Several years ago, Melvin and Dollie Younts learned of the students’ desire for building a free-standing chapel on Clemson University’s campus. Their shared passion and enthusiasm for this opportunity inspired the Yountses to explore the vision and plans — first with President Emeritus James Barker and, later, with President James P. and First Lady Beth Clements.
Now, the dream will become a reality thanks to the generosity of Melvin Younts of Fountain Inn, who recently pledged a gift of $500,000 for the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel, in memory of his wife of 67 years who passed away on July 20, 2018.
“Dollie and I followed the fundraising for the chapel and after we learned how much was needed to complete the project, we immediately agreed to become a Pillar for this important initiative,” said Younts. “Praise the Lord we had this wonderful opportunity to make this decision together before Dollie passed away.”
Located near the heart of campus, the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel will be a quiet place for introspection and reflection for the Clemson University community. For guests, visitors and Clemson students, faculty and staff, the Cadden Chapel will be a place to celebrate, meditate, worship and remember. The surrounding gardens will have a designated memorial area to honor all Clemson students who have died while attending the university.
When Samuel J. Cadden tragically lost his life in a car accident the summer after his sophomore year at Clemson, his family wanted to do something meaningful to honor his memory and fulfill his wish of making a lasting contribution to Clemson. With an initial pledge of $1.5 million, the Caddens provided the groundbreaking gift that jump-started the project, establishing the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel. Since then, more than $5 million has been raised to keep the Clemson community’s dream alive.
With this latest gift to the chapel, Younts will also honor Dollie and her enduring faith and unwavering commitment to Clemson and to her family, just as the Cadden family has done for Sam.
“A gift to the Cadden Chapel is the perfect way to remember Dollie, who was a woman of great faith and had so much love for Clemson,” said President Clements. “I am grateful to the Younts for their incredible support of Clemson over the years, and I am especially thankful that this special chapel will be a part of their legacy that will benefit students for generations.”
Younts, a retired attorney with the firm of Younts, Alford, Brown and Goodson, is trustee and chief executive officer of Palmetto Real Estate Trust. A 1950 graduate of Furman University and 1952 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, he serves on the board of trustees at North Greenville University and is a lifetime member of the Advisory Council at Furman University. He is the current president of the Cultural Arts Foundation of Fountain Inn.
Dollie Isgett Younts was a 1951 graduate of Columbia College. She was a high school teacher for several years and was a devoted supporter of her community. Although she had many passions in life, she will be fondly remembered for her love of gardening. She won many blue ribbons for her flower arrangements in Greenville County flower shows and was president of the Fountain Inn Garden Club. Younts’ latest gift to Clemson in honor of Dollie has even greater meaning as the chapel is a space that will be surrounded with gardens.
Architect’s rendering of the proposed Samuel J. Cadden Chapel.
The Yountses have been generous supporters of several institutions and initiatives throughout the Upstate, including Clemson University, Furman University, North Greenville University, Columbia College, Greenville Technical College, the Younts Performing Arts Center and the Kerry Ann Younts Culp Library. They have five children, and their youngest son, Laney, graduated from Clemson in 1987. Most of their grandchildren have graduated from Clemson, including alumni Trent Culp (’07), Will (’08), Wesley (’14), Savannah (’15), Katie (’11) and Kerry (’18). Their grandson, Grayson, is beginning his junior year at Clemson.
As devoted fans of Clemson and the football program, the Yountses made a significant gift of $2.5 million in 2016 to renovate the South Club area at Memorial Stadium, which was named the Melvin and Dollie Younts South Club in appreciation of their generosity. This made the Yountses the sixth Athletic Cornerstone Partner for Clemson University.
“Melvin and Dollie Younts have been loyal friends and supporters of Clemson for many years,” said Brian O’Rourke, vice president for development and alumni relations. “This gift for the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel symbolizes their commitment to Clemson, and we are honored that Melvin chose the chapel as a special place to remember Dollie. She was one of the first to express a desire that all Clemson students, faculty, staff and visitors have a space for introspection and celebration, and now Dollie will forever be remembered as an integral part of Clemson University’s Samuel J. Cadden Chapel.”
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