Erwins Become Second Cornerstone Partner for Academics

When Joe Erwin first began his advertising career in New York, the Clemson brand was still up and coming. He laughingly recalls having one of his training instructors refer to Clemson as “that Southern liberal arts school” in a room full of his Ivy League colleagues.

Clemson has come a long way since Joe Erwin graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and began working in advertising. He met Gretchen, an alumna of the University of Georgia, while they were working at Leslie Advertising in Greenville. After getting married and moving to New York to work for major advertising agencies, the couple returned to Greenville to launch their own advertising agency, Erwin Penland. Erwin Penland grew to be a national company with more than 400 employees and a prestigious client base across the country.

After transitioning away from Erwin Penland, Joe Erwin founded Erwin Creates, a company that continues his legacy of cultivating, growing and influencing a creative community in South Carolina. Through Erwin Creates, the Erwins created the Erwin Center for Brand Communications at Clemson in 2012.

The Erwin Center prepares Clemson students for the workplace by providing them opportunities to put their classroom skills into practice. They learn from marketing professionals who can provide real examples, and they address actual client needs that require them to utilize research, strategy, creative development and analytics to produce meaningful solutions.

The Erwins’ most recent gift makes them Clemson’s second Cornerstone Partner for Academics, placing them in a special group of bold and visionary donors who give transformational gifts of $2.5 million or more to lay a foundation for Clemson’s future. This gift includes $1 million for the new College of Business building and $1.5 million for student scholarships and programming support for communication students and adjunct faculty.

“That investment that we made and continue to make is about changing lives, and what we’ve seen in the last five years is that our investment has paid dividends at Clemson,” Joe Erwin said. “We’ve seen young people go on to great jobs right out of Clemson, working at agencies and brands that, when I was a kid, I don’t think we could have imagined.”

“Because of our great adjunct faculty and other faculty, they’re getting the kind of professional training that really makes them a hot commodity,” he continued, “and I love seeing Clemson people being hot commodities.”

Sonoco Partnership to Develop New Technologies, Package Formats

Every year, billions of dollars worth of packaged food is lost due to spoilage. Sonoco, one of the largest global diversified packaging companies, has announced a new research partnership with Clemson to address that packaging challenge.

“Sonoco is committed to serving fresh brands, using packaging to tackle the challenges they face,” said Sonoco President and CEO Jack Sanders. “Optimizing fresh food packaging to extend shelf life and maintain quality makes fresh produce more accessible to communities, and helps brands and retailers extend sales opportunities and eliminate food waste.”

The Sonoco FRESH (Food Research Excellence for Safety and Health) initiative will develop new technologies and new forms of packaging to optimize the fresh food lifecycle. Sonoco will contribute $1.725 million over five years to establish the multi-disciplinary hub for innovation and research. The company also will sponsor business-driven research projects totaling $1 million over that period. Sonoco FRESH is an extension of the partnership that created the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson.

“Working with outstanding industry partners like Sonoco allows us to do more to develop solutions for the grand challenges facing the world, and it helps us to prepare our students to become future leaders,” said President Clements. “Leveraging the expertise of our faculty, Sonoco FRESH will play a key role in exposing our undergraduate and graduate students to issues related to the crisis of food waste and sustainability so that they will be informed and responsible decision makers as they enter the workforce.”

“We are honored to be working with Clemson, as reducing food waste is central to our combined efforts — and finding ways to extend freshness through new technology is key,” said Vicki Arthur, Sonoco’s senior vice president of plastic packaging and protective solutions. “We believe this partnership will deliver breakthroughs to help the entire packaging industry and will have a major impact on the distribution of fresh food across the country and around the world.”

Chapman Gift Expands Leadership Program Across University

leadership model based on lessons from the Land of Oz has proven to be the perfect training ground for some of Clemson’s highest quality students — thanks to the vision and extraordinary generosity of Tom and Karen Chapman.

In 2009, the Chapmans established the Thomas F. Chapman Leadership Scholars Program with a gift of $1 million to develop a small group of students from what was then the College of Business and Behavioral Science. The three-year program combines leadership lessons based on critical values with an academic scholarship to encourage participating students to invest in growing their leadership skills:

  • In year one, leadership scholars focus on developing intellect and defining leadership capabilities (much as the scarecrow).
  • Year two, leadership scholars learn about courage and ethics (much as the lion).
  • Year three, leadership scholars focus on heart by serving others in their communities (much as the tin man).

The Chapmans’ most recent gift of $4 million, establishing them as Clemson’s inaugural Cornerstone Partner for Academics, will expand the program to include students from all colleges and also creates the Thomas F. Chapman ’65 Distinguished Professorship in Leadership in the College of Business. As Cornerstone Partners, the Chapmans join a special group of bold and visionary donors whose leadership lays the foundation at Clemson for future generations.

“The Thomas F. Chapman Leadership Scholars program is an amazingly successful and forward-thinking leadership initiative that is changing the lives of our students at Clemson University,” said President James P. Clements. “We are grateful to the Chapmans for allowing us to expand this transformational leadership experience to every college within the University.”

Building upon the impressive group of 85 students who have benefited from being Chapman Scholars, the expanded program will include 14 scholars per year, eight from the College of Business and one from each of the other colleges. The Thomas F. Chapman ’65 Distinguished Professorship in Leadership will recognize an outstanding faculty member who will influence potential leaders of our state and nation. The expansion of the program will extend the leadership values of intellect, courage and heart across campus and advance Clemson’s ability to develop graduates competent in their fields, as well as confident in how to lead throughout their lives.

The Chapmans not only support the program financially but also offer their time and talent to support and mentor students in the program. “We desperately need more effective leaders, and it will take compassionate and dedicated individuals to help us move this country forward — that’s why intellect, courage and heart drive the program,” Tom Chapman said. “Karen and I are honored to be actively engaged with the program. My Clemson education provided me a springboard into a life of many blessings. We made a commitment to give back to the programs and causes that are making a difference.

“The return on investment is for each of the Chapman Leadership Scholars to make the world a better place.”

Hoffmeyer Creates Endowment to Support Nursing Students

Henry Hoffmeyer '56 with his late wife, Polly.

Henry Hoffmeyer ’56 with his late wife, Polly.

Henry Hoffmeyer’s father died when he was 11, leaving his mother to care for five children under age 14 while operating a small dairy in Darlington.

And all of them attended college. “She did a great job raising us,” he said. “I don’t understand how she could afford to send me to Clemson, but she did.” Hoffmeyer and his late wife Polly of Mills River, N.C., wanted to help other single-parent families afford college. They created an endowment for the School of Nursing to support tuition costs for students from Henderson County, N.C., with preference given to students from single-parent families.

“Not many students from Henderson County come to the School of Nursing because of the out-of-state tuition,” Hoffmeyer said. “So I decided I would try to encourage some students to come to Clemson by helping them and giving them scholarships.”

It wasn’t difficult for the Hoffmeyers to choose Clemson as a beneficiary of their generosity. His Clemson roots run deep — even to the University’s first days. Hoffmeyer’s grandfather was a member of Clemson’s first freshman class in 1893, and every subsequent generation has had a member attend Clemson. His father, Henry G.G. Hoffmeyer, graduated in 1919; his uncle, Herman F.L. Hoffmeyer, graduated in 1921; he graduated in 1956; his daughter, Suzanne Hoffmeyer O’Donnell, graduated in 1985; and his granddaughter, Elizabeth O’Donnell, began studies this year.

The Hoffmeyers’ interest in nursing came through relationships with family members. Hoffmeyer’s sister graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina. His granddaughter is also interested in a nursing career, which brought Clemson’s nursing program to his attention.

“When I look at the need for nurses, there will be a great shortage of nurses in the future,” he said. “I just want to help get more students involved in nursing, because there is a great need for that.”

Hoffmeyer worked in management positions with Southern Bell for almost 40 years, retiring in 1993. The Hoffmeyers have three daughters and seven grandchildren. “I’ve been blessed in my life, and I’d like to give back,” Henry said. “This is a small way I can help nursing students from North Carolina attend Clemson, because I think it is a wonderful institution.”

Close to His Heart

Pictured from left: Gina Glenn, Candi Glenn, President Clements, Gerald Glenn, Mike Glenn, Charlie Glenn and Bethany Bolen.

Pictured from left: Gina Glenn, Candi Glenn, President Clements, Gerald Glenn, Mike Glenn, Charlie Glenn and Bethany Bolen.

If you’re in the right place at the right time, you might catch Gerald Glenn ’64 in a certain blue blazer — the one lined in orange that has a Tiger paw embroidered on the inside. And if you’re lucky, you just might catch him laughing and asking, “Can you tell Clemson is close to my heart?”

Glenn’s time in civil engineering at Clemson paved the way for a successful career, during which he worked as a director of Fluor Corporation and as a group president of its primary subsidiary, Fluor Daniel Inc. He then went on to become chairman, president and CEO of Chicago Bridge and Iron, one of the world’s largest engineering and construction companies.

In addition to giving extensively to the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences Leadership Circle, the Fluor Daniel Engineering Innovation Center and the Barker Scholars Endowment, he and his wife Candi provided the naming gift for the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering in 2011.

“We did that so kids could have the opportunity to do something maybe they couldn’t afford to do or that wasn’t available to them,” he said.

“While this gift goes to athletics, we think it is still a part of the whole process of education,” Gerald Glenn said. “You learn about being on a team and being a team player, and that’ll serve you well in your following life.”

However, the Glenns view education as much more than academics. They see education as a wholistic experience that includes all the opportunities the University has to offer, and one of those primary opportunities is athletics.

As Clemson’s ninth Athletic Cornerstone Partner, the Glenns have joined a special group of donors to athletics with a $2.5 million gift. The Athletic Cornerstone Partners are a bold and visionary group of leaders who have given transformational funding to propel Clemson forward, laying a foundation that will impact students for generations.

For Gerald and Candi Glenn, both academics and athletics at Clemson are worthy of investment. “An education is something that cannot be taken away from you, no matter what happens,” Candi Glenn said. The Glenns’ dedication to Clemson over the years has proven that Clemson truly is close to their hearts — blue blazer or no blue blazer.

Giving Back to Clemson, and to Horses

John Blackburn '69

Architecture may be a traditional Clemson degree, but John Blackburn ’69 is far from a traditional architect. He created his own career in equine facility design — designing horse farms and stables that take into account the health of the horse, the demands of the site and the needs of the owner.

Blackburn started his own firm in the D.C. area and has built a successful career, designing more than 250 unique facilities worldwide. He is passionate about using the landscape to influence the building design by studying scientific principles, weather patterns and other natural factors. Because of his design methods, he has developed a special connection with landscape architects, though landscape architecture was not offered while he was a student.

At the peak of his career, Blackburn was motivated to give back to his alma mater, specifically the architecture department. “I’m very proud of the program and what it’s done since I went here,” John said. “It was a good program then, but it’s incredible now. They have a great facility, they have a great staff, they have a great program, and I wanted to see if I could contribute to that.”

Since his career had provided him with skills that many architects might never learn in a traditional field, he reached out to Clemson with the intent of passing along his knowledge. However, Blackburn wanted to work directly with students, influencing and expanding how they thought about their field of study.

He began by giving lectures to equine management students and went on to lead an exercise that brought together students in architecture, landscape architecture and equine management. Under his guidance, the students used the Clemson Equine Center as a case study, examining its design and functionality. The architecture and landscape architecture students acted as consultants for the equine management students, who played the client role, and they worked together to recommend improvements.

Now that the case study has been completed, Blackburn’s vision is to see the students’ work come to fruition. That way, the students will have something tangible on campus that shows their efforts, and Clemson will benefit from having a first-class equine center. “I hope to see it become reality,” he said. “I want to see the students experience a real project and look back over the years as they move on in their careers and say, ‘This is something I contributed to and made successful.’”

When asked why giving back to Clemson was a good idea, John responded immediately by saying, “Because Clemson is a good idea.” Plus, he wants to give back to horses as well. “Horses have fed me for 35 years,” he said. “It’s time for me to feed the horses.”

Keeping the pipeline filled with diverse talent

Duke Energy continues to support two Clemson summer programs for middle school girls and incoming college freshmen interested in the STEM fields.

Duke Energy is continuing to support two Clemson summer programs — one for middle school girls and one for incoming University freshmen — with an $85,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation. Both programs are aimed at increasing diversity in the pipeline that carries talent from the classroom to the workplace.

Project WISE is designed to educate middle school girls about opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, at a time of life when peer pressure tends to drive them away. The PEER and WISE Experience offers 50 incoming freshmen a head start on academics and campus life. Both programs, which are based in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, are designed for students from groups who are underrepresented in STEM fields, including women and minorities.

“We know that quality education programs like these are critical to creating the high-tech, diverse workforce we need for the 21st century,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president. “Partnering with great institutions like Clemson University helps our communities continue to grow and produce skilled workers who bring new ideas and innovations to our lives.”

About 60 middle school girls attended Project WISE this past summer. This year’s program targeted Title I schools in the Pee Dee, a region where Duke Energy is working to have great impact. Girls attended mini-courses in a range of topics from electrical engineering to computer science, taught by Clemson faculty and staff. Ten undergraduate Clemson students lived in residence halls with the Project WISE girls.

Serita Acker, director of PEER and WISE, said that since Project WISE started in 1997, many of the program’s alumni have come to Clemson, majoring in STEM disciplines. “All of the research shows that middle school is when you start thinking about what you want to do,” Acker said. “What makes us unique is we have all these young women in our college who serve as role models. Students can see what they could be like in the future.”

The PEER and WISE Experience, based on two previous summer programs aimed at helping ease students’ transition to college, had its inaugural three-week session in July. While living on campus, students studied college calculus, physics and chemistry and learned about research, graduate school and success strategies, such as time management. They also met alumni, providing them role models to emulate.

Acker said Duke Energy has long been key to the success of PEER and WISE and thanked the company for its latest contribution. “It not only plants the seed of STEM, it plants the seed of what the future can be when you get a college education,” she said. “Together, we are keeping the pipeline filled with diverse talent.”

Scholarship from Annexstad family helps members of Clemson family

When Xavier Smith learned he was Tigertown bound in 2016, he had dual feelings of joy and apprehension. How would the cost of his college education be covered?

When he learned he would be a recipient of the Annexstad Family Foundation’s Leaders for Tomorrow scholarship, Smith was both surprised and overjoyed. “I called my entire family,” Smith said, “and they got excited, too.”

His freshman year was one filled with Clemson moments, beginning the very first day. “My roommate is one of my friends from high school, and we spent the day walking around campus meeting new people. Without the Annexstad Family Foundation Scholarship, I wouldn’t be here right now having these moments,” he said.

In addition to campus activities, the scholarship is guiding the biochemistry major along the path to achieving his dreams of going into the medical field. Smith is currently considering both neurology and pharmacy and is thankful for the opportunity to do so.

Like Al and Cathy Annexstad, Smith isn’t letting his past hardships stop him from achieving his goals, and it’s important that those who face similar situations do the same.

“We are delighted that Clemson has chosen to partner with us,” noted co-founder Al Annexstad. “Young people like Xavier represent a huge reservoir of future leaders for the country. We wish him well.”

Washington serves as classroom for economics students

 

Clemson University economics students gather in front of the flags where cabinet members are sworn in.

Economics students gather in front of the flags where cabinet members are sworn in.

What better way to grasp an understanding of economic policy than to rub shoulders with those who influence it at the highest levels of government? That was the mindset of the family of the late John Harris ’74 when they created an endowment that allows for senior economics majors to visit economic policymakers in Washington, D.C., each spring.

Fourteen College of Business students from the John E. Walker Department of Economics recently returned from the nation’s capital, where they met with high-level economists in government and think tanks as part of the Senior Seminar in Economics.

“The course is built around policy discussions and the economic policies of the current administration,” said Raymond “Skip” Sauer, an economics professor who accompanied students on the trip. “Students spent two days in Washington and met with some very influential policymakers, including some Clemson alums.”

Students met and asked questions of Mark Calabria, chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. In addition, the students visited the Federal Communications Commission where they met Craig Stroup, a senior economist at the FCC and a ’96 Ph.D. graduate of Clemson.

Lani Czarniecki, deputy assistant to the vice president for external affairs, gave Clemson economics students lessons on the VP’s flag and other historical artifacts.

Lani Czarniecki, deputy assistant to the vice president for external affairs, gave Clemson economics students lessons on the VP’s flag and other historical artifacts.

David Spearman said the trip to Washington gave him better insights into the day-to-day responsibilities of an economist. “You learn so much in class, but it’s not obvious what it’s going to look like when you apply it in a real-world setting,” he said. “It was also helpful getting advice from people working in the profession’s highest levels about things like what hard and soft skills they found beneficial in helping them succeed.”

The group also visited the Brookings Institution and had a meeting with Will Ensor ’15 who studied economics at Clemson and is a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. While at AEI, students attended a discussion, “Improving Economic Opportunity in America,” featuring renowned Stanford University economist Raj Chetty and Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors in the Obama administration.

“It’s fitting that the endowment John Harris’ family created would provide Clemson students with such a rich learning opportunity,” Sauer said. “John began his career in Washington as an analyst with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a self-sustaining government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets. He subsequently became deeply involved in South Carolina real estate investment and management. His own experience helped him perceive the opportunity for students to visit Washington and engage in policy discussions as a potential game-changer for their careers. This gift to generations of students is a great tribute to him and a life filled with major achievements.”

Alumnus pledges $1.2 million to support Clemson architecture, other programs

William H. “Bill” Pelham ’77, M ’81 has pledged gifts totaling $1.2 million through the Jean T. and Heyward G. Pelham Foundation to support the School of Architecture, the Clemson Architectural Foundation (CAF) and other initiatives.

These gifts bring the Pelham family’s total donations to Clemson to more than $2.8 million since 2007. The philanthropic Pelham Foundation was established in 2006 by Bill Pelham’s parents, Jean and Heyward Pelham. The Pelhams were strong advocates and supporters of education and the arts and very active in the Greenville community.

“Bill Pelham and his family have been tremendous supporters of Clemson’s academic mission for many years, and we are very appreciative of this latest generous gift,” said Clemson President Clements. “Bill has a passion for both the importance of study abroad programs and for further strengthening Clemson’s outstanding architecture program, and this gift reflects both of these important University priorities.”

The donation includes annual unrestricted gifts and endowments. The unrestricted gifts provide flexibility so that college leadership can be more nimble and responsive. The endowments will provide for lasting funding.

“We wanted some funds to be available now for immediate impact and the rest to be available every year, forever,” said Pelham.

“Bill Pelham and his family have been tremendous supporters of Clemson’s academic mission for many years, and we are very appreciative of this latest generous gift.”

Bill Pelham graduated from Clemson in 1977 with a B.A. in pre-architecture and in 1981 with a master’s in architecture. In 1978, he spent a semester studying in Genoa, Italy, at Clemson’s Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Study, an experience that has informed his worldview and inspired his charitable giving.

“By giving our students a global reach that prepares them to provide design leadership in a flat world, to be global practitioners and regional experts, to understand the unique opportunities of place and the wealth derived from cultural differences, Bill’s gift is truly transformational,” said Kate Schwennsen, director of the School of Architecture.

“Bill Pelham has served as a visionary force for excellence in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities,” said Dean Richard Goodstein. “While his focus is very much on the School of Architecture and the CAF, Bill has supported the college in many ways, most recently during Clemson’s Will to Lead capital campaign. We are truly grateful to Bill, his wife, Laura, and the Pelham family for their leadership and generosity to Clemson.”