowment, which supports the Academic Success Center and a scholarship endowment, and the Kappa Delta Chi Brotherhood Scholarship Endowment for students with financial needs.

 

“The Distinguished Service Award honors individuals who are dedicated to enhancing the quality and value of our University. I want to personally thank our award winners for giving so generously of their time and talents for professional and public service. Their personal accomplishments serve as a wonderful model for our current and future students.”

— Clemson President James P. Clements

 

 

 

Giving a hand up, not a hand out: Caroline Tyler Robertson ’97

Caroline Robertson_026From an early age, Caroline Robertson was a wallflower — so shy that even a teacher calling on her in high school riddled her with immediate panic. But these days, “no” isn’t even an option. A personal challenge she made to herself while at Clemson shaped Robertson into a strong-willed, determined nonprofit executive who fights tooth and nail for her clients to succeed and have the same opportunities she’s been afforded.

Since 2007, Robertson has headed up Greer Relief and Resources, making sure every can of corn feeds a hungry tummy and every monetary donation helps a family’s financial crisis.

“The legacy I’m leaving is one of fearlessness. I don’t say no to anything especially when it comes to outreach and publicity. Because I’m not just talking to someone who might just help us donor wise, but also need wise.
I want anyone who needs us to know they can get to us. In that respect we’re not afraid. We’re not afraid to ask for help. We’re not afraid to give help. We’re not afraid to say we need to give more and do more. It doesn’t take much,” she said.

In 2015, Greer Relief assisted 3,927 individuals in 1,564 households. In addition, 10+ days of food was given to 4,991 people in 1,906 households. Having the gumption to be an advocate for others started in college with a promise to no longer let shyness dominate the determined will that truly existed within her.

Each week Robertson made herself sit in the front of the class and raise her hand at least once. She also made herself take speech as a first-semester freshman. After freshman year she joined the national service sorority Gamma Sigma Sigma and became the sorority’s public relations officer. She was a founding member and vice president of membership for Kappa Kappa Psi, a national honorary band fraternity.

By mid-college she was house manager for Tiger Paw Productions and organizing shows for James Taylor, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and Hootie and the Blowfish.

“I love Clemson,” she said. “Any other place, I don’t think would have created the Caroline I am today. I have been solid orange since I stepped on that campus on Aug. 23 of 1991 and I have not looked back.”

“There were times where it was questionable if I could even afford to go to school, but I wouldn’t take no for an answer and did whatever needed to be done. Now, I take that same attitude into Greer Relief,” she said.
“We do whatever we can do to help.”

Runnin’ Wild: Christy Belcher ’03

Christy Belcher_030AChristy Belcher wrapped her arms around the newborn giraffe much like she did a foal during her field training at Clemson. Belcher had arrived at the Greenville Zoo early Feb. 2 after receiving a 5 a.m. phone call. Initially, she ignored the call, thinking she was hitting snooze on her alarm. The phone rang again. She sprang awake, now realizing what was happening. The zoo’s female giraffe, Autumn, was giving birth to her third calf.

Adrenaline racing, Belcher hurried through the dark and fog to the downtown Greenville Zoo. When she arrived, Autumn was standing in her stall, in the early stages of labor. Tatu, a boy, was born at 6:16 a.m.

“Those few moments of watching for the baby to take its first breath seemed like an eternity to me,” Belcher said. “Once I saw it breathing I felt much better about it.”

Tatu was standing within an hour.

“We’ve had a lot of sleepless nights, but it’s well worth it,” Belcher said.

A 2003 graduate of Clemson’s Animal and Veterinary Sciences program, Belcher has been a veterinarian at the Greenville Zoo since 2009. An Easley native, she was always fond of animals. As a child, she would sneak turtles and snakes into her home against her mother’s wishes.

Belcher’s training with livestock on the research farms at Clemson would serve her well as she transitioned to a career working with the 350 exotic animals at the Greenville Zoo.

“The giraffes receive the same vaccines that we use in horses and cows,” she said. “The vaccine that my cat at home gets is the same rabies vaccine that our leopards and lions get.”

After Clemson, Belcher studied in the Caribbean and at North Carolina State University and Texas A&M University. At the Greenville Zoo, Belcher helped design the first Winter Zoo Vet Camp and collaborated with Clemson’s Animal and Veterinary Science department to design a pre-veterinary science summer internship eligible for college credit.

“Everyone asks me, ‘How do you know how to work on a giraffe?’ It really did start with my training and education at Clemson, just being out on the farms with the horses, with the cows, with the goats and the sheep,” Belcher said. “I like to tell people to always embrace the education [you] are getting at Clemson because you never know what that’s going to prepare you for.”

Stuckey celebrates 100th birthday with help from local Clemson club

Print 100th Birthday -70Al Stuckey ’36 of Hickory, N.C., hit an important milestone on October 31, and his family, friends and the Clemson family made sure it was celebrated in style. Stuckey, who holds the record for the living alumnus with the most consecutive years of giving to Clemson (currently at 81 years), turned 100 this year, and he did it surrounded by neighbors, friends, four generations of family and members of the Catawba Valley Clemson Club.

Before the evening was over, Stuckey had received the key to the city of Hickory, danced to “Tiger Rag” and joined in the Cadence Count. He was presented a football and framed Tiger Rag (both signed by Dabo Swinney), honored by the Catawba Valley Chapter of the Military Officers’ Association of America and serenaded by a local bluegrass band, the SugarLoaf Ramblers.

Kingston Residence, where Stuckey lives, hosted the party, coordinating with the Catawba Valley Clemson Club and his daughter Stephanie Chenault. A number of local alumni attended, including Adam Weeks ’73 (club president) and two members of the Class of 1950, Herman Smith and Theo Monroe. Kay Dodd ’78 led a club committee that helped with the event.

A resident of Hickory since 1962, Stuckey served 20 years in the military, including service in World War II and Korea. He taught high school for 24 years, and moved to Kingston in 2009 where, according to his daughter Stephanie, he loves to watch the Tigers play on TV with fellow alum Alex Corpening ’60, sing, dance, play his harmonica and lead everyone in his version of “Tiger Rag.”

Click on below for more pictures from the celebration.

 

Marilyn-Thompson

Working with words: Marilyn Walser Thompson ’74

Marilyn Walser Thompson is no stranger to breaking news. From being the first reporter who revealed the existence of Strom Thurmond’s biracial daughter in 2003, to editing reporters’ pieces that went on to win two Pulitzer Prizes, Thompson’s background with the major news players led her to being named a Joan Shorenstein fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

As one of eight annual recipients, she’ll research where tax dollars head when taxpayers donate money to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

“It’s highly relevant because of the 2016 race. I’m looking at the financing for presidents put in place after the 1970s,” she said. “The pace of modern campaigning — and to be in an ultra competitive race – means this fund is no longer relevant [to candidates.] No one wants to use it because you have to agree to restrictions.”

Thompson’s fellowship and reporting will look into how candidates who have used the fund spent the money and if the fund should still exist.

“It’s an exciting challenge — and a frightening challenge — moving back into writing because I’m an editor, and I work on other people’s stories. Generating all the information through reporting, it’s a different skillset,” she said. “It’s a great step in anyone’s career to take a step back and say, ‘Can I do that?’ ‘Will I provide anything useful people want to read?’”

Thompson’s reportage started in The Tiger newsroom where she began by selling advertising before jumping to reporter and eventually becoming the managing editor.

“It was the ’70s and The Tiger was this scrappy, liberal, anti-war publication,” she said. “I was this meek little freshman. I was so happy to be at college because I didn’t think I would get to go. I remember vividly being really dressed up — in a dress and heels — and it was like nine flights of stairs to the top of the horrible dorm to get to The Tiger meeting. I get up there in my prissy dress and heels and it’s like a hippy haven. I looked like an idiot because I thought I actually had to dress up!”

Once she kicked the heels and changed her major to English, Thompson settled into the newsroom atmosphere for life. Her career has taken her from local coverage at The Greenville News to national politics with The Washington Post, Reuters and Politico.

“I do look at things differently than most people,” she said about her career. “That probably goes back to my childhood and the influence of my father — the counter-intuitive Archie Bunker type. He didn’t trust anything or anybody.”

Thompson’s fellowship research will be out this May, as well as featured in future Politico publishing.

Pottery perfection: Brent Pafford M’14

BrentPaford1BrentPafford_StudioShotGrowing up exposed to heirlooms on his family farm in Rock Hill gave Brent Pafford an appreciation for creative work that holds multi-generational significance.

“The objects I create are made to be used, enjoyed and imbued with memories of shared experiences,” Pafford said.

Pafford produces under the studio name Brent Pafford Ceramics and recently qualified as a finalist in Martha Stewart’s American Made contest, which honors creative entrepreneurs for their contributions to their field.

His pieces are made with the pinching wheel-thrown method which “allows the porcelain to capture, preserve and document the process of making,” Pafford explained.

Pafford collaborated with fellow Clemson MFA graduate Adrienne Lichliter and Chef Lindsey Byrd to produce “Southern Intentions: Prints, Pots and Provisions,” a series of dining events. He crafted the dinnerware used for the meal and displayed other work in a gallery.

“When I get to see [my work] utilized in the lives of others, it has to be the most exciting part of my job,” said Pafford.

Pafford participates in the national and international ceramic community through social media, blogs and publications. He attends the Council on Education for Ceramic Arts each year, where he contributes to national discussions and exhibitions.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way. Treading water doesn’t get you anywhere,” Pafford said.

To keep up with Pafford’s creative journey, go to his website at brentpafford.com.