Empowering First-Generation Clemson Students

John ’72 and Laurie Gutshaw believe in the power of education. Long before they met, John and Laurie both relished the educational opportunities afforded to them, eventually using that education to build substantive careers and lives. The couple, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, is putting their collective power behind Clemson University through the establishment of the Kenneth John Gutshaw Jr., ’72 and Laurie B. Gutshaw Annual FIRST Grant-In-Aid Endowment — providing support for first-generation college students at Clemson.

John Gutshaw is a West Virginia native who spent his formative years in Long Island. “When it was time for me to look at colleges, I was interested in going to a Southern school because I frankly didn’t like cold weather,” recalled John. “When I visited Clemson, I fell in love with the campus, the area and its beauty.”

John received his bachelor’s degree in economics and his master’s in city and regional planning. After graduation, his career took him back to New York, where he teamed with Jim Wadley, who had recently founded a firm specializing in analyzing and accessing site selections for companies. Their company grew and eventually merged with a real estate corporation. Today, the firm of Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting is an international consulting firm.

Meanwhile, Laurie Buchanan was pursuing a successful career as a journalist. Her path took her into the inner-world of Washington politics where she held communications positions for notable members of Congress. She also worked for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Transit and a global engineering consulting firm, AECOM Technology, from which she retired in 2017.

John and Laurie now enjoy a busy semi-retirement life in Florida. Their skills are still in high demand, but they carefully select what causes and organizations to allocate their energy toward and are always exploring ways to support what they are passionate about, like Clemson’s FIRST program.

The Gutshaws recently had an opportunity to meet the first group of Clemson students to benefit from their generosity and look forward to seeing what path those students take.

“Laurie and I believe one of the best gifts you can give to any young person is a college education,” said John. “College prepares you for a future career, helps you understand learning experiences and establishes enduring friendships. In the absence of having children, we decided this endowment was the best avenue — providing others with this gift — and opening the door for a first-generation college graduate makes this even more special to us.”

David Lyle Knows Their Stories

David LyleThere are 493 names etched on the stones that make up Clemson University’s Scroll of Honor — a memorial to the University’s alumni who died while fighting for their country. Through his volunteer work with the Clemson Corps, David Lyle ’68 knows the stories of all 493 soldiers.

Lyle, who participated in Air Force ROTC during his years at Clemson, has researched and verified each honoree as a former Clemson University student and hero who died in service to our country. He has spent hundreds of hours of his own time on ancestry websites, filing through paper records and driving to cemeteries to complete the work.

“I’m all in,” Lyle said. “This is where my love is.”

A native of Walhalla, South Carolina, Lyle never considered attending college anywhere other than Clemson. He enrolled in 1963, when it was still required for students to join the University’s ROTC program. He spent the next seven years — in undergraduate and graduate classes — at Clemson.

A microbiology major as an undergraduate, Lyle had not intended on spending a career in the military. But life doesn’t always end up the way we plan. In 1968, he graduated with his bachelor’s degree, and in 1970, he went into the U.S. Air Force, swapping a lab coat for a uniform.

In the Air Force, Lyle was deployed to bases from Montana to South Korea. The military, and eventually a civilian career in medical technology and research, took him all over the country.

Lyle retired in 2009 and wanted to come back home. He and his wife, Judy, had stayed connected to Clemson and were involved with an alumni group in Washington, D.C. Since moving back to Walhalla, they have also given back to Clemson. In addition to his time serving the Clemson Corps, Lyle recently decided to support the Class of 1968 ROTC Endowment through an estate gift that will provide scholarships to Clemson Corps cadets.

When asked about this decision, Lyle’s answer was simple: “Clemson is family.” He added, “Giving back through your estate is a no-brainer.”

By giving toward the Class of 1968 Endowment, Lyle is among the Clemson supporters who are ensuring that Clemson men and women will receive a world-class education while also preparing to serve their nation — both of which have significantly shaped Lyle’s life and career.

“I had no idea when I started at Clemson University where I was going to end up,” he said. “Through the years, Clemson University has changed. The Clemson Corps has become bigger than anyone ever imagined. But in many ways, this University has stayed the same. It is still a family.”

Garrison Cornerstone Gifts Make a Lasting Impact Across Campus

Garrisons at Charleston announcementBy the time Dan Garrison retired as vice president of sales for Service Corporation International, his career had taken him far from his Upstate roots. He graduated from Clemson in 1972 — with a degree in business and an ambition that led him to work and live all over the country.

But his heart never left these hills.

Garrison and his wife, Nancy, return often to visit family and enjoy Clemson athletic events. The Garrisons’ connection to Clemson was further solidified this year when they became the University’s first-ever Cornerstone Partners for both athletics and academics.

Dan spent his formative years on his family’s dairy farm in Greenville County. Choosing to attend Clemson was an easy decision, he said. Many family members and friends were “Clemson people,” so there was always a strong Clemson influence. Even when career moves took Dan away from South Carolina, the distance never lessened the bond with his Clemson Family.

When the Garrisons decided to give back to the University, they wanted to do so in a manner that would have a lasting impact. In 2017, they became Athletic Cornerstone Partners to support the University’s efforts to improve the experience of student-athletes — not only while they are participating in their sport on campus but also after graduation, to give them tools that ensure their personal and professional success. The Garrisons’ recent Cornerstone gift to the College of Business will support its sales innovation program. The J. Daniel and Nancy Garrison Sales Lab will be named in their honor.

Dan’s fond memories of Clemson remain vivd: “Since my first semester as a young freshman in 1969, Clemson has been part of my life. The education I received at Clemson goes beyond academics. My business success is in large part due to my experiences here and the real-world education I received regarding how to become an adult. Clemson is an important part of our family, and we feel privileged to be part of the larger Clemson Family.”

For the Garrisons, the most rewarding aspect of their Cornerstone gifts to Clemson is feeling a personal connection to the people and programs they are supporting. “For anyone who is considering a gift to Clemson,” Dan said, “no matter how large or small, the benefit of having a long-term impact for so many is worthy of serious consideration.”

Researchers Explore Using Drones for Bridge Inspections

Joe Burgett is working to make bridges safer through drone technology.
Burgett, an assistant professor in the Department of Construction Science and Management, has received grants totaling $94,000 to develop protocols for using small remote-controlled helicopters in bridge inspections.
“We can fly the drone all around the bridge, high and low, and be able to see any deficiencies,” Burgett said.
Burgett, who holds an endowed professorship in the department, is the lead investigator in the project. Other investigators are Dennis Bausman, a construction science and management professor who also holds an endowed faculty chair; and Gurcan Comert, an associate professor at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina.
Burgett and Bausman share another distinction. Both have been recognized with one of the highest honors at Clemson University, the Alumni Master Teacher Award: Burgett in 2018, Bausman in 2002.
Burgett and his team are leading a small group of Clemson students who are studying the use of drones not only in bridge inspections but in land surveying as well.
“We can survey hundreds of acres in a few hours,” he said. “Traditionally, that would take weeks.”
The drone project, titled “Viability of Using Unmanned Aircraft Systems In Transportation Infrastructure Asset,” is funded by two grants. The South Carolina Department of Transportation contributed $50,000; while a $44,000 grant was provided by The Center for Connectivity and Multimodal Mobility, an initiative of the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University. The money will be used for equipment and researcher salaries.
“There may be a half dozen states studying drone technology for these purposes, but we’re on the leading edge,” Burgett said.
Inspecting bridges
Drones can reach some parts of a bridge that are difficult for humans to inspect.
“If the bridge is low enough, inspectors can get underneath it and put their hands on it, but a lot of bridges are taller or located over bodies of water,” Burgett said.
That process is time-consuming and it can create traffic congestion. Plus, bridge inspecting can be a dangerous job.
“You take down a lane of traffic and you’re suspending people over the water,” Burgett said. “The snooper truck is like a carnival ride and it bounces all over the place. It’s not for the faint of heart.”
Bridges are required to be inspected at least once every four years. Some older bridges, however, are inspected more often.
A drone can cut down on labor and costs.
“With a drone, we capture a whole lot of images and we stitch them all together with software, and we can create a 3-D model on our computer,” Burgett said. “Our hope is that we can send this model to the bridge inspectors in Columbia and they can say, ‘Huh, this looks pretty good. Maybe we can wait until next year for the inspection.’”
The project’s primary tool is a small helicopter with four propellers (also known as a quad copter or unmanned aerial system) about 2 feet by 2 feet, and 1.5 feet tall.
Dynamic new field
Using drones for research and commercial purposes is a relatively new but expanding field.
“This world has exploded,” Burgett said. “In August 2016, the skies opened wide for drones. Before that, the FAA  rules had not caught up with drones. It was very difficult to fly a drone for commercial purposes. You could do it as a hobby, but if it was for research or commercial purposes, you had to get special authorization. It took months and lots of red tape.”
Burgett cautioned that drones would not completely replace the work of human inspectors, but they could reduce the human workload and speed up the process.

Student Veterans Have New, Expanded Space

Army boots of a foot soldier worn in combat in Afghanistan

Clemson had more than 350 verified student veterans on campus during the 2018-19 academic year. They now have a new place to call home in Vickery Hall. At the Student Veteran Center, dedicated in November, veterans can connect with each other and access resources to assist them through their Clemson transition. Previously, the Student Veteran Center occupied a much smaller space in Tillman Hall.

The new center includes a lounge, a full kitchen, couches, lockers and a multimedia setup featuring a 65-inch “smart” TV and a video game console. Adjacent to it is a quiet space featuring seven workstations and three desktop computers.

Brennan Beck, assistant director for military and veteran engagement in student affairs, has already seen positive effects of the center in its first months of operation.

“Even with Clemson’s rich military history and growing veteran support programs, the first and often loudest statement of our friendliness to incoming and prospective veterans has been the physical space of the Student Veteran Center,” Beck said. “Now, we can proudly show our veterans that they are important to Clemson University with our larger, improved center.”

International Partnership Addresses Environmental and Cultural Issues

International PartnershipOver the last several years, Charleston has experienced repeated flooding — a problem exacerbated by rising sea levels. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that the city will experience almost 180 days of tidal flooding annually by the year 2045.

In the spring term, 52 students and eight professors from Clemson, Ain Shams University of Egypt, and Huazhong Agricultural University of China tackled urban design, architecture and landscape architecture issues related to flooding and sea level rise on the east and west sides of the Charleston Peninsula. Working with the city of Charleston and its planners, they are creating design proposals that account for the effects of rising sea levels in the city.

The group is part of the first World Design Studio, a partnership of the three universities to address pressing environmental and cultural issues through design. While the universities have participated in joint design projects in the past, leaders from the three institutions met at Clemson in February to formalize their work together. A platform for international, multidisciplinary collaboration, the World Design Studio will allow architecture and landscape architecture students from the three institutions to sign up for a semester-long studio with projects across the three continents. The plan also envisions collaboration with disciplines such as transportation, robotics and environmental engineering.

“Through this partnership, our students will be able to go beyond what they thought possible while truly making an impact on the communities we work in,” said Hala Nassar, a landscape architecture professor at Clemson. “We are specifically focusing on areas in the peninsula that experience frequent flooding and road closures in conditions of heavy rain and tidal surge. We are eager to see what solutions the students create this semester and hope it can be used by other coastal towns along the East Coast.”

Nassar and colleague Robert Hewitt have spearheaded Clemson’s efforts with Ain Shams and Huazhong.

“Since we began working with Ain Shams University in 2007, we have been able to transform landscapes at some of the world’s most recognizable locations, like the city of Luxor and the pyramids of Giza Plateau,” said Hewitt, associate professor of landscape architecture; Huazhong joined the partnership in 2016. “We hope to continue building off these successes and incorporate new partners in the coming years to preserve, modify and strengthen existing locations for future generations.”