Tom Wren ’91 and his family celebrated Clemson’s National Championship in Turks & Caicos this year.
IPTAY members Ben and Sandy Matranga show their Tiger spirt on their honeymoon in their over-the-water villas in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We are all in! Go Tigers!
When he learned he would be a recipient of the Annexstad Family Foundation’s Leaders for Tomorrow scholarship, Smith was both surprised and overjoyed. “I called my entire family,” Smith said, “and they got excited, too.”
His freshman year was one filled with Clemson moments, beginning the very first day. “My roommate is one of my friends from high school, and we spent the day walking around campus meeting new people. Without the Annexstad Family Foundation Scholarship, I wouldn’t be here right now having these moments,” he said.
In addition to campus activities, the scholarship is guiding the biochemistry major along the path to achieving his dreams of going into the medical field. Smith is currently considering both neurology and pharmacy and is thankful for the opportunity to do so.
Like Al and Cathy Annexstad, Smith isn’t letting his past hardships stop him from achieving his goals, and it’s important that those who face similar situations do the same.
“We are delighted that Clemson has chosen to partner with us,” noted co-founder Al Annexstad. “Young people like Xavier represent a huge reservoir of future leaders for the country. We wish him well.”
Stepping into the Art Cellar means being greeted with bold primary colors, pretty pastels, trinkets to take home and statement pieces to hang above mantels. It’s not just a place for artists to sell their wares, but also a home for art education and mentorship.
Lindsay Louise McPhail, the Art Cellar’s owner, wanted to be an artist and a teacher. She’s living the dream — just in a different venue than originally planned. These days you’ll find her in the back of the converted restaurant’s old kitchen in downtown Greenville throwing clay or teaching printmaking for ceramics. “I’ve always considered myself an artist,” she said. “I’ve always drawn and painted, and I’m always doing projects at home.”
After graduating from Clemson with a bachelor of fine arts in visual arts and working a few years, McPhail was planning to go through South Carolina’s Program for Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE) to go into a traditional K-12 classroom and teach art. But then an underground art gallery in downtown Greenville put up a “For Sale” sign. “I called the owner, and she said her husband was sick, and she could no longer care for him and the business,” she said.
McPhail acted fast. Without any formal business education, she quickly got together a deposit for the business, developed a business plan and dove into an adventure she’d never planned. “It’s hard to describe just how surreal it all feels. I just feel very lucky that I get to do art every day and pursue my passion.”
McPhail’s gallery was on South Main Street for two years before outgrowing the space and moving to North Main Street. Now across from Noma Square, she features more than 50 local artists in gallery space. In addition to offering monthly classes in painting or ceramics, McPhail’s business also houses three other artists-in-residence working in the studio.
The new space also gives artists more visibility than ever before with the new layout and the location, McPhail said.
“As an artist, the main thing you want is visibility, “she said. “Artists want to be working and creating in the studio. They may not have somewhere to display and sell, nor want to do it themselves. We provide that space downtown for them.”
What better way to grasp an understanding of economic policy than to rub shoulders with those who influence it at the highest levels of government? That was the mindset of the family of the late John Harris ’74 when they created an endowment that allows for senior economics majors to visit economic policymakers in Washington, D.C., each spring.
Fourteen College of Business students from the John E. Walker Department of Economics recently returned from the nation’s capital, where they met with high-level economists in government and think tanks as part of the Senior Seminar in Economics.
“The course is built around policy discussions and the economic policies of the current administration,” said Raymond “Skip” Sauer, an economics professor who accompanied students on the trip. “Students spent two days in Washington and met with some very influential policymakers, including some Clemson alums.”
Students met and asked questions of Mark Calabria, chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. In addition, the students visited the Federal Communications Commission where they met Craig Stroup, a senior economist at the FCC and a ’96 Ph.D. graduate of Clemson.
David Spearman said the trip to Washington gave him better insights into the day-to-day responsibilities of an economist. “You learn so much in class, but it’s not obvious what it’s going to look like when you apply it in a real-world setting,” he said. “It was also helpful getting advice from people working in the profession’s highest levels about things like what hard and soft skills they found beneficial in helping them succeed.”
The group also visited the Brookings Institution and had a meeting with Will Ensor ’15 who studied economics at Clemson and is a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. While at AEI, students attended a discussion, “Improving Economic Opportunity in America,” featuring renowned Stanford University economist Raj Chetty and Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors in the Obama administration.
“It’s fitting that the endowment John Harris’ family created would provide Clemson students with such a rich learning opportunity,” Sauer said. “John began his career in Washington as an analyst with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a self-sustaining government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets. He subsequently became deeply involved in South Carolina real estate investment and management. His own experience helped him perceive the opportunity for students to visit Washington and engage in policy discussions as a potential game-changer for their careers. This gift to generations of students is a great tribute to him and a life filled with major achievements.”
Returning to The Post and Courier newsroom in Charleston after having a child had Lauren Sausser feeling frazzled. Turns out the breakneck pace of motherhood helped her turn out her best reporting. Sausser was named the 2017 South Carolina Press Association Journalist of the Year for daily newspapers based on her collective work from the past year.
“I constantly had a cold she was bringing in from day care. This was my first child so it was all brand new to me,” she said. “It’s really validating that my peers recognized me. We celebrated with dinner that night, and I went back to work on Monday.”
Sausser got her start in the newsroom as a copy editor at The Tiger her senior year of undergraduate work. “I did it because they paid me $50 a week,” she said. After graduation, she moved home to Spartanburg and worked for The Spartanburg Herald-Journal, then on to Columbia University in New York, where she earned her master’s degree in journalism.
As a health care reporter, Sausser said she’s lucky to still have a very traditional newsroom job when across the country reporters are being asked not only to research, interview, write and report, but also to be social media savvy, as well as shoot video and photography.
“I love talking to people about what they’re passionate about,” she said. “There’s nothing more exciting than going into a lab somewhere and finding a scientist who can explain something in a way my mom can understand it.”
This past year’s reporting took Sausser into some long-term investigative pieces, including one about a woman from Oconee County who convinced people she had a baby she wanted to sell — but there was no baby.
Five months later, Sausser published a piece about heartless encounters with the so-called “mom” who duped many women into wanting this non-existent child. All the while, she was still churning out stories for the daily paper on misuse of funds by the Medical University of South Carolina Board of Trustees and showcasing stories from some of the 136,000 people who fall into the Affordable Care Act’s insurance gap.
“You work on it, you write it and then you go home,” she said. “It’s a nice pace. You put your work to bed when you leave. And who knows what’s going to happen the next day? There’s a big element of surprise in journalism.”
William H. “Bill” Pelham ’77, M ’81 has pledged gifts totaling $1.2 million through the Jean T. and Heyward G. Pelham Foundation to support the School of Architecture, the Clemson Architectural Foundation (CAF) and other initiatives.
These gifts bring the Pelham family’s total donations to Clemson to more than $2.8 million since 2007. The philanthropic Pelham Foundation was established in 2006 by Bill Pelham’s parents, Jean and Heyward Pelham. The Pelhams were strong advocates and supporters of education and the arts and very active in the Greenville community.
“Bill Pelham and his family have been tremendous supporters of Clemson’s academic mission for many years, and we are very appreciative of this latest generous gift,” said Clemson President Clements. “Bill has a passion for both the importance of study abroad programs and for further strengthening Clemson’s outstanding architecture program, and this gift reflects both of these important University priorities.”
The donation includes annual unrestricted gifts and endowments. The unrestricted gifts provide flexibility so that college leadership can be more nimble and responsive. The endowments will provide for lasting funding.
“We wanted some funds to be available now for immediate impact and the rest to be available every year, forever,” said Pelham.
“Bill Pelham and his family have been tremendous supporters of Clemson’s academic mission for many years, and we are very appreciative of this latest generous gift.”
Bill Pelham graduated from Clemson in 1977 with a B.A. in pre-architecture and in 1981 with a master’s in architecture. In 1978, he spent a semester studying in Genoa, Italy, at Clemson’s Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Study, an experience that has informed his worldview and inspired his charitable giving.
“By giving our students a global reach that prepares them to provide design leadership in a flat world, to be global practitioners and regional experts, to understand the unique opportunities of place and the wealth derived from cultural differences, Bill’s gift is truly transformational,” said Kate Schwennsen, director of the School of Architecture.
“Bill Pelham has served as a visionary force for excellence in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities,” said Dean Richard Goodstein. “While his focus is very much on the School of Architecture and the CAF, Bill has supported the college in many ways, most recently during Clemson’s Will to Lead capital campaign. We are truly grateful to Bill, his wife, Laura, and the Pelham family for their leadership and generosity to Clemson.”
The Edisto Clemson Club held their annual winter/spring meeting, “Paws and Celebrate,” where they celebrated Clemson’s football national championship. Staff and students from ClemsonLIFE attended and shared information about the program for students with intellectual disabilities who desire a postsecondary experience on a college campus. Bill Spiers gave an update about Clemson football. Spiers, a two-sport athlete at Clemson and former professional baseball player, has returned to finish his Clemson degree while working with the football program. The annual “Spirit of the Tiger Award” was presented to longtime IPTAY Rep and county chairman Kenneth Buck (pictured left).
On Saturday, April 29, Twin Cities Clemson Club members and their families cheered on the Twin Cities’ new Major League Soccer team, the Minnesota United FC. The team has a Clemson connection: Assistant Coach Ian Fuller ’10 is a former Clemson soccer player. Fuller played at Clemson between ’98 and ’01 and left early for the MLS Superdraft. In fact, the Twin Cities Clemson Club has four former soccer players including Fuller, and all were in attendance for the event. Club members had a fun day supporting Fuller and the Minnesota United and look forward to making it an annual event!
Do you have club news and photos? Send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include names and class years of those in the photos.
Paulette Evans’ work as senior project manager with Cone Health landed her on the 2017 list of the Triad Business Journal’s Forty under 40. Since August 2016, she’s led the development of Reinventing Care, a $160 million project that includes a new women’s and children’s facility for a North Carolina hospital system that serves six counties.
“It’s probably the most complex project the hospital has ever tackled,” said Evans. “We are really changing things up for the entire system. It feels good to know in the end that it will be worth it.”
The project, which is geared toward bringing women and children’s services to the main Cone Health campus in Greensboro, means the hospital will be able to accommodate about 6,200 births a year. The project also includes the Wesley Long Hospital and Operative Services with a new 10-room operating suite and a redesigned behavioral health services area.
“One thing that sticks out to me is what we’ll be able to do with robotics in the operating room,” she said about the project. “It’s a collaboration between what a human being and a machine can do. The new technologies that are being used are going to be amazing.”
Tackling an analytical career as an engineer was natural for Evans. Her father was an electrician and her mother taught math for 30 years. “In school science and math were my favorite subjects — all day, every day,” said Evans.
In 10th grade when a career assessment pegged her as being a future engineer or a litigator, the research she compiled gave her an answer of combining her parents’ passions to become an electrical engineer. A full scholarship to Clemson for the class valedictorian solidified her choice of becoming a Tiger over a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket.
Evans said looking back at her childhood, she has her parents to thank for the time they spent sharing the daily ins-and-outs of their own careers to set her up for success. “All the things I did growing up, all the conversations we had, they just stuck,” she said. “My dad would come home and debrief with us.
I spent a lot of time with him helping him with cars, and problem solving and trying to understand why things happen the way they happen. It just all pointed in the direction I needed to go.”
Mashrur “Ronnie” Chowdhury envisions a future in which car accidents will be reduced to virtually zero and drivers will travel down some of the state’s busiest roads without stopping for a single traffic light. And he says it could happen in as little as a decade, with the help of the new Center for Connected Multimodal Mobility that will be based out of Clemson, thanks to $1.4 million in startup financing from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Chowdhury, a civil engineering professor who is leading the center, said another $6.4 million in continued funding from the department over the next five years is highly possible.
It’s this type of research that earned Chowdhury the Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievements in Research, presented at the May faculty/staff meeting. Chowdhury is the Eugene Douglas Mays Professor of Transportation and professor of civil engineering, automotive engineering and computer science. The award is administered by the Office of University Research Grants Committee (URGC).
The new center brings together researchers from Clemson, Benedict College, the Citadel, South Carolina State University and the University of South Carolina to focus on improving the mobility of people and goods with a special focus on how the emerging “Internet of Things” applies to transportation.
Chowdhury expects that it will soon be standard for vehicles to wirelessly communicate with each other, pedestrians and infrastructure, such as traffic lights and roadside sensors, making travel safer and more comfortable.