Clemson University’s largest college inducted four alumni into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists and recognized two others as Outstanding Young Alumni during a rooftop gala on May 4 at the Watt Family Innovation Center.
The College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences selected Marshall Brown, Harold Gillens, John Witherspoon Gilpin and Jeff Schmersal for membership in the academy, the college’s highest honor. Angela Johnson Culver and Amy Hixon are this years’ Outstanding Young Alumni.
The academy was established to give special recognition to college alumni and friends who have made major contributions to their professions and have brought significant distinction to the college and University.
The Outstanding Young Alumni award is reserved for graduates of the college who are 40 years old or younger and have made significant achievements to their profession or the welfare of society.
Anand Gramopadhye, the college’s dean, said all the honorees left their marks in their own unique ways.
“We will always cherish the fact that your Clemson University education contributed to your success,” he said. “On behalf of the Clemson family let me once again congratulate today’s inductees for enriching our lives. As exemplary ambassadors of Clemson, we are eternally grateful to you.”
Here’s a look at each honoree:
Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists
Brown received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering from Clemson. He completed his doctorate in 1988. He is the founder, majority owner, and CEO of ACM Chemistries, Inc., the largest supplier of admixtures to the manufactured dry-cast concrete products industry with over a 50% market share across North America. Clemson University played a major role in Brown’s success. He met his future business partner, Ted Light, at Clemson. But his single most important accomplishment was convincing Cindra to be his life partner. The couple have generously provided support for academic and athletic scholarships, and Marshall has also been generous with his time and talents. He has devoted many years of service to the advisory boards of the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, and to the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. Since 2017 he has been a vital member of the Clemson University Foundation Board of Directors.
After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering, Gillens worked as a security engineer for the federal government. He received his Master of Engineering Management from George Washington University and joined Quintech Solutions in 2003. Under his leadership as president, Quintech expanded its focus from security consulting to include construction management. The company has worked with the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security among others. As president of the International Association of Professional Security Consultants, Gillens was the first African American to lead the organization since its inception in 1980. He and his family established the Gillens Family Endowed Fund for Diversity in Engineering to provide unrestricted support for diversity and underrepresented student initiatives and programs. He has consistently been a Leadership Circle donor through the Dean’s Excellence Fund, and has been a loyal friend to the college by helping to support, guide, and mentor undergraduate students in their academic journey at Clemson.
John Witherspoon Gilpin
Gilpin is the program director of medical student education in radiology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. He is also a board-certified diagnostic radiologist at Prisma Health, and medical director of the radiology department at Prisma Hillcrest Hospital in Simpsonville. He has generously donated both time and treasure to Clemson’s bioengineering department. In 2020 he established the John Witherspoon Gilpin, MD ‘82 Endowed Associate Professorship, and late last year provided for the establishment of the John Witherspoon Gilpin, MD ’82 Distinguished Professorship in Bioengineering. His gifts help pay for research support, travel, student assistance and research equipment. Gilpin’s concept of servant leadership began as a student at Clemson. He served as student body vice president, president of the student alumni council, was active in the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was a member of the Tiger Brotherhood. Gilpin credits the roles he held as a student for helping him become a better physician and faculty member.
Schmersal graduated from Clemson with his bachelor of science in ceramic engineering. In 1994, he joined the AVX Corporation, now Kyocera AVX and has been there ever since, rising through the ranks from ceramic engineer to president. Headquartered in Greenville, Kyocera AVX is a world leader in many of the electronic components that are central to today’s consumer electronics. Schmersal is responsible for all aspects of the company’s global business, which includes 33 research, design, manufacturing, and customer support facilities in 16 countries and over 10,000 employees. He has driven the consistent hiring of Clemson students as well as providing internships and co-op experiences for current undergraduate students. Through the company’s charitable foundation, two separate endowments have been established with Jeff’s support and guidance, including one for undergraduates in materials science and engineering and one for graduate students in automotive engineering. When Schmersal was COO, Kyocera AVX became the named sponsor of the AVX Mobility Lab at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.
Outstanding Young Alumni
Angela Johnson Culver
Johnson Culver began her career in a traditional industrial engineering role, but with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, she found her professional home in facilities management. She is now a vice president with ABM Performance Services focusing on building and improving facility management business. She is also the founder of JAR Engineering and Consulting, providing guidance to private, commercial and government entities for facility management and engineering, building operations and construction. She holds professional engineering licensure in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi.
Hixon currently serves as an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. She received master’s and Ph.D. degrees in environmental engineering and Earth sciences from Clemson. At Notre Dame she is transforming students’ lives and has referred some of her own students to Clemson for graduate school. Her research prowess has been recognized with a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Department of Energy Early Career Award, and a Department of Homeland Security Nuclear Forensics Junior Faculty Award.
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