On March 31, 2023, the Clemson Alumni Association honored five alumni with Distinguished Service Awards for 2022. Awards were presented at a ticketed event.
The Clemson Alumni Distinguished Service Award is based on three main criteria: personal and professional accomplishments; dedication and service to Clemson University; and devotion to community and public service. Members of the Clemson family nominate potential honorees, who are then selected by the Clemson Alumni Association as outstanding alumni, public servants and examples to others.
Retired Brig. Gen. Farris Carlos Hill ’86
Retired Brig. Gen. Farris Carlos Hill received the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. He is a resident of Arlington, Virginia, and a native of Ninety Six, South Carolina.
An Air Force ROTC scholarship recipient, Hill graduated from Clemson University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. A 32-year military career followed, culminating with his service as Mobilization Assistant to the Director of Legislative Liaison in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. In that role, he was the liaison between the Air Force and Congress for all programs, air and space weapons systems and legislative inquiries. He was responsible for ensuring the full authorization of the Air Force’s $145 billion annual budget.
In addition to his Clemson degree, Hill earned a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene Christian University in Texas. He also attended several military schools and programs, including the Squadron Officer’s School, the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College, all at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, and the U.S. Air Force Enterprise Leadership Program at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.
Hill received numerous awards and recognitions for his service, including the Air Force Legion of Merit, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon.
He was promoted to Brigadier General in 2015 and retired from military service in 2019. He continues to work at the Pentagon in the civilian role of Director of Air Force Reserve Policy Integration.
Hill served on the Clemson Alumni Association’s board of directors from 2014 to 2019. As a board member, he chaired the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2016 and was the CAA’s representative on the Clemson University Board of Visitors for 2017-2018. He is president of the Northern Virginia Clemson Club, which is a part of the regional Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Clemson Club.
He has played a leadership role in efforts to make Clemson’s military history an important component of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. Through this project, the Library of Congress is collecting, preserving and providing access to the personal accounts of American war veterans. Hill has helped to add the stories of 25 Clemson veterans to the project.
Hill frequently returns to Clemson to speak to and mentor current students, including Air Force ROTC cadets. In 2015, he established the Farris Carlos Hill Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Endowment to support retention of underrepresented Clemson students.
In 2022, he established the first endowment to support Clemson’s nationally acclaimed Call Me MISTER program. His gift created the Call Me MISTER Endowed Scholarship Fund. Call Me MISTER works to increase the pool of teachers from diverse backgrounds available to serve particularly in South Carolina’s lowest performing elementary schools. Student participants are largely selected from among underserved, socio-economically disadvantaged and educationally at-risk communities.
Stuart C. McWhorter ’91
The commissioner of Tennessee’s economic and community development agency, Stuart C. McWhorter, received the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.
McWhorter received a bachelor’s degree in management from Clemson University in 1991. As a student, he spent three years as the school’s iconic Tiger mascot. As an alumnus, he is a leading volunteer and major donor in support of Clemson academic and athletic excellence.
Professionally, McWhorter has a diverse background in entrepreneurship, corporate finance and strategic planning. He co-founded the venture firm Clayton Associates in 1996 and, ultimately, FCA Venture Partners, focused on healthcare and technology. He has more than 25 years of experience in entrepreneurship and early-stage investing.
He moved into the public service sector in 2019, when he was appointed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee as commissioner of the Department of Finance and Administration. McWhorter led the drafting of two fiscal year state budgets, co-chaired the Governor’s Healthcare Modernization Task Force and was appointed director of the Tennessee Unified Command Group to coordinate the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic before returning to the private sector in 2020. He also served as the CEO of Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center, an innovation hub for entrepreneurs to create, launch and grow businesses.
Gov. Lee recruited McWhorter back into public service in June of 2022 to become commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. The department is responsible for recruiting new businesses and industries to the state, supporting existing companies, expanding economic opportunities across rural Tennessee and boosting the state’s overall economic prosperity.
McWhorter has been involved with a multitude of organizations, causes and communities around the globe, including Belmont University, the Tennessee Business Roundtable, Blood Water Mission, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, the Nashville Alliance for Public Education, the Tennessee Golf Foundation, the Hospital Hospitality House, St. Luke’s Community Center, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Nashville’s Agenda, the Christ Presbyterian Academy Campaign and the Nashville Cityfest Initiative.
He was chairman of Nashville’s FirstBank Financial Corporation, overseeing $11 billion in assets, and is the lead investor and partner of D17 Holdings, parent of Outsider Media Network, ON3 Media and Spiny.ai of Nashville, Tennessee, and London, England.
He earned a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and has served as an adjunct professor at Belmont University, teaching healthcare, finance and entrepreneurship.
For Clemson, McWhorter has served as Executive-in-Residence for the University’s entrepreneurship and economic engagement initiatives. He is a member of the President’s Advisory Board and an advisor to President Jim Clements and Provost Bob Jones on issues related to entrepreneurship and economic development. He is a former member of the Clemson University Foundation’s board of directors and served on the cabinets for The Will to Lead and Tiger Pride fundraising campaigns.
McWhorter and his family have invested generously in Clemson’s academic and athletic programs, including a gift to honor former Tiger mascots resulting in the bronze Tiger statue at Gate 1 of Memorial Stadium. He was a founding investor for the Entrepreneurial Leadership Enhancement Fund.
McWhorter and his wife, Leigh Anne, are members of the Clemson Cumulative Giving Society and founding partners of the President’s Leadership Circle. Most recently, their generosity created the Angelyn “Angel” Sauls Westcott Memorial Scholarship Endowment to provide nursing scholarships in memory of Stuart’s mother. They also invested in the McWhorter Softball Stadium, becoming the 18th founding member of the Athletic Cornerstone Partner program.
The McWhorters have two sons, Clayton and Thomas, who are current Clemson students, and three daughters: Caroline, Marleigh and Layla.
David P. Rochester Sr. ’68
Investment banking industry leader David P. Rochester Sr. of Aldie, Virginia, received the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.
The Clemson, South Carolina, native earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Clemson University in 1968. He went on to earn a master’s in economics from North Carolina State University in 1970 and a doctorate in business and finance from the University of Georgia in 1974. He served in the United States Army from 1968 to 1982.
Today, he is chairman of Capital Resources Group Inc., the investment banking firm that he founded in 1983, and owner and operator of Cool Spring Farm, an award-winning Angus cattle and sport horse enterprise. He also is president of WorldWideWord Inc., a Christian ministry that he and his wife, Catherine, founded in 2000 to fund schools and orphanages, promote health care and provide micro business start-up loans throughout Africa, India, Nepal, the Philippines and Eastern European countries.
Rochester, who was chief economist for the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. from 1977 to 1980, has frequently served as an expert witness on federal and state levels, including in court cases and before Congressional subcommittees. He has published scholarly articles in numerous professional journals and has held faculty positions at the University of Georgia, the University of Alabama, Virginia Tech and George Washington University.
Among his many community service activities and accomplishments in Virginia, he is a longtime member of the Piedmont Environmental Council and received the Clean Water Farm Award for the Potomac River Basin from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. He is founder and president of the Leesburg Church Foundation for funding Christian ministries and is a leader of the Leesburg Community Church, the Middleburg Humane Foundation and several other local organizations.
Since 1996, Rochester has been active in multiple roles for the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Clemson Club. His contributions, leadership and relationships have been instrumental in the club’s growth and success in alumni engagement throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia and northern Virginia and in fundraising initiatives to support scholarships and other University priorities.
He is noted for his willingness to assist Clemson officials and students who visit Washington and for creating global opportunities for Clemson by hosting receptions and programs in the embassies of countries such as Belgium, Germany, Canada, the Philippines, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, India and China. He and his wife also established the Rochester Passport Program to support student travel overseas to learn about servant leadership by reducing poverty through the creation of small businesses in developing countries.
Rochester has helped to arrange business and government internships for Clemson students and regularly mentors Clemson alumni in the greater Washington area. He also meets with local high school students and parents to promote their interest in Clemson.
David and Catherine Rochester have two children: daughter Caroline Rochester Dickens and son David P. Rochester II, and five grandchildren.
Brad Smith, AIA ’82, ’83 and ’85
Prominent Greenville-based architect Brad Smith, AIA, received the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. The Spartanburg, South Carolina, native earned Clemson University bachelor’s degrees in design (1982), building science and management (1983) and architecture (1985).
Smith is a member of the American Institute of Architects and founding principal of McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, which has eight offices in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. His role includes staff development, firm culture building and internal communications. A registered architect in 38 states, he has a diverse background of experience in higher education, healthcare, commercial, civic and community projects.
As principal-in-charge of Clemson projects ranging from the Lee Hall restoration, renovation and addition to new buildings such as the Larry B. Penley Jr. Golf Facility, he has helped to imagine and design highly acclaimed environments that inspire Clemson students, faculty and staff to excel.
He has overseen new facilities or renovations for AnMed Health, Prisma Health System, the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine at Greenville. He was principal-in-charge for Aiken County’s new government office complex; the planning and design for multiple YMCA facilities; conference room additions and master planning for the Columbia Convention Center; and hundreds of other community, church, public and private projects across the Carolinas and Georgia.
His leadership and advocacy for United Way of Greenville County initiatives led to McMillan Pazdan Smith being named 2021’s “Rising Star Engagement” recipient, with 100 percent firmwide participation in food drives, school tools, virtual seminars and community improvement projects.
Smith is a Fellow of the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, where he helped lead a project to deliver financial literacy for children in grades 4–6. Other organizations benefiting from his service include the Hospice House of Greenville, the Cancer Society of Greenville County, the Poinsett Club and the Caine Halter Family Branch of the YMCA.
He is past chairman and a former Board member of South Carolina’s State Board of Architectural Examiners and past Chairman of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ Professional Conduct Committee. He also serves on the Greenville Construction and Maintenance Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
For Clemson, Smith is a current member and past president of the Clemson Architectural Foundation and a past member of the Clemson Alumni Association’s board of directors. He was instrumental in establishing an endowment for the School of Architecture that provides scholarships, named in honor of Professor Emeritus John Jacques, and supports diversity initiatives. He and his firm also provide a fellowship and assistance for students who want to pursue research and scholarships related to the intersection of human health, healthcare and architecture while working for the firm over the summer.
He is a member of the Greenville Clemson Luncheon Club and regularly represents McMillan Pazdan Smith in Clemson career fairs. In 2013, he participated in events marking the 40th anniversary of Clemson’s Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genoa, Italy. He is returning to Genoa again this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
Smith and his wife, Lyle, have two children: daughter Caroline and son Brad Jr., who is a 2020 Clemson graduate.
Robert J. (Bob) Stanzione ’69
The retired executive chairman of global communications technology company ARRIS, Robert J. (Bob) Stanzione, received the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.
Stanzione developed an interest in math and science as a high school student in his hometown of Hartsville, South Carolina. For college, he chose Clemson University because he thought it would be the right fit for pursuing those subjects. He graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
During his early professionl career, Stanzione held a range of engineering and management positions at AT&T. In 1995, he was appointed president and CEO of ARRIS Interactive, a Nortel Networks/ANTEC joint venture. He grew the start-up company into a world market leader in cable networking products. In 1998, he became president, chief operating officer and a director of ANTEC and was appointed CEO in 2000.
In 2001, ANTEC acquired Nortel’s share of ARRIS Interactive and re-named the company ARRIS Group. Stanzione served as ARRIS Group’s CEO until Sept. 1, 2016, when he became its executive chairman and chairman of the board of directors. ARRIS Group was sold in 2019 for $7 billion. Stanzione retired from the company but remains active in managing his family’s farm and private investments.
Stanzione sits on The Cable Center Board of Directors’ executive committee and is a former trustee on the Committee for Economic Development in Washington, D.C. He was inducted into the Cable TV Pioneers in 2010 and is a member of the Class of 2016 Cable Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ 2008 Chairman’s Award and the 2009 Vanguard Award for Associates and Affiliates, which recognizes important contributions made by equipment manufacturers and service suppliers to cable industry innovation. He is a past board member of both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and Symmetricom, a developer and manufacturer of timekeeping technology.
In addition to his Clemson degree, Stanzione earned a master’s degree in industrial engineering (MIE) from North Carolina State University. He also has completed executive development programs at the University of Richmond, Babson College and the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.
Stanzione and his wife, Kaye, live in Alpharetta, Georgia, where they are active in many organizations and causes. He has served on the board of directors of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Georgia chapter and chaired its major gifts fundraising campaign. He recently received the chapter’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He also has engaged with St. Jude’s Children Hospital as a fundraiser and has been a scholarship sponsor for Cristo Rey High School.
At Clemson, The ClemsonLIFE program is of special interest to the Stanziones. Kaye Stanzione serves on the advisory board of the program, which offers a collegiate experience that helps students with intellectual disabilities prepare for competitive employment and independent living. The Sue Stanzione Distinguished Professorship for ClemsonLIFE, established with a gift from the Stanziones, has been instrumental in the development and retention of leadership for the program and undergirded its significant growth.
The Stanziones also have made a $2.5 million Academic Cornerstone gift to Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. The gift includes support for student scholarships, the Dean’s Excellence Fund and new faculty incentives and learning experiences in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Since joining the Clemson University Foundation’s board of directors in 2017, Bob Stanzione has served on the Executive, Investment, Finance and Development committees. He also has been instrumental in the board’s restructuring and with the newly established Order of the Oak fundraising advisory board.
The Stanziones have three children. Daughters Marie Stanzione Anderson and Jennifer Stanzione Hanson are Clemson graduates. Son Robert Jr. (Bobby) attended Clemson before graduating from the University of South Carolina at Beaufort. Three of their 12 grandchilden — Emma, Owen and Alex — are current Clemson students.
The Clemson Alumni Association is an open-membership, nonprofit organization that exists to connect alumni with their alma mater. Through a variety of programs and services, the Alumni Association works with alumni around the world to ensure they have a Clemson Experience every day.
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