Charlie and Suzie Barker of Virginia Beach, Virginia, believe that education holds the power to transform lives. When their daughter Alexis “Lexie” became a Clemson Tiger, they also joined the Clemson Family and looked for ways to contribute to the student experience that Lexie had embraced.
Driven by their commitment to support academic opportunities for future generations, the Barkers have become Clemson’s newest Academic Cornerstone Partner with a $2.5 million gift to establish the Charlie, Suzie and Lexie Barker ’20 Presidential Scholarship Endowment. Their gift will also support ClemsonLIFE and the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel.
With the Presidential Scholarship Endowment, the Barker family has created a direct path to Clemson for academically talented students who graduate from An Achievable Dream Academy in Virginia Beach. An Achievable Dream is a nonprofit, nationally recognized K-12 program dedicated to providing promising students with elite educational opportunities, regardless of their economic circumstances. Their vision, to “bring equity to education by providing opportunities for success in school and life,” guides them to partner with community leaders and organizations to ensure their students have equal opportunities to reach their academic goals.
“There is such a need for community leaders to collaborate with organizations to provide the tools and resources for deserving students to receive a quality education,” said Lee Vreeland, president of An Achievable Dream. “The Charlie, Suzie and Lexie Barker ’20 Presidential Scholarship Endowment will provide an amazing opportunity for our students to attend Clemson University, an esteemed place of learning and a leading public research institution. The scholarship will make a profound impact for years to come on the lives of our students.”
I am also deeply proud of my family’s connection to Clemson University.Charlie Barker
Clemson University vice president of advancement Brian O’Rourke expressed his thanks to the Barker family and said this gift will transform the aspirations of Clemson Experience-seeking students from mere dreams into attainable goals. “We are deeply grateful to Charlie, Suzie and Lexie for their commitment to Clemson and for creating a way for some of the best and brightest students in the Virginia Beach area to become Clemson Tigers,” said O’Rourke.
Barker serves as chair of Charles Barker Holdings, which consists of automobile dealerships and real estate holdings. His community involvement includes service on the Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer board, the advisory board of directors for the Virginia Beach Foundation and the board of An Achievable Dream Academy in Virginia Beach.
“Being the chair of the An Achievable Dream Academy board has been a source of immense pride for me,” said Barker. “This organization offers crucial resources and development opportunities to students who might otherwise be left behind. I am also deeply proud of my family’s connection to Clemson University. This scholarship endowment connects the two, making it particularly meaningful for me.”
In addition to chairing the An Achievable Dream Academy board, Barker resides on Clemson University’s Committee for Philanthropy and the President’s Advisory Board. Together with Suzie and their daughter Lexie, the Barkers were named Clemson Family of the Year in 2017.