“We lost my mom four years ago in July,” Frances Mann Medley ’10 says.
In February 2020, the Mann family — including Frances and her family, her father, Stephen Mann ’78, and her brother, Thomas Mann ’06, M ’07, and his family — donated a 2020 Clemson class ring in the ladies dinner ring style to honor their wife and mother, Eleanor Hightower Mann ’78, who passed away in 2017. The donated ring also includes Eleanor’s sorority, Pi Beta Phi, which recently returned to the University’s Greek life.
Stephen and Eleanor met and fell in love when they were both students at Clemson. He was an agricultural mechanization and business major, and she was an elementary education major. After graduating, the couple got married and “put their roots down” in West Columbia, where they raised Frances and Thomas. Eleanor taught elementary kids for 33 years in the area and eventually saw both of her children graduate from her alma mater.
“We have a picture from my graduation day with all four of us with our rings turned,” Frances says. “Sweet memory.”
When asked about the donation, Stephen says it was something that would “last forever. [Clemson] was something that Eleanor was very involved with as a student and as an alumna. It is just a way to preserve her memory.”
Frances says donating the ring was the first time her whole family had been back to Clemson since her mother’s passing. It was a special trip. “When we come back and visit for years to come, when I take my kids as they get older and hopefully my grandkids,” she says, “they can visit the Alumni Center and find their grandmother’s name.”