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Parks Establishes Endowment Honoring Architecture Professor David Allison

He has been named one of the “Most Influential People in Healthcare Design,” but to his students, he’s simply Professor Allison.

Since 1990, David Allison ’78, M ’82 has been the director of Clemson’s Architecture + Health master’s program in the School of Architecture. Under his leadership, the program has become recognized as a premier architecture health degree and consistently is ranked as one of the country’s best by Design Intelligence magazine.

Allison’s work training the health care architects and researchers of the future hasn’t gone unnoticed. Russell Paul “Rip” Parks ’76, managing principal at DesignStrategies LLC of Greenville, has established a $175,000 endowment in Allison’s name that will generate financial support for the Architecture + Health program.

“Many people can sprint, but few can run marathons,” said Parks. “I was inspired to provide this well-deserved endowment in recognition of the 28 years of hard work, diligent planning and bold vision implementation by David and his talented team of health care design professionals. I am confident that David will use this endowment to enhance the program and inspire future leaders in the exciting field of health care design.”

The announcement came as a surprise to Allison. “This is an incredible honor coming from Rip,” said Allison. “It’s the people I work with and am surrounded by that allow me to do what I do, and our program wouldn’t be possible without our students. We get to do great work because of them, and I’m grateful that our program attracts those who are eager to learn and excel.”

Real-life Examples: Generous Gifts of Leadership Circle Donors Make Students’ Dreams Possible

For many students, financial aid is their only hope for receiving a college education, regardless of how qualified or driven they may be.

Tyler Love is one of those students. Just over three years ago, he was living on a friend’s couch, desperate to find a way to provide for himself. Thanks to his grandmother’s help, he returned home, enrolled in classes at Greenville Tech and eventually achieved his dream of becoming a Clemson student. However, despite working two jobs in addition to his academic work, he still faced financial obstacles.

Because of generous donor gifts, Love was able to obtain a grant to cover the balance of his tuition bill. That provided him the freedom to focus on being a student, investing more deeply in his education. As a sociology major, Love has had the opportunity to do research alongside a professor and present the findings at a regional conference. He hopes to become a professor himself and give back to students who might have experiences similar to his.

Joey Mott faced similar circumstances. A Greenville native, he entered Clemson as a first-generation college student from a single-parent family, pursuing his dream despite financial difficulties.

The need-based aid he received has allowed him to pursue his education both inside and outside the classroom, as a resident assistant and a member of numerous student organizations through the College of Business. He has participated in the Tiger Ties Mentorship Program and volunteered at his church. He has even participated in multiple study abroad opportunities and an internship. Now he’s planning on a career in marketing, hospitality or business consulting.

Financial aid changed everything for him, and he readily acknowledges that donors created opportunities for him that he would not have had otherwise.

These stories and many more are possible because of President’s Leadership Circle donors, those who give $10,000 or more to Clemson without restrictions. These donors are the difference-makers for students who may not have anywhere else to turn when they face difficulties.

Roy Abercrombie ’69 knows that story all too well. He benefited from need-based aid while he was a student, and he and his wife, Mary Carol, now choose to give unrestricted gifts to Clemson. “I realize the value of an education,” Roy Abercrombie said, “and Leadership Circle is giving to people who really need it.”

John ’80 and Patsy DuPre feel much the same. “The idea of giving money to the president to be used at his discretion for those who really need it seemed like the best way to give to Clemson,” Patsy DuPre said. As engineering graduates, John DuPre and his brother Henry DuPre ’71  spent much of their careers at ExxonMobil, which allowed them to maximize their contributions to Clemson due to a matching gift program — something they encourage other alumni to take advantage of as well.

“Every time we come to an event that’s held by the University, we always see real-life examples of the true benefit that these dollars are making in the lives of individuals here at Clemson,” said John DuPre. “It makes us proud to contribute.”

Abney Foundation Provides Life-changing Scholarships

Emma Clements ’18 is one of the more than 170 students — 172 to be exact — who are attending Clemson this year with the help of the Abney Foundation. She spoke at a luncheon in February of this year for the Abney Foundation trustees and the recipients of their generosity.

Clements (no relation to the University president), a communication major from Aiken who has been putting herself through Clemson, shared the memory of receiving an email notifying her of the need-based scholarship: “I was given breathing room that day,” she said. “So many of us are used to being so independent and knowing that struggle is not a stranger. I was reminded of generosity and reminded that I am not doing this alone.”

For more than four decades, students like Clements have been receiving life-changing support from the Abney Foundation, which has created the largest endowed scholarship program at Clemson, targeted at South Carolina residents with demonstrated financial need. The foundation has scholarship endowments at 13 other colleges and universities in South Carolina as well. The foundation has helped more than 15,000 students obtain a college education.

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.”

Sonoco Partnership to Develop New Technologies, Package Formats

Every year, billions of dollars worth of packaged food is lost due to spoilage. Sonoco, one of the largest global diversified packaging companies, has announced a new research partnership with Clemson to address that packaging challenge.

“Sonoco is committed to serving fresh brands, using packaging to tackle the challenges they face,” said Sonoco President and CEO Jack Sanders. “Optimizing fresh food packaging to extend shelf life and maintain quality makes fresh produce more accessible to communities, and helps brands and retailers extend sales opportunities and eliminate food waste.”

The Sonoco FRESH (Food Research Excellence for Safety and Health) initiative will develop new technologies and new forms of packaging to optimize the fresh food lifecycle. Sonoco will contribute $1.725 million over five years to establish the multi-disciplinary hub for innovation and research. The company also will sponsor business-driven research projects totaling $1 million over that period. Sonoco FRESH is an extension of the partnership that created the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson.

“Working with outstanding industry partners like Sonoco allows us to do more to develop solutions for the grand challenges facing the world, and it helps us to prepare our students to become future leaders,” said President Clements. “Leveraging the expertise of our faculty, Sonoco FRESH will play a key role in exposing our undergraduate and graduate students to issues related to the crisis of food waste and sustainability so that they will be informed and responsible decision makers as they enter the workforce.”

“We are honored to be working with Clemson, as reducing food waste is central to our combined efforts — and finding ways to extend freshness through new technology is key,” said Vicki Arthur, Sonoco’s senior vice president of plastic packaging and protective solutions. “We believe this partnership will deliver breakthroughs to help the entire packaging industry and will have a major impact on the distribution of fresh food across the country and around the world.”

Chapman Gift Expands Leadership Program Across University

leadership model based on lessons from the Land of Oz has proven to be the perfect training ground for some of Clemson’s highest quality students — thanks to the vision and extraordinary generosity of Tom and Karen Chapman.

In 2009, the Chapmans established the Thomas F. Chapman Leadership Scholars Program with a gift of $1 million to develop a small group of students from what was then the College of Business and Behavioral Science. The three-year program combines leadership lessons based on critical values with an academic scholarship to encourage participating students to invest in growing their leadership skills:

  • In year one, leadership scholars focus on developing intellect and defining leadership capabilities (much as the scarecrow).
  • Year two, leadership scholars learn about courage and ethics (much as the lion).
  • Year three, leadership scholars focus on heart by serving others in their communities (much as the tin man).

The Chapmans’ most recent gift of $4 million, establishing them as Clemson’s inaugural Cornerstone Partner for Academics, will expand the program to include students from all colleges and also creates the Thomas F. Chapman ’65 Distinguished Professorship in Leadership in the College of Business. As Cornerstone Partners, the Chapmans join a special group of bold and visionary donors whose leadership lays the foundation at Clemson for future generations.

“The Thomas F. Chapman Leadership Scholars program is an amazingly successful and forward-thinking leadership initiative that is changing the lives of our students at Clemson University,” said President James P. Clements. “We are grateful to the Chapmans for allowing us to expand this transformational leadership experience to every college within the University.”

Building upon the impressive group of 85 students who have benefited from being Chapman Scholars, the expanded program will include 14 scholars per year, eight from the College of Business and one from each of the other colleges. The Thomas F. Chapman ’65 Distinguished Professorship in Leadership will recognize an outstanding faculty member who will influence potential leaders of our state and nation. The expansion of the program will extend the leadership values of intellect, courage and heart across campus and advance Clemson’s ability to develop graduates competent in their fields, as well as confident in how to lead throughout their lives.

The Chapmans not only support the program financially but also offer their time and talent to support and mentor students in the program. “We desperately need more effective leaders, and it will take compassionate and dedicated individuals to help us move this country forward — that’s why intellect, courage and heart drive the program,” Tom Chapman said. “Karen and I are honored to be actively engaged with the program. My Clemson education provided me a springboard into a life of many blessings. We made a commitment to give back to the programs and causes that are making a difference.

“The return on investment is for each of the Chapman Leadership Scholars to make the world a better place.”