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“Education has been the ticket for me”: C. Tycho Howle ’71, M ’73

Profile-TychoHowleThis past spring, C. Tycho Howle stepped up to the microphone and told a room full of Clemson faithful, “I’m glad to be home.”

The stage at his alma mater was a long way from his humble beginnings in a small South Carolina town, but Howle never forgot how important education has been in his success.

With two degrees from Clemson and one from Harvard, Howle became a pioneer in the e-business world and an Atlanta philanthropist. A company he founded in 1983, Harbinger Computer Services, grew to more than 40,000 active customers, 1,000 employees spread across eight countries and annual revenues exceeding $155 million.

“All along the way, a quality education has been the ticket for me to be able to move on to the next stage of life,” Howle said in an interview. “I think most people know how important education can be to a successful career, but I take every chance I can to reinforce that notion with the young people I encounter.”

Now retired and living in Naples, Florida, Howle returned to Clemson to help recognize Eileen Kraemer as the C. Tycho Howle Director of the School of Computing. Her directorship was the second endowed chair his family has supported.

Howle began life in Lancaster, a small city about 40 miles south of Charlotte. The son of a mechanic and seamstress, he was the youngest of eight brothers and sisters. He played football and ran track and did well on his SATs. He needed to pick a state-supported school and, as a Tigers fan, preferred Clemson.

He graduated with honors in physics and went on to get a master’s degree in systems engineering. After a few years at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, Howle went to Harvard Business School for a master of business administration.

“When someone is given a lot, it seems to me that you’re also responsible for giving back,” he said. “It seems the more generous we have been, the more good fortune we’ve had in our life. Some might think that a cliché, but in our case it’s true.

“When I think about the people and organizations that have played a major role in my life, Clemson is in the top tier. It prepared me not only with a great education, but also with a good set of values and lasting friendships.”

Four Faculty Members Honored with Endowed Chairs

This past fall, Eileen T. Kraemer came to Clemson as the new C. Tycho Howle Director of the School of Computing. Characterized by Dean Anand Gramopadhye as “an impeccable researcher and scholar” with “a wealth of leadership experience,” Kraemer comes to Clemson from the University of Georgia, where she was associate dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Being an administrator has not meant that she has left behind her research, which has combined psychology and computer science to find new ways of helping students reach greater achievements in computer science. She also is interested in the human aspects of software development. Kraemer’s other area of expertise is bioinformatics. She helped build a web-based database, EuPathDB.org, that allows biologists to analyze disease-causing pathogens, such as cryptosporidium, giardia and plasmodium. The website was a decade in the making and has received more than $6.5 million from the National Institutes of Health.

At Clemson, Kraemer oversees a school whose enrollment has grown nearly 84 percent, from 387 in 2007 to 712 in 2013. The school has 31 faculty who are tenured or on track to be tenured and six lecturers; three divisions: Computer Science, Visual Computing and Human-Centered Computing; and seven undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Recruiting faculty such as Kraemer is made easier when Clemson is able to offer endowed professorships such as the one she holds, that provide support for the director’s salary and various activities, such as research.

Kraemer was one of four faculty members honored this fall with the presentation of their endowed chair medallions at a ceremony that also honored the individuals and families who have provided funding for the chairs. In addition to Kraemer were Michael S. Caterino, who holds the John C. and Suzanne E. Morse Endowed Chair in Arthropod Biodiversity; Stephen Kresovich, who holds the Robert and Lois Coker Trustees Chair of Genetics; and Marek W. Urban, who holds the J.E. Sirrine Textile Foundation Endowed Chair in Advanced Polymer Fiber-Based Materials.

View a video of the endowed chairs ceremony: