An Unlikely Beginning for a Legacy

Marilyn Godbold’s life-changing gift began in an unlikely place — a meeting she attended as a guest.

Godbold’s affinity for Clemson began with her husband, Asa Godbold, who graduated from Clemson in 1969 with a degree in building construction. Asa Godbold was named to the Board of Visitors, and since spouses are routinely invited to the meetings, Marilyn attended every meeting with him. Though she had no prior connection to Clemson, she quickly fell in love with the University.

“Marilyn had never even set foot on campus until after we met,” Asa said. “She bought into everything Clemson and almost made me feel guilty over whether I was as involved as she was.”

At the final Board of Visitors meeting of Asa Godbold’s term, Marilyn sat in on a presentation about ClemsonLIFE and its goal of providing a postsecondary education to students with intellectual disabilities. On the way home, Marilyn immediately decided to change her will to make ClemsonLIFE a part of it.

“ClemsonLIFE resonated with everything she was as a person, and she wanted to make this program available to anyone who needed it,” said Asa.

Marilyn died in late 2017; her planned gift to ClemsonLIFE will provide grants and financial aid.

His wife’s generosity inspired Asa to continue giving himself by creating the Asa and Marilyn Godbold Clemson FIRST Grant-in-Aid, a scholarship for first-generation students.

“I have now given to Clemson for 49 consecutive years, and in one fell swoop, Marilyn gave more than I have ever given cumulatively,” he said. “I am hoping that between the two of us, we will keep Thomas Green Clemson’s will and vision alive forever.”

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