Lindsays’ ‘Inspirational Generosity’ Supports College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences


For Ron ’80 and Jane ’80 Lindsay, giving back to the University, its students and the community is a large part of who they are.

The Lindsays mentor students through their church, opening their Lake Keowee home for student retreats. They are involved in providing financial-literacy counseling for people with long-term financial problems. Ron Lindsay supports the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences as a member and former chair of its advisory board. He was recognized for his service in 2016 when he received the college’s highest honor, induction into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists. He is also one of the original members of the Leadership Circle, a group of donors who provide unrestricted gifts to support student engagement, faculty advancement and academic opportunities that shape tomorrow’s leaders.

Their latest gift — $1 million to the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences to fund scholarships and professorships and to meet the college’s greatest needs — is built on that same spirit: “We’re giving money to the dean to have flexibility to do things he needs to do as needs arise,” Ron said.

Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the college, said the Lindsays’ gift will have a deep impact on students and faculty for years to come: 

“Their generosity is inspirational, and they are wonderful ambassadors for Clemson University,” Gramopadhye said. “By giving so freely of their time and treasure, they are an integral part of the college’s success.”

Ron grew up in North Augusta, South Carolina, and Jane is from Mount Pleasant. They met at Clemson, and both graduated with bachelor’s degrees — his in chemical engineering and hers in economic biology.

Ron Lindsay took a job with Eastman in Kingsport, Tennessee, immediately after graduation and stayed with the chemical company for 36 years before retiring in 2016 as chief operating officer. “Eastman benefited tremendously from Clemson engineering students,” he said. “We hired quite a few, and they were always very well-equipped.”

After retirement, the Lindsays moved to their lake home about 30 minutes from campus. The move put them closer to their three grown children — Ryan, Elizabeth and Lauren — and their 2-year-old granddaughter, Blake.

Nate Matzko, a biochemistry and genetics major from Irmo, South Carolina, said he met the Lindsays through church and that they have been a great support system when college gets stressful. “I’m not surprised they’re making the donation,” he said. “They are two of the most loving, generous people I’ve been able to come across.”

The Lindsays’ return to the Upstate gives them a chance to get to know the students and professors they are helping.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to give back,” Jane said, “and grateful that Clemson University brought Ron and me together when we were students.”

Phyfers Become Third Cornerstone Partner for Academics

Ben and Cheri Dunmore ’93, MBA ’99 Phyfer have given $2.5 million to support the College of Business and student scholarships. With this transformational gift, the Phyfers became the third Cornerstone Partner for Academics.

The Cornerstone program is made up of visionary individuals who commit funding of $2.5 million or more to help set the course for Clemson’s future as one of the nation’s top-ranked public universities. 

“This is a remarkable gift from a remarkable couple,” said Clemson President James P. Clements. “Cheri and Ben both have very successful careers in business, and their gift will help give Clemson students the education they need to start their own paths to success.”

THIS CORNERSTONE GIFT FOR ACADEMICS PROVIDE:  

  • $2 million for Phyfer Auditorium; it’s the largest gift to date for the new College of Business building.
  • $380,000 for the Phyfer Innovation Hub at Greenville ONE.
  • $120,000 for student scholarships.

“Clemson University is a significant part of our lives,” says Cheri Phyfer. “While we love Clemson football, academic success — particularly in the business school — is very important to us. We are excited to make this gift to help further the University’s business programs and impact the lives of students for years to come.”

The Phyfers have previously given to other initiatives including the Women’s Leadership Initiative, the College of Business Dean’s Excellence Fund, the WestZone project and several scholarships.

After graduating from Clemson, Cheri joined Sherwin-Williams, where she rose to become president and general manager of the consumer brands division. She joined Fortune Brands Global Plumbing Group as president of Moen U.S. in 2018. 

She was named to Clemson’s Board of Trustees in 2016 and is a former member of the Clemson University Foundation board and a past chair of the College of Business’ Trevillian Cabinet. 

Ben is a real estate investor/developer who has built properties in the Atlanta and Cleveland areas. He also serves on Clemson’s MBA executive board. The Phyfers live in the Cleveland area with their daughters, Allison and Danielle.

Scott Family Gift Will Help Recruit, Retain Top Students

Micky ’75 and Amy Scott know the vital role the forestry industry plays in South Carolina’s economic vitality and environmental health. 

The Scotts, with Micky’s brothers Bill and Hank, are fourth-generation owners of wholesale lumber and pole manufacturer Collum’s Lumber Products in Allendale, S.C. Collum’s was founded in the 1930s and has grown into one of the most advanced sawmill and planer operations in the Southeast. 

Now, the Scotts have given more than $1 million to the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences to create three endowments that will support the recruitment and retention of students in the college; provide enrichment opportunities to students in the forestry and environmental conservation department; and fund scholarships for students to participate in Forestry Summer Camp, a seven-week experiential learning curriculum to build skills essential to professional success in the forestry industry.

“That scholarship was one of the reasons I was able to stay in forestry.”

Dean Keith Belli said the Scotts’ gift will help the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences recruit and retain the best students and enhance the forestry curriculum with hands-on learning opportunities. Billy Fox, a veteran and junior forestry major from Wallkill, New York, is one of those students. Fox participated in the Forestry Summer Camp and said the experience honed his skills and opened his eyes to the array of careers in the forestry industry.

“I’m a hands-on learner, and I need to experience things for myself to learn them best,” Fox said. “I wouldn’t have been able to afford Forestry Summer Camp if it hadn’t been for scholarship money. That scholarship was one vof the reasons I was able to stay in forestry.” 

Micky Scott, whose bachelor’s degree is in forest management, is chair of Clemson’s Timberland Legacy Advisory Committee and a board member of the Wood Utilization + Design Institute.

An Unlikely Beginning for a Legacy

Marilyn Godbold’s life-changing gift began in an unlikely place — a meeting she attended as a guest.

Godbold’s affinity for Clemson began with her husband, Asa Godbold, who graduated from Clemson in 1969 with a degree in building construction. Asa Godbold was named to the Board of Visitors, and since spouses are routinely invited to the meetings, Marilyn attended every meeting with him. Though she had no prior connection to Clemson, she quickly fell in love with the University.

“Marilyn had never even set foot on campus until after we met,” Asa said. “She bought into everything Clemson and almost made me feel guilty over whether I was as involved as she was.”

At the final Board of Visitors meeting of Asa Godbold’s term, Marilyn sat in on a presentation about ClemsonLIFE and its goal of providing a postsecondary education to students with intellectual disabilities. On the way home, Marilyn immediately decided to change her will to make ClemsonLIFE a part of it.

“ClemsonLIFE resonated with everything she was as a person, and she wanted to make this program available to anyone who needed it,” said Asa.

Marilyn died in late 2017; her planned gift to ClemsonLIFE will provide grants and financial aid.

His wife’s generosity inspired Asa to continue giving himself by creating the Asa and Marilyn Godbold Clemson FIRST Grant-in-Aid, a scholarship for first-generation students.

“I have now given to Clemson for 49 consecutive years, and in one fell swoop, Marilyn gave more than I have ever given cumulatively,” he said. “I am hoping that between the two of us, we will keep Thomas Green Clemson’s will and vision alive forever.”

Rooks Honor Mentor and Friend

 

Ben Rook ’68, M ’74, the owner of Design Strategies in Greenville, has spent his career working on many different solutions to one question: “How can we make that happen?”

He and his wife, Becca, make things happen in many arenas: education, architecture, business and community-centered philanthropy. At Clemson, their latest gift of $100,000 will provide opportunities for architecture students by funding an endowment created in the name of mentor and friend George C. Means Jr.

Means established a health-focused studio in the School of Architecture at Clemson that has grown into today’s Architecture + Health graduate program. As the program celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Architecture + Health studio will officially carry the name of George C. Means Jr.

Ben said that when he first came to Clemson from Newberry, South Carolina, he had no idea what architecture really was. “I knew I liked making art, and I liked building treehouses,” he said, adding that Means had a gift for molding young people into “what they would be, even when they didn’t know what they could be.”

Ben graduated in 1968 and earned his master’s degree in 1974. In between degrees, he met his wife while working in Charlotte. After a long courtship, they married, with George Means as best man.

For a few years, Ben taught full time at Clemson and was an assistant campus planner. Becca educated younger students in Anderson and earned a master’s degree in education at Clemson. Ben’s career led them to Greenville, then to Charlotte and back to Greenville.

Ben wants people to remember that Means was a man with big ideas and an unparalleled devotion to students. Through the many lives he shaped over the years, Means’ influence traveled far beyond the studio that now bears his name.

The Rooks said they want their gift to the Means endowment to help keep Clemson a place where extraordinary teachers can deliver extra care and individual attention to each student. “That is what makes Clemson great,” Ben said.

Wood Utilization + Design Institute adds Katerra as founding member 

The California-based construction and technology services company Katerra has joined Clemson’s Wood Utilization + Design Institute as a founding member, giving $50,000 toward the institute’s mission of researching, educating and providing resources for industry stakeholders in a variety of disciplines to advance wood-based products.

“Clemson is delighted to have Katerra as one of its founding partners,” said Pat Layton, institute director. “The innovation they are bringing to the construction industry to set forward a path to increase efficiencies within building construction systems may provide a transformational change in how we build homes and communicate in the future.”

Hans-Erik Blomgren, Katerra’s director of testing and characterization, praised the institute for “bringing together diverse stakeholders to advance the wood products industry in South Carolina and throughout the Southeast,” and described his company’s collaboration with the institute as a way to “drive positive economic and environmental outcomes for end consumers, companies and students alike.”

The forest industry has a
$21 billion impact on the South Carolina economy. More than two thirds of land in the state —
12.9 million acres — is forested. Clemson’s Wood Utilization + Design Institute is strategically positioned to drive the development, demand and use of wood products and to address the industry’s needs for the next generation of talent. Researchers with the institute currently are testing cross-laminated timber to determine burn rates, wind resistance and structural load.

Sonoco Institute Announces New Partnership with Digimarc

The Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics welcomed worldwide content identification company Digimarc Corp. as a new corporate member. Digimarc supports research and development activities, stimulates educational opportunities and ensures cutting-edge laboratory infrastructure at the Sonoco Institute.

“Digimarc is proud to be a member of the Sonoco Institute,” said Scott Wilcox, vice president of client services at Digimarc. “We believe Digimarc Barcode will soon become an integral part of how consumer product packaging is conceived and designed, and we’re excited to be involved with a university where packaging innovation is the core focus.”

The membership program is a three-year commitment that includes benefits such as discounts on industry-aligned seminars and workshops, print testing and evaluation services, and an invitation to an annual members-only symposium. Member support allows the institute to provide professionally staffed and equipped research, development and demonstration facilities at Clemson; ensure top-quality seminars and workshops; host interdisciplinary networking and business development events; stimulate cutting-edge graduate student talent; and continually enhance student experiences.

“Digimarc Barcode is a transformational technology in retail and the consumer-packaged goods industry, and we’re excited to have Digimarc join us as a new member,” said Bobby Congdon, assistant director of the Sonoco Institute. “We know this partnership will bring unique value to our area of printing and packaging research and education as Digimarc continues to enhance methods for secure and efficient packaging.”

Deep Roots to Lasting Fruit

Tripp and Anne Jones’ tailgating tree isn’t the only thing that has grown over the years. 

Tripp and Anne Jones have been tailgating in the same spot at Clemson for a long time — long enough that they have watched a tree grow up alongside their children and grandchildren.

But the length of time they have been a part of the Clemson Family is just a small indication of their commitment to the University.

The couple’s story began on April 11, 1970, when they met on a blind date as Clemson students. Tripp graduated in 1971, and Anne finished in 1973. After getting married, the couple settled on Lake Murray near Columbia.

Tripp practiced as a medical oncologist until his retirement, and inspired by their experiences at Clemson, the couple decided to give back to their alma mater. At Anne’s suggestion, they designated their gift toward student scholarships, and because of Tripp’s degree in zoology, they reserved their scholarship for students from Lexington County who are studying biological sciences.

Anna Phillips is evidence of what the Joneses have done for Clemson. Phillips graduated in May as a biological sciences major with minors in microbiology and chemistry. “This scholarship has helped me pay for college,” Phillips said. “I’m going to dental school, and without this scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to do that. I’m really thankful.”

The Joneses gave out of gratitude for their Clemson experience. “I don’t feel like I could ever give enough back to Clemson for what it has done for us and for our family,” Tripp said. “We felt like we needed to do something to give back to Clemson because Clemson has meant so much to us.”

Emily Davison is another beneficiary of the Joneses’ gifts to Clemson. She is the first one of her siblings to attend college, and the financial aid made a big difference. “Debt was always in the back of my mind,” Davison said. “Anything helps, but especially receiving something from a doctor from the same area I’m from meant even more.”

Not only do Tripp and Anne want to be a part of students’ educational journeys, but they stay connected to Clemson through several other avenues. Tripp is a member of Tigers on Call, a group of physicians who mentor students interested in the medical field. They are avid football fans and try not to miss Saturdays in Death Valley; Tripp even expresses laughing concern that if he’s not there, the Tigers might stumble running down the hill.

Though the football team could likely pull off a successful game in Tripp and Anne’s absence, other students’ success might not be as certain. Without the family’s generosity, several students’ college experiences would look quite different and present more daunting challenges. As the Joneses have returned to Clemson football season after football season to find the same tree growing steadily at their tailgating spot, their connection to Clemson has grown along with their commitment to giving back. The fruit of that commitment will benefit many for years to come.

Giving 110% … Off the Field

Brian Dawkins ’96 wasted no time in making a name for himself once he set foot on campus at Clemson. He spent his freshman season on football special teams and earned a starting role at free safety his sophomore year. Three years, one all-ACC honor and one second-team All-America honor later, Dawkins was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 1996 NFL draft.

He played in the NFL for 16 seasons with both the Eagles and the Denver Broncos, earning Pro-Bowl honors nine times. He was named to the Philadelphia Eagles 75th Anniversary Team and the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and he holds the record for the most fumbles forced by a safety — 36 during his career. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

Though Dawkins’s NFL career has ended, his impact continues to grow. In 2009, he and his family established the Dawkins Family Scholarship Endowment at Clemson to provide scholarships to students from underrepresented populations.

“Your athleticism will last as long as your body can hold up, but education is the most important thing,” Dawkins said. “To me that was the more important part of this gift — to give to those individuals who might be lacking and to help them achieve a greater version of themselves than they probably could without this gift.”

Many students have already benefited from the Dawkinses’ generosity, and more will follow in their footsteps. For Jelani Murray, receiving a scholarship from the Dawkins family allowed him to attend Clemson and to meet people who share his interests. He now plans to pursue a career in sports business.

“My scholarship is a large part of the reason that I came here,” Murray said. “It made it financially easier to go here than the other school I was deciding between. I just want to give a huge thank you.”

Haley McKee has a similar story: “When I applied to Clemson, the costs associated with being out of state were really scary. The scholarship that I received allowed me to be here today. Without this scholarship, I don’t think I would have been able to have some of the best experiences I’ve had yet in life.” After McKee finishes up her nursing degree, she hopes to work in a pediatric hospital, potentially in hematology or oncology.

Though many students have discovered their talents and awakened their professional ambitions at Clemson, their journeys may not have included the University if not for the generosity of scholarship donors — which is exactly why Dawkins chose to give.

“Clemson is the place that gave me an opportunity,” he said. “They took a risk on me. I know what it feels like for someone you will never meet to bless you with something, and that was one of the most powerful experiences I have had. I wanted to give students an opportunity to experience something they might not experience otherwise.”

Retired Cryovac Executive Breaks Record with Donation for Chemical Engineering

A retired Greenville executive and philanthropist is turning his attention back to Clemson, where his recent gift to the chemical and biomolecular engineering department is the largest in the department’s history.

William Sturgis ’57 and his wife, Martha Beth, are contributing $600,000 to create a distinguished professorship in the department. They plan to double their contribution in their will.

The faculty member selected for the professorship will be able to use funds generated by an endowment to support graduate and undergraduate students as they do research, learn about entrepreneurship and travel to national meetings to present their research.

In a 37-year career, Sturgis was executive vice president of worldwide packaging operations at specialty chemical company W.R. Grace and president of its North American Cryovac division. Upon retirement in 1997, Sturgis received the Order of the Palmetto, the state of South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, and a commendation from the state House of Representatives.

Sturgis said he and his wife established the professorship because they wanted to do something for chemical engineering at Clemson, where he got his start studying under influential professor Charles E. Littlejohn Jr.

“The quality of the professors really makes the quality of the graduates,” Sturgis said. “If you’ve got the money to attract the top professors, you’re going to attract a lot of people who want to major in that particular area and go on and do well.”

Sturgis, who grew up on a dairy farm in Rock Hill, recalled that his class at Clemson had 41 chemical engineering majors, 12 of whom graduated. He received his Bachelor of Science from Clemson in 1957 and later graduated from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

As an alumnus, Sturgis returned to Clemson and served as a member of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences advisory board and as chair of the Clemson University Foundation. He was instrumental in beginning the packaging science program at Clemson and played a key role in steering a $2 million contribution for scholarships from Cryovac.