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Building for the Future

Pelhams’ longtime generosity supports Clemson’s School of Architecture and Emerging Scholars

In 1972, Clemson became one of the first architecture programs in the country to establish a satellite center in Europe. Since then, the Fluid Campus™ model with semester-long opportunities for students to study and gain greater understanding of architecture and urban cultures has gained international recognition.

That experience was life-changing for Bill Pelham, who graduated from Clemson in 1977 with a bachelor’s in pre-architecture and in 1981 with a master’s in architecture. In 1978, he spent a semester in Genoa, Italy, studying at Clemson’s Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies, an experience that influenced his worldview and inspired lifelong charitable giving. Pelham describes that time as eye-opening and confidence-building, as he navigated his way through Western Europe to sketch, study and admire what he calls “phenomenal architecture.”

Bill and Laura Pelham recently became Clemson’s newest Academic Cornerstone partners when they awarded the School of Architecture a gift of $3 million. With this donation, Bill and Laura Pelham hope to provide more experiences like his for talented architecture students.

The Pelhams have generously given back to Clemson and the School of Architecture over the years. Gifts totaling $2.8 million have been given through the Jean T. and Heyward G. Pelham Foundation to support the School of Architecture, the Clemson Architectural Foundation and other initiatives since 2007. This new gift supports two endowments established earlier, one for the director of the School of Architecture and one for the Foundation, providing unrestricted funding in perpetuity.

“I am so grateful to Bill and Laura Pelham for their generosity and their visionary leadership that will enable more students to pursue careers in architecture,” said President Jim Clements. “This gift will pave the way for students who may not have had the opportunity to study architecture otherwise. I believe that the best mix of the best minds produces the best outcomes, and Bill and Laura are helping us bring more of those top minds to our School of Architecture.”

Other projects supported through this gift include strengthening Clemson’s relationship with the Fine Arts Center in Greenville. Funding will provide need-based scholarships for talented students who attend the Fine Arts Center’s architectural program: “Art of Architecture.” These highly qualified graduates might not otherwise be able to pursue architectural studies while remaining in the state.

Additionally, the Pelhams’ gift will support an endowment for Emerging Scholars, establishing the architecture track for this program. The Emerging Scholars Program exposes students from the rural areas along the I-95 corridor in South Carolina to higher education, concentrating on academic preparation, leadership skills and the college application process. Students can stay on Clemson’s campus several times throughout the program, and program leaders work with students in their schools and community. Whether the students attend Clemson or not, the end goal is that they will graduate and pursue education beyond high school.

Pelham explains the motivation behind these focus areas: “I noticed in my freshman year that there were students who had chosen their majors and their university, but they had absolutely no idea what they were going to be studying. A lot of them transferred after the first semester because of that. The Fine Arts Center’s architecture program avoids that issue by exposing students to many aspects of an architectural education while in high school. And Emerging Scholars is a way of making students aware of other possibilities. There are few architects on the I-95 corridor, so it is a great way to give them insight into the profession. They can see that an undergraduate architecture degree is pretty good training for just about any profession.”

Clemson has always valued the impact a strong student experience can provide. It was life-changing for Bill Pelham, who along with Laura, has made giving back to others a priority. Now that same opportunity will be available for others to take forward and build upon.

 

 

Blazing the Trail

When Emily Peek Wallace ’72 arrived at Clemson as a math major in the fall of 1968, she was often the sole woman in her technical courses. Her strength and determination served her well academically and later as a successful businesswoman. Today, she is regarded as a pioneer in the software industry through her leadership role at Statistical Analysis System Institute.

Since graduating with a B.S. in mathematics, Wallace — a first-generation college graduate — has generously given back to the University, not only through donations and service on boards but also as a mentor and presenter to students. Now, she is giving a new gift of $1.25 million to establish the Emily Peek Wallace ’72 Endowed Directorship for the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.

Creating endowed faculty positions allows Clemson to recruit and retain top talent. As the first endowed faculty position at the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences in the College of Science, it provides support for the director and assists initiatives throughout the school. This is the largest gift ever given to the College of Science since its inception in 2016.

“I wanted to do something to help the faculty,” says Wallace. “Everybody has had to shift their teaching and learning methods due to COVID-19, and the faculty has additional challenges to make sure students are not getting behind and that they’re learning what they need to be learning. I wanted to provide encouragement and funding to help them and add additional resources to help students stay current.”

The gift includes tutoring assistance for students who may be struggling academically or who may have fallen behind due to unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, it aims to help establish business connections and internships for students who wish to enter the job force instead of going into academic research, and it makes training with current statistical software and other resources available for students regardless of their future tracks.

In the current academic year, 25 students are benefiting from the Wallace scholarships.

Wallace has dedicated much of her life to creating innovative opportunities for underrepresented scientists. In 2014, she established the Emily Peek Wallace ’72 Scholarship Endowment for S.T.E.M., which provides financial assistance for underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In addition to establishing the two endowments, she serves on the Clemson University Foundation Board of Directors and as a founding member of the Order of the Oak.

 

Jack McKenzie’s Solid Orange Legacy

Legacy Day at Clemson, a time to pause and celebrate the philanthropy that founded the University, feels like one of those traditions that has deep historical roots. You may not know that the celebration began not too long ago thanks to the efforts of an alumnus and longtime Clemson employee.

Jack McKenzie ’76 has led a life of service since he first set foot on Clemson’s campus as a student in 1972. His involvement in the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity was key to his development. Through his APO experience, McKenzie’s love for leadership, giving back and serving Clemson was born. But it was during his 40 years in a variety of roles as an employee that he became a Clemson legend.

Serving as the University’s internal communications manager, McKenzie began the practice of using strategic communications to promote the University. He continued to serve in leadership roles in Development and Alumni Relations. His work celebrating the legacy of our founders culminated in the establishment of Clemson traditions, including the Legacy Day celebration, the Fort Hill Legacy Society and the Clemson Legacy Society. Throughout his storied career, McKenzie’s love of Clemson has shined through.

McKenzie has continued his dedication to the University in retirement by establishing the Alpha Phi Gamma Lambda Chapter Endowment for Service Excellence. He says, “The endowment is a step toward ensuring that APO doesn’t have to spend time focusing on its own funding and can simply focus on providing leadership and friendship opportunities for students.” Additionally, in honor of McKenzie’s four decades of service to Clemson, gifts from friends and family helped establish the Alpha Phi Omega Jack A. McKenzie ’76 Leadership Endowment in 2016. This endowment provides travel grant-in-aid to students attending conferences on leadership or professional development.

Endowments ensure that leadership like McKenzie’s will continue into the next generation. It is fitting that the originator of Legacy Day at Clemson has established a solid orange legacy of his own through many years of dedication and hard work on behalf of our University.

 

Friends of the Forest

Scotts are first Cornerstone Partners for College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

As a land-grant university, Clemson is dedicated to educating our citizens about the abundant natural resources of our state. According to the South Carolina Forestry Commission, forestland encompasses nearly 12.9 million acres of South Carolina. Public agencies manage 13 percent of the state’s forests, while 87 percent belongs to more than 200,000 private landowners. Forestry and forest products are a $21 billion industry, one of the largest economic drivers in the state.

Amy and Mitchell “Micky” Scott ’75 share Clemson’s passion to educate the public and protect our natural resources, supporting causes that make a positive difference for the forest industry. Since 2013, they’ve made significant gifts of time and money to Clemson and the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.

The Scotts recently added a $2.5 million gift that will provide need-based scholarships for students enrolled in the Forestry Summer Camp, scholarships for the recruitment and retention of top undergraduate talent in CAFLS, and fellowships and program support for graduate students enrolled in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation. With this gift, the Scotts become CAFLS’ first Academic Cornerstone Partner.

“It is only fitting that Micky and Amy are the first Cornerstone Partners for the College,” says President Jim Clements. “Their gift will make a difference not only for generations of Clemson students but also for our entire state by enabling us to develop even more leaders for the fields of forestry and natural resources. I am incredibly grateful to Micky and Amy for their support.”

Leading his family’s Allendale, South Carolina, lumber business into the fourth generation, Micky Scott graduated from Clemson in 1975 with a B.S. in forest management. He serves on Clemson’s Wood Utilization + Design Institute Board and is former chair of the Timberland Legacy Advisory Committee. In 2019, he received the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences Distinguished Service Award for his efforts.

The College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences prides itself on being at the heart of Clemson’s land-grant mission, exemplifying founder Thomas Green Clemson’s vision of a high seminary of learning to serve the state of South Carolina. Support from leaders like the Scotts allow that legacy to continue for future generations.