Klaine Fellowship Recipient Focusing on Roadside Waterways

Stephen Klaine was a professor in the Clemson Department of Biological Sciences and a member of the environmental toxicology graduate program for 24 years. He was an internationally recognized environmental toxicologist with a legacy of devotion to teaching and mentoring until he passed away in 2016. Colleagues and friends of Klaine honored his contributions to biological sciences by establishing a fellowship in his memory.

In 2021, Stephanie LaPlaca, a graduate student in the College of Science, is the first recipient of the Dr. Stephen Klaine Annual Memorial Fellowship.

“Receiving the Klaine Fellowship is a huge honor. Although I never got the chance to meet Dr. Klaine, I’ve heard so many wonderful things about him through other students and faculty at Clemson. His legacy is inspiring,” said LaPlaca, a fourth-year Ph.D. student from Virginia in the Department of Biological Sciences’ environmental toxicology program.

LaPlaca’s research focuses on the toxicity of crumb rubber particles to aquatic organisms. As tires wear, they leave tiny particles of rubber on the roadways. When it rains, those particles wash into creeks, streams and lakes. Understanding how crumb rubber affects aquatic organisms can inform stormwater regulators on how to best manage road runoff and help consumers make more eco-friendly choices to reduce their impact.

LaPlaca and Peter van den Hurk, her academic adviser, published a paper in the journal Ecotoxicology last April.

“It’s quite impressive for a student to have a publication out of doctoral research in their third year.” said van den Hurk, who coordinates the environmental toxicology program. “Steve was very science-oriented, but he was also oriented toward translating science to applications in the real world. As environmental scientists, we help society address environmental problems. Steve advocated that. I think Stephanie fits that picture very well.”

A Heart for Helping Others

It only takes a spark to light a flame. Jessica Taylor Weitz is a testament to that. A lifelong competitive swimmer, Jessica’s experience working with special-needs children in the pool during college has led her to take an interest in the ClemsonLIFE program. Her parents, Jonathan Weitz ’90 and Lisa Weitz ’90, established the Jessica Taylor Weitz Endowment for ClemsonLIFE in honor of Jessica’s passions.

Jessica first began working with special-needs children as a student and swimmer at Tulane University. She often took time out of her intense training schedule to help students learn the joys of swimming. Whether they were dipping their toes in the water or swimming laps unassisted, Jessica was there to help every step of the way. It was during these moments that Jessica found her passion to help those with intellectual disabilities.

The ClemsonLIFE program, in a similar way, acts as a helping hand for its students. The program offers an on-campus collegiate experience that prepares young people with intellectual disabilities for competitive employment and independent living through a combination of academic coursework and career exploration. With around 40 students in the program, ClemsonLIFE acts as a catalyst for personal growth, teaching lessons that many of us take for granted. Students learn functional mathematics and literacy, independent living skills, health and wellness, and self-advocacy. A day’s lesson may also include proper texting etiquette, grocery shopping or hosting a party. These practical skills allow students to live independent, joyful lives.

Because of this, ClemsonLIFE students have a 44 percent independent living rate and an 84 percent current employment rate, compared to national rates of 21 percent and 14 percent, respectively. 

Because of Jessica Weitz’s charitable spirit and her parents’ philanthropy, ClemsonLIFE students will be able to continue to experience this outstanding program. 

A New Home With a Name

 

Last year, the Clemson Softball team, in their inaugural season that was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, finished 19-8 overall and 5-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. This year, they started their highly anticipated second season in the newly named McWhorter Stadium, thanks to the generosity of Stuart McWhorter ’91 and Leigh Anne Hendrix McWhorter of Nashville, Tennessee, who pledged a Cornerstone Gift of $2.5 million to IPTAY in support of the softball program.

“We are so grateful to Stuart, Leigh Anne and their entire family for their generous commitment to Clemson Athletics and the softball program,” said President Jim Clements. “We are excited about the direction of the program and are thankful to the McWhorters for becoming Cornerstone Partners and being such a significant part of the foundation of softball at Clemson.”

Adjacent to the baseball facilities, McWhorter Stadium features 1,000 fixed chairback seats in addition to berm seating. The facility also includes a team clubhouse with more than 12,000 square feet of space that houses a team lounge, locker room, sports medicine room, equipment room and coaches’ offices. It includes a press box with three broadcast booths and a videoboard and also houses locker rooms for the coaches, umpires and visiting teams. In its inaugural season in 2020, the softball program averaged 1,544 fans per game, ranking first in the Atlantic Coast Conference in attendance and fifth nationally. 

“We have the utmost sense of gratitude, pride and appreciation for the opportunity to come to work, practice and play in a facility as nice as ours each and every day. Our facility demonstrates the high level of support and resources that IPTAY and the McWhorter family have provided our young program,” said Clemson Softball head coach John Rittman. “Our first-class facility gives our student-athletes, coaches and support staff all of the tools necessary to be successful. On behalf of our players and staff, we are truly appreciative of all of the generous IPTAY members who have donated their time and money in order for us to be able to call this facility our home.”

Stuart McWhorter has supported Clemson University since he was a student and served as the Tiger mascot from 1987 to 1990. Since then, he and Leigh Anne have given generously to Universitywide initiatives in both athletics and academics.

Stuart and Leigh Anne are distinguished members of Clemson’s Cumulative Giving Society and the President’s Leadership Circle. Stuart was a founding member of the Leadership Committee for the University’s 10-year capital campaign, The Will to Lead, and he served on the Clemson Athletics Tiger Pride Capital Campaign Cabinet.

Stuart was previously a member of the Clemson University Foundation Board, and he and Leigh Anne are members of the Founder Society for the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Stuart has also shared his success with his alma mater when he served as an executive-in-residence, focusing on Clemson’s entrepreneurship and economic engagement efforts.

Stuart and Leigh Anne live in Nashville with their five children: Clayton, a first-year student at Clemson, Thomas, Caroline, Marleigh and Layla.

As Clemson’s softball program sits near the top of the ACC in its second season, the extraordinary generosity of Stuart and Leigh Anne has provided Clemson Softball with a strong foundation and given Tiger fans plenty to cheer about. 

College of Education Honors and Mourns Chip Jackson

Calvin “Chip” Jackson, devoted supporter of the College of Education and longtime educational and civic leader in South Carolina, was named the second recipient of the Distinguished Friend of the College of Education Award. The award is given to honor an individual, partner or program that has provided significant support over time to the college.

Unfortunately, Jackson died August 7, 2020, at the age of 64, before the presentation could take place.

Jackson first served as president of the External Advisory Board for Clemson’s College of Health, Education and Human Development, where he helped navigate the founding of the College of Education as it emerged from HEHD to become a standalone college. He served on the search committee for the founding dean and became chair of the college’s inaugural Senior Advisory Board.

“His voice, calm and steady, was a reassuring rudder as the college formed and evolved, and his leadership was critical in re-centering the college as a vital player in education in South Carolina,” said Founding Dean George J. Petersen. “We will always be grateful for his contributions to our efforts to transform education.”

Jackson served in staff and leadership positions at several South Carolina colleges and universities as well as the South Carolina After-School Alliance and the South Carolina Department of Education, where he served as deputy superintendent.

Jackson is survived by his wife, Patricia; his children, Cass Jackson Smith ’05 and Regis Jackson ’10, and their families; his mother, Willie Mae Farley Jackson; and his extended family and friends.

Order of the Oak: Clemson Announces Philanthropic Ambassadors

More than 100 years ago, under a majestic oak tree on the grounds of Fort Hill, Thomas Green Clemson met with the original trustees in whom he entrusted his vision for a high seminary of learning. With one small meeting and one big idea, Clemson College was established. 

Inspired by that moment, the Clemson University Foundation has established the Order of the Oak, ambassadors who will provide wisdom, guidance and momentum as the University charges forward into the 21st century. “It is an honor and privilege to serve as a founding member of the Order of the Oak,” said Gerald Glenn, who will serve as chair of Order of the Oak. “It will be our task to work with University leadership to move Clemson forward, well-prepared to take on global initiatives.”

The founding members will aid the University’s fundraising efforts and provide leadership in philanthropic giving. They will collaborate with the Development and Alumni Relations division of the University and the CUF Fiduciary Board. “The CUF Board of Directors understood the tremendous opportunity to grow philanthropic support for Clemson, and with its restructuring, embraced the creation of the Order of the Oak,” said Ken Smith, chair of the CUF Board of Directors. “Driven by the leadership of many of Clemson’s most trusted supporters and advocates, the Order of the Oak will help enable Clemson to meet the needs and challenges of the future.”

The University’s designated fundraising goals will help guide the Order’s mission and strategy. Founding members will be announced in January 2021.

Finding Inspiration Close to Home

 

Brian ’98 and Jaime Reynolds support ClemsonLIFE to honor her half brother

 

Jaime Reynolds didn’t have to look very far to find inspiration for her generous spirit. She grew up in a family where selfless generosity was present every day.

Jaime and her husband, Brian’98, have chosen to support the ClemsonLIFE (Learning Is For Everyone) program in honor of Jaime’s half brother, Ryan. At a young age, Ryan was diagnosed with Dandy-Walker syndrome, a cognitive brain malformation that can cause severe physical and developmental delays. Despite his disability, Ryan overcame many hardships and eventually earned an associate degree. He learned life skills at home with the help and dedication of his parents. Their sacrifice, and Ryan’s determined efforts, inspired Jaime and Brian to give to ClemsonLIFE so that others can have the opportunity to learn important life skills in an encouraging environment.

ClemsonLIFE is a postsecondary on-campus education program with the specific purpose of helping young adults with intellectual disabilities obtain the life skills necessary to gain employment and live independently. The program provides students with a specialized education the opportunity to be part of an accepting community as true members of the Clemson Family.

The students of ClemsonLIFE contribute to the overall Clemson experience for traditional students across campus who volunteer with the program. They demonstrate that intellectual disabilities should not be a barrier for living life to its fullest — or to having the benefit of a true college experience. Today, ClemsonLIFE is seen as a national model for collegiate programs that serve students with intellectual disabilities.

Jaime says, “ClemsonLIFE is helping individuals with disabilities learn to provide for themselves and have confidence and structure in life. Not many colleges have a program like this, and we feel it’s important that everyone in life is given a chance, despite their background or intellectual abilities. Clemson has made sure that these students feel valued and loved by everyone around them.”

Most people might assume donors who leave their mark on a University through the gift of endowments are well-established and possibly retired from successful careers. But Brian and Jaime are mid-way through their professional journeys.

“We are working-class people who just want to help in any way we can,” Jaime says of their gifts, which established The Brian J. Reynolds ’98 Endowment for ClemsonLIFE and The Jaime Reynolds Endowment for ClemsonLIFE.

Brian and Jaime established future endowments by naming the University as a beneficiary of their life insurance policy, designating unrestricted support to ClemsonLIFE.

It was a Clemson connection that first brought Brian and Jaime together. While both were living in Orlando, they met through a mutual friend who recognized they each had strong ties to the University. Brian was a recent graduate of the computer science program. Jaime grew up in the Upstate and is a lifelong Tiger fan. Their connection to Clemson connected them to each other.

Brian and Jaime volunteered and actively took part in the Orlando Clemson Club while living in Florida, giving them the chance to share their passion with other members of the Clemson Family. They both served on the club’s board, and Jaime ultimately became president. When the couple moved to the Atlanta area and joined one of the largest Clemson Club chapters, Jaime continued her involvement, serving as the president of the Atlanta Clemson Club.

Today, in their Alpharetta, Georgia, home, Brian and Jaime are raising their 5-year-old son, Cooper, as a proud Clemson Tiger. The couple hopes that by establishing this future gift they will set a good example for their son and inspire the generosity of the Clemson community to do the same. Much like her half brother Ryan inspired Jaime and Brian to make a difference, it is their dream that others will follow their lead through gifts that will have an impact for others far into the future. 

Lost in the Crowd

 

David Burns ’86 lost his ring during the 1987 World Series celebrations in downtown Minneapolis. He tells the story of how it was found:

 

After I graduated from Clemson in May 1986, I started a job in Minneapolis, Minnesota, working for an insurance company.

In October 1987, the Minnesota Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals to become World Series champions. I was watching the game on TV with new friends, and at the end of the game, thousands of revelers descended on downtown Minneapolis to celebrate (it was a Sunday night), including me. During the celebration, I high-fived a random individual, and my class ring flew off my hand into the crowd that was estimated later at 100,000. I tried to find the ring on the ground that night, but it was impossible because of the crowd. I went back the next day to no avail and eventually posted a notice in the local paper and filed a police report for a missing personal possession.

Fourteen months went by, and I knew that I was going to have to replace the ring — for many reasons — but most importantly because it was a graduation gift from my parents. In December 1988, I came home to find a message on my home phone from a woman who said she had a Clemson class ring with my name inscribed on the inside; she said that if I could identify the year of graduation and my hometown, I could get it back. I called her back immediately and provided the necessary verification. She lived fairly close by in South Minneapolis and said I could come by her house to retrieve the ring. Twenty minutes later, I was knocking on her front door.

When I went to this woman’s house, I got my ring back. I told her that I had offered a reward, but she declined. She actually felt bad about how long it took her to get hold of me.

As the story goes, she told me that she found my ring on the ground on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis the morning after the World Series game when she was dropping off film at a photo studio (right where I lost it). She sheepishly admitted that my ring sat on her living room coffee table for 14 months. It was only until the night before I got it back, a friend of hers apparently strongly suggested that there must be a person looking for the ring and that she should make an attempt to identify the owner.

She went into the Minneapolis phone book and found my name. Once she decided to track me down, I had the ring back within two hours.

Luckily, my ring fits a little tighter these days, and it doesn’t fly off my finger anymore. I’m so glad to have it back, and I wear it all the time to this day!

 

Interested in donating a ring to the Alumni Association? Contact Randy Boatwright for more information at brandol@clemson.edu or 864-656-5671.

Norville Family Makes Transformational Gift to CECAS

Mitch and Carla Norville have been loyal supporters of Clemson since the 1980s. They have faithfully given back to the University they love, strengthening programs and initiatives in both academics and athletics. Throughout the years the Norvilles have been instrumental in helping Clemson and its students thrive.

Now, they are showing their support once again with a transformational $2.5 million gift to the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. With this, Mitch and Carla Norville became the eighth Cornerstone partner for the University and the first for CECAS.

Past contributions from the Norville family include a gift that created the Ernest R. Norville Endowed Chair in Biomedical Engineering, named in honor of Mitch Norville’s father, and significant contributions to IPTAY, including the Norville Family Gate at the West End Zone of Memorial Stadium.

Since the first degrees were granted in 1896, Clemson engineers and scientists have made significant contributions to our state, our nation and the world. Recognized as South Carolina’s leader in educating engineers, Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences places high priority on state-of-the art facilities, student scholarships and endowed professorships. The Norville family’s gift will go a long way toward making sure those priorities are met.

Focusing on the three areas as outlined by Dean Anand Gramopadhye, the gift provides flexibility and adaptability as the priorities evolve and change over the years, ensuring CECAS will continue preparing students to be intellectual leaders who can tackle tomorrow’s challenges.

Gramopadhye calls the Norvilles’ gift forward thinking: “As our first Academic Cornerstone partners, they are paving the way for others. Great talent, exceptional facilities and cutting-edge programming leading to impactful experiences are the three ingredients for success in academia. The Norvilles’ gift brings together all three.”

Mitch Norville graduated from Clemson in 1980 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He retired as chief operating offi-cer of Boston Properties and is the owner of Atlantic South Development Inc. His willingness to give back to his alma mater has resulted in leadership roles within the Clemson University Foundation, where he is the immediate past chair and continues to serve on the board of directors.

The Lessons of Nature

Quattlebaum CenterStudents have new opportunities to enjoy and learn about our surroundings

WHILE HE WAS A STUDENT in the Bridge to Clemson program, Andy Quattlebaum spent many happy hours at the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Complex. Along with an interest in wildlife conservation, Andy loved camping, rock climbing, boating and many of the activities that the complex offers.

When Andy passed away in 2019, his parents, Don and Hayden Quattlebaum, wanted to honor his memory in a way that would reflect his love for the great outdoors and also provide an expanded learning opportunity for future generations of University students. Their gift created the Andy Quattlebaum Outdoor Education Center on the grounds of the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Complex.

Blending with the natural beauty of its surroundings, the Quattlebaum Center reflects Clemson’s dedication to sustainability and preservation while focusing on education and leisure activities. As one of two facilities in the country to use southern yellow pine cross-laminated timber (material first tested by a Clemson Creative Inquiry group), the 16,500-square-foot Outdoor Education Center will serve as a national model for educational recreation and leisure space.  A patio and second-level deck offer commanding views of Lake Hartwell while a boathouse and equipment rental offer a more active lake experience. Dedicated multiuse classroom spaces provide room for trip planning and experiential learning.

The Quattlebaum Center houses the Clemson Outdoor Recreation and Education Program (CORE), which provides the Clemson community with a variety of outdoor adventure opportunities. Recreational trips and instructional programs are scheduled throughout the year and include backpacking, whitewater rafting, paddle boarding, kayaking, skiing and rock climbing. Trips are designed for every skill level, from beginner to advanced adventurer.

Created to be a destination that brings students together and connects them with outdoor recreation, activities provided at the Quattlebaum Center will place an emphasis on wellness, relaxation and experiences that promote physical, mental and emotional health.

The center also provides opportunity for student leadership. Clemson senior Katie Hansen says that serving as a CORE trip leader has been one of her most rewarding Clemson experiences. “Every mile or extra pound of gear in my backpack becomes infinitely worth the work when I see the empowerment and joy of the outdoors being shared,” said Hansen, who has led more than 20 trips with CORE. “We may only have these students for hours or days at a time, but the privileges of leadership, service and teaching are ones that we strive to make the most of each and every trip.”

Andy Quattlebaum’s love for Clemson came naturally. His father, Don, graduated in 1976, his grand-father in 1934 and his great-grandfather in 1909. His grandfather, Alexander McQueen Quattlebaum, was an engineering professor at Clemson and went on to serve on the board of trustees from 1958-74.

Now the Quattlebaums continue the family legacy of giving back to Clemson, as they become the University’s seventh Academic Cornerstone Partner with their $2.7 million gift. $500,000 will be used to support the Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science in Georgetown, along with support for Clemson students who work at the institute. But it is the creation of the campus outdoor education center named to honor the memory of their son that is especially meaningful to their family.

“It is our hope that this beautiful facility will help many others learn about, appreciate and love the outdoors as Andy did,” said Don Quattlebaum. “In this world where there is a growing concern for the environment and man’s place in it, the more that people can learn about the outdoors and participate in all that it has to offer, the better chance that they will make better choices in life about the world around us.”