R. Adam Kern ’12

Adam Kern
Using technology to improve quality of life for children with special needs
Adam Kern ’12 was working with autistic students as a behavioral therapist when he found himself frustrated with the lack of technological tools to help his clients.
“Every day I went to work, knowing that technology exists that could improve my clients and their family’s quality of life, but that technology hadn’t been applied to help them,” said Kern, who graduated from Clemson’s Eugene T. Moore School of Education with a degree in secondary education.
Out of this experience, Kern co-founded ExcepApps, a startup focused on creating technological tools to benefit children with special needs.
“In 2014, we have technology like the PS3 or the XBOX One, but our advances in technology aren’t being used to help the children who could benefit from it the most,” said Kern, who lives in Mauldin. “ExcepApps seeks to change that.”
ExcepApps released its first product, Color Countdown, in August. Color Countdown is a simple tool that works by representing time through colors, shapes and numbers, Kern said. He and his business partner, Ryan Poplin, designed the product to help individuals with transitions, task behavior and time management.
“Color Countdown is a tool that I wished existed while I was a therapist,” Kern said. “It can be used in a classroom when completing time sensitive assignments, in a therapy session or during every day tasks.”
ExcepApps’ second product — a communication tool designed to allow parents, teachers and therapists to track a child’s language development as they learn to speak — launched in November. ExcepApps created the tool for non-vocal children who already rely on technology to communicate, Kern said.

Peanut Butter Jelly

slider-2015-peanutbutter-backNew film shines light on Clemson’s Hollywood connection

One jellyfish fires projectiles from a sunken airplane, and another retaliates with a blast from a ship’s canon.
What caused all the fuss?
A jar of peanut butter that had fallen off a boat and drifted to the coral reef below.
The animated short, “Peanut Butter Jelly,” showcases the increasing sophistication coming out of a Clemson program that mimics a real-world animation studio. It also shines a light on the School of Computing’s growing influence in the movie industry.
Graduates are winning top honors, including an Academy Award as recently as February. They are learning from professors who have worked their computer magic on feature films ranging from “Happy Feet” to “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
“Peanut Butter Jelly” takes about one minute to watch, but it’s the result of a year’s work by 26 students, said Alex Beaty, the student writer and director.
The film’s producer, Jerry Tessendorf, racked up  credits in several movies, including “Happy Feet” and “Superman Returns,” before becoming a professor of visual computing at Clemson.
While Tessendorf provided some guidance on “Peanut Butter Jelly,” he described it as an “all-student production.”
[pullquote]“This is very close to what is done in feature films,” he said. “The ability to do this kind of work is rare in academics.”[/pullquote]
“Peanut Butter Jelly” illustrates the growing technical ability of students in Digital Production Arts, a program in Clemson’s School of Computing. Students learn the skills needed to work in the animation, visual-effects and electronic-games industries.
Beaty, who recently received his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in the program, said 14 graduate students worked on the film in artistic roles and 12 undergraduates worked in supporting roles. Tessendorf and Joshua Tomlinson, who is also a faculty member, supported their efforts.
PBJ-Alex_Beaty“What excites me most is the number of people who came together to make this,” Beaty said. “We’re not paying them, and they’re putting in large amounts of time. It all came from passion, and that represents why we’re all here in the DPA program — not to be on screen but because we all love making movies.”
One of the strongest ties between Clemson and Hollywood is Tessendorf. He shared in a 2008 Technical Achievement Award from the Academy with Jeroen Molemaker and Michael Kowalski while at Rhythm & Hues Studios. They developed a system that is still used in film and allows artists to create realistic animation of liquids and gases.
Beaty, who aspires to direct movies, said he decided to write and direct “Peanut Butter Jelly” after participating in an intensive summer program at Clemson with professionals from DreamWorks.
“They said if you’re interested in layout you need to have some sort of film that you direct,” Beaty said. “That’s the role of layout — it’s really close to a directorial role. As soon as I heard that, I said, ‘Ok, I’ve got to make my own film.’”
The DreamWorks program was a success and will be back this summer, Tessendorf said.
“It’s a very intense 10 weeks during the summer,” he said. “We choose a few students. They are volunteers because they have to commit to working 100 hours a week in the studio with DreamWorks mentors. The goal is to produce professional-quality work, not just student-quality films.”

Peanut Butter Jelly – Animated Short FIlm from Alex B on Vimeo.
The School of Computing’s Digital Production Arts program offers both an undergraduate minor and an MFA. Currently, 30 graduate students are enrolled in the MFA program.
Two School of Computing alumni were recognized last year for their work on the Academy Award-winning film, “Frozen.”
Jay Steele, who received a Ph.D. in computer graphics, received a film credit in the area of animation technology. Marc Bryant, a Digital Production Arts graduate, was part of the animation team that received an award from the Visual Effects Society for outstanding FX in the segment called “Elsa’s Storm.”
Digital Production Arts’ co-founder, Robert Geist, who had a credit  in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” remains a professor in the School of Computing and currently serves as interim director of the DPA program.
“Our graduates are doing some of the highest-level visual effects in the world,” Geist said. “For them, the sky is the limit.”
Paul Alongi is a technical and feature writer for the College of Engineering and Science.
More information on Clemson’s Digital Production Arts program

The 2015 Clemson Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award

DSA-Clemson Rings

DSA 2015 pms 165xEvery spring, Clemson recognizes a select number of extraordinary alumni. And this year is no different. Five men have been nominated and selected by their peers using three areas of evaluation: enhancing Clemson’s value for future generations, serving both in the professional and public realm, and serving as a model for present and future students through personal accomplishments.
These are no ordinary alumni. And because of that, they have been designated as recipients of the 2015 Distinguished Service Award.

Gerald M. Glenn ’64 

When Gerald Glenn was still a student in civil engineering at Clemson, he was offered a position with Daniel Construction, which merged with Fluor. An integral part of the team that designed the structure of Fluor Daniel, he rose to group president and later became the chair, president and CEO of Chicago Bridge & Iron, one of the world’s largest construction companies. After early retirement in 1994, he started his own consulting company, The Glenn Group.
Glenn serves on the board of directors of Houston’s CHI-St. Luke’s Hospital and United Way. He stays involved with Clemson, recruiting students from The Woodlands area and supporting the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, named in his honor.
A member of the Clemson University Foundation Board, he is a founding partner of the Barker Scholars Endowment and a major supporter of IPTAY.
PullmanNorman F. Pulliam Sr. ’64 

Personal discipline and the mentorship of one of his closest friends, Dean Walter Cox, helped Normal Pulliam achieve his degree in industrial management. A job at Owens Corning Fiberglass and an MBA from Harvard Business School followed. After a position at Sonoco Products, Pulliam founded Pulliam Investment Company and Pulliam Enterprises, as well as First National Bank of the South in Spartanburg.
Pulliam has served on the board of commissioners of the S.C. School for the Deaf and Blind, and has been president of the Spartanburg Boys’ Home and currently serves on the board of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
A faithful Clemson supporter, Pulliam provided the endowment and initial funding for Clemson’s Master’s of Real Estate Development, is the namesake of the Norman F. Pulliam Founders Award and was responsible for the development of the Walter T. Cox Scholarship.
MortonGregg F. Morton ’78  

Gregg Morton believes Clemson prepared him for life — it taught him discipline and to always be prepared. After graduating in administrative management in 1978, he worked his way up at Southern Bell to become president of AT&T Southeastern region, managing state governmental and external affairs.
Morton has served on and chaired the executive committee and legislative task force of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education and the National Advisory Board of the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville.
A mentor for students in the College of Business and Behavioral Sciences, Morton is a past member of the Clemson University Foundation Board. He has supported Clemson Athletics both financially and by mentoring football players through the new Tigerhood Program. He has secured more than $1 million in gifts and contributions from AT&T for the University, including donations for the AT&T Auditorium at the CU-ICAR campus.
MickelCharles C. Mickel ’79 

Charles Mickel credits his Clemson education for his success — from graduating with a degree in industrial management to earning an MBA from the University of South Carolina to his professional career.
After serving as vice president for U.S. Shelter Corporation, which
was acquired by Insignia Financial Group, Mickel founded Capital Deployment LLC, which manages commercial real estate and private equity investments.
Mickel volunteers with the Daniel-Mickel Foundation, dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all people in the Greenville community. President of the Museum Association board and of the 2014-2015 Artisphere festival, he serves on the Christ Church Episcopal School Board of Visitors and with the Community Foundation of Greenville.
Mickel was the president of the Clemson Real Estate Foundation, served on the Board of Visitors and the Clemson University Foundation Board, and was integral in the development of the CU-ICAR project in Greenville.

ConradRobert J. “Bobby” 
Conrad Jr. ’80 

A member of the 1980 basketball team that advanced to the Elite 8, Bobby Conrad graduated with a degree in history. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia, then carved out a legal career that took him from South Carolina to Washington, D.C.
Conrad was selected by Attorney General Janet Reno as chief of her Campaign Financing Task Force in 2000. That year he became the first lawyer to question under oath in the same week a seated U.S. president and vice president (Clinton and Gore). In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated him as U.S. Attorney for Western North Carolina, and in 2005, he was confirmed by the Senate to a position as U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of North Carolina.
Conrad is an adjunct professor at Wake Forest School of Law, a trustee at Belmont Abbey College and on the faculty of the Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia.
A member of Clemson’s Athletic Hall of Fame and Letterwinners Association board of directors, Conrad serves as a mentor for pre-law students.
Video profiles of the 2015 Distinguished Service Award recipients

The View from Sikes

Building Futures

If you’ve been on campus lately, you’ve noticed a lot of construction fences, cranes and re-routed traffic. That’s because Clemson University has embarked on one of the largest campus development projects in at least half a century — maybe in history.
We call it Building Futures — a capital improvement plan to ensure that Clemson can compete at the highest levels and win — whether we’re competing for top students, big grants or athletics championships. This once-in-a-generation physical transformation will move the university forward and cement our place as a top-20, nationally regarded research University.
Building Futures is a strategic plan to look past 2015 or 2020 or even 2025. It is intended to set the stage for Clemson’s next 50 years, just as a surge of construction half a century ago, in the 1960s, positioned Clemson to become what it is today. It’s about building advanced and sustainable facilities to prepare us for whatever comes next — facilities that foster innovative teaching and learning, support advanced research and technology transfer, improve productivity and efficiency, and protect our rich physical and natural assets. It’s also about creating more educational and economic opportunities for South Carolina.
Already underway are major projects that will transform many areas of campus.
This summer, work begins in earnest on the Douthit Hills redevelopment to create a residential village for students that will change a main gateway to the campus — and change the view from the President’s House. Seven residential buildings and a contemporary student hub will rise on 80 acres on the north side of Highway 93, telling students and visitors they’ve arrived at one of the nation’s top schools. The facilities will provide more on-campus housing options for upperclassmen and bring Bridge to Clemson students to campus. A comprehensive tree plan will ultimately increase the number of trees on the site by 30 percent.
With the Core Campus development, the last vestiges of 60-year-old Johnstone Hall — built as temporary housing, mind you — and Harcombe Dining Hall will give way to a complex that includes a residential hall for freshmen that provides convenience, security, utility upgrades, modern dining facilities, a home for the Calhoun Honors College and more amenities. I know many of you have fond memories of Johnstone, but your children probably don’t share that sentiment.
An addition to Freeman Hall will add teaching and office space for industrial engineering that frees up research space, helps accommodate growth in student demand and makes room for fast-growing online master’s programs targeted to non-traditional students working in corporate engineering jobs.
In the center of campus, the digitally dazzling Watt Family Innovation Center will further define the area south of the library as the academic heart of the University. The center will be a hub of intellectual and entrepreneurial activity as it connects students, faculty and leaders from industry and government to generate ideas, solve problems and move new product concepts to the marketplace.
Days after graduation, Littlejohn Coliseum closed for a major renovation that will include reconstruction of seating areas, new practice facilities, locker rooms, meeting rooms and offices for the men’s and women’s basketball teams — a project completely funded by the athletics department and IPTAY.
Less visible but essential to the success of the Building Futures plan is a major overhaul of our electrical infrastructure — components of which date back to the 1950s.
The process won’t always be pretty. But the long-term gains — more and better housing and classrooms for students, capacity to grow research, improved landscapes and a tree stewardship plan that will leave us with more trees than when we started — are worth the temporary inconveniences.
There’s more to come — pending development of business plans and board and state approvals. Stay tuned for updates.
Please pardon our progress. Think of the sound of construction as a tiger’s roar — a sign of strength and greatness.
James P. Clements

Clemson Forever Events

College of Business and Behavioral Sciences Donor Event

February 19, 2015

College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities Donor Event

Locker Room to Board Room ONE Clemson Panel Discussion

A panel of distinguished Clemson alumni, including former student athletes, shared advice for success and answered questions in an open forum Friday, Jan. 23, at Tillman Hall auditorium. “From the Locker Room to the Boardroom: A Panel of Clemson’s Best and Brightest” featured ONE Clemson cabinet members, including professional football players C.J. Spiller, Charlie Whitehurst and Dwayne Allen; Major League Baseball pitcher Kris Benson; former Clemson quarterback and radio personality Rodney Williams. The panelists discussed how they became leaders in their professions and offer advice for young adults to become successful, whether on the field or in the boardroom.


Legacy Day 2014

Clemson celebrates Thomas Green Clemson’s legacy and the late Robert “Pat” Jenkins for his gift to Clemson.

Gratitude Gala

Clemson celebrates Thomas Green Clemson’s legacy with a Month of Milestones.

Clemson’s Robert J. Rutland Institute for Ethics names award for President Emeritus James Barker

The Bond Golf Practice Facility Dedication, Nov. 13, 2014

Clemson Alumni Association Board 2014-15

Danny E. Gregg ’71, president Clemson, dgregg48@gmail.com
Sandy Edge ’72, president-elect Clemson, sedge@clemson.edu
Ann W. Hunter ’80, M ’82, past president Greenwood, ann.hunter@alumni.clemson.edu
Larry Sloan ’74, Foundation Clemson, larrysloan@alumni.clemson.edu
Josh Bell ’08 Charleston, josh.bell@teachforamerica.org
Michael Coakley ’91 Arlington, Va., mdcoakley67@gmail.com
Mary Kathryn Dempsey ’08 Charleston, dempsey.mk@gmail.com
Mark Derrick ’91 Gaithersburg, Md., mark.derrick@xerox.com
Mike Dowling ’93 Greer, mdowling@southernfirst.com
Patsy DuPre ’80 Hendersonville, N.C., patsydupre@aol.com
O. Alex “Bud” Hicklin III ’85 Clemson, ohicklin@alumni.clemson.edu
Joe Hood ’97 Atlanta, joe.hood@alumni.clemson.edu
Heather Jones ’97, M ’12 Columbia, hsjones1@gmail.com
Heather Mitsopoulos ’03 Fort Mill, heathermits@alumni.clemson.edu
Greg Morton ’78 Clemson, gm6467@att.com
Mary Ann “Ma” Prater ’78, M ’83 Clemson, annieoakleyknits@gmail.com
Mac Renfro ’87 Cincinnati, Ohio, mfrenfro@initiatorfirst.com
Ron Taylor ’65 Midland, Mich., retaylor1943@hotmail.com

Ex-Officio members

Wil Brasington ’00, Alumni Relations senior director, Clemson, wil@clemson.edu
Fred Faircloth III ’72, IPTAY Rock Hill, fred_rhcoke@comporium.net
Nicky McCarter ’80, Board of Trustees, Columbia
Brian J. O’Rourke ’83, M ’85 Clemson, orourke@clemson.edu

Technical colleges sign letters of intent with Clemson and USC

China partnership TongjiOfficials from the South Carolina Technical College System, the University of South Carolina and Clemson signed letters of intent this spring to streamline the transfer process for students graduating from in-state technical colleges.
The institutions are continuing to work through details associated with the agreement, but the move is a first step toward curriculum and program reviews, assessment of advising practices and the establishment of admission standards.
Once implemented, the program will help students transfer more seamlessly between institutions, help reduce lost time to graduation and relieve some of the added financial burden now associated with transferring. Participating students must graduate from a transfer-oriented associate degree program at a South Carolina technical college with an agreed-upon cumulative grade-point average.

Riley M. Csernica ’12, M ’13 and Chelsea L. Ex-Lubeskie ’12, M ’13


From senior design class to entrepreneurial success

When Riley Csernica and Chelsea Ex-Lubeskie were bioengineering seniors, they were assigned to a senior design group with the orthotics and prosthetics division at Greenville Health System. They worked with research scientist Chuck Thigpen to design a shoulder brace for shoulder dislocations.
At the end of the class, they knew the product concept was good and that there was a market for the product.
That product became the Tarian Pro Shoulder Stabilizer, the first product in the growing line for their company. The custom-fitted functional shoulder brace is designed for individuals with shoulder instability who want to return to athletic activity. It works by providing compressive support to the shoulder rather than strictly limiting abduction of the arm. The brace has earned praise from professional hockey players to college athletic trainers to high school coaches and athletes.
Both women prepared themselves for their venture into business by obtaining graduate degrees from Clemson. Csernica earned a master’s degree in business administration with emphasis in entrepreneurship and innovation. Coupled with her experience as a teacher’s assistant in a SolidWorks engineering class and her proficiency in the program, she has been key in the continued product development. While working on her master’s degree in bioengineering, Ex-Lubeskie worked part-time at the Clemson University Research Foundation where she learned about patents, licenses and contracts. Diplomas in hand, they moved home to Charleston to work on the product and grow the company.
While pursuing ongoing product development, such as a new fully customizable ankle brace that utilizes a heat-moldable material as the structure of the brace, Csernica and Ex-Lubeskie travel to trade shows, meeting collegiate and professional athletic trainers to market their products. They also believe in giving back to Clemson by speaking to classes about their experiences and their plans to keep Tarian Orthotics a growing business — showing how a design class can become an entrepreneur’s dream come true.
To learn more about Csernica and Ex-Lubeskie’s company go to www.tarianorthotics.com.

CLUB ACTIVITIES: Tigers in Detroit

When Jen Volpe relocated from Atlanta to Detroit in 2014, she began looking for some fellow members of the Clemson Family. Although there was no active club, she worked with the Alumni Association and found that there were more than 300 local Clemson alums and friends in the area. These Detroit Tigers are now working through the process of becoming an official Clemson Club.
In December, area alumni gathered to volunteer for Forgotten Harvest, an organization dedicated to relieving hunger in metro Detroit and preventing food waste by “rescuing” surplus prepared and perishable food. Members of the group packaged more than 1,000 pounds of potatoes that were then distributed to those in need.
For more information about how to get involved with a local Clemson club, or to begin one in your area, contact Bubba Britton at bubba@clemson.edu or go to clemson.edu/alumni and click on “Join a Clemson Club.”

Clemson’s alumni network ranks first

Clemson has the best alumni network among the nation’s Best Value colleges and universities, according to The Princeton Review. In its new book, Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In — 2015 Edition, The Princeton Review ranks Clemson’s alumni network No. 1. Clemson ranked in three of the six categories which include public and private schools.
Clemson’s ranking was based on data and student surveys about the activities and visibility of alumni and the percentage of alumni who recommend Clemson to prospective students. Clemson also was ranked 19th in internship opportunities and 25th in Colleges That Pay You Back — Without Aid.
Widely known for its test prep and academic tutoring services as well as its dozens of categories of college rankings, The Princeton Review developed a unique “Return-on-Education” (ROE) rating to winnow its list of colleges for this book. ROE measures 40 weighted data points ranging from academics, cost, financial aid and student debt to statistics on graduation rates, alumni salaries and job satisfaction.