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Bryn Smith ’02 Named Volunteer of the Year

Vol-of-year-BSmith-2014

At the end of the first quarter of the Syracuse football game, the Alumni Association honored Bryn Smith ’02 with the Volunteer of the Year Award, the highest and greatest expression of appreciation extended to an individual by the Alumni Association staff for outstanding service and volunteerism.

After graduating in 2002, Smith moved to New York, where she worked to build a network of Clemson alumni and chartered the New York/Tri-State Clemson Club. She has played a pivotal role in assisting alumni as well as students in her area, helping them to relocate, find internships and expand their careers.

Meet Danny Gregg ’71, Alumni Association President

Danny Gregg has lived in a number of places since graduating from Clemson in 1971 — from Columbia to Charleston to Washington, D.C., to New Jersey — but he always knew he would find his way back to Clemson.

As a student, Gregg was very active as a cheerleader, a member of student government — he was elected vice president of the student body — and a member of Tiger Brotherhood and Blue Key honor society. He was also a member of the Numeral Society, which became Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity during his junior year. As an alumnus, he has remained just as active and engaged.

Throughout all his moves, he found ways to be connected to Clemson through local Clemson clubs, but once he moved back to Clemson at age 45, he was able to get involved with the University at a higher level.
After chairing several committees for the Alumni Association board of directors, Gregg was chosen as president-elect in 2012, with his two-year presidential term starting in 2014.

Gregg’s involvement doesn’t end with the Alumni Association. He is a member and past president of the Fort Hill Clemson Club, served as an adviser for his fraternity and has recently begun serving as a mentor for Clemson’s FIRST Program, which offers special resources for first-generation college students.
Like many of his fellow alumni, Gregg describes himself as “dedicated and loyal” and says that he got a lot more out of his Clemson experience than his bachelor’s degree.

“Maybe I should have spent more time in the library and less time doing other activities, like student government and cheerleading, but I’m not sorry at all for the way I did it,” he said. “The relationships that I built outside of the classroom have lasted me a lifetime, and I’m thankful for them.”

 

Young Alumni Recognize This Year’s Roaring 10

In October, the Young Alumni Council named their newest rising stars: the Roaring 10. These alumni have made an impact in business, leadership, community, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors, while exemplifying Clemson’s core values of honesty, integrity and respect.

Tripp James ’02, M ’04 has founded, operated and harvested several successful small businesses and currently serves as small-business programs manager for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of Leadership Greenville, he has heavily invested his time and talent in PULSE, Greenville’s organization for young professionals. A member of the College of Business and Behavioral Science Alumni Loyalty Board, he serves as a mentor for students.

Hannah Hopkins Pittman ’03, M ’13 is director of professional development for the S.C. Association of School Administrators. Treasurer of the Columbia Clemson Club since 2011, Pittman led efforts to fund a $25,000 scholarship endowment that revitalized the involvement of Richland County alumni. A member of Women’s Alumni Council, Pittman planned and coordinated this year’s “Bring Your Daughter to Clemson” weekend that raised approximately $8,000 for scholarships.

Steven Foushee ’05 is a project manager for Moss 7 Associates, a construction management firm in Greenville. He is the youngest of only seven registered Design-Build Institute of America professionals in the state. A volunteer with the U.S. Green Building Council’s South Carolina chapter, he was in charge of education and outreach for green building initiatives. He is a member of Clemson’s Construction Science Management Industry Advisory Board.

Tia Nicole Williams ’05 is owner and operator of the SERVPRO franchise in Cayce, West Columbia and Lexington. She also is owner and editor of the Lexington Anchor, a monthly online publication. Former secretary and current treasurer of the Columbia Clemson Club, Williams is communications chair of the state Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council and a company adviser for the state Chamber of Commerce Business Week, teaching high school students about business.

George Magrath II ’06 is completing a two-year ocular oncology fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. During his time at the Medical University of South Carolina, he was the first resident in South Carolina to perform laser-assisted cataract surgery. He developed web application algorithms for diagnosing complex eye diseases, melanoma and ocular inflammation, which were featured in Review of Ophthalmology and Ocular Surgery News.

Thomas Rhodes ’06 heads his family business, Rhodes Graduation Services, and is owner of Sumter Advertising Company and chief operating officer of Custom Bike Rings in Summerton. He designed the 2014 Clemson Orange Bowl Ring for Coach Dabo Swinney. Last year, he helped establish the Clemson Distinguished Athletes Award to honor former athletes who are making a difference in their communities through non-athletic endeavors.

Brian Ammons ’08 works in investor relations with Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan. In 2012 he was one of six people to receive the company’s highest award in both sales and marketing. A board member of Give Us Names, a nonprofit organization formed by Clemson alumni, he spearheaded a partnership with a Chicago-based theater company founded by alumni to donate profits from a stage production to the charitable organization.

Mary Kathryn (MK) Dempsey ’08 is a senior fundraising consultant for Blackbaud in Charleston. A member of the Charleston Junior League and Clemson in the Lowcountry, she volunteers with the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center. Dempsey devoted a lot of time to the Young Alumni Council — as a representative, at-large member and president. She is vice chair of the Alumni Council Engagement Committee and serves on the Alumni Board of Directors.

Laneika K. Musalini  M ’11 is director of grants at Tri-County Technical College and a grants writer and administrator for Community Colleges of Appalachia. She also is founder and CEO of Women’s Empowerment. The 2013 recipient of Clemson’s MLK Award for Excellence in Service-Community Member, she was awarded the Duke Energy/Clemson University Center for Workforce Development STEM Innovator Award in 2012.

Raven Magwood ’12 graduated from Clemson at the age of 19 with a 4.0 GPA. She published her first book at age 12 and followed that up with another during college, 7 Practices of Exceptional Student Athletes. Magwood has written a screenplay, “Switching Lanes,” scheduled to be released as a feature film later this year, and travels as a motivational speaker.

William S. Gaillard Jr. ’40

WWII Soldier

Gaillard_William-graveHistory and travel enthusiast, Rhonda Bailey Antonetti ’87 (NURS) of Charleston wanted to take Tiger Paw flags to place on the Clemson alumni WWII soldiers’ graves in the American Cemetery in Normandy, France. Little did she know the amazing, serendipitous venture this gesture would uncover. She was able to place only one flag on her visit, and she snapped a picture of the marker. When asked about her trip by a co-worker, Antonetti showed her pictures. This co-worker, Staci Gaillard, was surprised to see the name on the marker was a name familiar to her — one shared by her father-in-law, husband and son. The soldier was William S. Gaillard Jr. ’40, her husband’s great-uncle. The present generation of the family had not known much about his death and service. Antonetti assisted the family in researching information. On Clemson’s Military Heritage Day, his nephew, William S. Gaillard II; great-nephew, William S. Gaillard III ’03 (MKTG); William III’s wife, Staci Gaillard; and Antonetti visited his stone at the Scroll of Honor Memorial. Staci and William have a son, William S. Gailliard IV.

Gaillard_family

 

D.C./Baltimore

The D.C./Baltimore Club had two major events with President Clements last fall. In September, more than 200 guests gathered for “A Night with Clemson on Capitol Hill,” featuring remarks from Ambassador David Wilkins, President Clements and the chair of the regional board, David Rochester ’68.  Members of the Board of Visitors attended after spending a day on Capitol Hill.

In October, more than 100 members of the club, as well as President and Mrs. Clements, were guests at a reception at the Belgian ambassador’s private residence in Washington, D.C. Ambassador Johan Verbeke was appointed in January 2014, and his social secretary is Gwenda De Moor, a member of the Regional Board of Directors and parent to Clemson alumnus Vinny Brown ’11, M ’14.  The reception featured authentic Belgian cuisine and beer, and the program focused on educational, cultural and professional connections between Belgium and Clemson.

 

Boston

More than 600 alumni and fans gathered in Boston for the Paws on the Claws event at Top of the Hub Restaurant in October. The group enjoyed fun and food as they prepared to take on the Boston College Eagles the next day in an exciting showdown on the gridiron. President Clements addressed the group and gave updates on the state of the University and Clemson’s strong alumni presence and athletic success in Boston.

Greenwood

The Greenwood Club celebrated Greenwood Clemson Tiger Day with 250 alumni, friends and fans in uptown Greenwood around the Tiger Topiary. Four football players — Jim Brown, D.J. Reader, Bradley Pinion and Stephone Anthony — and Coach Mike Reed attended the event, as well as four cheerleaders and the Tiger. Greenwood’s own PGA golfer Ben Martin ’09 signed autographs and posed for photographs.

Save Our Amphitheater: A Story of Student Triumph

On any given day, the center of Clemson’s campus is a unique blend of bustling students rushing to class and relaxed students enjoying the outdoors during their break in the day. The library stands tall and white against the sky, opening its massive glass doors to those who need to work, while just a short distance away, students admire the light gleaming off the water in the reflection pond through the Amphitheater pillars and relax on the concrete, brick and grass steps.

But without courageous students a few decades ago, this image may not 
have existed.

A gift of the classes of 1915 and 1940 for the stage and seating respectively, the Amphitheater was built in early 1940 and was dedicated to both classes while it hosted its first graduation for the class of 1940. Since then, it has grown to be not only an iconic image and representation of Clemson, but also a beloved host to student organizations, weekly pep rallies, graduations and afternoon naps. In the 1970s, when the students learned of the administration’s plan to renovate and redesign the current Amphitheater and replace it with a low-walled brick structure to better match the other buildings on campus, the student body was appalled.

“There must be more student input into every decision that is made here!” 

This was the rallying cry of the student organization known as SOAP (Save Our Amphitheater People) that assembled more than 1,200 students and townspeople to protest the proposed Amphitheater renovation in 1977, possibly the largest protest in Clemson University history.

Petitions were signed and students were urged by the student body government to stand up to protect the amphitheater, inspiring several people to speak directly to the president regarding their disapproval and disappointment.

Just a few short weeks later, President Edwards met with his cabinet to discuss the issue and ultimately decided to postpone the renovation indefinitely.

Instead, thanks to the determination of the Clemson student body in fall 1977, the University arranged to have the Amphitheater stage restored to the splendor of the 1940s and the wooden benches replaced with the current tiered concrete seating.

Decades later, the Clemson Amphitheater is still home to not only festivals, theater groups, pep rallies and afternoon naps, but also to the strong Clemson Spirit that protected it so many years ago.

Game Changer

Education changed everything for Eugene T. Moore School of Education founding Dean George J. Petersen and his family. Now, he is ready to do the same for children and families throughout South Carolina — and beyond.

As founding dean of Clemson’s Eugene T. Moore School of Education, you would expect me to say glowing things about the role of education in the lives of individuals, families, communities and societies.

You would be correct, but not just because I have spent my adult life studying, teaching and serving in the education field.

It’s because education literally changed my life.

In the 1960s, my mother was a single parent to three young children — my two younger sisters and me. Divorced and without a high school diploma, she had worked as a migrant farm worker, hotel maid and seamstress in California.

At times, when things got hard, we would live a week or two in a hotel room or the home of a family member or friend. Eventually, we went on to rent a home in East Los Angeles — a small place, but one all our own.

Faced with few options, Mom decided to go back to school. I was too young to comprehend the reasons at the time, but I came to understand that she wanted a better life for herself and for us, and that she wanted the sense of pride and accomplishment that came with pursuing an education.

So pursue she did. She always loved children, so she ran a day care, keeping 16 kids in our home during the day, and at night, she went back to school. First, she got her GED, and then she earned a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona. At age 40, with her credential in hand, she became a kindergarten teacher.

Dean Petersen-MomAnd our lives were never the same.

But beyond the career success that came to her and her children, Mom achieved the immeasurable accomplishment of standing on her own two feet and doing what she wanted to do for her family. She was able, in a sense, to command her own destiny.

That’s what education provides.

We often think of education as a formal process, a throughput to learn particular things and achieve a particular degree or credential. That formal process is valuable, and my education colleagues and I work hard to prepare students to shape that process in meaningful ways.

But I like to define education a little more broadly. In its best and broadest sense, education is the exposure to different ideas, different habits, different cultures, different thought processes and different disciplines. It happens in PK-12 schools, colleges, internships, apprenticeships, military training, technical education and professional development. It happens across kitchen tables, in conference rooms, on athletic fields and in ordinary conversations. At its best, education is the practice of learning and growing — and a process that never ends.

The pursuit of education enhances a person’s capacity and dignity. Education develops who you are, how you relate to other people and how you make decisions in a complex, integrated world. It also shapes how you see yourself. It did for my mother, for my sisters and me, and for everyone who actively engages with education.

The mission of educators — teachers, counselors, administrators, all of us — is to enhance the intellectual, emotional and social capacity of people. As that takes place, not only individuals but also entire families and communities are transformed.

Because of Mom’s experience, it wasn’t a question of whether or not we would go to college; it was an expectation. And that expectation was handed down to my two sons, who are both college graduates. My older son is teaching for Teach for America at a Title 1 school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and my younger son is following his dream of being a major league baseball player, having been drafted by the Los Angeles Angels after graduating. The capacity of the Petersen family is forever changed because of the actions of my Mom.

The impact of education is also seen in communities. Research shows that there is a significant relationship between the educational level of a community and other factors such as economic status, the quality of schools and public services, and crime rates. When individuals are educated, the capacity of their communities is also enhanced. Education is the game changer.

That reality is one of the reasons I traveled across the country to become founding dean of the Eugene T. Moore School of Education. An important part of our mission is to partner with underserved schools and communities in South Carolina to create sustainable, thoughtful methods for enhancing capacity. We have a very generous benefactor who shares this vision, along with alumni, donors and friends who recognize the need for quality education in communities where capacity may be limited due to location, poverty, violence, economics or other factors.  Our faculty, staff and students realize that through their abilities, they play a vital role in shaping South Carolina’s educational future.

I am excited to be a part of the Clemson family, one that embraces educational excellence and is dedicated to making a difference in the Palmetto State, the nation and the world. Clemson has the people, ability and focus to move the needle in a positive direction as it relates to education — from pre-K through college and in communities, here and everywhere. I am looking forward to a continued partnership with my colleagues to engage that work.

As we do that, more children will have a life-changing experience and the opportunity for immeasurable accomplishments through education, just like Mom.