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Setting a new bar for research and scholarship

James P. Clements

James P. Clements

As a public, land-grant institution, the responsibility to conduct research for the benefit of South Carolina and beyond is embedded in our foundation — and our future. Every day, faculty, staff and students are working to improve the quality, quantity and impact of our research to foster our position as a world-class research university that serves to inspire a new generation of thinkers, drive economic growth and solve real-world problems.

In the 2016 Carnegie Classification for Institutions of Higher Education, Clemson was designated a Research 1 university — putting us among universities with the highest level of research activity. This recognition raises the University’s national profile, helps us recruit top faculty and puts us in a better position to compete successfully for more research funding.

Our increasing reputation in research helps attract the best and brightest graduate students, and our faculty are continuing to bring in major funding for their work. In fact, we have seen an increase of nearly 60 percent in sponsored research and programs over the past three years — from $102 million in 2013 to $159 million in the most recent fiscal year.

For years, Clemson has created and nurtured research and economic development centers to build a knowledge-based economy in South Carolina. The University’s more than 100 research centers and institutes are dedicated to everything from automotive excellence to advanced materials, and agriculture to foresty — to name just a few — and serve as the link between academics, industry and government.

In addition to research that supports economic development, Clemson’s research also supports better health outcomes for all. As just one example of that work, in a collaborative effort with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, our faculty, graduate students and undergraduates worked together to identify different strains of Legionella, the most common cause of waterborne bacterial outbreaks in the United States. As part of that research, they determined that one of the strains was novel — it had not previously been identified. You can read more about the newly named Legionella clemsonensis on page 6.

We recently announced several major grants from such institutions as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health that will help solve problems related to causes of Type 2 diabetes, the treatment of seizures, detection of infections on implanted medical devices, and critical functions for data and cyber security. And these are just a few examples of Clemson addressing real-world problems with well-researched solutions.

Our ClemsonForward plan sets a new bar for research and scholarly work. Through the implementation of this strategic plan, we will

  • refocus our research mission,
  • increase scholarship and funding,
  • grow targeted research investment,
  • raise expectations and
  • reward excellence in research.
We are committed to furthering our international research reputation by promoting a culture of discovery and excellence while exploring new opportunities to bring bold ideas and innovative answers to South Carolina and the world.

Our over-arching goal is that in 10 years, Clemson will perennially rank among the nation’s Top 20 public universities and as a Carnegie Tier 1 research institution.

James P. Clements, Ph.D.
President

 

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.

Chuck and Sue Fish_008

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.

Will to Lead campaign surpasses its goal

Sept. 7, 2013 - #4 Clemson (2-0) breezed to a 52-13 victory over FCS-level S.C. State. Cole Stoudt took his turn at being Clemson's record-setting quarterback in its win over South Carolina State Saturday afternoon. For his part, Taj Boyd was 14-of-23 passing for 169 yards and ran the ball six times for 10 yards and a touchdown, but he did not throw a touchdown in the game, which ended his school-record streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass at 17.

The largest campaign goal ever achieved by a public university with an alumni base the size of Clemson’s and the largest fundraising effort in our state’s history. It’s an amount that’s hard to even comprehend, and an accomplishment of which we can all be proud. We thought it might be helpful to break it down just a bit.

What DOES a billion dollars do for Clemson?

 

See what $1 billion will do. 

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.

Benet Babes Pay it Forward

Bottom row (l-r): Sandy Ruff, Lisa Burnett Hendrix, Galen Johnston; second row: Celeste “Clete” Boykin, Sheri Richardson Lazenby, Lorenda Dasher, Ellen Hurst Griffith; third row: Roseann Stone Helms, Karen Newell, Robin Graham Mouzon, Rhonda Aull Hyde; fourth row: Denise Wooten, Lynn Jolly Sewell, Marie Tewkesbury; back row: Vicky Taylor Culbertson, Sue Stewart Fleming, Malcolm McClure (honorary Benet Babe). 

Bottom row (l-r): Sandy Ruff, Lisa Burnett Hendrix, Galen Johnston; second row: Celeste “Clete” Boykin, Sheri Richardson Lazenby, Lorenda Dasher, Ellen Hurst Griffith; third row: Roseann Stone Helms, Karen Newell, Robin Graham Mouzon, Rhonda Aull Hyde; fourth row: Denise Wooten, Lynn Jolly Sewell, Marie Tewkesbury; back row: Vicky Taylor Culbertson, Sue Stewart Fleming, Malcolm McClure (honorary Benet Babe).

In 1975, a group of freshman women found themselves living in Benet Hall and began a lifelong journey of friendship and family. It’s a group that perfectly represents what alumni mean when they talk about the Clemson family. Every year, the Benet Babes get together to renew their friendship and catch up with each others’ lives.

This year, that group decided it was time to pay it forward, and they joined together to establish a scholarship fund. Lisa Burnett Hendrix, described as “the chief Benet Babe advocate for establishing and maintaining our scholarship,” says it best:

“In 1975, we came from different towns, states and backgrounds, to receive a quality education at Clemson University. As fate would have it, we were assigned rooms in Benet Hall and so began our lifelong friendships. As the years passed, we began to get together on an annual basis and reminisce about how fortunate we were to meet one another at Clemson.

“We decided it was time that others were offered the same type of experience. Hence, the establishment of the ‘Benet Babes’ scholarship which will allow a Clemson student to gain a great education while developing relationships that may last a lifetime. After all, we are one big family, the Clemson family, and we take great care of one another.”

Mayberry Scholarship brightens Egan’s future

Forever-Chris EganRobert P. “Bob” Mayberry Jr., who passed away in 2012 after a battle with cancer, was a member of Clemson’s much-touted 1981 National Championship football team. When his friends and family remember him, however, it’s not for his exploits on the field. They remember the way he went about helping other people. “Quietly and without the need for recognition,” is the way Kendall Alley ’83, M ’85, another member of that team, describes it.

So when Mayberry’s friends and family thought about how to honor his memory, they settled on a scholarship endowment that would provide partial scholarships to football trainers and/or managers. “We are confident it would have been Bob’s dream to honor those who work hard day in and day out with no expectation of recognition beyond that which accrues to the whole team,” said Mark Richardson ’83, a member of the committee that initiated the effort. Alley referred to the team managers and trainers as “the unsung individuals who are so important to the football team’s success.”

In the Clemson football equipment room, you can find one of those unsung heroes. Chris Egan operates under the same philosophy that characterized Bob Mayberry. He quietly goes about his job of cleaning helmets, organizing gear and toting bags of footballs on and off the field.

Egan’s life has not been easy. His family moved around 11 times before he was 12 years old, so his mother home-schooled six children. When he was 13, his father left, and his mother went to work outside the home, still managing to homeschool the kids. Chris dropped out of school at 14, working odd jobs to help support the family.

During what was supposed to be his senior year in high school, he took the ACT and spent a year at Greenville Tech; the next summer he worked at Camps Hope and Sertoma, based at Clemson’s Outdoor Lab. It was during that summer, working with special-needs adults and kids from underprivileged families, that he began to find his calling.

The next year, he transferred to Tri-County Tech, continuing to work at the Outdoor Lab. A chance meeting with Alphonso Smith, head of equipment for Clemson football, would prove beneficial. Egan applied to Clemson, knowing he would have to pay his way through loans and part-time work. He contacted Smith, who hired him for a position, one with long hours and not much recognition.

Being an equipment manager is not Egan’s only job. He lives and works at the Outdoor Lab as well. And he works with the ClemsonLIFE program, teaching classes for young adults with disabilities. During the summer, he is assistant director of the two camps at the Outdoor Lab. Along the way, he has finished his degree in history and begun a master’s degree in public administration with a focus on working with nonprofits.

When the scholarship committee came looking for recommendations, equipment manager Abe Reed answered without hesitation. During spring practice, Reed stopped Egan on the way out of practice, took the ball bags from him and told him he needed to talk with someone. Heart in his throat, not knowing what to expect, Egan went in to find Mark Richardson waiting for him. The two talked about the scholarship and about Mayberry, and Richardson had a chance to gauge the young man for himself before signing off on the selection.

For Chris Egan, what does a scholarship like this mean? Egan says his first reaction was “total shock.”

“In my family,” he says, “we’ve always worked very hard for everything. Hearing about that almost made me tear up — helping me get through the rest of school and pay off my loans.” For someone who sees his future as working with special-needs adults, it’s particularly meaningful. “It frees me up to do what I want to do, which doesn’t involve a lot of income. It’s pretty incredible.”

When asked what advice he’d share with other students, he pauses. “Paying for it on my own gave it extra meaning for me. Every class I took, every grade I got — it was all mine. I’d encourage students to do that — there needs to be some ownership with school and with work — realizing that you’re signing your name on everything you do, whether it’s sweeping the floor or doing a presentation for 200 people.”

Chris Egan signs his name on a lot these days. Without looking for any recognition or special attention. Just the kind of thinking Bob Mayberry would appreciate.

Valerie N. Pezzullo M ’14

Graduating and Giving Back

Valerie Pezzullo had two things to celebrate this spring: She received her master’s degree in mechanical engineering and took first place in MTConnect Challenge 2, a contest to develop innovative and unique software applications for manufacturing.

Pezzullo’s software application detects vibrations in metal-cutting machines so that corrections can be made before parts are damaged. The application is expected to help manufacturers that rely on computer-controlled machines to make highly precise parts for a variety of industries, ranging from automotive to aerospace.

It could have an especially large impact on manufacturers that use high-value materials. Regenerative vibration, or “chatter,” can ruin parts that cost as much as $20,000 each in raw materials alone. By the time the vibrations are audible, it’s too late because the part already may be damaged.

“As a student, it was exciting to go through the design and see it through to the final product,” said Pezzullo, who is from Selden, a hamlet on New York’s Long Island. “The app is very practical and useful for industry.”

Pezzullo’s application was part of her thesis and an offshoot of previous research done by her adviser, Laine Mears, associate professor of automotive engineering.

“It will have a big impact on manufacturing, especially in the Upstate, because manufacturing is such a large part of the economy,” he said. “This is a great example of automatically generating information and using it to improve manufacturing quality and productivity.”

And the $100,000 prize? Pezzullo has said she will pay off her student loans and establish a scholarship for female students studying engineering.

Pezzullo did her research at the Clemson University-International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and worked on machines provided by Okuma America Corp., a Charlotte subsidiary of Okuma Corporate. The contest was sponsored by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Defense-wide Manufacturing Science and Technology (DMS&T), AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology and the U.S. Army Benét Labs.