College of Education

College of Education honors friends, partners with annual awards


The College of Education recently recognized alumni, partners and friends at its annual Alumni and Friends Celebration. The event was held Friday, September 8 at the Owen Pavilion at the Madren Conference Center.

Special guest George J. Petersen, interim dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Construction and dean emeritus of the College of Education, presented the College of Education’s Distinguished Friend of the College Award to Mark and Kathryn Richardson.

President James P. Clements, Kathryn Richardson, Mark Richardson and George J. Petersen (left to right).

The Distinguished Friend of the College Award is presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated strong commitment to many of the College of Education’s initiatives, research endeavors and programs. The Richardsons are passionate about the power of education, and they are particularly passionate about paving a path for future generations to have access to educational opportunities at Clemson University.

With a transformational gift of $10 million to support scholarships for Clemson students, the Richardsons became Clemson University’s newest Academic Cornerstone Partner in November 2022.

The College of Education, along with two of its marquee programs, is a grateful recipient of the Richardson’s generosity. The Richardsons’ gift includes funds for the College in general, but also to both the Call Me MISTER® and Clemson LIFE programs.

Kristin M. Gehsmann, dean of the College of Education, presented the College’s Distinguished Partnership Award to the Shepherd Hotel. The award allows the College to recognize a partnership that has provided sustained or innovative support.

Shepherd Hotel
President James P. Clements, Kelly Davies, Rich Davies, Kristin Gehsmann and Rick Hayduk (left to right).

The Shepherd Hotel is a 67-room boutique hotel in downtown Clemson that offers guests an upscale experience, and employment of individuals with intellectual disabilities is a core part of the Shepherd Hotel mission. The downtown Clemson hotel and restaurant employs over 40 individuals with intellectual disabilities in collaboration with Clemson LIFE.

Clemson LIFE students and alumni use the hotel as both a training ground and long-term employment opportunity. The Shepherd Hotel and Delish Sisters Restaurant, which offers wholesome cuisine and “tasty food made with love,” opened in September 2022.

Shepherd Hotels envision a collection of thoughtfully designed boutique hotels in or around college campuses that offer an inclusive post-secondary education program. Shepherd Hotels employ and prepare people with disabilities for hospitality careers while meeting a lodging demand in the Clemson area.

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.