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.

 

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.

 

Inspired to Lead

Since 2014, Clemson has been home to a first-in-the-nation program offering a Bachelor of Arts in women’s leadership. While other top universities offer a major in women’s and gender studies or a certificate program in leadership, Clemson’s program combines these in an interdisciplinary degree program designed to close the leadership gap for women.

The program recently received a major boost through a $500,000 gift from Georgia A. Callahan ’73, M ’77, with intentions of making additional contributions to achieve a $1 million investment over the next decade. The initial funds will be used to establish an endowed professorship and an unrestricted endowment for excellence. The endowments will bear the name of the donor, whose trailblazing career in government and business began here in Clemson.

After becoming the City of Clemson’s first community development director while in graduate school, Callahan spent the next dozen years working in the newly formed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in D.C., a job that resulted from her acceptance into Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Management Intern program. Over the next 24 years, she worked for Texaco in New York and Chevron in California.  During her tenure in the energy industry, she rose to the top, becoming one of a handful of women to achieve the rank of vice president. Her work focused on legislative and regulatory affairs, global policy and strategy, and environment and climate change. During her career, Callahan traveled to more than 100 countries across the world.

“Having Georgia Callahan as a benefactor and mentor has been invaluable,” said Diane Perpich, director of the women’s leadership program. “In fact, lessons from Callahan’s experience with program management were important in the development of our program.”

The students who benefit from these endowments will not have to look very far to see an exemplary role model of women’s leadership and accomplishment.

 

They Found Their Passion

The Stanzione family is a Clemson Family to the core. Robert J. “Bob” ’69 and Kaye Stanzione began their married life in Clemson housing, and all three of their children, Marie, Jennifer and Bobby, attended Clemson. But their passion for the University didn’t end with graduation.

The Stanziones have given back to Clemson for many years. Their most recent philanthropic endeavor is a $2.5 million gift to Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. The gift includes support for scholarships for CECAS students, unrestricted funds for the Dean’s Excellence Fund and faculty support to the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The funds will be crucial for the department’s recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and providing our students with unique experiences that will prepare them for their future.

Bob Stanzione put his own engineering degree to good use, eventually growing ARRIS International from a start-up company to the world market leader in cable networking products. He has an understanding and appreciation for the wide spectrum of career opportunities that mechanical engineering affords Clemson students. They create the products we use every day: automobiles, clothing, building products, aircraft and computers. Contributions from mechanical engineers benefit the world.

 

“We believe that education is the most powerful tool you can use to impact and transform your life.”

 

The couple’s support of Clemson includes Bob Stanzione’s role as a director of the Clemson University Foundation, including past-chair of the foundation’s investment committee, and his work as an ambassador for the foundation’s Order of the Oak. Kaye Stanzione is an active volunteer and serves on the ClemsonLIFE advisory board. In honor of their support to the College of Education and ClemsonLIFE, Bob and Kaye Stanzione were awarded the Distinguished Friends of the College Award in 2021 during the College of Education’s third annual awards celebration.

Kaye Stanzione says, “We really both strongly feel that education is so important. It’s not just what you learn in class. It’s what you learn about life. We believe that education is the most powerful tool you can use to impact and transform your life.”

The Stanziones’ support of Clemson, both to the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences and the College of Education, reflects their dedication and commitment to providing exceptional education and experiences to future generations. Bob Stanzione says, “I think we all share a belief that the investments we’re making in students and professors in the University facilities here are going to pay off in a multitude of ways.”

And the family tradition continues. This Fall, the Stanziones will have three grandchildren enrolled here at Clemson — Emma will be starting her senior year, and Owen and Alex will be first-year students.

 

The Power of Scholarships

 

It has been just over a year since Billy and Ann Powers made the largest gift in Clemson’s history to the College of Business, making a difference in the lives of Clemson students, faculty and staff. The Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business is garnering national recognition for innovative programming, collaborative partnerships, and outstanding learning opportunities both in the classroom and the workplace.

A portion of the Powers family’s gift created a flexible endowment to ensure that every deserving student has access to these amazing learning opportunities for generations to come. This year, funds from the endowment provided $60,000 in merit- and need-based awards to 30 business students.

Courtney Brunson is one of those students. The management major from Florence, South Carolina, plans to graduate in December 2022 and pursue a career in human resources. Brunson explains that becoming a Powers Scholar is an honor that relieves the financial pressure during those important final semesters of study. She says, “I am so grateful to receive this scholarship because my parents and I work very hard all year to be able to afford for me to go to Clemson.”

Her love for Clemson and the gratitude Brunson feels toward the Powers family have inspired her to give back someday when she is able. She plans to use her Clemson degree to impact her community by participating in the Clemson Alumni Association, where she hopes to encourage and promote education and professional development. She says, “I am so proud and happy to be a part of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. With this scholarship, I am determined to represent the College to the best of my ability through academic success and community service.”

 

Feeding a Growing State

 

McCall Farms makes $3 million gift to advance farming research

 

There are more than 25,000 farms across South Carolina, and farming is one of the state’s leading industries. It is also a primary focus of Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. To help South Carolina farmers remain competitive both nationally and globally, McCall Farms is supporting Clemson with $3 million for critical research, establishing the McCall Farms Vegetable Breeding Endowment.

This endowment will support and enhance the vegetable breeding program within the college, specifically as part of the Advanced Plant Technology program. The program uses genomics-assisted breeding to develop improved vegetable varieties for production in the Southern United States. The APT program involves a statewide network of researchers supporting crop breeding and genetics in the Clemson University Agricultural Experiment Station.

Current projects in the vegetable breeding program include improving heat tolerance in green beans and disease resistance in leafy greens, muskmelon and watermelon.

The program, led by Stephen Kresovich, the Robert and Lois Coker Trustees Endowed Chair of Genetics, has made significant advancements to both the intellectual and operational capabilities of the University in crop agriculture. Improvements have been made in upgrading the research facilities at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center as well as other research and education centers across the state. Meanwhile, Clemson has hired some of the best and brightest new faculty for research positions at the RECs as well as the main campus. Funds from the McCall endowment will provide continuing support to this and other important research, improve equipment, provide supplies, and fund technical personnel salaries and graduate student research assistantships.

“Our research helps the more than 25,000 farms located throughout South Carolina in a variety of areas, including specialty crops, responding to weather and environmental changes, modernizing technology and field practices, and managing invasive species,” says President Jim Clements. “I am incredibly grateful to McCall Farms and the Swink family for their generous support. This donation will make a tremendous impact on farming across the state and beyond.”

Located in Effingham, South Carolina, McCall Farms understands the need for crop diversification and catering to consumer tastes. They established a canning operation in 1954 and work with a network of farmers throughout the state. They have several national brands of fruits and vegetables that are staples in kitchens across the country. McCall Farms is owned by Henry Swink ’68 and Marion Swink ’72 and operated by Woody Swink ’00, McCall Swink ’98 and Thomas Hunter ’06 — all Clemson alumni.

“While South Carolina farmers are some of the most efficient and productive in the world,” says CAFLS Dean Keith Belli, “this partnership with McCall Farms will be a catalyst for CAFLS’ efforts to provide research, teaching and Extension programs that continue to support the state’s agriculture industry as we tackle the challenge of sustainably feeding a growing state and global population.”

 

 

Miller Family Becomes Newest Athletic Cornerstone Partner

 

The Westzone Club in Memorial Stadium has a new name. Lewis and Ree Miller of Spartanburg, South Carolina, recently gave a $2.5 million gift to Clemson Athletics, becoming the 16th Athletic Cornerstone Partners. In recognition of the Miller family’s donation, the WestZone Club in Memorial Stadium has been named the Lewis and Marie Miller Family WestZone Club.

“Clemson Athletics and IPTAY continue to remain leaders within intercollegiate athletics because of the extreme generosity of people like Lewis and Ree Miller,” says IPTAY CEO Davis Babb. “We are very appreciative of the commitment they have made to our student-athletes and our growing athletic program. Their gift will advance the initiatives within our athletic department providing a world-class student-athlete experience for our young men and women who wear the Paw.”

Lewis Miller earned his Bachelor of Science in industrial management from Clemson in 1971. As a student, he was actively involved in intramural sports and his fraternity, Kappa Sigma. He spent his career with the Southeastern Paper Group, where he began as a warehouse manager and worked his way to the role of CEO. Until being sold to NW Synergy in December 2020, Southeastern Paper was a third-generation family- and veteran-owned business headquartered in Spartanburg.

“As a Clemson alumnus, I take great pride in wearing the Tiger Paw and sharing the love of the Clemson Family,” says Miller. “We are honored to make this gift to Clemson in support of our talented student-athletes and all that they embody. Ree and I look forward to witnessing the continued success of current and future Tigers in all phases of their collegiate journeys.”

Ree Miller is a graduate of Winthrop University and is active in the Spartanburg community. Serving others is a priority for the Millers. They support the Hope Center for Children and Project Hope, which provides a lifespan of services for the autism community. Lewis Miller also sits on the board of directors for the Mountainview Nursing Home.

“We are grateful for the Miller Family and their unwavering support of Clemson athletics,” says former Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich. “Memorial Stadium is a special place on our campus. I am excited that their family will forever be a part of the facility with the naming of the Lewis and Marie Miller Family WestZone Club. Their gift will significantly impact our student-athletes for years to come, providing resources for them to be champions in competition and the classroom.”

 

 

Building for the Future

Pelhams’ longtime generosity supports Clemson’s School of Architecture and Emerging Scholars

In 1972, Clemson became one of the first architecture programs in the country to establish a satellite center in Europe. Since then, the Fluid Campus™ model with semester-long opportunities for students to study and gain greater understanding of architecture and urban cultures has gained international recognition.

That experience was life-changing for Bill Pelham, who graduated from Clemson in 1977 with a bachelor’s in pre-architecture and in 1981 with a master’s in architecture. In 1978, he spent a semester in Genoa, Italy, studying at Clemson’s Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies, an experience that influenced his worldview and inspired lifelong charitable giving. Pelham describes that time as eye-opening and confidence-building, as he navigated his way through Western Europe to sketch, study and admire what he calls “phenomenal architecture.”

Bill and Laura Pelham recently became Clemson’s newest Academic Cornerstone partners when they awarded the School of Architecture a gift of $3 million. With this donation, Bill and Laura Pelham hope to provide more experiences like his for talented architecture students.

The Pelhams have generously given back to Clemson and the School of Architecture over the years. Gifts totaling $2.8 million have been given through the Jean T. and Heyward G. Pelham Foundation to support the School of Architecture, the Clemson Architectural Foundation and other initiatives since 2007. This new gift supports two endowments established earlier, one for the director of the School of Architecture and one for the Foundation, providing unrestricted funding in perpetuity.

“I am so grateful to Bill and Laura Pelham for their generosity and their visionary leadership that will enable more students to pursue careers in architecture,” said President Jim Clements. “This gift will pave the way for students who may not have had the opportunity to study architecture otherwise. I believe that the best mix of the best minds produces the best outcomes, and Bill and Laura are helping us bring more of those top minds to our School of Architecture.”

Other projects supported through this gift include strengthening Clemson’s relationship with the Fine Arts Center in Greenville. Funding will provide need-based scholarships for talented students who attend the Fine Arts Center’s architectural program: “Art of Architecture.” These highly qualified graduates might not otherwise be able to pursue architectural studies while remaining in the state.

Additionally, the Pelhams’ gift will support an endowment for Emerging Scholars, establishing the architecture track for this program. The Emerging Scholars Program exposes students from the rural areas along the I-95 corridor in South Carolina to higher education, concentrating on academic preparation, leadership skills and the college application process. Students can stay on Clemson’s campus several times throughout the program, and program leaders work with students in their schools and community. Whether the students attend Clemson or not, the end goal is that they will graduate and pursue education beyond high school.

Pelham explains the motivation behind these focus areas: “I noticed in my freshman year that there were students who had chosen their majors and their university, but they had absolutely no idea what they were going to be studying. A lot of them transferred after the first semester because of that. The Fine Arts Center’s architecture program avoids that issue by exposing students to many aspects of an architectural education while in high school. And Emerging Scholars is a way of making students aware of other possibilities. There are few architects on the I-95 corridor, so it is a great way to give them insight into the profession. They can see that an undergraduate architecture degree is pretty good training for just about any profession.”

Clemson has always valued the impact a strong student experience can provide. It was life-changing for Bill Pelham, who along with Laura, has made giving back to others a priority. Now that same opportunity will be available for others to take forward and build upon.

 

 

Blazing the Trail

When Emily Peek Wallace ’72 arrived at Clemson as a math major in the fall of 1968, she was often the sole woman in her technical courses. Her strength and determination served her well academically and later as a successful businesswoman. Today, she is regarded as a pioneer in the software industry through her leadership role at Statistical Analysis System Institute.

Since graduating with a B.S. in mathematics, Wallace — a first-generation college graduate — has generously given back to the University, not only through donations and service on boards but also as a mentor and presenter to students. Now, she is giving a new gift of $1.25 million to establish the Emily Peek Wallace ’72 Endowed Directorship for the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.

Creating endowed faculty positions allows Clemson to recruit and retain top talent. As the first endowed faculty position at the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences in the College of Science, it provides support for the director and assists initiatives throughout the school. This is the largest gift ever given to the College of Science since its inception in 2016.

“I wanted to do something to help the faculty,” says Wallace. “Everybody has had to shift their teaching and learning methods due to COVID-19, and the faculty has additional challenges to make sure students are not getting behind and that they’re learning what they need to be learning. I wanted to provide encouragement and funding to help them and add additional resources to help students stay current.”

The gift includes tutoring assistance for students who may be struggling academically or who may have fallen behind due to unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, it aims to help establish business connections and internships for students who wish to enter the job force instead of going into academic research, and it makes training with current statistical software and other resources available for students regardless of their future tracks.

In the current academic year, 25 students are benefiting from the Wallace scholarships.

Wallace has dedicated much of her life to creating innovative opportunities for underrepresented scientists. In 2014, she established the Emily Peek Wallace ’72 Scholarship Endowment for S.T.E.M., which provides financial assistance for underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In addition to establishing the two endowments, she serves on the Clemson University Foundation Board of Directors and as a founding member of the Order of the Oak.

 

Jack McKenzie’s Solid Orange Legacy

Legacy Day at Clemson, a time to pause and celebrate the philanthropy that founded the University, feels like one of those traditions that has deep historical roots. You may not know that the celebration began not too long ago thanks to the efforts of an alumnus and longtime Clemson employee.

Jack McKenzie ’76 has led a life of service since he first set foot on Clemson’s campus as a student in 1972. His involvement in the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity was key to his development. Through his APO experience, McKenzie’s love for leadership, giving back and serving Clemson was born. But it was during his 40 years in a variety of roles as an employee that he became a Clemson legend.

Serving as the University’s internal communications manager, McKenzie began the practice of using strategic communications to promote the University. He continued to serve in leadership roles in Development and Alumni Relations. His work celebrating the legacy of our founders culminated in the establishment of Clemson traditions, including the Legacy Day celebration, the Fort Hill Legacy Society and the Clemson Legacy Society. Throughout his storied career, McKenzie’s love of Clemson has shined through.

McKenzie has continued his dedication to the University in retirement by establishing the Alpha Phi Gamma Lambda Chapter Endowment for Service Excellence. He says, “The endowment is a step toward ensuring that APO doesn’t have to spend time focusing on its own funding and can simply focus on providing leadership and friendship opportunities for students.” Additionally, in honor of McKenzie’s four decades of service to Clemson, gifts from friends and family helped establish the Alpha Phi Omega Jack A. McKenzie ’76 Leadership Endowment in 2016. This endowment provides travel grant-in-aid to students attending conferences on leadership or professional development.

Endowments ensure that leadership like McKenzie’s will continue into the next generation. It is fitting that the originator of Legacy Day at Clemson has established a solid orange legacy of his own through many years of dedication and hard work on behalf of our University.