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Hoffmeyer Creates Endowment to Support Nursing Students

Henry Hoffmeyer '56 with his late wife, Polly.

Henry Hoffmeyer ’56 with his late wife, Polly.

Henry Hoffmeyer’s father died when he was 11, leaving his mother to care for five children under age 14 while operating a small dairy in Darlington.

And all of them attended college. “She did a great job raising us,” he said. “I don’t understand how she could afford to send me to Clemson, but she did.” Hoffmeyer and his late wife Polly of Mills River, N.C., wanted to help other single-parent families afford college. They created an endowment for the School of Nursing to support tuition costs for students from Henderson County, N.C., with preference given to students from single-parent families.

“Not many students from Henderson County come to the School of Nursing because of the out-of-state tuition,” Hoffmeyer said. “So I decided I would try to encourage some students to come to Clemson by helping them and giving them scholarships.”

It wasn’t difficult for the Hoffmeyers to choose Clemson as a beneficiary of their generosity. His Clemson roots run deep — even to the University’s first days. Hoffmeyer’s grandfather was a member of Clemson’s first freshman class in 1893, and every subsequent generation has had a member attend Clemson. His father, Henry G.G. Hoffmeyer, graduated in 1919; his uncle, Herman F.L. Hoffmeyer, graduated in 1921; he graduated in 1956; his daughter, Suzanne Hoffmeyer O’Donnell, graduated in 1985; and his granddaughter, Elizabeth O’Donnell, began studies this year.

The Hoffmeyers’ interest in nursing came through relationships with family members. Hoffmeyer’s sister graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina. His granddaughter is also interested in a nursing career, which brought Clemson’s nursing program to his attention.

“When I look at the need for nurses, there will be a great shortage of nurses in the future,” he said. “I just want to help get more students involved in nursing, because there is a great need for that.”

Hoffmeyer worked in management positions with Southern Bell for almost 40 years, retiring in 1993. The Hoffmeyers have three daughters and seven grandchildren. “I’ve been blessed in my life, and I’d like to give back,” Henry said. “This is a small way I can help nursing students from North Carolina attend Clemson, because I think it is a wonderful institution.”

Close to His Heart

Pictured from left: Gina Glenn, Candi Glenn, President Clements, Gerald Glenn, Mike Glenn, Charlie Glenn and Bethany Bolen.

Pictured from left: Gina Glenn, Candi Glenn, President Clements, Gerald Glenn, Mike Glenn, Charlie Glenn and Bethany Bolen.

If you’re in the right place at the right time, you might catch Gerald Glenn ’64 in a certain blue blazer — the one lined in orange that has a Tiger paw embroidered on the inside. And if you’re lucky, you just might catch him laughing and asking, “Can you tell Clemson is close to my heart?”

Glenn’s time in civil engineering at Clemson paved the way for a successful career, during which he worked as a director of Fluor Corporation and as a group president of its primary subsidiary, Fluor Daniel Inc. He then went on to become chairman, president and CEO of Chicago Bridge and Iron, one of the world’s largest engineering and construction companies.

In addition to giving extensively to the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences Leadership Circle, the Fluor Daniel Engineering Innovation Center and the Barker Scholars Endowment, he and his wife Candi provided the naming gift for the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering in 2011.

“We did that so kids could have the opportunity to do something maybe they couldn’t afford to do or that wasn’t available to them,” he said.

“While this gift goes to athletics, we think it is still a part of the whole process of education,” Gerald Glenn said. “You learn about being on a team and being a team player, and that’ll serve you well in your following life.”

However, the Glenns view education as much more than academics. They see education as a wholistic experience that includes all the opportunities the University has to offer, and one of those primary opportunities is athletics.

As Clemson’s ninth Athletic Cornerstone Partner, the Glenns have joined a special group of donors to athletics with a $2.5 million gift. The Athletic Cornerstone Partners are a bold and visionary group of leaders who have given transformational funding to propel Clemson forward, laying a foundation that will impact students for generations.

For Gerald and Candi Glenn, both academics and athletics at Clemson are worthy of investment. “An education is something that cannot be taken away from you, no matter what happens,” Candi Glenn said. The Glenns’ dedication to Clemson over the years has proven that Clemson truly is close to their hearts — blue blazer or no blue blazer.

Giving Back to Clemson, and to Horses

John Blackburn '69

Architecture may be a traditional Clemson degree, but John Blackburn ’69 is far from a traditional architect. He created his own career in equine facility design — designing horse farms and stables that take into account the health of the horse, the demands of the site and the needs of the owner.

Blackburn started his own firm in the D.C. area and has built a successful career, designing more than 250 unique facilities worldwide. He is passionate about using the landscape to influence the building design by studying scientific principles, weather patterns and other natural factors. Because of his design methods, he has developed a special connection with landscape architects, though landscape architecture was not offered while he was a student.

At the peak of his career, Blackburn was motivated to give back to his alma mater, specifically the architecture department. “I’m very proud of the program and what it’s done since I went here,” John said. “It was a good program then, but it’s incredible now. They have a great facility, they have a great staff, they have a great program, and I wanted to see if I could contribute to that.”

Since his career had provided him with skills that many architects might never learn in a traditional field, he reached out to Clemson with the intent of passing along his knowledge. However, Blackburn wanted to work directly with students, influencing and expanding how they thought about their field of study.

He began by giving lectures to equine management students and went on to lead an exercise that brought together students in architecture, landscape architecture and equine management. Under his guidance, the students used the Clemson Equine Center as a case study, examining its design and functionality. The architecture and landscape architecture students acted as consultants for the equine management students, who played the client role, and they worked together to recommend improvements.

Now that the case study has been completed, Blackburn’s vision is to see the students’ work come to fruition. That way, the students will have something tangible on campus that shows their efforts, and Clemson will benefit from having a first-class equine center. “I hope to see it become reality,” he said. “I want to see the students experience a real project and look back over the years as they move on in their careers and say, ‘This is something I contributed to and made successful.’”

When asked why giving back to Clemson was a good idea, John responded immediately by saying, “Because Clemson is a good idea.” Plus, he wants to give back to horses as well. “Horses have fed me for 35 years,” he said. “It’s time for me to feed the horses.”

Keeping the pipeline filled with diverse talent

Duke Energy continues to support two Clemson summer programs for middle school girls and incoming college freshmen interested in the STEM fields.

Duke Energy is continuing to support two Clemson summer programs — one for middle school girls and one for incoming University freshmen — with an $85,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation. Both programs are aimed at increasing diversity in the pipeline that carries talent from the classroom to the workplace.

Project WISE is designed to educate middle school girls about opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, at a time of life when peer pressure tends to drive them away. The PEER and WISE Experience offers 50 incoming freshmen a head start on academics and campus life. Both programs, which are based in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, are designed for students from groups who are underrepresented in STEM fields, including women and minorities.

“We know that quality education programs like these are critical to creating the high-tech, diverse workforce we need for the 21st century,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president. “Partnering with great institutions like Clemson University helps our communities continue to grow and produce skilled workers who bring new ideas and innovations to our lives.”

About 60 middle school girls attended Project WISE this past summer. This year’s program targeted Title I schools in the Pee Dee, a region where Duke Energy is working to have great impact. Girls attended mini-courses in a range of topics from electrical engineering to computer science, taught by Clemson faculty and staff. Ten undergraduate Clemson students lived in residence halls with the Project WISE girls.

Serita Acker, director of PEER and WISE, said that since Project WISE started in 1997, many of the program’s alumni have come to Clemson, majoring in STEM disciplines. “All of the research shows that middle school is when you start thinking about what you want to do,” Acker said. “What makes us unique is we have all these young women in our college who serve as role models. Students can see what they could be like in the future.”

The PEER and WISE Experience, based on two previous summer programs aimed at helping ease students’ transition to college, had its inaugural three-week session in July. While living on campus, students studied college calculus, physics and chemistry and learned about research, graduate school and success strategies, such as time management. They also met alumni, providing them role models to emulate.

Acker said Duke Energy has long been key to the success of PEER and WISE and thanked the company for its latest contribution. “It not only plants the seed of STEM, it plants the seed of what the future can be when you get a college education,” she said. “Together, we are keeping the pipeline filled with diverse talent.”