Real-life Examples: Generous Gifts of Leadership Circle Donors Make Students’ Dreams Possible

For many students, financial aid is their only hope for receiving a college education, regardless of how qualified or driven they may be.

Tyler Love is one of those students. Just over three years ago, he was living on a friend’s couch, desperate to find a way to provide for himself. Thanks to his grandmother’s help, he returned home, enrolled in classes at Greenville Tech and eventually achieved his dream of becoming a Clemson student. However, despite working two jobs in addition to his academic work, he still faced financial obstacles.

Because of generous donor gifts, Love was able to obtain a grant to cover the balance of his tuition bill. That provided him the freedom to focus on being a student, investing more deeply in his education. As a sociology major, Love has had the opportunity to do research alongside a professor and present the findings at a regional conference. He hopes to become a professor himself and give back to students who might have experiences similar to his.

Joey Mott faced similar circumstances. A Greenville native, he entered Clemson as a first-generation college student from a single-parent family, pursuing his dream despite financial difficulties.

The need-based aid he received has allowed him to pursue his education both inside and outside the classroom, as a resident assistant and a member of numerous student organizations through the College of Business. He has participated in the Tiger Ties Mentorship Program and volunteered at his church. He has even participated in multiple study abroad opportunities and an internship. Now he’s planning on a career in marketing, hospitality or business consulting.

Financial aid changed everything for him, and he readily acknowledges that donors created opportunities for him that he would not have had otherwise.

These stories and many more are possible because of President’s Leadership Circle donors, those who give $10,000 or more to Clemson without restrictions. These donors are the difference-makers for students who may not have anywhere else to turn when they face difficulties.

Roy Abercrombie ’69 knows that story all too well. He benefited from need-based aid while he was a student, and he and his wife, Mary Carol, now choose to give unrestricted gifts to Clemson. “I realize the value of an education,” Roy Abercrombie said, “and Leadership Circle is giving to people who really need it.”

John ’80 and Patsy DuPre feel much the same. “The idea of giving money to the president to be used at his discretion for those who really need it seemed like the best way to give to Clemson,” Patsy DuPre said. As engineering graduates, John DuPre and his brother Henry DuPre ’71  spent much of their careers at ExxonMobil, which allowed them to maximize their contributions to Clemson due to a matching gift program — something they encourage other alumni to take advantage of as well.

“Every time we come to an event that’s held by the University, we always see real-life examples of the true benefit that these dollars are making in the lives of individuals here at Clemson,” said John DuPre. “It makes us proud to contribute.”

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