Clemson honors Jay and Alice Lamar with posthumous recognition


President Clements and Carl Beard, former director of Planned Giving for Clemson, celebrating the Lamarses’ legacy.

On November 12, 2021, Clemson University inducted John “Jay” D. Lamar and Alice C. Lamar into the Fort Hill Legacy Society, a society that honors those who leave $1 million or more to Clemson University. As new inductees into the Fort Hill Legacy Society, John and Alice were honored with a bronze leaf dedicated in their memory to honor their generosity to Clemson University.

During the Fort Hill Legacy Society Bronze Leaf Dedication, the leaf for the Lamars was placed under the Second Century Oak, which stands at Fort Hill on the historic site of the University’s first board of trustees meeting.

The Lamars created a lifetime of adventures. Jay worked for Voice of America and Alice worked as a nurse with the foreign service. Prior to marrying Jay, Alice worked as a nurse helping Holocaust victims in Germany after WWII. The two traveled the world to places as far as Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Liberia. When looking for a place to retire, the beauty and peace of Mountain Rest and Walhalla lured them to South Carolina, which became home.

The Lamars committed their lives to serving their community every place they lived. Through their frugality, work ethic and intentionality, they managed to accumulate significant wealth during their lifetime. They considered their purchases carefully, only buying what they needed, and they routinely saved a substantial portion of their income. When it came time to decide what to do with their life savings, they looked locally to make an impact on their community. Believing that education is the solution to nearly every problem, not only in their community, but in the world, they found a match with Clemson’s mission.

Carl Beard speaks about the Lamars during the ceremony at Fort Hill

Originally, Jay and Alice worked with Clemson’s Planned Giving office to set up a charitable remainder trust, but their daughter passed away suddenly due to ovarian cancer. As a result of this unexpected tragedy, Jay asked a close friend and Clemson’s former Director of Planned Giving, Carl Beard, to become the executor of their estate. Beard was honored by this request from the Lamars, for whom he had profound respect. He describes the Lamars as “quiet forces for good who used their service and wealth to help others locally in their community.”

With the idea in mind to put their wealth to service in perpetuity, the Lamars wanted their estate gift to impact the local community, so they used their life savings to create a need-based and achievement academic scholarship endowment for Oconee County residents. Thanks to Beard’s help in bringing their vision to life, many students will be impacted and influenced for generations to follow by the generosity of the Lamars.

Clemson University is the beneficiary of these hard-working, service-oriented people and will continue to honor the Lamarses’ memory for years to come.  

The bronze leaf recognizing the Lamars reads, “John D. and Alice C. Lamar left a legacy of hard work, generosity and humility. Their lives of international service with Voice of America and foreign service nursing were centered around promoting freedom and helping others. Retiring in Oconee County, the Lamars became committed to creating an endowed scholarship for future generations from Oconee County who, by their service, will make a difference in the world around them.”

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