Supporting Research and Partnerships

John Witherspoon Gilpin ’82 grew up in Columbia and knew he wanted to go to medical school after receiving his Clemson degree. He said he probably would have majored in bioengineering, but it wasn’t offered as a degree program until 2006.

Instead, Gilpin majored in microbiology. He served as student body vice president and president of the student alumni council. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was awarded the Norris Medal, Clemson’s highest undergraduate academic honor.

Gilpin recently donated $1 million to establish the John Witherspoon Gilpin, M.D. ’82 Distinguished Professorship in Bioengineering. This is not his first time supporting the department. In 2020, he established the John Witherspoon Gilpin, M.D. ’82 Endowed Associate Professorship. Gilpin made this gift, in part, to honor his six nieces and nephews.

While the new professorship is intended for the department chair, Gilpin has allowed Clemson to occasionally use the funds for research support and student assistance and to recruit and retain other outstanding bioengineering faculty members. 

In addition to financial support, Gilpin helps guide the department as a member of the external advisory board. “My respect for the chair of the department, Martine LaBerge, and Associate Professor Jeremy Mercuri helped inspire this donation,” Gilpin said. “My vision for these funds is to support the research activities of the talented faculty, graduate students and undergraduates of the bioengineering department.” He also hopes to encourage the department’s partnerships in the field of medicine.

LaBerge said she is grateful for Gilpin’s generous support: “John Witherspoon Gilpin exemplifies our mission to educate thinkers, leaders and entrepreneurs,” she said. “His forward-thinking generosity is helping us attract and retain some of the nation’s top bioengineering talent.”

Gilpin is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and director of medical student education in radiology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. He is the medical director of the radiology department at Prisma Health Hillcrest Hospital in Simpsonville, South Carolina. 

“I owe a lot to Clemson for helping make me the man I am now,” Gilpin said.

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