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Erwins Become Second Cornerstone Partner for Academics

When Joe Erwin first began his advertising career in New York, the Clemson brand was still up and coming. He laughingly recalls having one of his training instructors refer to Clemson as “that Southern liberal arts school” in a room full of his Ivy League colleagues.

Clemson has come a long way since Joe Erwin graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and began working in advertising. He met Gretchen, an alumna of the University of Georgia, while they were working at Leslie Advertising in Greenville. After getting married and moving to New York to work for major advertising agencies, the couple returned to Greenville to launch their own advertising agency, Erwin Penland. Erwin Penland grew to be a national company with more than 400 employees and a prestigious client base across the country.

After transitioning away from Erwin Penland, Joe Erwin founded Erwin Creates, a company that continues his legacy of cultivating, growing and influencing a creative community in South Carolina. Through Erwin Creates, the Erwins created the Erwin Center for Brand Communications at Clemson in 2012.

The Erwin Center prepares Clemson students for the workplace by providing them opportunities to put their classroom skills into practice. They learn from marketing professionals who can provide real examples, and they address actual client needs that require them to utilize research, strategy, creative development and analytics to produce meaningful solutions.

The Erwins’ most recent gift makes them Clemson’s second Cornerstone Partner for Academics, placing them in a special group of bold and visionary donors who give transformational gifts of $2.5 million or more to lay a foundation for Clemson’s future. This gift includes $1 million for the new College of Business building and $1.5 million for student scholarships and programming support for communication students and adjunct faculty.

“That investment that we made and continue to make is about changing lives, and what we’ve seen in the last five years is that our investment has paid dividends at Clemson,” Joe Erwin said. “We’ve seen young people go on to great jobs right out of Clemson, working at agencies and brands that, when I was a kid, I don’t think we could have imagined.”

“Because of our great adjunct faculty and other faculty, they’re getting the kind of professional training that really makes them a hot commodity,” he continued, “and I love seeing Clemson people being hot commodities.”

Erwins’ continuing investment benefits students

Students will benefit from scholarships, additional experienced faculty and new state-of-the-art classroom space thanks to the continuing investment of Joe Erwin ’79 and his wife, Gretchen.

The co-founders of Greenville-based advertising and marketing firm Erwin Penland gave two new gifts totaling $1.08 million to benefit the University’s Erwin Center for the Study of Advertising and Communication, $800,000 to further the center’s programming and $208,000 to establish the Eugene and Valerie Getchell Scholarship Endowment. Named for Gretchen Erwin’s parents, the endowment allows Clemson to offer two need-based scholarships each year to students studying in the Erwin Center, beginning this year.

The gifts are part of Clemson’s Will to Lead campaign. The Erwin Center was created in December 2012 when the Erwins gave a lead gift of $1.05 million.

Call Me MISTER receives $1.3 million

William Buster, director of the Kellogg Foundation’s Mississippi and New Orleans programs

William Buster, director of the Kellogg Foundation’s Mississippi and New Orleans programs

Clemson’s Call Me MISTER program has received $1.3 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich., to collaborate with Jackson State University to increase the number of African-American male teachers in Mississippi K-8 classrooms. The three organizations gathered on campus to commemorate the collaboration and grant.

Clemson established the now nationally recognized Call Me MISTER program in 2000 to increase the number of African-American males teaching in South Carolina K-12 schools. MISTER stands for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models. After more than a decade, there is a 75 percent increase in the number of African-American male teachers in South Carolina’s public elementary schools.

The program has expanded to 17 colleges in South Carolina. Nearly 100 students are enrolled in the program in six additional states: Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Mississippi and Georgia.

“The demonstrated success of the Call Me MISTER collaborative model in South Carolina, which has resulted in a significant increase in African-American male teachers in our state, provided confidence that the same result was possible in Mississippi,” Roy Jones, director of Call Me MISTER said. “We simply exported our nearly 15 years of successful experience in recruiting, retaining and developing pre-service teachers to Jackson State, which has a long tradition and history in producing African-American educators.”

Chi Zeta celebrates 40 years, endows scholarship

This spring, the alumni brothers of the Chi Zeta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity returned to Clemson to celebrate the chapter’s anniversary. Forty years ago, a group of students chartered the first black Greek-lettered organization on campus. Since then, 122 brothers have been initiated, and more than 90 of those returned for the reunion.

Chi Zeta took a leadership role during the 50th anniversary of the ending of segregation at Clemson. The “50 for 50” campaign was designed to celebrate 50 years of integration at Clemson by creating 50 diversity endowments, with a goal of fully funding the endowments within five years. Chi Zeta saw this as an opportunity to create its own endowment to provide financial support for deserving undergraduate students now and for years to come. Chi Zeta met its commitment within four months and awarded the first scholarship in the fall of 2013.

To mark its 40th anniversary as a campus organization, the alumni brothers of Chi Zeta raised another $25,000, which doubles the endowment to $50,000. With these additional donations, the brothers of Chi Zeta, in conjunction with Mrs. Veronica Clinkscales and the Clinkscales family, were able to establish the Dr. William C. Clinkscales Sr. ’74 Diversity Scholarship Endowment honoring her late husband, one of the founding brothers of the fraternity.

 

Freeman Hall expanding

Freeman Hall expanding

Freeman Hall renderingFreeman Hall is expanding to make room for rapid growth in the industrial engineering department. The $10-million addition will include new offices, conference rooms and a 108-seat auditorium, and will include additional room for a fast-growing online Master of Engineering in industrial engineering with an emphasis on supply chain and logistics that has been supported by Fluor Corporation. The program now has about 120 students and is expected to grow to 160. Growth in the industrial engineering department underscores the power of philanthropy and the importance of Clemson’s long partnership with Fluor. Fluor contributed $1.5 million in 2013 to create the Fluor-Clemson International Capital Projects Supply Chain Partnership to help with the online program’s expansion.

 

 

One Clemson event supports scholarships

ONE CLEMSON MAINC.J. Spiller ’09 was one of the more than two dozen legendary Clemson athletes who were in attendance at the One Clemson Main Event, held in April at the ONE Building in downtown Greenville to support athletic and academic scholarships. Auctioned items included a personal “C.J. Spiller Experience” at a Buffalo Bills game and golf with PGA Tour players Charles Warren and Ben Martin. Proceeds benefit the One Clemson scholarship initiative, a part of the Will to Lead campaign.