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.”

New Endowment Supports Snelsire, Sawyer and Robinson Clemson Career Workshop

Clemson career workshop

Anthony L. Mattis ’86, chair of the fundraising committee for the endowment, spoke during the gala.

Since its beginning in 1977, the Clemson Career Workshop has invested in academically talented, underrepresented high school students by introducing them to Clemson through a summer residential program. The program’s original goals were to increase the number of students of color at Clemson in general as well as students of color majoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The workshop provides college preparation, networking and residential campus experiences.

Last October, a fundraising gala was held to honor the two founders and an outstanding alumnus of the program by renaming the CCW as the Snelsire, Sawyer and Robinson Clemson Career Workshop. The event also celebrated the establishment of an endowment to provide resources for the ongoing operation of the workshop. The program’s advisory board set a goal of $1 million in support of the program, with a kickoff pledge goal of $250,000 to establish the initial fund.

The three honorees have dedicated their lives to supporting STEM education at Clemson. Robert Snelsire is an emeritus professor of electrical engineer-ing who served as the director of the then College of Engineering’s Minority Program from 1977-1991. He founded the Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention (PEER) and the Math Excellence Workshop. His engineering workshop was the inspiration for the Clemson Career Workshop.

Corrine Sawyer is an emerita professor of English. In 1982, she helped Snelsire expand the minority recruitment engineering workshop to a summer program, officially creating the Clemson Career Workshop.

Darryl Leshay Robinson is an alumnus, former head counselor and longtime advocate of the CCW. After earning undergrad-uate and graduate degrees in industrial engineering, he continually gave back to his alma mater through the CCW. Throughout his career in executive management, Robinson has been devoted to inspiring high school students, showing them a path toward academic success and professional achievement.

For more than 40 years, the career workshop has played a major role in attracting talented, high-achieving students from across South Carolina to Clemson. The newly established endowment will ensure that the SSRCCW continues its work for many future generations.

Leaving His Mark at Clemson

Jerry Dempsey Legacy Leaf2019 Legacy Day honors the late Jerry Dempsey

Fort Hill is the historic home of the University’s founders, Thomas and Anna Clemson. It has also become a place to honor those who followed their legacy of generosity and giving that made this University what it is today. Since 2009, the Clemson Family has gathered each fall to memorialize donors who have given more than $1 million to Clemson, inducting them into the Fort Hill Legacy Society through the placement of a bronze leaf on the grounds in their memory. Last year, a leaf was placed in memory of the late Jerry Dempsey.

Jerry Dempsey was a 1954 mechanical engineering graduate who went on to a successful business career and distinguished civic leadership. After retirement, he returned home to the Upstate and helped his alma mater with some of its most strategically important projects. He established scholarships and served on numerous boards and committees, including the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences Advisory Board. In 2017, he created the Harriet and Jerry Dempsey Research Conference, an annual partnership between Clemson and Prisma Health-Upstate that draws more than 150 engineers, medical doctors, faculty members and students to hear talks by some of the nation’s leading health researchers.

The Ultimate Field Trip

Gift provides students with opportunities for education abroad

Hendrix FamilyTHE LATE PAM HENDRIX was an international traveler who understood the incredible learning experiences that studying abroad could provide. In fact, for many years she instilled her passion for travel in her own children so that they might learn and grow through the shared experience of traveling the world together.

As part of the adventure, the Hendrix family saved money in a “Dream Jar” that they all contributed to. In 2015, that jar became the inspiration behind the Pamela Maddex Hendrix Dream Jar Travel Endowment, established by her children and their spouses. Since that fund was created, more than 38 Clemson students have been able to study abroad thanks to the Dream Jar Endowment.

When Pam Hendrix passed away in 2018, her family could think of no better way to honor her memory than to expand upon the Dream Jar Endowment and create a center at Clemson dedicated to preparing students who want to pursue international education. Research has shown that preparation is a key factor for a successful study abroad experience. The Pam Hendrix Center for Education Abroad will provide students with the opportunity to apply for a planning scholarship during their freshman year. During the interim, scholarship recipients will take part in the “Dream Jar Curriculum,” working alongside academic advisers and receiving financial aid to plan a study abroad experience that aligns with their professional and financial goals.

Through the Hendrix family’s gift, Clemson will be able to help students learn, study and research in other countries. “Pam’s story of encouraging her family to travel while ensuring they planned and prepared for their adventures was the inspiration behind the center,” said Sharon Nagy, associate provost for Global Engagement. “We hope to honor her legacy by inspiring students to follow their dreams while also helping plan for them.”

Study abroad and other global engagement opportunities expand the learning environment beyond the classroom into unique and often challenging cultural contexts. The Pam Hendrix Center for Education Abroad will provide operational support to international student engagement programs that align with the University’s goals and emphasis areas. The center will support the development of activities, programs, exchanges and events that foster global and intercultural aware-ness, knowledge and understanding among faculty, staff and students.

The Hendrix family’s impact at Clemson has been far-reaching, throughout both academics and athletics, for many years. Pam’s husband of 50 years, Bill Hendrix ’63, M ’68, was student body president while he was a Clemson undergraduate and has been on the Clemson board of trustees since 1995. He served as board chair for three terms from 2003 to 2009. The Hendrix family’s leadership, service and philanthropy have touched almost every aspect of Clemson University, including the Hendrix Student Center, which provides students with invaluable resources and opportunities. With this latest gift inspired by their adventurous matriarch, the Hendrix family is ensuring that future generations of Clemson students will have access to quality study abroad opportunities and, by extension, life-changing experiences.

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.