Indigo Pine finishes strong

Congratulations to the Clemson team for their amazing performance in this year’s Solar Decathlon, held in October in Irvine, California. They finished sixth overall among a global field, ranking second in both the architecture and communications sections and third in the market appeal section of the competition.
Indigo Pine, the Clemson team’s house, was made possible by scores of sponsors and donors whose contributions included time, knowledge, money and materials. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Solar Decathlon challenges 20 colleges and universities to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

For more about the Indigo Pine project and the many donors who made it possible, as well as videos about the process, go to

A vision with no boundaries

Fisk works with students in the Pearce Center.

Fisk works with students in the Pearce Center.

It began in the 1980s when Robert Roy Pearce ’41 developed a belief that colleges should improve the writing and communication skills of students from all majors. As a Clemson alumnus who came from a long line of successful businessmen, Pearce decided to craft a plan designed to strengthen Tigers’ communication skills. So in 1989, Roy and wife, Margery “Marnie” Pearce, donated $1.5 million to Clemson to endow the Roy and Marnie Pearce Center for Professional Communication.
When Pearce and the other members of the Class of 1941 celebrated their 60th anniversary, they provided the University with a million-dollar gift to fund the construction of the Class of 1941 Studio, which opened its doors in Daniel Hall in 2004 and became the home of the Pearce Center.
The center has three signature initiatives — the Writing Fellows Program, the Internship Program and the Client-Based Program — all of which are designed to integrate students into real-world situations.
The Writing Fellows Program was formed through a collaboration between the Pearce Center and the Honors College. Writing Fellows mentor and provide peer editing for other students.
In the Internship Program, students immerse themselves in the world of professional communication and work on many long-term projects including writing, editing, video production and graphic design.
The Client-Based Program was started in 2003 by the late Summer Smith Taylor, whose goal was to give students the opportunity to practice what they are learning in the classroom. Students assist with client projects ranging from website development and social media plans to rebranding. “The program matches classes to clients who need deliverables,” said Ashley Fisk, assistant director of the Pearce Center and director of the Client-Based Program.
The center has made an impact on Clemson as a whole by contributing to the University’s efforts to teach writing across the curriculum, for which the University has been recognized by U.S.News & World Report. The 2016 ranking places Clemson among recognized schools such as Brown, Harvard and Duke.
[pullquote]The Pearces will always be remembered for their support, generosity and dedication to student success.[/pullquote] Along with improving the communication skills of Clemson students, the couple established the Dr. R. Roy Pearce HD ’41 & Margery W. Pearce Library Endowment and provided funding for student scholarships.
Due to their generosity, the Pearces were inducted last fall into the Fort Hill Legacy Society, which honors donors posthumously for leaving $1 million or more to the University in their estate plans. A ceremony dedicating a bronze leaf in the Pearces’ memory was held as part of the annual Legacy Day celebration. The leaves are placed under the Second Century Oak, which stands at Fort Hill on the historic site of the Trustee Oak and the University’s first Board of Trustees meeting.
For more information about how you can include Clemson in your estate plan, contact Jovanna King at or 864-656-0663, or go to

Spiro Founder Society pledges $1.7 million challenge

A group of successful alumni entrepreneurs from a range of industries and academic disciplines have united to form the Spiro Founder Society. Collectively, they are offering a $1.7 million dollar challenge pledge to the University’s Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership to inspire the next generation of Clemson entrepreneurs.
The challenge pledge offers to match, up to $1.7 million, all donations made to the Spiro Institute that will enhance education, outreach and research in this field.
Founded in 1994, the Spiro Institute provides an educational and research program in entrepreneurship that contributes to the economic development of the region, state and nation. The focus is on wealth creation through entrepreneurial activity.
“Rather than disparate initiatives isolated in individual colleges or even majors, we believe that one funded institute serving Clemson as a whole will leverage the energy and money to the fullest potential,” said Greg Smith, president of Blue Vista Ventures and leader of the effort to form the Spiro Founder Society. “It is also helpful to consolidate our many efforts across campus so that anyone seeking to participate knows where to go to ‘plug-in’ or get help.”
The Spiro Founder Society will support ongoing Spiro Institute initiatives across campus such as undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship courses, Creative Inquiry projects for launching start-up companies, a living-learning community and two speaker series.

Tiger Band Association adds to endowment

Pictured are (from front left) Richard Goodstein, dean, College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities; Tom Waldrop, CUTBA president; Drew Bismack, Tiger Band member and CUTBA student board member; Brian O’Rourke; associate vice president, University Advancement; and Mark Spede, Tiger Band director; (back left) Tony Stapleton, CUTBA founding member; Larry Sloan, CUTBA founder; LaRon Stewart, CUTBA board member; Walter Betsell, CUTBA board member.

Pictured are (from front left) Richard Goodstein, dean, College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities; Tom Waldrop, CUTBA president; Drew Bismack, Tiger Band member and CUTBA student board member; Brian O’Rourke; associate vice president, University Advancement; and Mark Spede, Tiger Band director; (back left) Tony Stapleton, CUTBA founding member; Larry Sloan, CUTBA founder; LaRon Stewart, CUTBA board member; Walter Betsell, CUTBA board member.

The band that shakes the Southland has a backup group like no other.

The Clemson University Tiger Band Association (CUTBA) has once again made its annual gift to the Clemson University Tiger Band Association Scholarship Award Program, this time with a $24,000 check to the endowment.
Established in 1987, the fund has received more than $800,000 from CUTBA. CUTBA uses the money to support Tiger Band members primarily with annual scholarships and award recognition, but in other ways as well, such as providing breakfast for band members before noon football games and providing fourth-year members with Tiger Band watches, which have become treasured mementos for outgoing seniors. Last year, CUTBA created academic regalia for the band students to wear during graduation ceremonies.

AIG establishes center, endows professorship

Bruce Clarke, global engineering training manager for AIG Global Property, conducts fire systems training at Clemson’s Advanced Materials Research Center. AIG engineers from South Africa, India, Australia, Brazil, England, Germany and the U.S. participated in the first class held as part of a newly established AIG-Clemson collaboration. AIG has invested $4 million to establish a Risk Engineering and Analytics Center and endow the Robert Benmosche Professorship in honor of the company’s former president and CEO.

Making it Official: Two Named Honorary Alumni

There are people you meet who give every indication of being Clemson alumni. Loyalty, enthusiasm and dedication to all things orange seem to radiate from them. Bobby Couch Jr. and John Komo are those type of people. This past fall, the Alumni Association made it official by bestowing on them the title of “Honorary Alumnus.”
Couch, who came to Clemson in 2005 as assistant director of athletics and IPTAY’s executive director of major gifts, responded, “From the day that Brian O’Rourke [associate vice president for advancement] brought my family and me here, the Clemson family has wrapped its arms around us and never let go. I work and live every day to return that passion I feel exuding from the hearts of all that are Solid Orange.”
Since then, he has led the athletic department through its first-ever $28 million and $185 million fundraising campaigns, secured the largest major and planned athletics gift in Clemson history and funded the restoration of the “Heisman Bible.” As current associate athletic director for development for athletics and director of IPTAY major gifts, Couch manages a portfolio of 150 prospective donors and makes 200 visits per year.
“For many years, Bobby has served as a tireless ambassador of the University, and he has demonstrated the passion and dedication to see Clemson achieve its goals that are usually only found among our alumni,” said Wil Brasington, alumni relations senior director. “Because of that, we felt it was only fitting to express our appreciation through this high distinction and, in doing so, we declare him ‘one of our own,’ a Clemson alumnus.”

John Komo served as a professor in the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for 34 years before retiring and is credited with helping students succeed in life as well as in the classroom.
“It’s wonderful to be recognized, but for me, it’s always been about providing the best education for the students,” Komo said when he received the honor. “That was always my favorite part of the job.”
Komo, who still lives in Clemson, established an endowed fellowship in 2007 for graduate students in 
his department. Many of his former students and colleagues have given to the fund in recognition of him as a teacher, mentor and friend.
“Over the past 21 years, it has been consistently apparent to me that the University and Clemson’s students have had a rare friend and treasure in Dr. Komo,” said Dan Noneaker, chair of the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Many Clemson ECE graduates who have gone on to high-impact engineering careers attribute their success in no small measure to Dr. Komo’s commitment to their development as engineering professionals.”
Honorary alumni are selected by the Alumni Association Honors and Awards Committee for outstanding service, lifelong devotion and loyalty to the University or the Alumni Association.

Alumni Club News

Pictured: Jacksonville Club leadership (l-r), in front of the San Marco Theatre: Ashley Helmick ‘11, president; Hannah Esposito ‘11, community relations director; Jon Storck ‘99, secretary; Megan Storck; and Brandon Beck ‘01, vice president.

Pictured: Jacksonville Club leadership (l-r), in front of the San Marco Theatre: Ashley Helmick ‘11, president; Hannah Esposito ‘11, community relations director; Jon Storck ‘99, secretary; Megan Storck; and Brandon Beck ‘01,
vice president.

Clemson Clubs around the country — and beyond — have been busy this fall. We’ve received updates from groups as close as York, South Carolina, and as far away as London.
Members of the Jacksonville Club wanted to gather to cheer on the Tigers against Appalachian State. They were looking for a place to get together, share some food and watch on a big screen. The San Marco Theatre, an art deco, eat-in movie theatre, filled the bill and even posted “Go Tigers” on the marquis. Approximately 40 folks attended; club president Ashley Helmick ’11 reports that about 70 percent were new faces.
The York County Club hosted approximately 300 for a send-off party last fall, celebrating 80 students as they headed off to Clemson for the year. You can view a drone video of that event by going to and clicking on “Lifelong Tigers.”
In Louisville, Tigers gathered to tailgate at Churchill Downs before heading to the stadium to cheer on the team. And in London, a group of Clemson alumni are beginning the process of forming a Clemson Club.
Farragut TNAugust Cookout #1
In Farragut, Tennessee, Van and Ashley Jones, along with Bryan and Jeanette Fuller, hosted more than 50 Clemson alumni and fans at their home in early August.

The Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Clemson Club has had a number of activities this fall, including their annual Crab Fest, “Six Degrees of Clemson Professional Networking,” a reception at the Slovenian Embassy, and “An Insider’s Look” into the Clemson admission process. For more photos of their events, go to
Are you looking for a Clemson Club in your area? Go to and click on 
“Get Involved” or email Bubba Britton at

Proudly Clemson, even in Tuscaloosa

This group of alumni might have been at ESPN’s “College GameDay” in Alabama, but Mark Johnson, Hope Burley, Morgan Eriksson, Leslie Olson, Bates Nunamaker, Allen Phillips and Will Hewston were wearing their orange and purple, sporting their rings and hoisting the Clemson flag. If you’re planning on being at a game that’s been designated as ESPN “College GameDay,” and you want to help #FlyTheFlag, email

Five Named to Alumni Board

Five new members have been named to the 23-member Alumni Association Board of Directors. The board is responsible for general oversight, financial audit and review, governing policies and strategic planning.

Joni Byars ’07 of Greenville is a U.S. Army veteran working for the Department of Veterans Affairs at the Greenville VA Clinic, where she is housing manager for the Homeless Veterans Program. She is a founding member of the Dorchester County Clemson Club, where she served as president and 
vice president.
Shaun Cranford ’03 of Columbia is an attorney with the Cranford Law Firm and represents homeowners’ associations in North and South Carolina. He is former president of the Columbia Clemson Club and a recipient of the Roaring 10 Award.
Mike Hamilton ’85, M ’88 of Franklin, Tennessee, is executive director of Show Hope, a nonprofit founded to care and advocate for orphans worldwide. He is past president of the Tampa Bay Clemson Club.
Eric Thome ’00 of Charleston is owner/operator of Folbot, a manufacturer of folding kayaks. He is also a member of the Charleston Clemson Club.
Barbara Walker Webb ’89 of Neeses is a compliance consultant for Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, Columbia. She is past president of the Edisto Clemson Club. A volunteer for the S.C. Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, she has served as walk chair, co-chair and walk committee member for the Columbia Area Out of the Darkness Community Walk.

Put a Ring on it

Morgann Alcumbrack, Fleming Hall and Mary Catherine Harbin were three of the more than 1,700 students who purchased their Clemson rings this past fall. The three-day fall ring sale set a record for the most rings ever purchased in a semester.
For more information about how you can purchase a Clemson ring, or other related merchandise, go to