ChillSpot™: Ken M. Leahy ’93 and Mark H. Raeside ’93

What do you get when you combine a hot Southern summer’s day, a furry, miserably hot dog and two Clemson graduates? No, not a strange meal at a tailgate.

You get an ingenious way to keep a pet cool.

Marketing major Ken Leahy and design major Mark Raeside, both of Atlanta, are the inventors and co-founders of ChillSpot™ — a cooling dog bed. From the prototype made with sawed-off coolers and the use of thermodynamics, they were able to perfect a design that uses ChillPods placed in the super insulated base and transfers the “chill” to an aluminum top.

ChillSpot™ has become the cool place to be, not just for the family dog, but for famed animals such as the University of Georgia’s bulldog mascot, Uga, the pandas and tigers at Zoo Atlanta, and President Barker’s dog, Mookie.

For more information about ChillSpot™, go to

Bridge to book: Thomas S. Black ’92

Electrical engineering graduate Thomas Black of Blythewood was looking for a way that he could give back. The vice president of engineering at Fairfield Electric Cooperative took his Clemson education and life skills to serve as the project coordinator for a 200-foot pedestrian bridge over a raging river in rural Nicaragua.

The walking bridge improved the lives in two communities by allowing the people to reach stores, medical treatment and their farmland when the river floods. Black’s experiences on the church-sponsored project led him to publish a book, Ten $1 Bills. The book can be downloaded for free at

The Iguana Tree: Michel Smoak Stone ’91

English graduate Michel Smoak Stone’s debut novel, The Iguana Tree, which Library Journal says “recalls the work of John Steinbeck,” received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and an award for one of the top novels published in 2012 by an independent publisher.

Raised on Johns Island, Stone encountered illegal Mexican immigrants who “were forthright in telling me their story.” The inspiration for her book came from a couple who were smuggled into the U.S. with their young child. Stone wanted to explore why people would take such a risk, would put themselves into the hands of people they couldn’t trust — people who might, in fact, just as soon kill them as look at them — without even knowing whether the risks ultimately would be worthwhile.

Stone lives in Spartanburg and is working on her second novel.

Are you a Clemson FIRST?

There are many first-generation college graduates among our alumni, and we’re trying to find out who they are.

Were you the first in your family to go to a four-year college? If so, you are a Clemson FIRST, and we’d like to hear your story. Go to to read FIRST generation profiles on alumni Bob Barreto and Jennifer Rahn. Then go to to tell your story. Let us know if you’d be willing to volunteer and serve as a mentor for current Clemson FIRSTs. We’ll send you a free alumni car decal and a FIRST pin just for letting us know who you are!

The Cumulative Giving and Legacy Societies Induction Ceremony

On November 16, the University honored those who have become members of the Cumulative Giving and Legacy Societies through their faithful support of the University over the years. Scott Pelley, Clemson parent and anchor and managing editor of “The CBS Evening News,” was featured speaker at the event.

Main stage named to honor Harder

Mickey Harder, director of the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts since 1996, was surprised at the season-opening concert as Friends of the Brooks Center and other donors gave $136,680 to name the main stage in her honor. The announcement was made at the Brooks Center’s season-opening show with Kennedy Center Honors recipient Barbara Cook.

Numeral Society reunion honors Joe Young

In May, 200 brothers and guests of the Numeral Society, the 1956 – 1970 “local” Greek fraternity that later became SAE on the Clemson campus, came together for an alumni reunion at Lake Murray near Columbia.

Out of that reunion came a pledge to raise additional funds to add to the endowment that supports the Joe Young Penthouse, named for the now-deceased longest continuous resident of the Clemson House. A longtime architecture professor, Young served 50-plus years as chapter adviser to first the Numeral Society and then SAE.

The Reunion Committee (Sterling Beckman ’64, Cal McMeekin ’65, Mike Maxwell ’67, Wayne Bell ’68, Jim Engram ’68, Edgar McGee ’68, Randy Bell ’69 and Bill Myers ’72) presented a check for more than $6,000 to President Barker on September 7 in a ceremony at the Joe Young Penthouse.

McCabes honor Alumni Association president

Jim and Barbara McCabe of Clemson have honored a longtime friend with a $100,000 endowment to the Clemson Alumni Association. The Ann Harvin Hunter Leadership Endowment honors Alumni Association President Ann Harvin Whetstone Hunter (center) of Greenwood and will support leadership development for student and alumni volunteers.

Jim McCabe and Hunter’s father, Jack Moorer Whetstone, were friends from fourth grade until Whetstone’s death in 1959. Little did Jim know that he would later become friends with Whetstone’s daughter.

“He was my best friend all the way through school,” said Jim. “He died when Ann was a baby. After she was grown, we became acquainted. She has since called us her ‘surrogate parents.’”

A 1980 and ’82 chemical engineering graduate, Hunter was named the Volunteer of the Year in 2009. She has served on the Women’s Alumni Council and the Clemson Athletic Council and has been an IPTAY representative for 14 years.

Jim McCabe entered Clemson in 1943, but left to serve in the Navy during World War II. Retired from Exxon Company U.S.A., he has been married to Barbara for 63 years.