Clemson Young Alumni Council recognizes ‘Roaring 10’ alumni


CLEMSON, South Carolina — The Clemson Young Alumni Council has named 10 alumni to its “Roaring 10,” recognizing these outstanding young alumni for their influence in business, leadership, community, education and philanthropic endeavors. The honor is given to individuals who exemplify Clemson University’s core values of honesty, integrity and respect.

The Clemson Young Alumni Council 2018 Roaring 10 are (front row from left) France L. Jackson, Noelle Cabato Holdsworth, Claire Reddeck Bowman, Aliza Darnell McGuire and Don Allen Sharpe Jr.; (second row) Angela Gillis (accepting the award for Tyrone Oliver Gayle, who could not attend), Susan Ridgeway Nunamaker, Allison Marshall Puechl, Dan "McKee" McKeithan Thomason Jr. and John B. Wright Jr.
The Clemson Young Alumni Council 2018 Roaring 10 are (front row from left) France L. Jackson, Noelle Cabato Holdsworth, Claire Reddeck Bowman, Aliza Darnell McGuire and Don Allen Sharpe Jr.; (second row) Angela Gillis (accepting the award for Tyrone Oliver Gayle, who could not attend), Susan Ridgeway Nunamaker, Allison Marshall Puechl, Dan “McKee” McKeithan Thomason Jr. and John B. Wright Jr.

The 2018 Roaring 10 are:

Claire Reddeck Bowman, ’03, master’s degree, ’08, of Charleston

Bowman is an associate for McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, where her focus areas are higher education and senior living. At McMillan Pazdan Smith, Bowman was selected to participate in the Leadership MPS program, which introduces young leaders to all aspects of the firm to prepare them for additional leadership roles in both projects and the operations of the firm. While previously living in Greenville, Bowman served as president of the board of directors for the Pendleton Place children’s shelter and provided design assistance for the renovation of an adjacent property into offices and meeting spaces for family engagement. She also served on the board of directors of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Greenville chapter and regularly attended and organized mentoring sessions and events with the Clemson AIA-Student Chapter.

Tyrone Oliver Gayle, ’10, of Washington, D.C.

Gayle is the press secretary for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California). He moved to Washington, D.C., after graduation and began his career on the Press and Communications team at the Center for American Progress. Gayle joined the Kaine for Virginia campaign in 2011, during which he developed a close relationship with now Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. In 2015, Gayle moved to New York, where he served as a key member of the Hillary for America communications team. He was named a “Rising Star” by Campaign and Elections Magazine and after the 2016 presidential election, he joined Sen. Harris’ office in his current role. Gayle has spent the last few years mentoring young people of color in politics. In 2016, he was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer, which required an invasive surgery and 21 days of recovery in the hospital. As he continues to receive chemotherapy, he is often comforted by his Washington, D.C., Clemson community.

Noelle Cabato Holdsworth, ’11, of Atlanta, Georgia

Holdsworth is employed by T-Mobile as an employer brand manager focused on culture and brand and has received numerous internal accolades. She recently was selected to serve on the Talent Brand Alliance Board, an organization for employer brand and recruitment marketing professionals. From 2014 to 2016, Holdsworth served as an executive board member for T-Mobile’s Diversity and Inclusion Multigenerational Network. She has continued her work with diversity and inclusion-focused efforts by helping establish the Atlanta chapter and serving on the chapter’s executive board since 2017. As co-chair of the Clemson Alumni Association’s Atlanta Clemson Club Community Service Committee, Holdsworth has organized partnerships with Covenant House, a nonprofit that supports homeless youth, and Wellspring Living, an organization that serves survivors and those at risk of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation, including sex trafficking victims.

France L. Jackson, ’11, master’s, ’13, Ph.D., ’18, Human-Centered Computing (University of Florida) of Hillsboro, Oregon

Jackson is a recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which allowed her the opportunity to earn her bachelor’s and Master of Science in Industrial Engineering degrees from Clemson University. She is one of only two African-American women to be the first to obtain a Ph.D. in the computer and information science and engineering department at the University of Florida. Jackson is employed by Intel, supporting global projects that affect how we experience technology daily by creating and testing innovative software experiences that are optimized for Intel architecture. She has served on such projects as Hands 2 Love, utilizing her knowledge and skills to help children with congenital upper limb differences participate in sports that are drone-powered. As a STEM advocate, Jackson participates with several organizations that help expose girls and underrepresented minorities to STEM careers.

Aliza Darnell McGuire, ’12, Social Work; master’s, ’18, Social Work (Brown School at Washington University of St. Louis, Missouri

McGuire began her career at Erwin Penland (now known as EP + Co.) in Greenville as a public relations account assistant and quickly rose to the position of senior content manager, working national clients, such as Verizon, Disney XD and Chick-fil-A. She currently works as the prevention services coordinator at Epworth Children and Family Services, one of the largest social service agencies in St. Louis. While in her master’s program, McGuire continued to volunteer, serving with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri and Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Program. She served as the Clemson Young Alumni Council’s president-elect for the last three years and is currently serving as the Clemson Alumni Association’s St. Louis Clemson Club secretary.

Susan Ridgeway Nunamaker ’01, master’s, ’03 (College of Charleston), ’09, Ed.D. ’17 (University of South Carolina) of Seneca

A former accountant, Nunamaker is a second-career educator who is dedicated to enlightening the community about the importance of education. In 2014, she joined the Central Elementary School transformation team as the instructional coach and helped the school become a top-performing school in the district while increasing 132 positions in state rankings over the course of only one year (2014-2015). She joined the faculty at Clemson in 2017 as the program coordinator for the Master of Education in Teaching and Learning and has coordinated numerous partnerships between Clemson and local schools to encourage exposure to higher education. Nunamaker was honored as the 2018 University Supervisor of the Year for Early Childhood Education due to her dedication to mentoring and guiding future teachers to improve the craft of teaching for the benefit of students across the state of South Carolina and beyond.

Allison Marshall Puechl ’09, Biological Sciences; M.D. ’13 (University of South Carolina School of Medicine) of Seneca

Puechl is a Gynecologic Oncology Fellow with Duke University Medical Center. While a resident at Duke University, she was selected as administrative chief resident responsible for the scheduling of 32 residents. Puechl is a three-time recipient of the Charles B. Hammond Research Grant and has used the grant award to research various cancer treatments. Puechl is involved in the medical community, serving on the Society of Gynecology Oncology Education Committee, Duke Department of Ob/Gyn Wellness Committee and Duke Graduate Medical Education Council. She also spends a great deal of time mentoring students regarding their career paths. After joining the group in 2015, Puechl has served on the executive board of the Clemson Alumni Association’s Clemson Women’s Alumni Council as the secretary.

Don Allen Sharpe Jr., master’s, ’17 of Swansea

Sharpe is currently employed as the Student Services Program coordinator at Midlands Technical College, where he advocates for quality access to education, strong mentoring to both traditional and non-traditional students, as well as a commitment to overall quality in the higher education setting. Sharpe served as his division’s representative on Staff Council and eventually was elected by the entire college staff to serve as chair of Staff Council. He regularly volunteers at the Lexington Recreation and Aging Commission Senior Citizens Center and tutors students in Lexington School District Four in the humanities. In 2018, he was selected to join Leadership Lexington County and his cohort has already raised significant funds for an educational outreach charity. Sharpe recently completed his term as a board member of the Clemson Alumni Association’s LGBTQ+ Alumni Club and participates in Clemson Alumni’s Second Century Society.

John B. Wright, Jr., ’10, of Anderson

Upon graduation in 2010, Wright worked in the financial services industry before joining his family’s business in 2012. Since then, he has personally brokered or developed more than $40 million of commercial real estate, many projects that have been well publicized and helped grow the local economy. Wright is the youngest-ever chairman of the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors and has been recognized by the S.C. School Boards Association for his commitment to public education. He is a member of the Anderson University Board of Visitors, an active Rotarian, a graduate of Leadership Anderson and an active member of Newspring Church.

Dan “McKee” McKeithan Thomason Jr., ’13, of Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomason is currently enrolled as a student at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Prior to attending Darden, he was the assistant vice president of commercial lending at Congressional Bank. He began his career at BB&T as a 2014 graduate of their Leadership Development Program and later worked as a portfolio manager on BB&T’s Commercial Real Estate team in Washington, D.C. Thomason volunteers with Junior Achievement as a member of its Associate Leadership Council and was responsible for organizing BB&T’s Bowl-A-Thon event benefitting Junior Achievement, which raised more than $35,000 each year. He is involved with JA Finance Parks and also volunteers in classrooms to teach financial literacy and work readiness. Thomason works regularly with the Clemson Alumni Association’s Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Clemson Club and has earned a position on the Regional Board of Directors and Young Alumni Committee. He successfully organized a new event, the Young Alumni Sunset Cruise, for the D.C. Club, which drew more than 50 attendees each of the last two years.

The Roaring 10 award program was developed in 2012 by the Clemson Young Alumni Council. The primary mission of Clemson YAC is to support the goals of the Clemson Alumni Association specifically on matters pertaining to Young Alumni. Clemson YAC exists to connect Young Alumni with the university, assist Young Alumni in the transition from active student to alumnus, facilitate fellowship, personal growth and professional development opportunities for young alumni and formally represent Young Alumni interests to the Clemson Alumni Council. The purpose of these efforts is to affect seminal influence on young alumni so they may continue to be connected and contributing alumni for a better Clemson throughout their lives. To learn more, go to

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