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.

Golden Tiger Class of 1968 raises $1 million for ROTC scholarships

The class of 1968 marked its 50th anniversary in June with a reunion celebration on campus and the announcement of a $1 million gift to Clemson’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program and scholarships for Clemson students.

“A gift of more than $1 million is an amazing gift,” said Clemson President Jim Clements. “I can tell you that it is a powerful, life-changing gift. You were students during a time of great change on our campus and in this nation. In the 50 years since then, you have witnessed many things and helped Clemson and the entire country improve, grow strong and lead. Now, you are adding to the already impressive legacy of the Class of 1968.”

Jerry Trapnell, Class of 1968 Golden Anniversary chair, said he was honored to be part of the reunion planning committee and to lead the class project. “As our committee reflected on our time at Clemson and the subsequent careers so many of our classmates led that were made possible by their Clemson degree,” he said, “it became very clear that our focus must be on reinforcing the top priority of supporting students in attending Clemson.”

Since graduating, the Class of 1968 has given more than $17 million for University programs.

Parks Establishes Endowment Honoring Architecture Professor David Allison

He has been named one of the “Most Influential People in Healthcare Design,” but to his students, he’s simply Professor Allison.

Since 1990, David Allison ’78, M ’82 has been the director of Clemson’s Architecture + Health master’s program in the School of Architecture. Under his leadership, the program has become recognized as a premier architecture health degree and consistently is ranked as one of the country’s best by Design Intelligence magazine.

Allison’s work training the health care architects and researchers of the future hasn’t gone unnoticed. Russell Paul “Rip” Parks ’76, managing principal at DesignStrategies LLC of Greenville, has established a $175,000 endowment in Allison’s name that will generate financial support for the Architecture + Health program.

“Many people can sprint, but few can run marathons,” said Parks. “I was inspired to provide this well-deserved endowment in recognition of the 28 years of hard work, diligent planning and bold vision implementation by David and his talented team of health care design professionals. I am confident that David will use this endowment to enhance the program and inspire future leaders in the exciting field of health care design.”

The announcement came as a surprise to Allison. “This is an incredible honor coming from Rip,” said Allison. “It’s the people I work with and am surrounded by that allow me to do what I do, and our program wouldn’t be possible without our students. We get to do great work because of them, and I’m grateful that our program attracts those who are eager to learn and excel.”

Real-life Examples: Generous Gifts of Leadership Circle Donors Make Students’ Dreams Possible

For many students, financial aid is their only hope for receiving a college education, regardless of how qualified or driven they may be.

Tyler Love is one of those students. Just over three years ago, he was living on a friend’s couch, desperate to find a way to provide for himself. Thanks to his grandmother’s help, he returned home, enrolled in classes at Greenville Tech and eventually achieved his dream of becoming a Clemson student. However, despite working two jobs in addition to his academic work, he still faced financial obstacles.

Because of generous donor gifts, Love was able to obtain a grant to cover the balance of his tuition bill. That provided him the freedom to focus on being a student, investing more deeply in his education. As a sociology major, Love has had the opportunity to do research alongside a professor and present the findings at a regional conference. He hopes to become a professor himself and give back to students who might have experiences similar to his.

Joey Mott faced similar circumstances. A Greenville native, he entered Clemson as a first-generation college student from a single-parent family, pursuing his dream despite financial difficulties.

The need-based aid he received has allowed him to pursue his education both inside and outside the classroom, as a resident assistant and a member of numerous student organizations through the College of Business. He has participated in the Tiger Ties Mentorship Program and volunteered at his church. He has even participated in multiple study abroad opportunities and an internship. Now he’s planning on a career in marketing, hospitality or business consulting.

Financial aid changed everything for him, and he readily acknowledges that donors created opportunities for him that he would not have had otherwise.

These stories and many more are possible because of President’s Leadership Circle donors, those who give $10,000 or more to Clemson without restrictions. These donors are the difference-makers for students who may not have anywhere else to turn when they face difficulties.

Roy Abercrombie ’69 knows that story all too well. He benefited from need-based aid while he was a student, and he and his wife, Mary Carol, now choose to give unrestricted gifts to Clemson. “I realize the value of an education,” Roy Abercrombie said, “and Leadership Circle is giving to people who really need it.”

John ’80 and Patsy DuPre feel much the same. “The idea of giving money to the president to be used at his discretion for those who really need it seemed like the best way to give to Clemson,” Patsy DuPre said. As engineering graduates, John DuPre and his brother Henry DuPre ’71  spent much of their careers at ExxonMobil, which allowed them to maximize their contributions to Clemson due to a matching gift program — something they encourage other alumni to take advantage of as well.

“Every time we come to an event that’s held by the University, we always see real-life examples of the true benefit that these dollars are making in the lives of individuals here at Clemson,” said John DuPre. “It makes us proud to contribute.”

Abney Foundation Provides Life-changing Scholarships

Emma Clements ’18 is one of the more than 170 students — 172 to be exact — who are attending Clemson this year with the help of the Abney Foundation. She spoke at a luncheon in February of this year for the Abney Foundation trustees and the recipients of their generosity.

Clements (no relation to the University president), a communication major from Aiken who has been putting herself through Clemson, shared the memory of receiving an email notifying her of the need-based scholarship: “I was given breathing room that day,” she said. “So many of us are used to being so independent and knowing that struggle is not a stranger. I was reminded of generosity and reminded that I am not doing this alone.”

For more than four decades, students like Clements have been receiving life-changing support from the Abney Foundation, which has created the largest endowed scholarship program at Clemson, targeted at South Carolina residents with demonstrated financial need. The foundation has scholarship endowments at 13 other colleges and universities in South Carolina as well. The foundation has helped more than 15,000 students obtain a college education.