Planting Seeds for the Future

Jeannette Carr

Jeannette Carr at Ridge Spring Famers Market

Jeannette Carr was a lifelong gardener who shared her love of gardening with everyone she knew. While her husband, Hap Carr ’60, helped their son, Chalmers R. Carr III ’90, run the largest peach farm on the East Coast, Titan Farms, she kept busy in her small-scale vegetable garden at their home in Ridge Spring, South Carolina. She became a beloved member of the Ridge Spring community through her contributions to the Ridge Spring Farmers Market.

After her passing from cancer last year, Carr’s family wanted to honor her legacy by giving to an organization dear to her heart — the Clemson Cooperative Extension Service. They established the Emma Jeannette Carr Memorial Endowment to advance vegetable gardening education and outreach throughout the Clemson Extension service area.

“Jeannette was well known for her love of gardening fresh vegetables and fruits,” said Extension Director Tom Dobbins. “We are excited and honored to partner with Titan Farms to continue her legacy and advance vegetable gardening across the state of South Carolina.”

Jeannette Carr’s impact on the Ridge Spring Farmers Market is also still being felt. The opportunity for her grandchildren to spend one last summer continuing their grandmother’s legacy by running her vegetable stand was a way to honor her memory. All proceeds will go toward the endowment. Many loyal customers have purchased Carr’s produce from her bountiful last harvest and fondly said, “Keep the change for Miss Jeannette.”

Tradition Flavors the Future

McGregor children honor parents with support of ’55 Exchange

Ice Cream coneSam ’49 and Betty McGregor’s family history is deeply rooted in Clemson, and their love for the University was passed down to their children and grandchildren. The McGregors also instilled the value of giving in their family. Years ago, they began a family tradition of giving back to worthy causes in honor of one another.

That philanthropic spirit, along with an enduring love for Clemson, inspired the four McGregor children to establish the Sam Evans McGregor ’49 and Betty Ulmer McGregor Clemson University MicroCreamery Endowment Fund in honor of their parents.

As a South Carolina dairy farmer, Sam McGregor was a prominent leader in the agriculture field, named one of four Outstanding Young Farmers in America in 1964 and the recipient of the Clemson Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1977. Betty McGregor was honored as National Mother of the Year in 2009 and was named Clemson’s Mother of the Year in 2010.

The choice to give to the ’55 Exchange was an obvious one for the proud children of a Clemson-educated dairy farmer. The ’55 Exchange is a student-led entrepreneurial center in which the students design, manufacture, sell and serve Clemson’s world-famous ice cream, blue cheese and other products. All revenues generated support Clemson students and their academic and professional training.

Students benefit from being a part of the creative process at the ’55 Exchange. They created a special flavor — McGregor’s Salty Caramel Glazed Southern Beignet Ice Cream — to express appreciation for the family’s gift.

The McGregor family’s gift reflects the motto of the ’55 Exchange, “Where Tradition Flavors the Future.” The McGregor family gave back to honor the traditions established by their parents, and to help ensure success for future generations of Clemson students.

Surviving Calculus

Boyd Scholars Program gives engineering students a path to success

Beth Stephan works with an engineering studentEighty Clemson freshmen are participating in a program that gives them a chance to ease into the challenging math courses that sometimes derail students’ dreams of becoming engineers.

Boyd Scholars are first-year students in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences who are selected to complete courses during the long summer academic term. The award covers tuition and fees for the seven credit hours required in the summer, along with summer housing and a summer meal plan. Students take an extended curriculum that delays their start in calculus yet keeps them on track to finish their required courses before their sophomore year. The Boyd Scholars Program is made possible through a $1.25 million gift from the Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Foundation.

For many students, calculus is a major stumbling block on their path to engineering degrees through no fault of their own.

Beth Stephan, who oversees Boyd Scholars, noted, “Students often arrive on campus underprepared for calculus because their hometown schools didn’t offer programs that could get them ready.

“This money allows us to keep those students at Clemson all summer,” she continued. “They can start in the right math for them, and there are no extra dollars out of pocket to get them caught up. This program has the potential to be truly life changing.”

Brad Putman, the college’s associate dean for undergraduate studies, said Boyd Scholars also play an important role in helping address the state’s STEM workforce shortage: “STEM careers can be the golden key to elevate many students to a better life with rewarding salaries and job security. Too often students struggle with the rigors of college-level STEM education, particularly with calculus. The Boyd Scholars program will help them clear hurdles that might otherwise trip them up.”

Anand Gramopadhye, the college’s dean, said that when he sat down with Darnall Boyd in 2015, they talked about their shared concern for South Carolina’s students and a vision for a better future.

“He understood that an important factor lay within our ability to educate future generations in STEM disciplines,” Gramopadhye said. “The program developed by the college positions our students and the state for success.”

When All Things Are Possible

Mary Satcher “Sissy” Bynum ’84 and her late husband, Henry “Clarke” Bynum Jr. ’84, were a true Clemson couple. They met at freshman orientation and were married a month after graduation in 1984. Clemson has remained an important part of their family’s life ever since. Three of their four children and multiple family members are also Clemson graduates.

After Clarke Bynum passed away in 2007, Sissy Bynum knew that she wanted to give back to the place that had made such an impact on their life together and the life of their family. At the time, their daughter, Ann ’12, worked as a teacher at an inner-city St. Louis school. That experience made the family more aware of the disadvantages that many young people face who do not have the opportunity to go to college.

A first-generation college graduate herself, Bynum started to think about her estate plan and began a conversation with her children: “I talked to them about the opportunity to give to Clemson, and we all enthusiastically agreed that our family wanted to establish an endowment to benefit the FIRST Program.”

The Bynum family legacy is being realized through Sissy Bynum’s planned gift, to be known as the All Things Are Possible First-Generation Scholarship Endowment.

Clemson’s FIRST Program helps first-generation college freshmen and transfer students adjust to the college experience by offering a variety of opportunities and resources, from academic support to social activities.

It’s a mission that resonates with Sissy Bynum. “I want to leave a legacy that underscores my faith and the appreciation for all that Clemson has given me,” she said. “Clarke would want our family to do this.”

Laying the Foundation for Success

Nieri Cornerstone gift provides perpetual funding for Construction Science and Management department

Construction science and management students at Clemson take classes in calculus, physics, economics and business, and management as well as those focusing on structures, materials and methods, contract documents, estimating, scheduling, safety and project management.

But it’s in the laboratory — the Construction Science and Management Construction Yard at the Ravenel Research Center — where those theoretical concepts are reinforced and practiced.

Now, thanks to Michael ’86 and Robyn Nieri, both classroom and experiential learning for these students will be enriched. With their $5 million Cornerstone gift, the department will become the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities’ first named department. The Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management will also receive funding for experiential learning projects with a focus on residential construction; a new residential construction professor of practice faculty position; and the Nieri Family Endowment, which will provide perpetual funding for these initiatives.

“I attribute a great deal of my success within the construction industry to the education I received from Clemson University,” said Michael Nieri, president and founder of Great Southern Homes. “Our hope is that this gift will allow Clemson to offer even more learning opportunities for our students, establish even more prominence for the department among our peers and prepare our students to make significant impact as they enter the industry.”

This is the Nieris’ second Cornerstone gift; their first created the Nieri Family Student-Athlete Enrichment Center, laying the foundation for student-athlete success. They are the University’s second Cornerstone partner for both athletics and academics.

“As an Academic Cornerstone Partner, Michael and Robyn Nieri are laying the cornerstones upon which the future of academic excellence will be built at Clemson,” said President James P. Clements. “Their generosity will take our construction science and management program to the next level and will help us better prepare students to be leaders in the field.”

 

Golden Tigers gift more than $1.5 million to Clemson

1969 Class Ring

The class of 1969 marked its 50th anniversary on June 13-14, during the Golden Tiger Reunion. The celebration culminated with the announcement of a $1,551,773 gift from the class of ’69 for scholarship support, endowed faculty positions, research support for technology and capital construction.

The annual Golden Tiger Reunion celebrates the 50th anniversary class as well as classes who have previously been inducted as Golden Tigers. This year’s Golden Tiger class was presented with a lapel pin and an official Golden Tiger Society Induction Certificate to commemorate the day.

Each year, all Golden Tigers are invited back to campus to enjoy two days of festivities, reunite with their old classmates and friends, and reminisce about their days as students. This year’s activities included tours of the Sonoco Institute, the Watt Family Innovation Center and Douthit Hills, the newest residence hall complex, as well as an Orange Glove event, during which participants were allowed access to memorabilia in Special Collections from their time at Clemson.

During the reunion luncheon, class of ’69 president Alston Gore also presented a mock check for $19,614,790 to President James Clements that represented the cumulative gifts from the class.

President Clements noted, “The generations of alumni who walked our halls, studied in our classrooms, and marched across Bowman Field when we were still a military school — they are the foundation for our culture. Thank you all for laying that strong foundation that we continue to build upon.”

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Alumna Establishes Endowment for Graphic Communications

Kimberly BruceKimberly Bruce’s Clemson journey led her to a successful career in graphic communications, but that is not where her path began. Late in her freshman year, when she heard a fellow student discussing his classes, her interests were sparked. Bruce sat in on one graphic communications class — and that was all it took. She realized she had found her passion. Shortly after that first class, she changed her major and the course of her future.

“Sometimes when you are uncertain about the direction of your life, I suggest asking questions and being a good listener,” Bruce said.

She credits her Clemson experience with her success in life, and now, she is sharing that enrichment with future generations of Clemson students through the Kimberly A. Bruce ’92 Graphic Communications Endowment — benefiting those who will follow in her footsteps in the graphic communications program.

“The hands-on experience is one of the essential components that make the Clemson graphic communications program an industry leader,” Bruce said. “Whether it was applying class knowledge in the lab or during an internship, I felt well prepared for employment when I graduated. In fact, my first job offer after graduation was from the company that provided my college internship.”

Bruce went on to earn an MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology with an emphasis in print technology. In 2008, she founded her own firm, The Kimberly Company, a consulting firm located in Greenville. The Kimberly Company provides printing and packaging services for growing companies that have limited resources and large companies that need to create cost-effective standardized printed packaging, allowing the creation of a uniform, recognizable image for manufactured goods — something that is crucial in brand recognition.

The graphic communications program at Clemson provides students with an understanding of equipment, theories and problem-solving in a variety of professional fields. They learn printing, packaging, publishing and imaging but can also focus on related disciplines in the industry, such as management, marketing, sales and customer service. Placement rates from the program are consistently high with competitive starting salaries.

Through this endowment, Bruce will provide future generations with the same opportunities that she was able to receive as a student. “I wanted to give back because Clemson has given me so much,” she said.  

Schwehr Family Gift Supports Global Learning Opportunities

Study abroad to Costa Rica

The Schwehr family gift will fund global service opportunities like this trip to Costa Rica.

Clemson values opportunities for students and faculty to engage globally. Student organizations and Creative Inquiry participants are currently solving problems and serving communities in Tanzania, India, Thailand, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Peru, Guatemala and Dominica. The initiatives include bioengineering students working with low-resourced communities to find affordable solutions to health care challenges; agriculture faculty engaging around the world to develop drought-resistant crops and technologies to improve food security; engineers addressing water quality; and the School of Nursing’s Global Health Certificate candidates, for which students address health-delivery systems in Peru.

These global efforts were recently given a boost with the creation of a $250,000 Schwehr Family Global Service Learning Endowment and a $250,000 Schwehr Family Global Service Learning Annual Fund. The gift was made by the Michael W. Schwehr family of The Woodlands, Texas: Michael William ’81, Linda Pogue, Laurel Michelle and Victoria Leigh ’16. Both funds will support service learning, research and engagement in under-resourced communities.

“The generous gift will not only make a lasting impact on the Clemson community but will allow faculty to expand the use of service-learning models and open opportunities outside of the traditional study abroad locations,” said Sharon Nagy, associate provost of Global Engagement. “Faculty and students will positively impact communities while addressing many of the challenges faced by societies today. Students will be able to do their part to change the world while being changed themselves by the experience.”

The Schwehr Family Global Service Learning Annual Fund will be used immediately to support student and faculty opportunities in developing countries. It will provide annual competitive seed-funding grants to faculty for the development of new global service-learning programs. Proposals will be reviewed and awarded for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Once fully funded, The Schwehr Family Global Service Learning Endowment will provide financial support to programs designed for students from any discipline for service-learning projects in communities worldwide.

“Having spent time in his career working and raising his family abroad, Mike Schwehr recognizes the importance of preparing students for meaningful lives and careers in our globalized world,” said Nagy. “The Schwehr family’s commitment and altruism are evident in the careful thought they put into the ideas of global service learning. Their gift will make an impact in ways we can hardly imagine today.”

Michael W. Schwehr graduated from Clemson with a degree in mechanical engineering, then went to ExxonMobil, where his career spanned more than 35 years. During his time there, he served in various assignments, including refining, products supply, retail marketing, environmental remediation and real estate. He traveled and lived abroad on numerous occasions, leading him to Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.

Schwehr’s daughter, Victoria Leigh ’16, studied and worked abroad in Paris as an undergraduate and later graduated from Clemson with a degree in language and international trade. 

The Power to Transform

Melinda ChappellMelinda E. Chappell’s passion for sports, recreational therapy and helping others has played a large role in every aspect of her life.

Now, she is demonstrating that passion through two gifts to her alma mater. The Melinda E. Chappell ’82 Endowment for Recreational Therapy will provide unrestricted support for Clemson’s recreational therapy program, which is part of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences. When funds are reached to endow that program, a second endowment, the Melinda E. Chappell ’82 Golf Endowment, will be directed to the Clemson Women’s Golf team.

Chappell’s road to creating this endowment was straight and determined. Raised in a die-hard Clemson family in Columbia, Chappell and her four brothers were instilled with a love for athletics from an early age.

But when Chappell was around 9 years old, doctors discovered a bone cyst in her hip that required two surgeries. During her recovery, she quickly found that she enjoyed swimming as a form of physical therapy. That experience and her passion for the Tigers eventually led her to Clemson, where she majored in recreation and parks administration with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation. Her goal was to work with children and teens challenged with physical disabilities.

While at Clemson, Chappell embraced collegiate life. She was part of a group that started Clemson’s first collegiate golf club.

“The first meeting was composed of men and a handful of women,” said Chappell, “and we played lots of courses throughout the area. It wasn’t competitive, but it was a start.” That small start finally paid off in 2013 when Clemson Women’s Golf team was formed.

Upon graduation, Chappell was able to fulfill her passion by working for a psychiatric hospital as a recreational therapist. She worked with adolescents struggling with various mental and physical issues, using swimming, tennis, bowling and other sports to not only help them restore their self-esteem, but also provide direction in all aspects of their lives.

During her successful career as a recreational therapist, Chappell worked tirelessly with nonprofits. While working at the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Muscular Development Center in Columbia, she helped found Limitless Sports, a nonprofit organization designed to help people with disabilities compete in sports activities. She was instrumental in bringing the late Christopher Reeve to speak at a fundraiser for that organization, an accomplishment of which she is still proud.

Chappell was tapped to be the director of the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic and Fitness Center before it was even built — a position she still holds today.

She has continued her philanthropic work in the North Myrtle Beach community she now calls home. She started another nonprofit, Coastal Adaptive Sports, and is involved with Teen Angels, an organization aimed at helping homeless and otherwise struggling teens achieve successful educational experiences through the use of community resources. She is also a founding member of the Southeastern Wheelchair Sports Association, a nonprofit hosting regional athletic competition for persons with disabilities.

As an active alumna, Chappell understands and appreciates Clemson’s commitment to adaptive sports. She was instrumental in moving the Southeastern Wheelchair Games to a more central location in order to make it accessible for attendees from places such as Atlanta and Charlotte. Due to her efforts, this year’s 25th annual event was held in Clemson. The Southeastern Regional Wheelchair Games welcomed 15 participants to the Clemson campus, including two students, Marsden Miller and Scarlett Lawhorne. Volunteers included students from Clemson’s parks, recreation and tourism management program and several Clemson Football players.

Chappell believes there is no limit when it comes to philanthropic endeavors and generosity, a mentality that led her back home to Clemson once again as she began considering ways to leave a legacy that reflected both her passion for helping others through sports and her love of Clemson.  

Excellence in Stewardship Award

Joe Ryan and Debra Galinsky are the recipients of the inaugural Excellence in Stewardship awards, which recognize a faculty member and staff member who exemplify excellence in stewardship and gratitude initiatives with donors and volunteers.

Joe Ryan
Joe RyanRyan, who holds the Sue Stanzione Distinguished Professorship for ClemsonLIFE, is founder and executive director of ClemsonLIFE (Learning is for Everyone), a nationally recognized post-secondary education program for young adults with intellectual disabilities. Ryan has been key in establishing funding priorities to assist with fundraising efforts, and his careful stewardship of philanthropic dollars has allowed the ClemsonLIFE program to hire additional staff, establish a distinguished professorship and provide financial aid to students in need.

 

Debra Galinsky

Debra GalinskyGalinsky has exemplified similar principles of stewardship in her role as an administrative assistant in the Department of Psychology. In addition to her other responsibilities, she launched a direct mail campaign to reengage the department’s alumni, which resulted in the creation of two new alumni awards, the renewal of alumni connections and an increase in donations to the department. She is also exploring other ways to engage alumni, such as a newsletter, a tailgate and an advisory board.