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Cadence Count: The Brooks Center for Performing Arts

It may not pack in 80,000-plus for events like Memorial Stadium, but the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts plays a crucial role in the life of the University and the community. While it serves as a location for stellar performances by outstanding artists, it also fulfills its mission of encouraging emerging artists and experimental works, inviting a broader audience to enjoy performances and providing resources and support for performing arts students and faculty.

Read more about this amazing Clemson gem.

 

Read more about The Brooks Center for Performing Arts.

First-aid kindness: Johannes Huber

Student safety first. It’s a call answered by Clemson Fire and EMS every day, but it was a group of students who first wanted safety ensured.

In the late 1970s Johannes Huber was part of the core group that formed an EMS club on campus. Through training from the Pickens County EMS, Huber and his friends aided students with everything from helping when a Homecoming float turned over and injured a dozen people to providing aid to heart attack victims. “We were really taken in by the student body,” said Huber.

Within a year, they were already seeking funds for an ambulance to have proper transportation for runs. Within Huber’s three years at Clemson, his team was completing up to 150 runs a year, with the backup of Clemson’s fire department.

Huber’s interest in medicine and helping people goes back to his childhood in Germany, when he would bandage local bikers. “Medicine was always my gift,” he said. Grades though, not so much.

A letter from a pen pal from Pennsylvania mentioned Clemson University. Knowing he needed to improve his grades to get into medical school, Huber thought studying abroad would be good for him. So to the hills of South Carolina he went. “It’s just this beautiful town in the countryside with rolling hills and open to an orange and white heaven,” he said with a laugh.

Twice a week he wrote home. Once a month he’d call so his family could hear his voice at $10 a minute. But as an older biochemistry student at age 21, he was looking for more than football games and fraternities to fill his time. “Implementing something new gives you so much energy,” said Huber.“I couldn’t go home on weekends, so I stayed and learned [medicine] through experience.” Huber finally did get into medical school in Germany and returned home for training in general, plastic and microscopy surgery. Now he oversees a staff of about 25 nurses and clocks more than 70 hours a week.

“I’ve been back [to Clemson] several times. … It’s always a homecoming for me,” he said. “I’m just amazed at all the construction, and that spirit is still ever present.” On every return trip he drops by the Clemson Fire and EMS. “College life offers you an opportunity for friendship, and I was very fortunate to be in a position to do that.”

Swinneys pledge $1 million to IPTAY

Dabo and Kathleen Swinney pledged $1 million to IPTAY last fall in support of Clemson football to provide future funding for programmatic and building initiatives that will continue to propel the program forward.

“Kathleen and I are blessed,” said Swinney. “And we have always known we need to use those blessings to do good for others. It’s so important to us that we give back to this program that has been so good to us.”

While Kathleen and Dabo Swinney have a long history of generosity, they would never call their missions accomplished. Dabo sounds like the passionate coach he is when he talks about getting behind these Clemson programs: “You know, Clemson is a great school. But we can’t rest on that. We’ve got so much more to do. We have to always strive to get better, and that’s why we’ve got a new strategic plan at the University called ClemsonForward. That says it all. Just like playing offense in football: It’s all about the forward progress. No progress. No win. We can’t stop now.”

EYRAUD HONORED AS VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Wil Brasington presents the Volunteer of the Year award
to Lily Eyraud as Sandy Edge looks on.

Lily Eyraud ’12 was presented with the Volunteer of the Year award at the Fall Band Party in Greenville in October. A retirement financial planner at TIAA-CREF in Charlotte, Eyraud also is enrolled in the Duke University Cross Continent MBA program.

Currently the communication lead for the Charlotte Clemson Club, Eyraud has implemented a social media strategy and manages a team of four to create digital content for the club’s social channels. She served as the Charlotte Clemson Young Alumni Council Representative from 2013 to 2015, where she implemented strategic event planning and communication to engage young alumni. She also spearheaded new events and programming to increase engagement. She previously served as the Clemson Young Alumni Council engagement chair, where she co-chaired the Fall Band Party and helped to more than double event attendance over the previous year.

Her volunteer activity doesn’t just benefit Clemson. Since 2013, she has been a United Way Young Leaders Council member, where she creates events and networking opportunities for Charlotte young professionals. She has been a regional recruitment coordinator for Gamma Phi Beta sorority since 2014 and was the Gamma Phi Beta Charlotte Alumnae Chapter president in 2012-2013. In addition, she served as the sorority’s education adviser for the chapter at the University of South Carolina.

Care via canine: Taylor Stathes ’13


Taylor Stathes needs her patient, 7-year-old Cadence Corbett, to be a captive audience in the hospital MRI waiting room. Tablet in hand, Stathes previews Cadence’s journey to a machine that can be intimidating even to adults. Cadence looks hopeful when Stathes tells her about the movie goggles she can wear during the three-hour scan, and her anxiety is replaced with joy when Stathes puts the goggles on Vivi, Stathes’ coworker and one of Greenville Health System’s therapy dogs.

From the moment Cadence arrives in the waiting room, Vivi is by her side. While learning about the MRI, Cadence’s hands never leave Vivi’s head or belly. Vivi is Stathes’ not-so-secret weapon, an atomic calm bomb. “I’ve taken a back seat to this girl,” Stathes said. “She lights up every room we walk into, she keeps kids calm, and even the toughest doctors and nurses in the building melt in her presence.”

Stathes is modest; she’d rather give Vivi credit than speak of the education and experience that got her where she is today. Clemson was her only destination from as far back as she can remember. She fell in love with the campus and the people, but she didn’t know what major would work for her. She just knew she wanted to work with kids, so she grabbed a course catalog and searched for what would apply.

Stathes had never heard of recreational therapy, but it fit the bill. What she found were supportive faculty members, an innovative approach to education and a program that combined everything she was passionate about. She said the department was especially flexible with her high-pressure schedule as a Clemson cheerleader for multiple sports. Stathes was a collegiate athlete, but she never took her eye off what she would be equipped to do after graduation.

“Recreational therapy taught me to look at the whole picture of a patient, to be able to consider their physical and emotional health,” Stathes said. “The program turned me on to child life and defined my career.”

Stathes went on to earn a master’s degree in child life from the University of La Verne in California. She said she was lucky to find work at GHS and even luckier to discover pet therapy programs and their potential benefits.

Stathes, along with other child life employees, quickly secured approvals and donations to get a more intensive, animal assisted therapy program off the ground to complement GHS’ existing pet therapy programs. She contacted Canine Assistants, the non-profit organization that trained and provided two therapy dogs to GHS and paired Vivitar — Vivi for short — with Stathes. Canine Assistants makes the pairing based on the personality of dog and potential handler, but it didn’t take long for Stathes to realize why Vivi was the dog for her. “She’s never met a stranger, she’s always smiling, she wears Clemson orange on Fridays and she’s always accessorizing,” Stathes said, laughing. “At least I hope that’s why they paired us up.” At first, Stathes was skeptical of the bond-based training that Canine Assistants employs. Rather than structure training around commands or obedience, the organization pairs the right dog with the right person and creates a bond so that the dog is willing to do things without the need for a command. Vivi can assist doctors in distracting and holding down patients who require a needle poke.

As in the case with Cadence, she can be there to calm while Stathes delivers information. Luckily, there are no tears during Cadence’s visit, but she’s no fan of MRIs. When Cadence’s mother, Reanna Corbett, asks about the length of the MRI, Cadence freezes for a moment. However, the look of concern disappears from Cadence’s face almost as quickly as it arrives because Vivi is goading her for more attention. Later, Corbett happily reports that the planned sedation for Cadence wasn’t even required despite three spinal scans and a brain scan. “Taylor made my daughter feel like a star, and she somehow explained everything while making it fun,” Corbett said. “The only things she would talk about the rest of the day were Taylor and Vivi.”

 

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A new dog in town

After nearly seven years of service, Clemson’s bomb-sniffing dog, Doc, has retired.

Doc began his work at Clemson in 2010, aiding the Clemson University Police Department (CUPD) in their efforts to keep campus safe. The black Labrador retriever has investigated bomb threats at Clemson and also helped sweep such major venues as Memorial Stadium before events. The CUPD was one of the first University police departments in the region to acquire a bomb-sniffing dog.

Doc and his handler, officer Zachary Owen, worked long hours to ensure student and visitor safety at Clemson. The pair typically spent 12 hours at Memorial Stadium each game day, with Doc sniffing out the stadium and continuing to monitor for threats. Doc’s final task before retiring was to sweep the area at a Clemson baseball game against Florida State.

Now there’s a new dog in town. After a rigorous 12-week training program, Woodrow, a 2-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever, has taken over Doc’s duties. He got an opportunity to show his skills during his training, when Owen hid a fake bomb in the stadium. Woodrow searched enthusiastically, sniffing thoroughly until he caught a whiff of the acidic scent. Once the dog located the trigger scent, he sat down in what is known as a passive alert. The reward for detecting the target is a tennis ball and a game of fetch with Owen.

Woodrow has big paws to fill, but he’s on the job, keeping Clemson safe.

TWO NAMED HONORARY ALUMNI

Each fall, the alumni association considers bestowing the title of honorary  alumnus on individuals who have been nominated because of their service, loyalty and devotion to Clemson and/or the Alumni Association. This year, the Alumni Association honored JoVanna King and Frank Inabnit III. While neither has crossed the stage to receive a Clemson diploma, their lives and actions demonstrate that their blood runs orange.

King is senior director of estate planning and principal gifts at Clemson. For more than 25 years she has raised money to support the University. She has worked on all three of Clemson’s capital campaigns including the recently completed Will to Lead campaign, which raised more than $1 billion. According to Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Brian O’Rourke, King has been involved in raising more philanthropic dollars than any other employee of the University. According to President Emeritus Jim Barker, the dollars don’t tell the whole story. “The dollars are impressive,” he wrote in his nomination letter, “but it is the lives of Clemson students and faculty that motivate her.”

Inabnit, a resident of Jacksonville, Florida, is retired after a career in electrical drafting and programming. The son of a 1941 alumnus, he was born deaf andwas unable to attend Clemson. “He has spent his entire life in a silent world,” wrote his sister, Catherine Inabnit, in her nomination. “He has never heard the word ‘Clemson.’ He’s never heard the ‘Tiger Rag’ or the Clemson Alma Mater, but Clemson has been a very important part of his life and occupies a large and special place in his heart.”

A loyal IPTAY member for 45 years, Inabnit has served as an IPTAY representative and has contributed to the Alumni Association for more than 25 years.

Nominations for honorary alumnus will open in the fall; for more information, go to clemson.edu/alumni and click on “Awards and Honors.”

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Brooks Center Director Lillian U. Harder, set to retire in 2017, reflects on her 44 years at Clemson.

 

One year.

That’s how long Lillian “Mickey” Harder, director of the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, and her husband planned to stay in Clemson when they arrived in 1972. Sitting in her office 44 years later, she reflected on the course of her life. “Sometimes we need to relax and take what comes,” she mused, “because if anyone had ever told me that I would have ended up doing what I’ve been doing, I would have laughed out loud.”

Harder, who will retire this year, knows the surprises life can hold. She began teaching piano at age 16 in her hometown of St. George, South Carolina, and believes she was destined for a career in education: “To take students who knew absolutely nothing about music and to be able to turn them on to something that they could use for the rest of their lives was awe-inspiring.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Coker College and her master’s degree from Converse College, Harder’s first college job offer wasn’t the right fit. “I had the heart to know something else was out there,” she said. She never thought that “something” would be Clemson. Harder’s husband returned from service in Vietnam to serve as a physician on the staff of Redfern Health Center. Though doubtful she could pursue music at a University primarily known for engineering and agriculture, Harder reluctantly accepted a one-year teaching appointment in the music department.

One year turned into many. Rising through the ranks to full professor, Harder taught piano and other music courses for 24 years. In 1986, she and her husband established and funded what would become her legacy: the Lillian and Robert Utsey Chamber Music Series. Named in honor of her parents, the series has featured up-and-coming classical musicians, free of charge, for over three decades. Harder was in charge of booking those musicians for 10 years before receiving the opportunity of a lifetime in 1996.

That was the year she was offered the position of director by performing arts department chair, Chip Egan. “I was really very reticent about doing it,” she said. “I loved the classroom, and I felt very successful in that.”

Two pieces of advice ultimately swayed her. Egan himself told her, “Your classroom is just going to be bigger.” In a speech honoring co-education at Clemson, news anchor and Clemson graduate Jane Robelot said, “Those of us who can, have to do, because there are a lot of people who can only dream.” With that, Harder accepted the position and has spent two decades at the helm of Clemson University’s only performing arts center.

There is perhaps no better illustration of Harder’s favorite saying, “Bloom where you’re planted,” than her own life. “I think, sometimes, we just have to go with things and be determined that we’re going to do and be the best that we can,” she said. “Things happen for a reason, and they usually turn out pretty darn well.”

— Thomas Hudgins

 

Business school receives press valued at nearly $1 million

Printing press giant, Nilpeter has completely outfitted a FB-3 13-inch fully automated servo press at Clemson University Graphics Communication Center in Godfrey Hall. Professor Kern Cox and students observed its operation.

Clemson’s nationally recognized graphic communications program just got better, thanks to a nearly $1 million gift-in-kind from global press supplier Nilpeter Inc. The state-of-the-art flexographic printing press will enable the University to build on its reputation as one of the nation’s leaders in printing and packaging design education by providing students with this cutting-edge teaching tool.

“Nilpeter’s gift is an investment in the next generation of packaging design leaders,” said President Clements. “We appreciate, and are honored, that Nilpeter recognizes Clemson as a leader in preparing high-caliber printing and packaging design professionals for the industry.” Clemson’s graphic communications program has long been recognized as a national leader in packaging design and printing education with a hands-on approach that gives students an employability advantage. The program boasts a 95 percent employment rate upon graduation.

“Our students understand marketplace competitiveness and how implementing technology can keep companies strong and innovative,” said Charles “Chip” Tonkin, department chair. “The value of this gift extends to potential employers in that they want students who know how to utilize and implement the latest technologies to stay competitive. We appreciate that Nilpeter believes in our students and faculty to invest this level of commitment in Clemson and the industry.”

A global printing company with nearly 100 years of engineering expertise in printing, Nilpeter serves businesses in 65 countries with high-quality label and narrow-web printing solutions. “Nilpeter is strongly committed to the education of the next generation of printers. By operating the latest and most innovative technology, we aim to inspire skilled students to positively influence the printing industry in the years to come,” said Lars Eriksen, CEO and owner of Nilpeter.