Advancement; Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

A year in review: Clemson’s largest philanthropic gift makes lasting changes


Transformed programs. Crafted opportunities. Changed lives. The first named college at Clemson University. These aren’t the grand aspirations of a business school on a projected five-year plan. They’re the principled realities of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. Thanks to a $60 million gift given in October 2020 by philanthropists Wilbur “Billy” O. and Ann Powers and to the leadership stewarding this gift, the College has advanced its mission and the reputation of Clemson University.

Having a named college increases the visibility and reputation of our business programs. It shows that someone has invested a significant amount of money in our College of Business, and that helps us to recruit the best faculty and staff in the country, which, in turn, helps us to recruit the best and brightest students. I am incredibly grateful to Billy and Ann Powers for their visionary leadership to name our College of Business, and I hope that others step up and follow their example.


When one college is strengthened, the entire University benefits, whether through the collective intellectual power and expertise of the faculty and staff, the expansion of interdisciplinary studies or a stronger Clemson Experience for students. The gift from Billy and Ann Powers is working to achieve the College’s mission. With Dean Wendy York at the helm, the plan has been set in motion, starting with new program launches and the expansion of existing programs.

A group, including philanthropists Billy and Ann Powers, along with Dean York, is standing in front of a wall, inside a building, that features a quote and sketches of Billy and Ann Powers on its wall. Towering above the graphics is the name of the college, the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, named to honor the philanthropic gift.
Provost Bob Jones, President Jim Clements, Philanthropists Billy and Ann Powers and Dean Wendy York

New programming

Launched in Fall 2021, the Dean’s Global Leadership Program (DGLP) focuses on global awareness and leadership through academic coursework and experiential learning that help students gain cross-cultural understanding and develop the management skills needed to work on multinational teams in international environments. DGLP expands Clemson’s global learning and service, building on existing international business perspective courses, global engagement and leadership programs.

As part of the DGLP, two new courses, global business negotiations and global leadership lessons, instill confidence and a global mindset in students, positioning them to compete and succeed in today’s modern economy.

Following a successful pilot in Spring 2021, the College has also launched the Leadership Signature program, which will be approved in the Fall through the University curriculum committee and with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education in Spring 2022. Under the guidance of Col. Keith Balts, USAF (retired), the Powers Executive Director for Leadership professor of practice, the program will provide academic coursework and experiential learning for students that address leadership theories, ethical decision-making, leading from the heart, intellect, assessment and more.

Students start with foundational courses, but as they progress through the program, they have an opportunity to lead portions of course training for younger students, providing hands-on opportunities to learn leadership and take an active role in teaching it.

Global business negotiations, taught by senior lecturer of legal studies Judson Jahn, builds self-assurance and communication skills for effective contract agreement, while global leadership lessons, taught by Jahn and Dean Wendy York, exposes students to global business issues, allows them to interact with organizational leaders and provides them with hands-on experience to undertake leadership roles in the future.

Upon completion, students will receive Certificates in Leadership. The Spring 2021 pilot is now the cornerstone practicum course of the Leadership Signature Program and is currently available for students seeking practicum credit hours in the DGLP.

Along with global knowledge and leadership, understanding business analytics is crucial to the success of organizations in today’s world. The ability to collect, examine and interpret data to measure efforts, create actions and report on results improves process from hiring to supply chain management. A new Business Analytics Signature Program is in development and with it a directorship to navigate the program. Along with growing the College’s research prominence, the program will provide students with enriched courses that teach in-demand skills.

Accelerating activity

To address high enrollment in the areas of management — the College’s largest major — and marketing, Clemson hired four faculty members in Fall 2021. Together, they will add 2,400 credit hours to the College and expand the courses offered to students.

Having the Signature Programs in place is a key element in our strategic plan for the College, but we can’t neglect the importance of having the right faculty and staff members in a position to implement and execute the programming. We’ve added several people to the team in new and high-growth business areas. Together, we all embrace servant leadership, demonstrating by example and instilling those values into our students.


In addition, $360,000 in support grants were created for Summer 2022 to accelerate research productivity. In August 2021, a call for proposals was issued. Currently, over 50 research proposals are being reviewed by the college grants committee and will be awarded in late Fall 2021.

The new faculty members are:

Lisa Beeler, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing

Beeler’s research areas include professional selling, sales management and frontline technologies.

Kevin Flynn, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Marketing

Flynn’s areas of research include productivity, digital marketing, business strategy and business analytics.

Jason Kiley, assistant professor in the Department of Management

Kiley’s research areas include strategic decision-making, corporate reputation, mergers and acquisitions, impression management, reproducibility in science and content analysis.

José Sagarnaga, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Management

Sagarnaga’s research areas include global management and corporate social responsibility.

Powers Fellows

In addition to recruiting and retaining world-class faculty and the new rising stars of their fields, investing in them is essential. The expectation is set for faculty to continue producing leading-edge, R1-level research and graduating students who are equipped with leadership mindsets and the skills to innovate industries and address tomorrow’s challenges. The work happens in a variety of settings, from state-of-the-art classrooms to virtual meetings, but the exceptional commitment from faculty is consistent.

The Powers Fellows were created in 2021 to recognize performance excellence in teaching, research and academic service. In this inaugural year, seven highly productive faculty members have been designated as either Powers Distinguished Fellows or Powers Emerging Fellows, dependent upon whether they are senior or junior faculty.

These recipients were chosen from among 21 outstanding faculty nominations.

This year’s Powers Distinguished Fellows include:

Kristin Scott, professor in the Department of Management

Scott has been at Clemson for 13 years. In the past five years, Scott has had eight publications: three in elite journals and five in high-ranked journals, along with 15 major conference presentations, three of which were published proceedings and award winners.

Scott Swain, associate professor in the Department of Marketing

Swain is in his eighth year at the University. Swain has over 150 total scholarly research contributions, including six publications in elite journals. He serves as the associate editor for the European Journal of Marketing and on the editorial review board at five other journals.

Derek Dalton, professor in the School of Accountancy

Dalton has been at Clemson for 11 years. Dalton is currently ranked No. 1 in the world within his research area, which includes work-life balance, employee turnover, gender issues and diversity issues within the accounting profession. He is also ranked 60th (out of 6,000+) in the world across all accounting researchers as measured by the BYU Accounting Rankings.

Amy Ingram, associate professor in the Department of Management

Ingram is in her 10th year at the University. Ingram has published 13 peer-reviewed articles in elite journals. Her work has been highlighted in the Harvard Business Review in addition to being featured in prominent executive education programs.

This year’s Powers Emerging Fellows include:

Jorge Luis García, assistant professor in the John E. Walker Department of Economics

Garcia has been at Clemson for three years. Garcia has published a book chapter, four peer-reviewed articles and one non-peer-reviewed article about early childhood education. He also has two co-authored papers under review, both at top-five journals in economics, and has been cited by the White House.

Luke DeVault, assistant professor in the Department of Finance

DeVault is in his fifth year at the University. DeVault has published in the top finance journal — the Journal of Finance — a first in his department in 10 years. His work has been quoted in MarketWatch, Wealth Professional and Institutional Investor.

Matt Hersel, assistant professor in the Department of Management

Hersel is in his third year at Clemson. In his short time at the University, Hersel has achieved three premier publications. He was the only author of a paper in the Academy of Management Review — the first in the department and one of fewer than 10 people in the world to do so.

Powers Scholars

Student Caleb Hannon, a Powers Scholar, resulting from the philanthropic gift of Billy and Ann Powers, is standing outside. There is a tree and field behind him, along with a building in the far distance.
Powers Scholar Caleb Hannon

A new scholarship program was developed to identify and reward merit- and need-based support for exceptional students in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. Sixty thousand dollars in scholarships have been awarded to 30 outstanding recipients in 2021. Each of the scholarships was given to students now known as Powers Scholars.

One of the new Powers Scholars is Caleb Hannon of Buffalo, New York. When an injury ended his plans to play professional hockey, Hannon decided to relocate to the Clemson area after visiting his parents, who had moved to Seneca, South Carolina, five years prior. After he met some of the students, saw what campus life was like and attended a few football games, he decided to enroll for at least a semester and is now in his third year. An Honors College student majoring in management, with Spanish and travel and tourism minors, he had planned on graduating in three and a half years but decided to stay for an extra semester to study abroad and further enrich his college experience.

Being a Powers Scholar gives me more financial leverage in order to be able to do some of the study abroad programs. I am also able to stay an extra semester at Clemson to develop, learn and network amongst other students.


Designed to serve

Many articles have been written about the award-winning, five-story, state-of-the-art building that houses the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business and stands as a gateway to Clemson University and global enterprise. At 176,000 square feet, it nearly doubles the size of the College’s previous Sirrine Hall location. However, one of the biggest benefits to business students is that it allows them to take 92 percent of classes for their majors in one location compared to 40 percent at the previous location.

“Walking through the business school and seeing any one of the 120-odd members in the business fraternity and kids that I’ve had classes with and faculty that I’m able to see in the halls and just talk about class and life, it’s finally become like a central point on campus for me and sort of like a home base,” said Hannon. “I get to see so many people that I know in there, whether it’s faculty or anyone from freshmen to seniors — all kind of relating on the same level at the same place. It really is truly a family community.”

In addition to being in the heart of campus and a two-minute walk from downtown Clemson, the building houses a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a fireplace lounge and nearly 22,500 square feet of study space — creating places for relaxation, informal meetings with classmates and quiet areas to study.

Good things are just beginning

Along with time, transformations take leadership, collaboration and backing. Through supporting these signature programs and the innovative research and initiatives of the faculty and staff, the gift from Billy and Ann Powers has provided life-changing resources to students who endeavor to change the world. This generosity will continue the impact that the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business has on the state of South Carolina, the nation and global industry.

The example set by Billy and Ann Powers and other supporters of the College demonstrates the power of gifts to transform buildings, departments, fields of study, industries and, most importantly, lives. These are the lives of first-generation college students who thought higher education was out of reach for them, the lives of professors on the verge of research breakthroughs that will propel their fields of study and the lives of millions of people impacted by the existence of Clemson University. Through these gifts, Clemson University has made a significant difference in the world, and through gifts like these, it will for generations to come.

Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business at a glance:


On the Rise

Since 2020, there has been a:

8.7% increase in undergraduate enrollment.

2.3% increase in graduate enrollment.

There were 10,680 undergraduate applications for Fall 2021 admission.

Since 2020, the first-year to second-year retention rate has grown from 92.8% to 93.8%.

Graduation rates have grown from 85.7% in 2020 to 89.3% in 2021.

38,411 living alumni.


Students currently enrolled in the College.


Staff are employed by the College.


Instructional faculty teach for the College at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Want to Discuss?

Get in touch and we will connect you with the author or another expert.

Or email us at

    This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.