Elizabeth  C. Hutchison ’08

Writer for a lifestyle — Southern

elizabeth-hutchinsonTo Elizabeth Hutchison, There’s certainly no place like the South. It’s a special place with a rich culture and colorful characters. As an assistant editor with the popular lifestyle magazine, Garden & Gun, Hutchison — or Hutch, as she likes to be called — is responsible for helping give a voice to the place she calls home.

Until her junior year, Hutchison was a marketing major before switching and graduating with a degree in English. She found herself feeling far more at home among the works of Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling than the numbers and lists of accounting. After taking a fiction- writing course, Hutchison knew that she belonged in a world of letters. There was also her creative inquiry class where she was part of the groundbreaking group that organized the University’s first Literary Festival. The festival has remained one of the biggest events of the year for the English department as well as for the arts community in Clemson.

It was in working with the Literary Festival that she recognized a gift for crafting a community through literary culture. When she interned in the summer of 2008 with Garden & Gun, Hutchison fell in love with the magazine industry, deciding that was what she would pursue after graduation.

Having grown up in Mount Pleasant, the opportunity with Garden & Gun meant a sort of homecoming. Inspiration still struck her at every corner; it seems to her that people have a story to tell and it’s up to her to help them tell it. Her columns such as “Good Eats” and “Belle Décor” cultivate a uniquely Southern focus that speaks to tens of thousands of readers.

Go to to peruse Hutchison’s writing for Garden & Gun.

Clemson Forever

Historic campus building to house new student activity center

President Clements, Bryant Barnes, Anne Barnes Grant, Lea Barnes Taylor and Sandy Barnes

President Clements, Bryant Barnes, Anne Barnes Grant, Lea Barnes Taylor and Sandy Barnes

IN 1915, FRANK S. BARNES SR. OF ROCK HILL was his family’s first Clemson College graduate, and the Sheep Barn was built on campus. A $1 million gift to Clemson ensures that those two legacies will benefit students for years to come.

The Sheep Barn is the oldest surviving building associated with the agricultural land where the University now sits and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. No longer needed for its original purpose, the Sheep Barn will be renovated to serve as a vibrant social center for student engagement.

After graduation, Barnes went on to establish the Rock Hill Telephone Company. His son, Frank Jr., attended Clemson College and graduated in 1942. He devoted his career to the telephone company and became its president in 1968.

Frank Jr. also remained loyal to Clemson. A member of the board of visitors and foundation board, he was honored by the Alumni Association with its Distinguished Service Award and by the University with its President’s Award. In 1997, he was awarded the Clemson Medallion.

“Frank Barnes Jr. exemplified every excellent quality we hope Clemson graduates represent in their lives,” said President James Clements as he announced the gift from Barnes’ children. “We want to see the qualities that he displayed in his life — and passed along to all who knew him — showcased in this new venue to enrich the Clemson experience of our students for many generations to come.”

The gift from Barnes’ four children — Bryant Barnes, Frank “Sandy” Barnes III, Lea Barnes Taylor and Anne Barnes Grant — will transform a historic agricultural landmark into the Barnes Center, a space for student activity and engagement.

“Students want and need a welcoming, accessible and inclusive place to connect on campus in a positive Clemson environment,” said Gail DiSabatino, vice president for Student Affairs. “As a vibrant student hub on campus, we can meet these needs while preserving and honoring Clemson’s rich and honorable agricultural history through the restoration of this great venue.”

From concept development through daily operation, the Barnes Center will provide opportunities for student employment, leadership, graduate assistantships and internships, and experiential learning.

Four generations of Barnes family members have received Clemson diplomas. The Barnes family has established three endowment funds for Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science, creating fellowships, lectureships and the Frank Barnes Sr. Telecommunications Laboratory in the Fluor-Daniel Engineering and Innovation Building This gift is part of Clemson’s $1 billion Will to Lead campaign to support faculty and students and the engagement opportunities and facilities they need.

A Tiger’s lasting legacy

Suzanne Pickens

Suzanne Pickens

AS A STUDENT, SUZANNE PICKENS ’11 WAS AN ACTIVE PART OF CAMPUS. NOW AS AN alumna, she wants to give that same opportunity to students for generations to come.

To do so, Pickens has established an endowment within Student Affairs. After receiving a family gift, Pickens had the opportunity to donate to an organization of her choice. While many might have used the funds for personal use, Pickens chose Clemson as the beneficiary.

“I hope that these funds will help students have opportunities that they may not have thought were possible. I also hope that in turn, these students will continue to work hard to make Clemson a better place than they found it, because that was my goal.”

Pickens and her mother are very passionate about the University, which is why their decision to make a significant private gift to Clemson was one that was easy. Their hope is that the Pickens Family Endowment will inspire current students to reach their true Tiger potential.

In addition to the gift, Suzanne has committed to enhancing it over the next five years through the Clemson Family Endowment Program. Because endowment funds are continually invested and only a percentage of the earnings spent, the seed investment grows over the years, creating a perpetual gift that continues to sustain the University and students who benefit from the funds. Because the endowment provides unrestricted support, it allows the president and administrators to direct the resources to Clemson’s highest priority within that program area.

Currently, Suzanne puts her communication studies and business administration degree to good use at Chick-Fil-A corporate in Atlanta. She attributes her professional success to her Clemson professors and real-life experiences gained through leadership roles in campus organizations.

During her student days, Suzanne was an active member of Panhellenic Council, Tiger Brotherhood, Student Alumni Council, Order of Omega and Blue Key Honor Society, where she learned the true value of being a part of the Clemson Family. Today, she is thankful that Clemson encourages students to get involved on campus to become more well-rounded individuals.

And she is committed to helping that continue for the next generation of the Clemson Family.

To learn more about how you can establish a Clemson Family endowment, call 864-656-2121, email or visit

Revolution in Ukraine

When fellow Clemson alumnus Tom Kapp and I agreed to meet in Kiev on Thursday, February 20, we had no idea that the events of the coming days would consume the entire country and possibly the region at large.

Two days prior, police snipers had begun targeting protestors in downtown Kiev. Some 90 people were killed as the protest reached a fever pitch. I was covering the events for The Daily Beast and had been covering the situation in Ukraine since late November, when now-fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych caved to pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin and walked away from a trade deal with the European Union that had come to signify Ukraine’s last chance for western European integration.

For months I had been writing about a new wave of pressure from Moscow, which also led to Armenia’s similar rejection of a EU trade deal. When we arrived in Ukraine, pro-EU demonstrators had been living out in the cold on Kiev’s Maidan Square — the name that would come to symbolize their EuroMaidan movement — for three months.

An Escalating Situation

On February 18, something changed:  Snipers — by most accounts, police snipers — began to target protestors. The shots were not intended simply to stop the protestors’ advance or protect the police on the ground. These were kill shots to the head, neck and upper torso. Simultaneously, police under Yanukovych’s command blitzed the Maidan Square from four directions in an attempt to forcibly remove the protestors.

The protestors, armed with Molotov cocktails, truncheons and riot shields taken from police, began to set fire to everything they could, notably the large stacks of tires they had amassed — tires burn for a remarkably long time — in one final effort to hold onto the square. Protestors tossed tents, tires and debris into the flames creating a ring of fire around the square as police moved in with tear gas and flash grenades with nails taped to the outside to make them more deadly. Both sides resorted to extreme measures of violence. Downtown Kiev became a warzone. When we arrived two days later, the fires still burned, but most of the shooting had ceased.

I can only hope that such gunfire will never resume, though 500 miles to the south, Ukraine’s Crimea is about to explode. By the time this goes to print, Ukraine may again be a war zone.  The longer we spent in Kiev, the more vigils, flowers and pictures of loved ones began to appear. The tiny glow from thousands of candles soon replaced the smoldering inferno of tires. Violence and mayhem were not the full story.

We also witnessed a different side of the EuroMaidan, one that was not represented in the nightly apocalyptic news clips. Paradoxically, there was also a peaceful and generous side to the movement.

As Tom pointed out, the first thing he received upon arrival at one of Maidan’s improvised checkpoints — a passageway in the walls of debris manned by Maidan’s own border guards — was a free sandwich and a smile. EuroMaidan had its own hospital and medical team, its own kitchens and serving tables, and its own security force — a force that became increasingly ominous and more organized in their hourly patrols marching through the camp.


At the Tbilisi airport, Headed for Kiev

In Tbilisi, where I’ve been living for several years, I checked my bullet-proof vest and helmet. The check-in lady wasn’t surprised. The security guard was.

“You say this is some kind of battle armor?” the security guy with the radio asked. “Bullet proof?” The check-in lady assured him in Georgian that it was fine. She’d been down this road. Turns out Western journalists are rather crotchety about their flak jackets being taken away and messed with.

“We’ve had many similar passengers with this equipment,” she explained reassuringly. I wanted to tell her that this was probably not a good sign for the airline, but I didn’t because she was being sweet, and it was god-awful thirty in the morning, and the process was going oddly swimmingly, especially for a  Tbilisi airport.

When the shuttle bus got to the airplane, three Georgian police cars were parked on the tarmac beside the aircraft, their blue lights flashing. A twinge of reality — where I was headed — began to set in.

The Constant is Change

The biggest indicator that I was perhaps in over my head was the earth-shattering booms coming from “enhanced” fireworks which the protestors were testing out that morning in preparation for another possible night raid by riot police.  The front doors of the hotel were locked and barricaded. To get inside via the only functioning side door, I had to enter the Maidan checkpoint, guarded by extremely serious characters in full armor comprised of random equipment like knee pads, Kevlar, face masks, second-hand fireproof military jackets and orange construction hats. The coming days would reveal every possible random variation of these uniforms.

I quickly learned that the only thing constant about EuroMaidan (and now it seems Ukraine at large) is change — change at an astonishing rate. By Saturday, the country’s president had fled, wanted for the murder of almost 90 people. That night we watched the freshly released Yulia Tymoshenko roll her wheelchair onto the EuroMaidan stage and address the crowd after three years in prison. Tymoshenko, who also has a questionable past, wasted no time. Representatives from her party, which was one of the central three EuroMaidan opposition parties, now held the top two positions in the country. Yet this wasn’t the Orange Revolution part two. Tymoshenko’s “Fatherland” party had not taken over the government. EuroMaiden, the movement, had, and protestors were quick to tell me that Tymoshenko was not their leader. Many didn’t support her at all.

The future of Ukraine remains uncertain, and the fate of Crimea looks more ominous by the hour. It will take more than competent leadership to unite Ukraine and simultaneously save its economy. All parties involved, especially Putin — but also the United States and Ukraine — are going to have to swallow their pride, or we may have a conflict on our hands far larger than the one brooding in Crimea.

Will Cathcart is a former media adviser to the president of the republic of Georgia and former managing editor of the Charleston Mercury newspaper. A contributor to The Daily Beast, he works in media and business development in the Black Sea region.

 An Economic Overview of Ukraine at a Critical Juncture

ukraine-euro-maidainNationalism often has been a force of political deadlock and economic stagnation. In a place like Quebec, it is possible for voters to decide they are wearisome of separatism and it is time their elected officials focus on economic growth and job creation. In Ukraine, things are much more complicated. One third of Ukrainian exports go to Russia, and the country depends on Russian energy to produce most of its goods. Decades of dependence have nurtured a wasteful and tangled economy, and now Russia is doing everything in its power to undermine the new Ukrainian government.

Read more . . .

OPINION: The standoff in Crimea: A familiar story with no easy resolution for U.S. interests

steven-miller-e1394458796119Steven V. Miller, Assistant Professor of Political Science, tells why President Obama should not overreact to Russian/Ukraine crisis, offers solutions on what United States can do.

On Feb. 22, the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine resulted in a parliamentary vote to remove Viktor Yanukovych as President. The vote passed with 73 percent approval of Ukraine’s MPs. The Russian government responded three days later with a show of approximately 150,000 soldiers on Ukraine’s border. Within one week, the Russian military had put into motion a de facto occupation of Crimea that escalated in tone this past Monday, when Russia demanded the surrender of Ukraine’s defense forces in Crimea. The new government in Ukraine has not granted this wish from the Kremlin and it does not appear as if it will. This situation looks to only deteriorate within the coming days.

Read more . . .

My first semester

My first semester as Clemson’s new president was busy, challenging and so much fun! Like all freshmen, I met thousands of new people and quickly learned my way around campus. My family and I even lived in the Clemson House for the semester. We enjoyed several snow days this winter and loved playing basketball outside on sunny days with our student neighbors.

James P. Clements

James P. Clements

Clemson deserves its reputation as a top-21 national public university. We have phenomenal students, teachers and researchers, and alumni who understand and support our goals.

From the Orange Bowl and a student-led campus tour in January, to Founders Week and Ring Week in April, to my investiture at commencent in May, it has been a whirlwind of activity.

On my campus “listening tour,” I met separately with students, faculty, staff and administrators. I’ve met twice with the Board of Trustees and with key volunteer groups like the Alumni Council, Board of Visitors, Will to Lead campaign executive committee and CU Foundation Board.

My introduction to South Carolina took me to Spartanburg, Columbia, Greenwood, Greenville, Charleston, Lake City and Florence. It’s a beautiful state filled with great people.

I’ve spoken with and to industry leaders in textiles and agri-business, including the Chambers of Commerce in Greenville, Clemson and Gaffney; testified at budget hearings in Columbia; announced a $5.6 million gift from Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood; and met alumni at the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., Clemson Club.

I am also reaching out to students and alumni in some new ways. If you tweet, I hope you will follow me on Twitter @ClemsonPrez.

What did I learn in my first semester at Clemson?

First, Clemson deserves its reputation as a top-21 national public university. We have phenomenal students, teachers and researchers, and alumni who understand and support our goals.

Second, people in this state are proud of Clemson. They want to send their children here; they want to partner with us; they want to advocate for us.

They know that Clemson is the total package — number one in the state for academic quality, value, return on investment and a great student experience. We’ve made substantial progress in undergraduate education, and that will continue.

Finally, Clemson is poised for even greater things as a national leader in graduate education, research and innovation. Here are just three indicators:

  • A team of Clemson students from architecture and engineering was chosen to compete in the national Solar Decathlon 2015.
  • We hosted the first-ever international conference on “Local DC Electricity: Transforming the 21st Century Energy Economy” this spring in Charleston.
  • We are the lead institution — in a consortium that includes Wisconsin and Harvard — in a new $5.3 million National Science Foundation effort to broaden the impact of advanced computing resources to campuses across the country.

We are building on our national academic reputation as an institution that educates and innovates to solve problems and drives economic growth.

Everywhere I go, I find people ready and willing to help Clemson reach its full potential. They know that higher education is the key to a better future. Our University’s success will mean greater success for individuals and for society.

Thank you for my warm welcome into the Clemson Family!

Jim Clements



The Family Man: An interview with Clemson’s 15th president

Jim Clements began his tenure as Clemson president at the Orange Bowl in Miami. It was clear then, as he shook hands, liberally gave out hugs and chatted with alumni, students and fans, what his personal style would be — casual, friendly and people-centered. He might be wearing a tie, but you’ll rarely see him with his suit coat. He may be running a few minutes late, but that’s usually because he’s trying to respond to one more question or comment, or hear a concern. He looks people in the eye, he asks their names. He listens. And he quotes his mother. You have to trust a man who quotes his mother.

Not to say that he isn’t intense or focused. But he’s listening as he begins his time here. Ten p.m. to midnight, you’ll usually find him on his computer, trying to keep up with the hundreds of emails that occupy the box of “I’m running a few hundred behind right now, but I will get to them all,” he says.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with President Clements and ask a few questions.

Coming home to Clemson

What you need to know first about Beth Clements



JC: It’s a great place made up of incredible people and a beautiful campus, with a top-notch, high-quality education. Those weren’t surprises; that’s what we expected. That’s the reputation Clemson has.

And the family piece is special. For me, family is everything. We fit the Clemson Family, and we’re thrilled about the environment that is very family-oriented. We’re getting settled in, and we are thrilled to be here.


JC: Computer science classes, operations analysis classes and engineering classes teach you how to think. And in this role you have to spend a lot of time analyzing situations, thinking about how you’re going to proceed, making decisions. It’s helped me. This is a technology-driven world, so for me to be on Twitter and to have students following me, all that stuff helps.


JC: I think there are wonderful leaders with all types of different backgrounds. When I was a kid, I could play football all day and be as happy as can be. Or I could sit around and do math problems all day and be equally happy. The technology has helped me in my role, and the project management has helped me to get projects done on time and on budget and to think about things strategically.


JC: As a leader I try to surround myself with the best people I can — people who I can look into their eyes, know that they are good people, know that they can collaborate, know that they’re here to make a difference. It’s not about us, it’s about what we can do for others, so I try to surround myself with great people and get them to think big. In life we have a chance to make a difference. I want people who want to make a difference. One of the things that good leaders do is to surround themselves with people who are better, faster, smarter, stronger. You want to build an all-star team. We have the opportunity here to hire a couple of new people, and we will try to get the best people we can. We already have great people here, but any opportunity when we hire, we will hire great people.


JC: Honestly, it’s not easy. In these kinds of roles, if you’re really in it to make a difference, and you really give it your all, you give a lot of yourself. I really don’t get a chance to go to the movies, and I don’t have time to watch TV. It’s always the University and family. That’s how I try to do it. I’m blessed to have a great wife, and I have great kids. They understand my role. I’ve been in these kinds of roles for a long time, and they understand the time that it takes. I try to balance the best I can, but honestly, it’s not easy because there are a lot of evening and weekend events. I try to get to all of the kids’ things when I can, and they’re great kids, and it’s all worked out. Beth plays a critical role in that, and she deserves a lot of credit.


JC: Yes. We have four kids. Tyler is 21, and he’s at West Virginia. We have identical twin girls, Hannah and Maggie. Hannah and Maggie were in the honors program at WVU; Hannah transferred here and is studying special education. Maggie stayed back in West Virginia because she has a horse, a dog and a boyfriend, and really likes it there. She is studying elementary education. Then our youngest daughter, Grace, is here. Grace is 13 and has special needs. She, we hope one day, will be in the ClemsonLIFE program. Grace is a very social person and loves to play sports, especially basketball.


JC: One of the things my mother taught me when I was a kid that I really appreciate — and she taught me a lot of important things — was to be a good listener. She said, “God gave you two ears and one mouth, so listen.” So I’m really trying to listen to what others think. I don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m spending time listening to faculty, staff and students, people on the campus and in the community. So it’s more what we view Clemson as being in five to 10 years than it is what I view Clemson as being in five to 10 years. I will say this: We’re on a great path. It’s a great University with a great national reputation, high-quality academics, low student-faculty ratios, and those are things we need to continue to push. We need to enhance our research profile. We need to hire some more good people and keep things moving, but I hope to learn a lot over the next days and weeks about where we go together. We have a great 2020 strategic plan, but it’s probably time to revisit that and make sure it still lines up with where we want to go. But again, it won’t be Jim’s strategic plan; it will be our strategic plan.


JC: It’s a great question, and nationally it’s a question that we’re all discussing in higher education.The ability for technology to enhance the educational process is clearly there; the technology is now probably where it needs to be. It’s being integrated into a lot of the curriculum, and it will be interesting to see where it goes. What we have to do is be a part of the discussion and not sit on the sidelines. We’re doing some really good things related to online education. But I don’t think the place-based educational format is going to go away. It’s just how you infuse technology and supplement what we’re already doing. So it’s not really an either/or: We’ll have place-based education, we’ll have technology-based education, and we’ll have integration of the two. And that’s what’s going to be exciting. The ability to reach more people with technology is important. So for access, affordability and outreach, technology becomes an important tool. Higher education has changed for decades and decades, and this is just the current stage that we’re in. But it will transform education in some ways.


JC: Great organizations are built on great people. This is a great University because we have great people; that’s the bottom line. Our greatest strength is based on the human capital that we have here. And what I have seen in my three months, we have really good people. They care, they want to make a difference, they are doing their best. They are overworked based on our level of resources, but they are making a difference.

What are our weaknesses? The one thing that jumps out at me is our facilities. We’ve got to improve our facilities. A third of our student housing is 25 years old, 25 percent of our student housing is 50 years old. We need some new facilities. We need new academic facilities. We need some new research facilities. We need some new athletic facilities. So there’s where we have an opportunity to improve.


JC: The top 20 is still a goal. It’s been a great goal. And I’ve tracked Clemson’s progress over a decade and a half over other institutions. We’ve made incredible steps forward to the top 20. We are currently sitting at number 21, tied with some great institutions. The top 20 are great universities. So yes, we are going to keep pushing, but that doesn’t mean at the expense of other things. We still need to push research. We still need to push facilities. We still need to do other things, but that will still be a goal. Getting there is not going to be easy, right? Moving from 38 where we were before, to 21 — not easy. It’s trying to figure the steps to move forward. And again, that’s a collaborative discussion that will be taking place on the campus.


JC: I always want people to know me first as a person. So I always talk about my family. I always talk about my background. I always like to mention that I was a first-generation college student. I think it is important for people to know that my grandparents had a fourth-grade, a sixth-grade, an eighth-grade, and we think one had a twelfth-grade education, but we don’t have any real proof of that. One of my grandfathers was a coal miner and the other one was a firefighter.

What they tried to instill in me was hard work. Follow through on your word, be ethical, give it your all. But they also tried to instill in me, my two older sisters and older brother that education is the key. If you want a better life, here is your path. My parents didn’t go to college. They didn’t have that opportunity. My grandparents didn’t have that opportunity. So for me, I got in the business of higher ed to make a difference, ultimately, as a professor. When I was in second grade, my teacher used to call me “professor,” and, by the way, I always say that’s the best job in the world. It’s better than being a university president. Being a professor is what I love. I love to teach. I love to do research. I love to work with students. But, I just wanted to make a difference. Somehow I got into a leadership role. But one day I’ll go back to the classroom and teach and do research.

Between my two older sisters, older brother and me, we have 11 college degrees: four undergraduate degrees, five master’s, two Ph.Ds. My brother and I finished our Ph.Ds side by side on stage, which was one of the happiest days of my parents’ lives.

This has given me the opportunity for a better life. Let me help others have that same opportunity. Education is good for the individual but also for society. We want an educated society. That’s why I got into higher ed — I just wanted to make a difference.

I want people to know me as me, and then I want them to know about my family, my wife, who will be a great asset to the University and the community, and our four great kids. Those are things, I think from the personal side, that are important for people to know.

President Clement’s First 100 Days

Donnie A. Dinch ’08

Passion for music inspires technology

donnie-dinchDonnie Dinch is forecast to take the billion-dollar music industry mobile. He’s listed in Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” and as one of the magazine’s “Hottest Startups of 2013.” And who’s to argue with Forbes?

Dinch is the packaging science-graduate-package designer-turned-CEO of WillCall. After graduating in 2008 with a degree in packaging science, Dinch moved to Seattle where it wasn’t long before he and two friends picked up on discussions around plans for developing an app during a startup weekend.

Dinch saw that streaming services were — and still are — altering the face of consumerism in the music business. A larger number of artists are being brought to people’s attention, but they’re playing toward smaller venues at the club level. The mobile app facilitates an environment where people can find out about live performances and can go see more of the music they love, but that they just might not have the right information to find. WillCall’s features include curated events, a “Tip” button that sends tips directly to the artist, in-app merchandise, friend activity feed and custom packages, and Bartab, a means to charge drinks to their WillCall account. With more than $2.1 million in seed funding from billionaire Sean Parker, music mogul Coran Capshaw and Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia, Dinch’s app is currently curating shows in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The goal is to facilitate people seeing a show as often and as easily as going to a coffee shop. Dinch’s passion for music led him to create the business. A resident of San Francisco, he works with the city on a panel series called Nightlife & New Tech. Their mission is to harness the brainpower of those in the city’s tech and music industries to improve the future of nightlife in San Francisco. He also works with a nonprofit dedicated to using the power of technology for civic action.

Lifelong Tigers

Tigers turn South Florida Clemson Orange

Tigers from all over the country converged on South Florida for the Orange Bowl. And the South Florida Clemson Club was in the midst of all the activity — organizing, helping, hosting and welcoming alumni and friends.

Showing that it’s possible to work together in the midst of a heated competition, Clemson and Ohio State alums teamed up to fight hunger, packing boxes of food for “Feeding South Florida.”

More than 100 alumni and friends were in South Beach Thursday night at the Clevelander, where the landscape was purple and orange, and a Tiger Paw was projected on the side of the building and in the hotel’s swimming pool. At Bokamper’s in Fort Lauderdale, more than 75 joined up to celebrate the Tigers and meet up with old and new friends.

The morning of the Orange Bowl began with an alumni brunch at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach with more than 300 in attendance. James Clements addressed the Clemson Family for the first time as University president. He thanked the Barkers for their many contributions to Clemson and shared the significance behind Clemson’s rise in the national rankings.

More than 2,000 Clemson Family members gathered at the One Clemson tailgate inside the Sun Life Stadium prior to the game. The Clemson band, cheerleaders and the Tiger made appearances, and President Clements welcomed guests as they prepared to cheer the Tigers on to a 40-35 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Two student bloggers, Savannah Mozingo and De Anne Anthony, traveled to South Florida to capture and share the excitement of Orange Bowl week on their blog, TigressTales. Access their blog and hear President Clements’ remarks at

Clemson in the Lowcountry at the University's Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility in North Charleston.

Clemson in the Lowcountry at the University’s Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility in North Charleston.

Clemson in the Lowcountry

More than 300 people gathered for dinner and a meeting where Nick Rigas, director of the SCE&G Energy Innovation Center and executive director of the Clemson Restoration Institute, spoke at the University’s Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility in North Charleston. The meeting attendance on Jan. 23 doubled the Clemson in the Lowcountry Club’s normal attendance rate. Eddie Gordon is president of the club.

Greenville Club presents Blue Chips and Bluegrass

More than 350 turned out for the Greenville Club’s Blue Chips and Bluegrass event, a recruiting recap and oyster roast held Feb. 7 at the Crescent in downtown Greenville. Club president Rick Ammons and club member and event organizer Chris McCameron presented IPTAY with a $2,500 check for the Glenn Brackin Memorial Scholarship. The event featured Mickey Plyler from 104.9 Talk Sports, who spoke about recruiting, and The Drovers Old Time Medicine Show entertained the crowd with bluegrass music.

Aiken County Club wraps it up

The Aiken County Club held their Recruiting Wrap-Up event Feb. 6 at the Aiken Municipal Building, where more than 50 people heard Larry Williams from speak about recruiting. Tripp Bryan serves as Aiken County club president, and Bryan Young is vice president.

Become a Clemson Volunteer!

Alumni Vol Book cover Want to get more involved at Clemson? Looking for a place to share your experience and love for Clemson? Go to and click on “Volunteer Opportunity Guide” to learn how you can get involved

Seketa named honorary alumnus

John Seketa named honorary alumnus

John Seketa named honorary alumnus

The Alumni Association has named retired assistant athletic director John Seketa as an honorary alumnus in recognition of his hard work and devotion to Clemson and the Alumni Association. Over the past 28 years, Seketa served as game manager during home football games, coordinating all game-day activities for Clemson athletics, Tiger Band, the University administration and several student groups.

He also was executive director of the Tiger Letterwinners Association, where he expanded football reunion activities and Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies, significantly increasing attendance. In 2004, Seketa received the ACC Basketball Officials Association Fred Bakarat Award for outstanding service and dedication to the ACC and its basketball officials.

“John has played a significant role in enhancing all our Olympic sports by generating marketing plans and concepts that promote opportunities for our fans,” said Bill D’Andrea, executive senior associate director for IPTAY external affairs. “His contributions in this area have made a profound impact on our coaches’ ability to recruit.”
Seketa also played a crucial role in making Military Appreciation Day a celebrated campus tradition. Two years ago, ACC administrators invited Seketa to share his expertise in Clemson’s military recognition, resulting in similar observances of Military Appreciation Day at every ACC institution.

“There is no question that John Seketa’s leadership has established Clemson as the best in the nation with regard to our Military Appreciation Day,” said D’Andrea.
Seketa continues to serve the University as a member of Tiger Brotherhood and the Clemson Corps Scroll of Honor Committee.


The Alumni Association wants to ensure we have accurate contact information for all alumni so that we can keep everyone informed about all things Clemson, all the time. And to do that, we need your help.
Simply go to and click the “Update Your Information” button. Then post on your social media outlets that you updated your contact information with Clemson, and use the hashtag #TigerRollCall in your post.
A monthly drawing will take place during May, June and July for everyone who submits an update. Additionally, each person who shares on social media using the hashtag #TigerRollCall will receive an additional entry (maximum two entries per person). At the end of the campaign, a final drawing will take place with a grand prize of two Alumni box seats to the Clemson vs. North Carolina football game on Sept. 27.

Pam Buffington Redmon ’85

“It’s Personal”

pam-buffington-redmonWhen it comes to Pam Buffington Redmon’s passion to control tobacco, it’s personal.

Two weeks before her 1985 graduation from Clemson’s School of Nursing, Redmon received a call that no daughter wants to receive. Her father, a longtime smoker, was being rushed to the hospital and would need open heart surgery. He survived, but struggled with heart issues throughout his life.

After graduating from Clemson, Redmon began work as a critical and coronary care nurse in Greenwood then continued her career as a cardiac rehab specialist and clinical research nurse in Ohio. In many of her cases, she saw her father’s health story — smoking that led to health struggles — replicated in the lives of her patients.

So when she decided to enter the next phase of her career, she earned a master’s degree in public health from Emory University and embarked on a mission to impact health by working to control the use of tobacco.

Redmon first served as a staff member, then later executive director,
of Emory’s Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium, which provided tobacco-control training and technical support to national, state and local organizations and foundations.

She then became executive director of the Global Health Institute– China Tobacco Control Program, a Gates Foundation initiative at Emory that is developing tobacco control and prevention initiatives, including smoke-free policies and mobile health interventions, in 17 Chinese cities with populations equivalent to U.S. states.

She also serves as administrative director for the Tobacco Centers for Regulatory Science at the Georgia State University School of Public Health. The center focuses on understanding the human and economic factors that contribute to decision-making regarding the use of tobacco products.

“Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the U.S. and around the world, and decreasing tobacco use reduces the health, social, environmental and economic burdens it creates for individuals and communities,” she said.

Redmon and her husband, Kevin, a 1985 Clemson computer engineering graduate, are also playing an important role in the life of their alma mater by joining together to fund the Kevin and Pam Redmon Class of 1985 Annual Scholarships. Both first-generation college students themselves, the scholarship will be given to first-generation students in the School of Nursing or College of Engineering and Science.

Hope grows here

You might not ever know it was there if you weren’t looking for it. A garden of five laser-straight rows nestled behind the pool at Clemson University’s Outdoor Lab, home to camps Hope and Sertoma.

The garden is called “Hope Grown,” and it’s the brainchild of Joseph Williams, a soils and sustainable crop systems major.

It’s an expression of Williams’ belief in the transformative nature of working with soil, a laboratory for the sustainable crop production techniques that he believes can change the world and the lives of the campers who visit each summer

A year-round effort

Camp Sertoma serves children ages 7-13 who are underprivileged or have speech or hearing impairments, while Camp Hope is for children and adults ages 7 and up with developmental disabilities.

“The garden is less about me having an impact and more about giving the campers a place where they can have an impact,” Williams said.

Williams began as a counselor at Camp Hope in 2005 while attending high school in Asheville. He’s worked at the camp every summer since, except for 2009 when he studied abroad in Costa Rica. When he became a Clemson student in 2010, he approached Outdoor Lab directors Norman McGee and Leslie Conrad about creating the garden.

“We are always looking for creative activities that our campers can enjoy and learn from,” Conrad said. “We want them to experience a caring adult who is all about them at that moment. We also want them to feel the pride of doing things for themselves. We had talked about starting a garden, but we didn’t have anyone with the skill or passion to take it on until Joe approached us.”

The Outdoor Lab gave Williams a $200 budget, and he turned to environmental horticulture professor David Bradshaw, now emeritus, for guidance.

“Dr. Bradshaw helped me conceptualize the garden. Talking with him sparked my imagination and set me on my way. He also provided heirloom seed, some of which is 10 generations old,” Williams said.

Although Hope and Sertoma campers are at the Outdoor Lab only in the summer, the garden is a year-round effort for Williams. He relies on help from the Clemson Agronomy Club, and he credits Pi Kappa Phi’s PUSH America national philanthropy outreach for providing much of the backbreaking labor involved with terracing the garden and building its structures.

“I want to have everything well established and growing by opening day so the campers aren’t disappointed when they arrive in summer. I apply techniques and ideas that I learn in my major to managing the garden,” Williams said.

One such technique is a soil preparation system called “double digging,” in which the top layer of soil is dug off with a spade, forming a shallow trench, and then the under-layer is dug with a fork. When breaking up the lower layer, organic matter such as compost is usually added to the soil. A second trench is then started, backfilling the first trench. This process is repeated until the whole bed has been treated.

“It’s a lot of work, but it strengthens the plant roots and allows for more densely planted rows,” Williams said.

in many ways, joe is the embodiment of clemson's land-grant heritage. he is taking what he learns at clemson and using it to better the lives of others.

Growing vegetables and confidence

“Many of our agronomy students are passionate about sharing their love of soil and plants,” said Paula Agudelo, associate professor of plant nematology in Clemson’s School of Agricultural, Forest and Environmental Sciences (SAFES). “They learn to treat the soil as a living system and a life-giving substrate. But Joe has gone even further. He uses the soil-plant interaction as a therapeutic tool and a vehicle for experiential learning. He has mastered the art of helping people enjoy the beauty of growing plants.”

Once the campers arrive, Williams engages them in a variety of ways depending on their individual skills and abilities. He teaches some groups about the system of the garden. He forms weeding or harvesting teams. Some campers carry the harvest to the nearby kitchen where it is used to augment the daily meals. There is a viewing area with a bench and handrails where older campers can watch gardening activities and feel a part of things. He has had them make pickles and turn bottles into planters. Some of the activities are ancillary to gardening, such as decorating the nearby benches.

“In many ways, Joe is the embodiment of Clemson’s land-grant heritage. He is taking what he learns at Clemson and using it to better the lives of others.”

“Sometimes we’ll just stand quietly,” Williams said. “We’ll just experience how the garden co-exists with the environment. And I’ll ask them, ‘What do you see? What do you hear?’ With some of the older boys, I hope that working in the garden teaches them to be strong men of trust, respect and integrity.”

“One of the great things about the garden is that it doesn’t require a special skill set to participate,” Conrad said. “It’s completely unintimidating. Campers can make it whatever it is for them.”

The garden is also a teaching tool for people who sometimes do not share the same experiences as the rest of the world. The garden helps them conceptualize how food is created. Campers with sensory challenges can learn from touching the plants and tasting the produce.

Williams believes deeply in gardening’s transformative powers. He has witnessed camper confidence grow along with the corn, squash, snow peas, watermelons and variety of other fruits and vegetables. Some campers have started gardens of their own.

“Children are analogous to clay. Clay is something that the conventional farmer might think has little value because it’s hard to work with. But clay is waiting to have good things added to it. The campers here are like that clay. They have so much potential,” Williams said.

It’s an expression of Williams’  belief in the transformative nature  of working with soil, a laboratory for  the sustainable crop production  techniques that he believes can change the world and the lives of the campers who visit each summer.

Keeping hope growing

Williams will be graduating this year. It will be time for him to put into action the sustainable farming practices he has learned in his major. He will go out into the world and do his level best to help farmers farm better and more efficiently.
“In many ways, Joe is the embodiment of Clemson’s land-grant heritage. He is taking what he learns at Clemson and using it to better the lives of others,” Agudelo said.

For now he remains “Farmer Joe.” He takes the agronomy club to the garden where they practice all that they learn about agricultural biotechnology, soil and water science and sustainable crop systems. But he has a hidden agenda. He wants to keep Hope Grown going.

“I’ve been coming here for a long time. Many of these people are my friends. When they leave the garden, I hope that a flame has been lit in them.”

Conrad is committed to keeping the garden vibrant even after Williams leaves to begin a career in agronomy.

“Joe could have built this garden anywhere,” she said. “He could have built it in his backyard or at Calhoun Fields. But he built it here because he loves this place and these people. There will never be another Joe. But maybe I can find somebody to care about the garden the way he has.”

For more information about Camps Hope and Sertoma, go to

Helen Legare Floyd ’81

Keeping the family farm

helen-legare-floydHelen Legare-Floyd has a farm. Not just any farm, but a 288-year-old family farm on John’s Island. She, along with her brother and sister, are ninth-generation descendants of 18th-century planter Solomon Legare, and together they work to make it profitable.

To be able to hold on to a family farm in modern times is a challenge, but the Legares have been able to use creativity and practicality to keep their legacy in place. They have combined agriculture with agritourism. Raising livestock and growing produce are still a large part of their work, but by using the 300-acre tract and its resources for events from gourmet harvest dinners to summer day camps for grade school children to Civil War reenactments to Easter chick rentals, they are involving the community and making a living.

Legare-Floyd has found ways to make their farming business expand into all parts of the Charleston area. She organized a Community Supported Agriculture program where families pay a fee for a weekly box of produce. This business has grown to 140 deliveries. The farm also runs a butcher’s club. She drives her pick-up to deliver to a food co-op on Sullivan’s Island and to a gourmet sandwich shop in Charleston. Using leftover grain from five local breweries to feed livestock and old milk from a dairy plant to feed pigs, Legare-Floyd has demonstrated resourcefulness.

Legare-Floyd says that graduating from Clemson is one of the biggest accomplishments of her life. She wanted to say she graduated from Clemson, so she left the farm to study agronomy and horticulture.

“I get to do something I enjoy, something I love, every day,” she says. Solomon Legare would be proud.