The College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities at Clemson University welcomed eight new honorees to its Hall of Fame at a formal dinner held on March 6.
Founded in 2017, The Hall of Fame is the highest honor within the College. It was created to recognize exceptional individuals who are leaders in their profession or have made a significant impact on the educational, research and service goals of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.
Members of the CAAH Hall of Fame Class of 2020 are listed by nominating department:
- Clementina E. Adams, Department of Languages
- Robert M. Burdette, Department of History
- Bill and Donna Eskridge, Department of Performing Arts
- Richard E. Goodstein, College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities
- Dixie Gooch Goswami, Department of English
- David Houston, Department of Art
- Michael Nieri, Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management
- Paul C. Steelman, School of Architecture
A night to celebrate
One remarkable feature of this year’s event was a strong sense of family, with large contingents attending from the Nieri and Gooch/Goswami groups, along with other members of the Clemson Family.
The ceremony at the Madren Center was attended by Provost Robert H. Jones and three of the founding members of the Hall of Fame: Michael East, Ronald Moran and Ben Skardon, now 102. From the Class of 2018, John Acorn, Chip Egan, Mickey Harder and Art Young were represented, and from the class of 2019, John Butler and Barry Nocks. In addition, Associate Deans James Burns and Jim Spencer were joined by department chairs and several of the College’s top students, the CAAH Ambassadors.
Student ensembles contributed classical music and jazz before the formal presentations began.
Interim Dean Timothy R. Boosinger started the program by remarking that the Hall of Fame inductees had left “an enduring imprint on the College, through their dedication, their generosity and their remarkable accomplishments.”
“Your professional success and your devotion to this University serves as an inspiration to us all, and it helps inspire our students as they begin to chart their own lives in a complex world,” Dean Boosinger said.
The new members of the Hall of Fame were presented the traditional induction gift, a framed print of a window in Hardin Hall, made from an original drawing by President Emeritus James F. Barker.
Houston and Steelman were honored in absentia.
The final induction of the night was Richard E. Goodstein, who stepped down last summer after nearly a decade as dean of the College. Under his leadership, the Master of Resilient Urban Design program was launched in Charleston, the Humanities Hub was created and scholarship opportunities were expanded through more than $35 million in private gifts to the College. He also founded the Hall of Fame. “I never thought when I founded this, that I would be included,” he quipped. Goodstein acknowledged the thoughtful leadership of interim Dean Boosinger this year, and offered his congratulations to his fellow inductees.
Class of 2020
Below are brief biographies for the 2020 inductees of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities Hall of Fame:
Professor Emerita Clementina E. Adams served on the languages faculty at Clemson University from 1989 until 2014. She designed, developed and implemented the innovative Language and International Health program along with Clemson University colleagues Sandy King, Hugh D. Spitler and Rachel Mayo. She also pioneered the inclusion of American Sign Language in the Department of Languages. Among her many honors at Clemson, Adams received the Board of Trustees Faculty Excellence Award twice. In retirement, she continues to volunteer as a medical interpreter for Hispanic patients.
Robert M. Burdette received three degrees from Clemson University, including master’s degrees in history, and city and regional planning. Col. Burdette served for 30 years in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserve before retiring in 2003. He earned two Legion of Merit Medals and was deployed overseas during the Persian Gulf War. He was city manager of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina for 25 years, then executive director of Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. Col. Burdette received the state’s Order of the Palmetto in 2019.
Bill and Donna Eskridge were honored jointly for enriching children’s lives through their endowment supporting the Tri-ART program at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. The Eskridges are both retired communications executives. Bill was director of operations at Ameritech and his wife, Donna, was corporate vice president at Sprint Corporation. After retiring to Lake Keowee, the Eskridges discovered the Brooks Center. Since the 1996-97 season, their generosity has exposed nearly 300,000 Upstate children to the performing arts. The Eskridges consider Tri-ART to be one of their most rewarding investments.
Richard E. Goodstein, in 38 years at Clemson University, served as dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities from 2011-2019; chair of the Department of Performing arts; director of bands and director of Tiger Band. He was a consultant for The Walt Disney Company for more than 30 years, including stints as director of the Walt Disney World All-American College Band. He has served as music director for many theatrical productions, and his professional conducting credits include the Liberty Weekend Centenary Celebration of the Statue of Liberty.
Professor Emerita Dixie Gooch Goswami was on the Clemson English faculty from 1984-1996, then became a senior scholar at the Strom Thurmond Institute. She held the Robert Frost Chair of Literature and Language at the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English and served on its faculty for 40 years. A devoted advocate for literacy and social justice, Goswami co-founded the Write to Change Foundation. She holds honorary Doctor of Letters degrees from Presbyterian College and Middlebury College, and was presented the South Carolina Governor’s Award in the Humanities in 2017.
David Houston established the public art program at Clemson University and is the former director of the University’s Rudolph E. Lee Gallery. He became chief curator of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans in 2001. He later led the curatorial team at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and was executive director of the Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University in Georgia. In March 2020, he was named executive director of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Michael Nieri started building homes in Columbia, South Carolina after graduating from Clemson University with a B.S. in construction science and management. Today his company, Great Southern Homes, is a Top 100 Builder (Builder Magazine). Nieri was inducted into the S.C. Housing Hall of Fame in 2018. He is committed to giving back to his communities in Columbia and at Clemson, where he is a Cornerstone Donor for both academics and athletics. The Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management now bears his name.
Paul C. Steelman is a visionary designer of entertainment, hospitality and gaming architecture. He earned a B.S. in architecture from Clemson University in 1977. Steelman worked with architect Joel Bergman and Steve Wynn to design buildings like the Las Vegas Golden Nugget and Mirage, before founding Steelman Partners in 1987. His company has designed more than 4,000 projects worldwide, including the Sands Macao in China. Steelman operates several other companies and is currently at work on Resorts World and Circa Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Susan McCall, executive assistant to the dean, deserves special credit and thanks for attending to nearly every detail of the 2020 Hall of Fame ceremony.
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