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Alumni raise cheers to Clemson: Ryan Workman ’05, Emily Barber Workman ’06 and Greg Pierdon ’08

 

Biergarten“Bavarian inspired, Southern made” is their catchphrase. Making sure you eat at their restaurant in Charleston is their game. Clemson is their shared love. Ryan Workman, Emily Barber Workman and Greg Pierdon are all Clemson grads, but it was a game of kickball and acquaintances in Charleston five years ago that brought them together post graduation.

Along with business partner Laura Patrick, the three took a conversation about what was missing in their home of Charleston into a reality that is Bay Street Biergarten. “We saw something different,” said Ryan. It took the group meeting every week for a year to chase their dream.

You won’t find kitsch at Bay Street Biergarten though. No lederhosen for sure, but pretzels and schnitzel are abundant. But you’ll also find gator and shrimp and grits on the menu. The 7,400-squarefoot facility is the renovated Wilmington Railroad Depot, offering large exposed beams and original brick, as well as family-style seating for large groups waiting to take in the latest Tigertown brawl.

“We wanted patrons to have a traditional German biergarten experience,” said Ryan. “We wanted it to feel like a beer hall, but then have the tech side of it. We use iPads to put in orders directly from the table. We have taps at the table, and you can use a card to pay by the ounce.”

The three said their love of Clemson and the Clemson network only strengthened their ties to each other and the community as they pushed toward their goals over the past four years. “Solid Orange continues to show support,” said Greg. “It feels pretty good to know you have the support. They seek you out. And it’s a good conversation starter.”

Lessons learned at Clemson, from Greg’s accounting degree to Ryan and Emily’s work in communications and management also come into play every day to keep the business running. Emily said her psychology major is constantly at work as she manages staff and expectations for different personalities. “It’s a people business, and you have to be willing to get yourself out there,” said Emily about management. The three said their team meetings and team spirit, much like they learned through the Greek system while at Clemson, keep them in check when days get long.

“We have to drive each other. Complacency is death in this industry,” said Greg. “It’s a cutthroat business … and we’re driving it.”

Annual Prowl & Growl tours the South

Prowl and Growl Florence_034More than 5,000 alumni and fans joined the Alumni Association, IPTAY and the Clemson Forever Fund for the annual Prowl & Growl tour, where coaches Brad Brownell and Dabo Sweeney offered updates on the latest news in athletics. Florence had the highest attendance, with 1,290 followed by the Midlands (Columbia/Lexington) at 890. Prowl & Growl went beyond the borders of South Carolina with events in Atlanta and Charlotte. Make plans to join us next year!

Nieri pledges Cornerstone Gift to athletics

Michael and Robyn Nieri

Michael and Robyn Nieri

Michael Nieri, who received his degree in construction management in 1986, has pledged the fifth Cornerstone Gift to Clemson Athletics. His gift of $2.5 million will go to the development of a new student-athlete academic and life skills enrichment area in the Memorial Stadium WestZone.

“I am so thankful to Michael Nieri and his family for their generous support of Clemson athletics,” said President Clements. “Giving our student-athletes the resources they need to be successful off the field is just as important as developing their skills on the field, and that’s what the Nieri family is enabling us to do with their gift.”

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

This gift is part of Clemson’s successful Will to Lead campaign to raise $1 billion to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.

Michael is the president and founder of Great Southern Homes, headquartered in Columbia, which specializes in residential homebuilding.

“We’re so appreciative of Michael and Robyn’s commitment to Clemson and this generous donation,” IPTAY CEO Davis Babb said. “Their support of IPTAY through this gift will allow future generations of Clemson student-athletes to continue to achieve at high levels both on the fields of competition and in the classroom.”

Michael is married to Robyn Nieri, and they have three children: Pennington ’15, and Maigan and Patrick, both Clemson students.

New Clemson Club in the Twin Cities

We are excited to announce that Clemson has arrived in the Twin Cities. The Twin Cities Clemson Club supports not only the Twin Cities areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, but also welcomes alumni, friends, family and fans from the surrounding areas of greater Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The Twin Cities Clemson Club started colonizing in late 2014 under the leadership of Tyler Morey ’10. The club held its first unofficial gathering for the Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Oklahoma at Freehouse in Minneapolis. The turnout was great for a cold and snowy Monday evening with 23 alumni, family and friends coming to cheer Tiger nation to victory.  After the first event, Morey quickly drafted help from local alumni Kristen Hodgkins Braun ’02 and Paul Wisnewski ’85, M ’87. The club drew even bigger crowds in 2015 for the ACC Football Championship, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s basketball team, and the National Championship game in January 2016. They also added more members to their leadership team — Heather Lankford
Huck ’99 and Natalie Patzin ’13, M ’14.

Members of the club are thrilled that the Minnesota Vikings drafted two of our young stars, Mackensie Alexander and Jayron Kearse, this spring. The club is planning a caravan to the Vikings Training Camp this summer to welcome Mack and Jayron to Minnesota as their first official event. The caravan is tentatively scheduled for the first Saturday
in August. Find the club on social media: Twitter at @TC_ClemsonClub and Instagram at @twincitiesclemsonclub.

For more information, email the club at twincitiesclub@alumni.clemson.edu.

 

 

Alumni gather in Japan

Japan Clemson1A group of alumni, former faculty, exchange students and current students are beginning the process to form a Clemson Club in Japan. They recently gathered in Tokyo with a group of about 12, including former faculty members Toshiko and Yuji Kishimoto, at an izakaya (a Japanese gastropub) for drinks and food and then went to an Italian bar. They closed out the evening with another mixture of cultures: a traditional Japanese-style event closing punctuated with the cadence count.

 

The Clemson Medallion

Clemson honors Barker and Bostic with University’s highest public honor

This spring, Clemson recognized two alumni — President Emeritus James Barker and businessman and trustee James E. Bostic Jr . — with its highest public honor, the Clemson Medallion. The Medallion is presented to individuals who have rendered notable and significant service and support to the University and who exemplify the dedication and foresight of its founder, Thomas Green Clemson.

The lives of both men began as Clemson students and their commitment to the University never waivered. Here are the 2016 Clemson Medallion winners.

 

James Barker

Medallion-James_BarkerOne Clemson. It’s a term that permeates Clemson vernacular, along with “Clemson family” and “All In.” But the two words together helped James Barker ’70 lay a foundation for a vision where he saw Clemson achieving more than ever as an institution.

“I am convinced that there is no university in America stronger than Clemson when we are ‘One Clemson.’… If we unite around the idea of Clemson, we have a future beyond our highest aspirations,” he said during his inauguration address.

And unite the campus he did. Clemson went from being ranked No. 38 among public universities to No. 21 during his term. Undergraduate applications increased from about 11,400 a year to more than 18,500. Scholarship support increased from $5.4 million to $13.8 million annually. Freshman retention went from 83 percent to 91 percent. More than 59,000 degrees were awarded during his time as president — representing 41 percent of all living alumni.

“Jim Barker is a man of integrity. He is a great visionary and great strategic planner. He leads with a core passion to put the students and their success first,” said Trustee E. Smyth McKissick III ’79, when interviewed about Barker’s presidency in 2013.

From student, alumnus, faculty member, dean, president and even parent — Barker’s seen Clemson from every perspective. “All of us who love Clemson will always be indebted to Jim Barker for his visionary leadership and service. It is an honor to present this well-deserved award to him,” said President Jim Clements.

His roles throughout the University and community are varied and active, including participating in IPTAY as an honorary life member; serving as president emeritus and professor in the School of Architecture; and serving at Fort Hill Presbyterian as an elder and choir member.

Under his administration, the Will to Lead campaign, which concluded successfully this summer, was launched with a $600 million goal and then re-launched with an ambitious and historic $1 billion goal.

 

 

James E. Bostic Jr.

Medallion-James_BosticWith $10 from his mother tucked into a Bible, James Bostic ’69, Ph.D. ’72 stepped off the bus from Marlboro County into the hills of Clemson. Since that day, Bostic’s legacy has included success in education and business, as well as philanthropic support for efforts to provide a more diverse campus.

Even as a White House Fellow in 1972-73, Bostic’s love of Clemson never faltered, according to retired Gen. Colin Powell, even if it wasn’t always endearing to others. The two met as the only minorities in the class, with Powell becoming like a big brother to Bostic.

“His life revolved around things colored orange, Tigers and basketball,” said Powell. “Only when he got married were his wife and I able to get the orange furniture and paintings out of his apartment, to his great distress.”

After receiving his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from Clemson, Bostic went on to serve as deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Agriculture until 1977. From there his business acumen gathered steam as he served 10 years with Riegel Textile Corporation before moving on to Georgia–Pacific Corporation, moving up through the ranks to the position of executive vice president in 2000 and retiring in 2005.

“He has volunteered his time and talents as a leader for the University,” said President Clements, “and he continues to lead by assisting us in our efforts to improve diversity and inclusion. I am extremely proud to honor him with this award.”

Bostic’s desire to pay it forward goes well beyond what’s listed on a resume. He and his wife helped fund the Edith H. and James E. Bostic Presidential Scholarship as part of the Harvey B. Gantt Scholars program for diversity scholarships. His name is also on the Dr. James E. Bostic Presidential Scholarship in the College of Engineering and Science and the James E. Bostic Endowed Leadership Program for Resident Assistants.

“Jim’s love for Clemson can’t be measured by what he has done but by the difference he has made in the lives of students and Clemson University as a whole,” said Bert Henderson, IPTAY/ Athletics Director of Gift Planning.

 

ILLUSTRATIONS BY DALE COCHRAN

 

 

Richardsons support Emerging Leaders

Clemson Trustee Mark Richardson and his wife, Kathryn, present a check at the Spring Game representing their $1 million gift in support of Emerging Scholars students.

Clemson Trustee Mark Richardson and his wife, Kathryn, present a check at the Spring Game representing their $1 million gift in support of Emerging Scholars students.

Businessman and Clemson trustee Mark Richardson and his wife, Kathryn, and family have given $1 million for a scholarship fund to help ensure that all Emerging Scholars students accepted into Clemson University can attend with financial aid.

Since 2002, the University’s Emerging Scholars program has made higher education a reality for students at five high schools along the I-95 corridor who may not have seen college in their future. Selected rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors attend the residential program on the Clemson campus in three separate summer experiences. They enroll in courses and workshops that prepare them to graduate high school and apply for college.

During the academic school year, these students participate in college-access workshops and exercises at a local community college. They also visit colleges and universities in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. To date all of the program’s students have graduated from high school. Ninety percent of them attend college or join the military their first year out of high school. The Richardson gift is designated to help the students who are accepted into and decide to attend Clemson.

“I am grateful to Mark and Kathryn for their support of our Emerging Scholars students,” said President Clements. “This gift will make a Clemson education accessible to generations of students who may not have thought that college was in their reach. The Richardsons are truly making a difference for these students and for Clemson.”

“My family and I believe that every student, regardless of financial need, who wishes to develop their greatest abilities through education should have that chance. This gift is the beginning of an effort to ensure that any Emerging Scholar who wants to come to Clemson University can,” Richardson said.

Thirteen alumni of the Emerging Scholars program have attended and graduated from Clemson. Six more are currently enrolled. With the help of this scholarship, 13 incoming freshmen have been admitted for this fall.

Chuck Knepfle, Clemson’s associate vice president for enrollment management, said, “The Emerging Scholars program does a fantastic job of preparing their students for college. With the help of this gift, we now can recruit them to Clemson without worrying about it being affordable. The Richardson gift, along with a significant scholarship commitment made by the University, greatly reduces, and for some students eliminates, the financial barrier for the next 10 years, but a sizable endowment is needed for the financial support to continue forever.”

Emerging Scholars Program Manager Amber Lange acknowledged the impact of the Richardsons’ generosity. “The goal of Emerging Scholars is not only to change a student’s life but to make college accessible in communities where there is not always a clear path to success,” she said. “This gift from the Richardsons will help our students attain a valuable Clemson degree and make sure the financial burden they often feel is lifted.”

The gift is a part of the successful $1 billion Will to Lead for Clemson campaign to support students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.

My Clemson: Jeannie Brown ’15

 

Jeannie Brown-2015

My Clemson experience was many years in the making.

When I was nine, I went to live with my grandmother. My great aunt took me to Clemson games, where I learned Clemson history and traditions. Each year my Christmas present was going with my aunt to see Clemson play in their bowl game. I dreamed of playing in Tiger Band and becoming a nurse. When I wasn’t accepted to Clemson my senior year in high school, I was very disappointed, but determined never to give up on that dream.

I started taking classes at Greenville Technical College, but marriage and two children interrupted my education. In 2002, I returned to school and graduated as a respiratory therapist. Working full time, I attended Tri-County Technical College, graduating in 2012 as a registered nurse. It was a busy time — our son played basketball and participated in high school band, and our daughter cheered and danced on a competition team, but we never missed a beat.

I held on to my dream of becoming a Clemson graduate. At the age of 40, I applied to Clemson’s RN/B.S. nursing program and was accepted to begin in the spring of 2015. It was an outstanding program and very manageable for a working nurse. But I had one more dream to fulfill … to play in Tiger Band. I worked it out with my boss to adjust my work schedule so that I could attend band camp and practice throughout the fall. My Clemson dream was coming to pass.

I couldn’t wait to put on my uniform and play “Tiger Rag” for 80,000 fans in Death Valley, but I never expected to have such an outstanding football season — I went to Syracuse, the ACC Championship, Miami for the Orange Bowl and all the way to Arizona for the National Championship. Who would have dreamed all this?

On December 17, 2015, I graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in nursing, and my diploma hangs in a central location in my home as a reminder that with hard work, you can accomplish your dreams.

No matter where life takes me, my blood will always run orange. I’m Jeannie Brown, and this is MY Clemson.

Photos courtesy Imagine Studios.

 

Nursing program expanding with GHS partnership

July 17, 2013 - Clemson Nursing students with patient at Clemson Free Clinic

Clemson Nursing students with patient at Clemson Free Clinic

When it comes to health care, one thing is clear: We need nurses.

As the population ages and health care needs intensify, the demand for nurses is growing. The registered nurse workforce is expected to increase 16 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With this growth, the United States will need nearly 440,000 new nurses
by 2024.

Equal to the demand for nurses is the need for nurses with advanced training and education. The Institute of Medicine recommends that 80 percent of nurses hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020 — a move to help the nursing workforce manage the increasing complexity of patients and the health care system.

Recognizing these needs, Clemson and Greenville Health System (GHS) are entering a unique, collaborative program expansion that will enable Clemson to increase the number of students accepted into its nursing program and expand student clinical placements within GHS.

With this partnership, entering freshmen in 2016 and beyond will have the opportunity to be part of one of two cohorts — the Clemson University School of Nursing or the Clemson University School of Nursing Greenville — beginning in the fall of their junior year.

Students in both cohorts will take general education and nursing foundation courses on Clemson’s main campus their freshman and sophomore years. Students in the Clemson University School of Nursing Greenville will complete clinical rotations during their junior and senior years at one of Greenville Health System’s seven campuses, while students in the Clemson University School of Nursing will complete clinical rotations at other health care systems across the Upstate.

By expanding clinical placements at GHS, the School of Nursing will be able to better meet enrollment demands. Historically, the School of Nursing has been able to enroll only about 8 percent of its applicants, but with the program expansion, Clemson hopes to double the enrollment over the next several years.

“Improving health in South Carolina is an important part of Clemson’s land-grant mission,” said Brett Wright, dean of the University’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, which houses Clemson’s nursing program. “We are excited about this collaboration with Greenville Health System that increases our capacity to prepare nurses, and we are grateful to all of our health system partners that give our students the best in clinical education. These efforts serve the well-being of people in South Carolina and beyond, and we are honored to be a part of the work.”

“Greenville Health System is excited to be a part of this strategic effort with Clemson that will positively affect both workforce needs and patient care,” says Brenda Thames, GHS vice president for academic and faculty affairs. “By working together, we will continue to meet the evolving health care needs of our community, state and nation.”

The nursing expansion is part of a continuing partnership between Clemson and Greenville Health System that is seeking to transform health care. Clemson has worked with GHS on health care research projects since 1990 and, in 2013, GHS and Clemson established a new health care partnership, naming the University the health system’s primary research collaborator.