Reflections on the Year

As we move into summer and finish out another academic year, we have much reason to celebrate. We shared in the joy of students who received their Clemson Rings at the Ring Ceremony and held this year’s commencement ceremonies in Littlejohn Coliseum. Through these events, we remembered what an honor it is to be part of this institution.

This spring, Louise Franke, a graduating senior from Spartanburg, made University history by becoming our first Rhodes Scholar. She’ll be spending the next two years at Oxford University, continuing to delve deeply into the intersection of philosophy, policy and science. You can read more about her on page 10.

Clemson continues to be at the forefront in addressing student needs through the Division of Student Affairs’ Office of Advocacy and Success. Clemson’s CARE network is a student-focused hub that coordinates the University’s response to student concerns and connects students to resources as they deal with the pressures and challenges of college life. Learn more in the story that begins on page 28.

On page 16, you can enjoy the creative output of an alumna, Emily Benson Martin ’10, M ’12. Loyal Tiger, author, illustrator, national park ranger and mother of two, Emily has published five young adult novels and will celebrate the release of her new children’s book, A Field Guide to Mermaids, later this year.

Many students have headed home for the summer, and campus is a bit quieter than usual right now. But it provides me with the opportunity to reflect yet again on the brilliance and determination of our faculty, staff and students who continue to have a positive impact on the world. I’m grateful to them and the many alumni, donors and friends who continue to support this great University.

Go Tigers!


Club News

Old Friends

At the Tidewater Clemson Club’s watch party for the 2021 Clemson Football Homecoming game versus Boston College, one of their oldest and most active members, Web Sullivan ’65, reconnected by chance with Emily Smith Washington. They were both in Clemson’s freshman class of 1960. Washington says she was one of only four women in the student body.

Care Packages

The Baltimore/Washington, D.C., Clemson Club held their Moms’ Care Package Party on February 3. Angie Paolozzi (P ’24) and Helen Bath (P ’23) hosted the event for 34 local moms of current Clemson students. Each mom loaded yummy treats, thoughtful goodies and a free Clemson Club membership into boxes to ship off to Tigertown in time for a Valentine’s Day surprise.

Richmond Cleans Up

On Saturday, April 30, the Richmond Clemson Club teamed up with HandsOn Greater Richmond to participate in a litter cleanup with the James River Park System. Tiger faithful in the area gathered together to collect trash, help maintain trails and parking areas and conduct overall cleanup of the park and river.
Check out the calendar at to find out what’s happening in your area.

Cheez-It Bowl

The Alumni Association and IPTAY participated in the official Cheez-It Bowl Pep Rally at Pointe Orlando, where they handed out promotional items in support of Tiger Band, Clemson Cheerleading and the Rally Cats. They also partnered to support the Central Florida Clemson Club at their Welcome to Orlando event at Ace Café, where roughly 250 alumni, family and friends gathered and raised $1,700 in an auction for the Central Florida Clemson Club scholarship. To finish off the weekend, the Alumni Association and IPTAY hosted the Clemson Family Tailgate, an all-inclusive, ticketed event that featured a live DJ and welcomed more than 500 alumni before the game.
Clemson Family Tailgates return this 2022 football season, with plans to appear in Atlanta, South Bend, Indiana, and beyond.
Be on the lookout for more details at

“Old Geezer Reunion”

In March, 61 Kappa Delta Chi fraternity brothers attended their “Old Geezer Reunion” at the Blackswamp Gathering Shed in Jasper County, South Carolina. KDX was organized by six Clemson students in 1960, continuing as a local fraternity until 1970, when it transitioned to Sigma Nu.

Clemson Meals Club Welcome Lacrosse
The Alumni Association welcomed Clemson’s first-ever women’s lacrosse head coach to the Greenville Luncheon Club in Greenville and the Second Century Society Luncheon Club in downtown Columbia, where the coaches shared the ins and outs of lacrosse with the roughly 60 attendees at each event.

Affinty Groups
The Alumni Association has added two new affinity groups: 
The Nursing Alumni Council, led by President Betsy Myhre ’87*, will prioritize student-alumni networking, fundraising and organizing annual events for School of Nursing alumni.
The Veterans Alumni Council, led by President Patrik Schuler ’19, is a community for alumni who attended Clemson after their military service. The council will collaborate with the Office of Military Engagement, Clemson Corps and other military-affiliated groups for events like the Military Appreciation Game.

Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email for more information.

Family Business

Thomas and Anna Calhoun Clemson believed that quality education could change lives. Their endowment was the foundation upon which Clemson University was built. James “Eddie” Edwards ’74 and Patricia “Trish” Creighton Edwards ’75 also know a little bit about the value of education. Their recent gift to the College of Education is based on values learned from their mothers and carried forward through their own careers and into the next generation.

The James M. and Patricia C. Edwards Endowment for Education is being established in memory of their mothers, Margaret Dawes Edwards and Patricia Kenney Creighton, who devoted their lives to teaching. Margaret Dawes Edwards, from Johnston, South Carolina, served her community as a math educator. She considered teaching to be a profession of the very highest calling, affording unlimited opportunity to serve others. Patricia Kenney Creighton, from Charleston, South Carolina, shared her love of teaching that made everyone feel special, greatly impacting the lives of students she taught from Virginia to Aiken, Florence and Charleston, South Carolina.

Although Eddie Edwards earned his Clemson degree in political science, he has spent the past 34 years growing his family-owned construction company, Edcon Inc., into one of the most well-known contractors for schools and athletics facilities in South Carolina. The couple’s two sons, Josh ’01 and Chase, work in the business. While her husband and sons have been out building schools, Trish Edwards has spent her career inside them, carrying on the family tradition as an educator. Not surprisingly, their daughter, Emily Edwards Berry, is also a Clemson graduate and teacher. She is set to finish her Ed.S. in educational leadership at Clemson this summer.


“Their visionary leadership, thoughtfulness and generosity, to support young people, many of whom they will never meet, in becoming high-quality teachers is at the nexus of why Clemson’s Teacher Residency program is so remarkably successful.”


The family’s $500,000 gift will support Clemson’s teacher residency program, a combined degree program across disciplines. The MAT in teacher residency is a 30-credit program that can be completed in three semesters. It consists of a mix of face-to-face and hybrid courses along with an immersive field experience component. Students will be recommended for initial teaching certification after successfully completing their graduate teacher residency field experience.

“Nothing is more important in our state than providing high-quality education for our children,” said George J. Petersen, founding dean of the College of Education. “The Edwards family’s gift says to other people, ‘We understand this and are willing to invest because we recognize the significant impact on the quality and retention of high-caliber teachers.’

Their visionary leadership, thoughtfulness and generosity, to support young people, many of whom they will never meet, in becoming high-quality teachers is at the nexus of why Clemson’s Teacher Residency program is so remarkably successful.”

Trish and Eddie Edwards were recently named the 2022 Distinguished Friend of the College of Education. The formal celebration will be held at the college’s annual awards event later this year.


When in Florence, Italy

Hi, I am Foy Renfro, owner of Journey To and Fro Travel in Atlanta and professional travel adviser. After graduating from Clemson in parks, recreation and tourism management in 1992, I have had the opportunity to visit several countries over the years, enjoying the wonderlust of travel!

Florence, Italy, is one of my favorite cities to visit, and I have been fortunate to find myself there a few times for both work and play. Located in Tuscany, Florence has the largest population in the region. Let me show you around:

Duomo di Firenze

Il Duomo di Firenze (Florence Cathedral), the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile (bell tower) are in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Florence’s historic district. Work on the cathedral began in 1296 and was completed when the iconic dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, was finished in 1436.
Purchase a 72-hour Duomo ticket that includes entry to the museum, the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile.

Ponte Vecchio and The Accademia

The Ponte Vecchio or “Old Bridge” is a medieval bridge that spans the Arno River — Florence’s only bridge to survive WWII. Located in the historic district, it connects the Pitti Palace to the Ufizzi Museum via a private corridor. Since 1593, the pedestrian bridge’s shops have only been occupied by jewelers, goldsmiths and silversmiths. The Accademia is also located nearby, which is home to Michealangelo’s David.
If you want to get a bird’s-eye view of Florence, make your way to Piazzale Michelangelo for a spectacular panorama of the city. It’s even better at sunset.

The Mercato Centrale
This expansive food hall, located behind the Basilica of St. Lorenzo, features many different culinary artisans of Tuscany. There is no need for reservations unless you want to eat in the restaurant, Tosca, or enroll in a cooking lesson. The stands offer pizza, pasta, fried fish, buffalo mozzarella and more — all fresh.
Taste the city’s signature Florentine Beefsteak or, if you have a sweet tooth, save room for gelato from Gelateria La Carraia or a sweet treat from Migone Confetti Firenze.

Santa Maria Novella Apothecary

Visit the Santa Maria Novella Apothecary on via della Scala, which operates in the historic area of the monastery built in 1221 by Dominican Friars, who created luxuriant perfumes, soaps, elixirs and more. Recipes are still used that date back to hundreds of years.

Day Trips
Florence is easily accessible by train, which makes it a good place to stay and take day trips from as well. Many, for example, visit nearby Chianti for lunch and wine tastings. The Castello di Verrazzano and Antinori nel Chianti Classico wineries are great for experiencing contrasting architecture styles.

Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email for more information.

Alumni Authors


Charles A. Burden ’59
The Village and the Turnpike: A Whimsical Cedar Mountain Historical Adventure from Then to Now (Cedar Tracks Publishers) is a comprehensive whimsical history of a small community that lies between DuPont State Recreational Forest in North Carolina and Caesars Head in South Carolina.


Billy Cate ’66
The Farm – A Family’s Relationship with its Land (Congaree Land Trust) details the relationship Cate and his family have with the land that makes up their family farm, chronicling the landscape changes from the end of the Civil War to present day.


Liz Newall ’70
You Don’t Have to Tell Everything You Know (Dudley Court Press) centers on Isamar Woods Jones McGee, born one month after the Civil War ends, who tells her story about unsettling times, family dynamics and the human condition through journal entries.


Bobby Conrad ’80
John Fisher and Thomas More: Keeping Their Souls While Losing Their Heads (Tan Books) chronicles two sixteenth-century English figures who were executed by Henry VIII, incorporating elements of faith, law, politics and conscience.


Michael Puldy ’84
Himalaya Memories (Puldy Partners) is a hardbound, cloth-covered coffee table book containing a collection of photos taken by Puldy (a former TAPS and The Tiger editor and photographer) in 2012 and 2013, when he journeyed to Nepal and Bhutan in what became a physical and spiritual adventure.


Caryl Lynne Plasket Honea ’86
Mountain Mouse Makes a Difference (Balboa Press) welcomes children into the adventures of a mountain mouse and the lessons she learns along the way, including how she can make a difference and be kind. The adventures continue in I Am Counting at Cades Cove! and That’s Not a Mouse House!


Austin Bond ’99
Brookgreen Gardens (The University of South Carolina Press) is a coffee table book that celebrates the iconic gardens of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, featuring contributed photography by Bond and others that showcases Brookgreen’s stunning landscapes and works of art.


Antwan Eady ’12
Nigel and the Moon (HarperCollins/Tegen) is a picture book following a Black boy who, with the help of his parents, celebrates his dreams of the moon and discovers his voice in front of his peers.


Shelley Burchfield M ’14
The Earth Remains (TouchPoint Press) follows South Carolina farmer Polly Burgiss in her struggle to protect her land and slaves while grappling with the murders of her brothers and the evils of slavery, all in the shadow of the Civil War and its ugly aftermath.


David Van Lear, professor emeritus of forestry
Turning Points in the Life of a Fisherman (Amazon) is a Kindle book in which Van Lear reflects on his lifelong fishing journey alongside his career in higher education, using the sport as a coping mechanism for his self-diagnosed cyclothymia, a mild version of bipolar disorder.


The Wedding Gift

The bride and groom had no direct connection with Clemson when they decided to use their wedding as a fundraiser for an endowment here. What the couple did have, however, was a powerful wish to contribute to the legacy of their late friend, Clemson alumnus Tyrone Gayle ’10, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 30.

Gayle launched an impressive career in politics that touched some of the most notable names in the Democratic Party. He logged thousands of miles as a driver and aide for Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. He was a spokesperson for Hillary Clinton during her 2016 run for the White House. It was during that campaign that Gayle was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. At the time of his death, he was press secretary for then-Sen. Kamala Harris. Gayle has been described as making a remarkable impact on the campaigns and causes he served during the eight years he spent in politics. Along the way, he made hundreds of loyal friends who supported him through his challenge. They are known as Gayle Nation.

To honor Gayle and continue his legacy, his family established the Tyrone Gayle Scholars Program at Clemson in Spring 2019. Upon learning of the opportunity to honor their friend’s memory in a meaningful way, Gayle Nation stepped up. The couple’s wedding gift idea was only one example. Their efforts have helped the program surpass its original five-year fundraising goal. So far, more than $200,000 has been raised.

The program creates pathways for underrepresented students to get their start in politics. Each year, two students are selected as Tyrone Gayle Scholars and receive a $3,500 stipend to pursue a summer internship in a political field. This could be on a local or national campaign, at an advocacy organization or in other government sectors. In addition to the stipend, students are matched with mentors from Tyrone Gayle’s network, who guide the students through the often-insular political world, help them make the most of their internships and help them build their own networks.

Tyrone Gayle’s life may have been short, but his influence and work will live on through his family, Gayle Nation and the Gayle Scholars.