Inspiring — it’s a word that comes up often when speaking with Edward Arthur Rose, III ’84 and Kelly Abele Rose ’84. Whether asking them about their Clemson journeys, how and why they give back to Clemson University, or why they give of their time and talent to students. The Roses were inspired by the Champions 4 Access to Education scholarship challenge created by Mark and Kathryn Richardson, which provided them with the opportunity to double their scholarship impact to $2 million for the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. It’s all about being inspired and inspiring others.
Ed and Kelly Rose were both inspired to go to college by their parents, who understood the impactful value of education. Both of their fathers were able to pursue higher education because of scholarships from military commitments, and that generational impact on Ed and Kelly is one of the many reasons that led them to make their most recent gift of $1 million in scholarship support for students in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences (CECAS).
The Roses say that their appreciation and love for Clemson has evolved over the years. As Clemson students in the early 1980s, Ed and Kelly treasured the lifelong friendships they made, the first National Championship for Clemson Football in 1981 and the education and personal growth they obtained. The deep passion for supporting students, however, was ignited when they were invited to learn more about the Clemson University of the 21st Century through the lens of CECAS, specifically its leadership, professors and students.
Ed and Kelly Rose realized that there is a critical need to help the bright, underserved and diverse students who would not be able to attend Clemson University without scholarships. The Roses also learned about the many professors who act as strong mentors for CECAS students and the wealth of opportunities for experiential engagement within CECAS that prepare students to thrive upon graduation.
Becoming Clemson parents made Ed and Kelly’s connection to their alma mater even more emotional and meaningful. Their daughter Erin graduated from Clemson in 2020 with a degree in marketing from the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. As a student, Erin was involved with the Freshman Council, Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, the J. Daniel and Nancy Garrison Sales Innovation Program and IPTAY’s Student Alumni Board. Her experience in the Sales Innovation Program was pivotal in her landing a medical device sales position with Reel Surgical, an agency for Arthrex. Carter graduated in 2023 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was engaged in the LeadForward Program, co-op education and Kappa Alpha Order. Ed and Kelly emphasize the experiential education Carter received during his co-op at GE Power as a catalyst for a full-time job offer in GE’s Edison Engineering Development Program. Ed and Kelly say that their children had the same amazing college experience they did at Clemson; they are now thriving professionally thanks to the preparation they received at Clemson.
Ed and Kelly watched Erin and Carter’s Clemson Experience grow beyond their expectations. They received not only a world-class education but also leadership, community and professional development. Ed and Kelly knew that they wanted more kids to have the same access as their children and to be able to flourish within a similar transformative Clemson Experience. Scholarships for Clemson students became a priority for the Rose family.
Ed says the decision to give back to CECAS was, “really, very simple,” describing Clemson as the springboard for his future. He remembers when he was preparing for graduation and applying for jobs. The assistant dean of engineering at that time was instrumental in helping him get his first job, recommending Ed as the top candidate for a position. Ed says the support he received is something that has stayed with him and was extremely meaningful. Kelly notes, “Because CECAS was responsible for connecting us back to Clemson at a deeper level and we have been able to see the unbelievable contribution those students are making to the state of South Carolina and beyond, we knew we wanted to focus on STEM scholarships.”
Last November, the Roses were first introduced to the scholarship challenge created by Mark and Kathryn Richardson. Through the Champions 4 Access to Education challenge, the Richardsons matched, dollar-for-dollar, $4 million to unrestricted scholarship endowments. The challenge is providing Clemson students with a total of $8 million in general scholarship support. Seeing that their gift could have an even greater impact, Ed and Kelly decided it was the right time to make this gift to scholarships. Their $1 million gift was instrumental in the completion of the challenge — which will have an incredible impact on Clemson students. While the challenge from the Richardsons gave them the final push, Ed and Kelly have been inspired by Clemson donors for many years, and today, they hope they can be that inspiration to others. As they give of their time, talent and treasure, they hope others will do the same.
Ed says, “Giving to Clemson was an incredibly easy decision for us to make — because Kelly and I and our kids attended Clemson and had a wonderful experience. Clemson really is special to us. We look at our engagement, and it has developed over time. We eventually became involved in very specific initiatives across campus, and it really deepened our appreciation for what Clemson does for its students.”
In addition to their latest $1 million gift to scholarships, Ed and Kelly have made financial contributions to the University to benefit the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel, P.A.W. Journey and the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. They want to encourage everyone to explore all the avenues for supporting the growth of students today and in the future. Kelly wants to emphasize that there are opportunities outside of financial support for alumni, parents of students and friends of Clemson to give. She says, “They can offer their time or talent as a mentor to students, as a board volunteer, as a company providing internships, co-ops, or full-time employment, as a speaker to student organizations or classes, and so much more.”
As a student, Kelly held multiple leadership positions within Alpha Delta Pi, including chapter presidency as a senior. Following graduation, Kelly became a sales and account management executive with specific success in the pharmaceutical and consumer product industries. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in financial management from Clemson, Kelly earned an MBA in marketing from American University. Kelly has served on several boards at Clemson, including the Advocacy and Engagement Board and the Clemson Family Advisory Board. The latter recognized Ed and Kelly for their service to Clemson when they were named 2021 recipients of the Herb Coughlan Memorial Family of the Year. This award is given to a family who has demonstrated dynamic leadership and service to Clemson University.
Ed had family roots in the South, and he always enjoyed the time he spent here. Coupled with his dad’s work as an engineer that he hoped to follow, Clemson was a great fit. For the better part of 35 years, Ed worked for Westvaco (since renamed many times). He is now a senior partner for Mill Rock Capital, a New York-based private equity company. Ed has given back to Clemson through his service as a mentor for student-athletes in the P.A.W. Journey program and as a member of the Dean’s Leadership Circle for the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.
The Rose family would like to inspire others to think about their greatest passions and how they can align them to have a positive impact on current and future students at Clemson University. Ed emphasizes the importance of sharing our talents with others, especially students.
Like Mark and Kathryn Richardson and Ed and Kelly Rose, you can support Clemson University and inspire others. Make your gift to Clemson University today.
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