Alumni News

Virtual Engagement

Need a new Zoom background? The Alumni Association is offering downloadable campus photos on their virtual engagement page to keep your Monday meetings interesting and keep you more connected to Clemson. And the virtual opportunities don’t stop there.

Explore painting classes, read alouds of children’s books, dance breaks with DJ Sha, question-and-answer sessions with alumni and Clemson experts on topics ranging from NASCAR to the economic impacts of the pandemic, and more. The Alumni Association has also listed online resources available to alumni, including an online job search and online mentorship opportunities.

 

Affinity Groups Update

On the Alumni Association’s contact update form, alumni can now self-identify with various affinity groups they’d like to be part of, including the Hispanic & Latinx Alumni Council, the Women’s Alumni Council, the LGBTQ+ Alumni Council and the Black Alumni Council. Visit alumni.clemson.edu/contactupdate to access the form.

 

Made to Order

This spring, bright orange signs emblazoned with “Tigertown Bound Class of ’24” could be seen in front yards all over the state and country. It’s a proud moment for future students and their families, showing their neighbors and friends where they’re going to college.

Normally, the Alumni Association provides these signs for student send-off parties and other events. COVID-19 made that impossible this year, so the Alumni Association created an online order form at signs.com/tigertown-bound, where students can order their own signs and enjoy the tradition.

 

2020 Welcome Back Festival Canceled

For the last 35 years, the Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Council have sponsored the Welcome Back Festival in downtown Clemson, with local vendors offering a variety of merchandise and food. The event raises approximately $18,000 each year for student scholarships through the Student Alumni Council Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Due to COVID-19, the Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Council made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s Welcome Back Festival in the hope of hosting a similar event in the spring of 2021.

To support the Student Alumni Council Scholarship Endowment Fund, visit iamatiger.clemson.edu/giving and use the “Search for a Fund” feature to search “Student Alumni Council (S.A.C.) Scholarship Endowment.” A gift of any amount can make a difference in the lives of Clemson students.

When In … Leiden, Netherlands

Welcome to Leiden, Netherlands! My name is Katie Sweeney, and I graduated from Clemson in 2000 with a marketing degree. Now, I’m a freelance advertising copywriter living in Leiden. A university town and the birthplace of Rembrandt, Leiden is located near the coast between Amsterdam and The Hague. Let me show you around:

 

1 | Pieterskerk
President George H.W. Bush visited Leiden in 1989 and gave a speech at the Pieterskerk, a stunning church that served as the Pilgrims’ original house of worship. Visit Leiden’s quaint and quirky Leiden American Pilgrim Museum (pictured) to learn more about the Dutch connection to the Pilgrims who arrived in America on the Mayflower.

 

2 | The Burcht
Just around the corner from the Pilgrim museum is another important remnant of Leiden history. Look for the iron gates with Leiden’s lion and keys symbol. Straight ahead and up the stairs, you’ll discover the remains of an 11th-century castle.

 

3 | Naturalis Biodiversity Center
This stunning natural history museum reopened in 2019 and is a short walk from the train station. Its nine floors are divided into different themes, covering the varied eras and stages of life on Earth. The dinosaur exhibit never gets old, and my daughter loves the activity rooms, where she can look through microscopes and identify bones.

 

4 | Outdoor Market
Wednesday and Saturday are outdoor market days in Leiden. Walk along De Rijn canal and pick out fresh meats, cheeses, fish, fruits, veggies and souvenirs from the vendors. During tulip season, I can grab two bunches (10 purple, 10 orange) for 5€.

 

5 | Canal Tour
If it’s sunny, the Dutch will be outdoors soaking up vitamin D. Whether you rent a boat on your own or take a guided tour, seeing Leiden from the water is a great experience.

 

Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email shutto@clemson.edu for more information.

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.