After high school, I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman and served with 3rd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
After four years, three continents and 13 countries, I wanted to give back on a larger scale, and I knew I needed a formal education. One thing I didn’t cultivate in high school or by crawling through swamps, though, was my academic skills.
When I applied to Clemson, it was a total Hail Mary based on my dismal high school GPA and SAT scores. The only thing I had going for me was four years of service in the Marines. To someone in admissions, that stood for something, and Clemson let me in. That sent a message to me that serving this country meant something to people at Clemson. And if they were going to take a gamble on me, I surely could not disappoint them.
With unwavering support from my future wife, Amy, I worked relentlessly and graduated cum laude in mechanical engineering and was in three different honor societies. A degree from Clemson has opened so many doors for me. I really do bleed orange because of the chance they gave me.
My second act at Clemson is to help more of our veterans come back to the workforce and bring the intangibles and leadership they honed while serving. Amy and I want to help them further their education at Clemson. We know firsthand how wonderful everyone here was when I was a struggling veteran getting re-immersed in 1999. The Veteran Resource Center is a clear display of the commitment Clemson has to veterans, and we couldn’t be more proud to support it.
I am Brian Burger, and this is My Clemson.
Brian Burger is co-owner of Fathom 4, a veteran-owned small business in Charleston that provides engineering services.