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.


Designing a Great Partnership

Pantone Color guideX-Rite Pantone has been a longtime corporate partner of the graphic communications department within Clemson’s Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics, but a recent in-kind donation valued at $500,000 has taken that partnership to a higher level. Clemson students will now have access to state-of-the-art spectrophotometers, scanning tables, light booths and software. Hands-on experience with this sophisticated technology will allow students to learn using the latest equipment in color measurement, ink formulation, and print-quality hardware and software.

“We are very grateful to X-Rite for working with us to provide students with the latest capabilities in color management and color measurement solutions,” said Bobby Congdon, assistant director of the Sonoco Institute. “These gifts will enable us to enhance our ink lab capabilities to become a fully functional, professional ink lab.”

Clemson has a history of building strong relationships with corporations across the country. These partnerships help the University financially but also connect our students to valuable real-world experiences. Partnerships with corporations such as X-Rite provide that vital link, helping integrate students’ classroom experience with career preparation.

Empowering First-Generation Clemson Students

John ’72 and Laurie Gutshaw believe in the power of education. Long before they met, John and Laurie both relished the educational opportunities afforded to them, eventually using that education to build substantive careers and lives. The couple, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, is putting their collective power behind Clemson University through the establishment of the Kenneth John Gutshaw Jr., ’72 and Laurie B. Gutshaw Annual FIRST Grant-In-Aid Endowment — providing support for first-generation college students at Clemson.

John Gutshaw is a West Virginia native who spent his formative years in Long Island. “When it was time for me to look at colleges, I was interested in going to a Southern school because I frankly didn’t like cold weather,” recalled John. “When I visited Clemson, I fell in love with the campus, the area and its beauty.”

John received his bachelor’s degree in economics and his master’s in city and regional planning. After graduation, his career took him back to New York, where he teamed with Jim Wadley, who had recently founded a firm specializing in analyzing and accessing site selections for companies. Their company grew and eventually merged with a real estate corporation. Today, the firm of Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting is an international consulting firm.

Meanwhile, Laurie Buchanan was pursuing a successful career as a journalist. Her path took her into the inner-world of Washington politics where she held communications positions for notable members of Congress. She also worked for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Transit and a global engineering consulting firm, AECOM Technology, from which she retired in 2017.

John and Laurie now enjoy a busy semi-retirement life in Florida. Their skills are still in high demand, but they carefully select what causes and organizations to allocate their energy toward and are always exploring ways to support what they are passionate about, like Clemson’s FIRST program.

The Gutshaws recently had an opportunity to meet the first group of Clemson students to benefit from their generosity and look forward to seeing what path those students take.

“Laurie and I believe one of the best gifts you can give to any young person is a college education,” said John. “College prepares you for a future career, helps you understand learning experiences and establishes enduring friendships. In the absence of having children, we decided this endowment was the best avenue — providing others with this gift — and opening the door for a first-generation college graduate makes this even more special to us.”

David Lyle Knows Their Stories

David LyleThere are 493 names etched on the stones that make up Clemson University’s Scroll of Honor — a memorial to the University’s alumni who died while fighting for their country. Through his volunteer work with the Clemson Corps, David Lyle ’68 knows the stories of all 493 soldiers.

Lyle, who participated in Air Force ROTC during his years at Clemson, has researched and verified each honoree as a former Clemson University student and hero who died in service to our country. He has spent hundreds of hours of his own time on ancestry websites, filing through paper records and driving to cemeteries to complete the work.

“I’m all in,” Lyle said. “This is where my love is.”

A native of Walhalla, South Carolina, Lyle never considered attending college anywhere other than Clemson. He enrolled in 1963, when it was still required for students to join the University’s ROTC program. He spent the next seven years — in undergraduate and graduate classes — at Clemson.

A microbiology major as an undergraduate, Lyle had not intended on spending a career in the military. But life doesn’t always end up the way we plan. In 1968, he graduated with his bachelor’s degree, and in 1970, he went into the U.S. Air Force, swapping a lab coat for a uniform.

In the Air Force, Lyle was deployed to bases from Montana to South Korea. The military, and eventually a civilian career in medical technology and research, took him all over the country.

Lyle retired in 2009 and wanted to come back home. He and his wife, Judy, had stayed connected to Clemson and were involved with an alumni group in Washington, D.C. Since moving back to Walhalla, they have also given back to Clemson. In addition to his time serving the Clemson Corps, Lyle recently decided to support the Class of 1968 ROTC Endowment through an estate gift that will provide scholarships to Clemson Corps cadets.

When asked about this decision, Lyle’s answer was simple: “Clemson is family.” He added, “Giving back through your estate is a no-brainer.”

By giving toward the Class of 1968 Endowment, Lyle is among the Clemson supporters who are ensuring that Clemson men and women will receive a world-class education while also preparing to serve their nation — both of which have significantly shaped Lyle’s life and career.

“I had no idea when I started at Clemson University where I was going to end up,” he said. “Through the years, Clemson University has changed. The Clemson Corps has become bigger than anyone ever imagined. But in many ways, this University has stayed the same. It is still a family.”

Garrison Cornerstone Gifts Make a Lasting Impact Across Campus

Garrisons at Charleston announcementBy the time Dan Garrison retired as vice president of sales for Service Corporation International, his career had taken him far from his Upstate roots. He graduated from Clemson in 1972 — with a degree in business and an ambition that led him to work and live all over the country.

But his heart never left these hills.

Garrison and his wife, Nancy, return often to visit family and enjoy Clemson athletic events. The Garrisons’ connection to Clemson was further solidified this year when they became the University’s first-ever Cornerstone Partners for both athletics and academics.

Dan spent his formative years on his family’s dairy farm in Greenville County. Choosing to attend Clemson was an easy decision, he said. Many family members and friends were “Clemson people,” so there was always a strong Clemson influence. Even when career moves took Dan away from South Carolina, the distance never lessened the bond with his Clemson Family.

When the Garrisons decided to give back to the University, they wanted to do so in a manner that would have a lasting impact. In 2017, they became Athletic Cornerstone Partners to support the University’s efforts to improve the experience of student-athletes — not only while they are participating in their sport on campus but also after graduation, to give them tools that ensure their personal and professional success. The Garrisons’ recent Cornerstone gift to the College of Business will support its sales innovation program. The J. Daniel and Nancy Garrison Sales Lab will be named in their honor.

Dan’s fond memories of Clemson remain vivd: “Since my first semester as a young freshman in 1969, Clemson has been part of my life. The education I received at Clemson goes beyond academics. My business success is in large part due to my experiences here and the real-world education I received regarding how to become an adult. Clemson is an important part of our family, and we feel privileged to be part of the larger Clemson Family.”

For the Garrisons, the most rewarding aspect of their Cornerstone gifts to Clemson is feeling a personal connection to the people and programs they are supporting. “For anyone who is considering a gift to Clemson,” Dan said, “no matter how large or small, the benefit of having a long-term impact for so many is worthy of serious consideration.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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