A Great Time to Remember

Another academic year has started, and I’m enjoying seeing the new faces of students who have been drawn to this institution we love. They have brought a fresh enthusiasm and energy to campus. It’s always an exciting time of the year for me, and I hope it is for you as well.

We recently closed out the fiscal year and celebrated a record year in fundraising, with $210,598,898 raised. What that means in very concrete terms is 139 new student scholarships, 129 new endowments, multiple resource developments and numerous program expansions in both academics and athletics.

What that also means is that we have extremely loyal and generous alumni who are committed to ensuring our students continue to receive a world-class education. Students are at the center of everything we do here, and the Clemson Family supports them in many ways. Student success and the student experience wouldn’t be possible without each and every donor, so thank you for your generous support.

Our alumni are also extremely talented and creative, as you will see in this issue. They have started businesses that range from coffee shops to cornmeal and custom jewelry to clothing. Read through Clemson World’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide and be sure to look through the rest of the guide online. You might even get a few ideas of what to buy your friends and family for the holidays.

You can also read about Associate Professor Antonio Baeza, one of our faculty members who is both a dedicated teacher and a gifted researcher. He has involved his students in his research of marine life and introduced them to the world of naming newly found species and preserving existing ones. Research and service are so important to everything we do, and this is one great example.

I hope you’ll set aside time this fall to get back to campus. It’s a great time to remember why you chose Clemson and why you continue to be involved with this University.

Thank you for your continued support of and connection to Clemson.

Go Tigers!


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!


Taking Care of Each Other, and Our Communities

It’s been a remarkable fall at Clemson. We’ve welcomed alumni back to campus, witnessed a wonderful display of student spirit in the Homecoming floats, celebrated the 29th home built by the Clemson chapter of Habitat for Humanity and enjoyed being together face to face again.

At the same time, we’ve continued robust testing for COVID-19 while keeping each other safe by masking in many indoor spaces on campus. The Clemson Family takes care of each other; we have seen that in action this fall, not only on campus but also in our larger communities. Ruthie Hite, for example, went above and beyond for her friend and fellow alumnus by giving him one of her kidneys — an act of true selflessness. You can read their incredible story on page 14.

Another good example is the Call Me MISTER® program. To increase the number of Black male elementary school teachers, Call Me MISTER, which began at Clemson in 2000, continues to spread its influence across not only South Carolina but other states as well. Roy Jones, the program’s director, has been on a mission to uncover our shared history and, by doing so, enrich the experience and education of every mister. Read about his journey on page 26.

The University reached another exciting milestone this fall when we dedicated the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel, which has been a dream of students and alumni for decades. This all-faiths chapel will provide a quiet place for meditation, reflection and celebration for the University community. Read more about the beautiful new space, the young man for whom it is named and the many people who made it possible on page 20.

This fall, we’ve had the joy of watching our daughter Grace enroll as a freshman in the ClemsonLIFE program, and we are thankful she has the opportunity to enjoy a life of purpose, employment, independence and friendship. When you’re on campus, I encourage you to watch for the interactions and enjoy the relationships that our traditional students have with our ClemsonLIFE students. It will make you smile.

I hope that you will come back to campus this spring to enjoy a baseball or softball game, a concert or an alumni event, or simply to wander through campus, enjoying the memories and absorbing the changes.

I look forward to seeing you on campus.

Go Tigers!


A Fresh Start

It’s exciting to be on campus this fall, with a new sense of energy and optimism. After a year and a half of dealing with COVID-19, we are happy to be returning to a more normal Clemson experience while we continue to monitor the science and data to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. We welcomed a record-sized freshman class with exceptional academic credentials. They are ready to explore their potential and excited about being a part of the Clemson Family.

This past spring, we honored David Beasley, executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme, with an honorary doctor of humanities degree. In this issue, you can learn about the life experiences that have brought him to where he is, living in Rome and heading up the world’s largest humanitarian operation.

You most certainly have heard the name Harvey Gantt, and probably know that he was the first African American student at Clemson. Take the time to discover his whole story, from a politically engaged teenager to an accomplished architect, civic leader and successful two-term mayor of Charlotte.

Closer to home is an equally determined Trudy Mackay, director of the Clemson Center for Human Genetics and Self Family Endowed Chair of Human Genetics. Read about her pioneering research with fruit flies that potentially lays the groundwork for the development of drugs to treat or prevent addiction.

I hope you’ll join us on campus this fall, whether it’s for an athletic event, a concert at the Brooks Center or just wandering around on campus. Reconnect with faculty who have influenced you and with friends and classmates you haven’t seen in a while.

Thank you for being a part of the Clemson Family. Go Tigers!


Persistence and Determination

It is hard to believe that more than a year has passed since we first received news of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a year of reimagining  education in ways we never thought possible. We have masked up and maintained our physical distance, and as I write this, current positive test rates on campus are less than 0.5 percent for students and 0.3 percent for faculty and staff. As we look toward fall, we are planning on returning to classes and activities in person. And for that, we are all grateful.
Once again, we have learned that Clemson Tigers are a persistent and determined bunch.
In this issue of Clemson World, you’ll read about one of our most determined alumni — Col. Ben Skardon ’38. At 103, he walked a mile a day for eight days this spring to commemorate the Bataan Death March and to honor the fellow servicemen and friends he lost. You’ll also read about Michael Allen ’99, who has taken on the transformation of the Echo Theater from a home for the Ku Klux Klan to a community space focused on reconciliation and hope.
An equally determined faculty member, Professor Srikanth Pilla, is now heading up the Clemson Composites Center, a one-stop-shop for academic research, design, development and real-world manufacturing solutions. He didn’t drive a car until he was 21 years old, but he’s now collaborating with students and researchers on applications of academic research designed to net huge gains for the automotive industry.
I know it’s been a challenging year for all of us. If we learn nothing else from it, I hope that we learn how much we need each other, and how interconnected our lives are. Thank you for being a part of the Clemson Family, and I hope to see you on campus this fall.
Go Tigers!

Resilience in Challenging Times

Greetings from Clemson!
This academic year has been one like no other. But as we begin 2021, I can say that I am incredibly proud to be a part of the Clemson Family. Our faculty, staff and students have come together during extremely challenging circumstances, demonstrating flexibility, care and compassion, and resilience.
In this issue of Clemson World, you’ll read stories of alumni who also have demonstrated incredible resilience. From Bear Walker, who has built a business that reflects his passion for creativity, to Ty and Tracy Woodard, who turned a dream into a reality, and four alumni — Cheri Dunmore Phyfer, Jeff Brown, Tanya Chisolm Sanders and Kevin Purcer — who have channeled their education and life experiences to create paths to success. Their stories can offer all of us a bit of inspiration as we travel our individual and collective paths.
As I have said many times since last March, every member of the Clemson Family has a critical role to play as we move forward in a world impacted by COVID-19. It remains extremely important for each of us to do our part to mitigate the spread of this virus as we continue to do the important work of educating this generation of Tigers and making Clemson the best it can be.
Family is important, particularly in challenging times. Thank you for being a part of the Clemson Family and for helping to make it stronger and more resilient.
Go Tigers!


Celebrating Optimism, Renewal and Generosity in a Changing World

Greetings from Clemson!
The beginning of the academic year is always a time of optimism and renewal for me. The class of 2024 joins us this year — most of these incoming students were born just after 9/11, and now, they are beginning college in the midst of a pandemic. They are part of our country’s most racially and ethnically diverse generation, digital natives who have little or no memory of a world without smartphones. And they join us on campus this fall, excited to be part of the Clemson Family and eager to prepare for lives of significance in our rapidly changing world.
This fall, we also celebrate the incredible generosity of Billy and Ann Powers.
Their gift of $60 million, the largest in Clemson’s history, will transform the future of our College of Business — now the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. The significance of a gift like this cannot be overstated; it will further elevate our College of Business toward national prominence. Billy and Ann have lived lives of generosity, and we are grateful that Clemson is an institution in which they have chosen to invest. You can read more about the Powers family and their incredible commitment to helping others beginning on page 28.
This fall will be a very different one on campus, and every member of the Clemson Family — students, faculty, staff and alumni — has a critical role to play in making this a successful year both in and out of the classroom.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for every member of our community to do their part to mitigate the spread of this virus, especially among those most vulnerable. It’s a time when we need to publicly demonstrate that a family takes care of its own. By being united as Tigers, we will emerge from this pandemic strong.
Thank you for all you do as part of the Clemson Family to help keep
Clemson moving forward. 

The Resilient Clemson Family

AS I WRITE THIS, OUR CAMPUSES ARE QUIET, as they have been since late March when all classes first moved online as result of the coronavirus pandemic. Summer classes remain online, and events have been canceled as we continue to deal with the broad and deep impact of this crisis.
But don’t mistake the quiet for a lack of energy and activity on the part of the University. In fact, never in my 31 years in higher education have I been part of a more dedicated or focused effort to deliver on our commitment to provide a world-class education and to be of service to our state and the nation.
Across the University, our faculty and staff have been tireless in their work to return to on-campus instruction in the fall. Not only are we focused on returning to the type of residential college experience that sets Clemson apart but also on doing it in a way that provides the safest environment possible for our students, employees and communities.
The University, and the Clemson Family, are a resilient bunch, and that resiliency was instrumental in getting us through the spring semester. I am confident that we can — and will — continue to make the adjustments necessary so that Clemson emerges from the pandemic strong and ready to tackle the future.
This issue of Clemson World provides a few examples of the very best aspects of the Clemson spirit at work during these unprecedented times.
There’s the inspiring message from May 2020 graduate Thomas Marshall III to his classmates; a story on the innovation of engineering faculty member Fadi Abdeljawad, who turned a kitchen wall into a giant whiteboard as an online teaching tool; and stories about Clemson alumni stepping up to help others in this time of great need.
As members of the Clemson Family, you know that there really is something special in these hills. Part of it is an undefinable but very real sense of belonging to something larger than any one of us.
A large part of it, I am convinced, rests in the shared core values that we try to live every day: honesty, integrity and respect. They’re not just words at Clemson, as our continued response to the coronavirus pandemic has proven time and again in recent months.
Thanks to each of you for helping keep Clemson strong. I can’t wait until the time comes when we can all be together again.

James P. Clements
President, Clemson University

Making the World a Better Place

President ClementsIt’s a new year at Clemson, and as always, I’m amazed by the many talents and accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students and alumni. If there is one trait that seems to encompass them as a whole, it is this: a strong commitment to making the world a better place.

In this issue of Clemson World, you’ll read a moving story about a nontraditional student, whose research was motivated by her own children’s rare genetic disease. You’ll learn about our partnership with Prisma Health, and how our faculty members provided the research backbone that allowed Prisma to expand a program to treat babies born with opioid dependency.

You’ll also get to meet some of the unsung heroes of Clemson — photographers who translate the people and places of the University into images that inspire and amuse us, and who bring back memories of our own experiences in this place that we call home. You may even gain some tips you can use in your own photography as they share some of their favorite shots.

I hope that as you read these stories and flip through these photos, you’ll be reminded of the friends you made, the professors who inspired you, and the memories that keep you connected to Clemson University.

As always, it’s a great time to be a Tiger!

Go Tigers!

James P. Clements

A Campus of Overachievers

President James ClementsMany of us love to quote Dabo Swinney as he refers to “little old Clemson.” It’s a way of describing Clemson as a community that accomplishes a whole lot more than some, not familiar with our University, expect. This has been true of our football team, our faculty and staff, our students, and our alumni.

In this issue, you can read stories that illustrate that theme: Dallas Glass ’03, an avalanche forecaster and mountain guide who leads groups up the tallest mountains in the world — a far cry from the rural Alabaman landscape of his childhood. Alumni who have found and followed their passion for craft brewing, launching successful businesses and breweries. Rhondda Thomas, the Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature who has shed light on the formerly untold stories of the African Americans who contributed to the development of Clemson from 1825 to the present.

Also included in this issue is a holiday gift guide, featuring products crafted and created by Clemson alumni. I think you’ll be amazed at the creativity and determination that is on display among our alumni around the country.

All of these stories make up the larger Clemson story — and that is one of collaboration, resourcefulness and tenacity, fueled with a passion for leading lives of significance and creating a better world for all of us.

Clemson continues to amaze and impress me every day as I hear the stories of the people who make up this institution.

Please keep sharing your Clemson stories with us.

Go Tigers!