For the 14 years he served as Clemson University’s president, James F. Barker ended most of his speeches with stories of life in the president’s home – usually involving spontaneous, sometimes poignant and sometimes hilarious, encounters with students who showed up on his doorstep. And for 14 years, his audiences have told him he should write a book.
Barker, who retired as president in 2013 and returned to the faculty in Clemson’s School of Architecture, said the collection of stories is intended to capture the unique sense of family that defines Clemson University.
“In sharing these memories, Marcia and I also just wanted to say thank you to all the members of the Clemson family who made our 14 years in the President’s Home a wonderful, memorable time,” Barker said.
The book, which includes a foreword by Barker’s successor, President James P. Clements, is also intended to help raise money for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Barker Scholars Endowment, which provides need-based grants for undergraduate students.
The book sells for $40.74 and is available through the Blurb online bookstore at http://www.blurb.com/b/7503344-can-the-president-come-out-and-play.
A native North Carolinian, Lennon was born in Columbus County on September 27, 1940, to Denver H. and Mary Kelly Lennon. He attended Mars Hills College, graduating with an associate degree in agriculture, before going on to earn a bachelor of science at North Carolina State, where he returned to complete a Ph.D. in 1970.
Positions in academia included Texas Tech, University of Missouri-Columbia and Ohio State before he accepted the presidency of Clemson in 1986.
Lennon led the University’s first multimillion dollar capital campaign, which was responsible for raising more than $101 million. During his presidency, Clemson experienced unprecedented growth and success in research and private fundraising. The University’s research expenditures quadrupled and academic fundraising more than tripled.
President Lennon also advanced the concept of strategic planning at the University, which led to the identification of Universitywide priorities and goals, and a process for restructuring the University for the 21st century. His impact on campus can still be seen in projects and infrastructure such as the Brooks Center, Sullivan Wellness Center, Hunter Laboratory, Garrison Arena and the Fluor Daniel Building. His influence also exists in programs such as Communication Across the Curriculum and the University’s partnership with the Greenville Hospital System, as well as in the establishment of degree programs such as packaging science and landscape architecture.
After resigning in 1994, Lennon worked briefly with Eastern Foods, then accepted the presidency of Mars Hill College in 1995, where he served until 2002, when he resigned and became president of the Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas.
He is survived by his wife Ruth and two children, Daniel R. Lennon ’91 and Robin Lennon Bylenga M ’91, and grandchildren.
*Clemson will host a Celebration of Life service at 2 p.m. Dec. 13 at the President’s Box in Memorial Stadium on the main campus.
Our son Stefan took a summer term in Germany attending classes in Luneburg. One weekend he went with friends to visit southern Germany’s Alps and went to the top of the famous Eagles Nest. There he showed his “Tiger Pride”.
Emily Wallace ’72 has been breaking down barriers and cutting new paths since she was a student at Clemson, and now she is helping the next generation follow in her footsteps. Wallace and her husband, Jack, have established an endowed scholarship through the College of Engineering and Science. The scholarship targets groups who are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math.
“As a manager in technology, it’s hard to find women in technical backgrounds,” Wallace says. “But it’s not just women. It can be hard to find men, too. I’m trying to encourage more students in technical backgrounds.”
Wallace serves as senior director of the Knowledge Management Center at SAS, a software development company based out of Cary, North Carolina, that employs 15,000 worldwide. Emily and Jack Wallace were among the first 100 employees when they began working at the company 34 years ago.
The husband-and-wife team returned to campus in November for Legacy Day and to see the Tigers play Wake Forest in the last home football game of the season. Their itinerary included a meeting with Serita Acker, the program director for Women In Science and Engineering (WISE). The program offers support to female engineering and science majors, ranging from mentoring and networking to test banks and tutoring.
“I’m a strong believer in the WISE program,” Wallace says. “I love Serita. I wish we had the program when I was here.”
While at Clemson, Wallace became the first female director of the student radio station, WSBF. As a female math major, she was in a distinct minority. The experience helped prepare her for what was to come. “It gave me a lot of independence,” she says. “Being among a minority of female students helped me develop a thicker skin and to deal with people who did not see my viewpoint.”
Tigers football head coach Dabo Swinney and his wife, Kathleen, helped inspire the Wallaces to give back. “I was so impressed with what they are doing for the community and academic programs, it made me feel like I should do more,” Emily says.
While on campus, the Wallaces also toured the Watt Family Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art building designed to link students and industry. “I was blown away,” Emily says. “I want to come back as a student.”
The Alumni Association’s sixth annual Alumni Golf Tournament was a rousing success. A sold-out event, the competition was fierce. But John Ross, Drew Foster, Jay Wright and Austin Page (pictured) took first place. Rodney Thomas, Rick Walters, Bobby Fleming and Drew Walters took second place, while Mike Hirsch, Jimmy Kimbell, Brandon Bailey and Justin Hirsch took third. The winning team represented Clemson on the national stage at the Acura College Alumni Team Championship at Pinehurst in October.