When Carl and Misty Howard brought their son, Chase, to Clemson for the first time on a visit as a high school junior in 2012, they probably couldn’t have imagined how much the university would mean to them seven years later.
Both are graduates of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But now, the two members of the Vice President’s Executive Council have traded the bulk of Carolina blue apparel within their closet for Clemson orange.
In other words, these natives of the Tar Heel State are “all-in.”
“We took Chase down on a Friday in the springtime and everyone was in orange,” Carl said. “He was looking at schools at the time, but after visiting, he stopped looking. He was totally enamored with the Clemson Experience he saw firsthand that day. That’s only grown over the years through our experience.”
The Howards joined the Executive Council when Chase enrolled as a freshman and have been active ambassadors for Student Affairs ever since. As the couple learned more about the impact the Division of Student Affairs has on the Clemson Experience, the desire to give grew stronger and stronger.
This past year, the Howards made their most significant financial commitment to date. They decided to focus their contributions on two areas, the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Center and the unrestricted fund for the vice president.
“When we first got on the council, it was clear there were not enough areas for all the students wanting to participate in intramural sports,” Carl said. “Clemson’s staff had to limit numbers and turn students away because the fields were full. So, we wanted to help provide areas for students who wanted to participate.”
Since 2005, Carl Howard has been the chief operating officer for Autobell Car Wash, Inc. The family business was founded in 1969 by his grandfather, Charles, and is a chain of conveyorized, full-service car washes based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Autobell has 82 locations in five states — Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland — and employs more than 3,000 people. Together, the various sites wash nearly 5 million cars annually.
And much like the family’s expansive business, Carl and Misty Howard have broadened their interests. They’ve become exceptionally close with other couples on the Executive Council, from tailgates to trips outside of Clemson-related interests together. They’ve also grown to appreciate the leadership the board receives from Vice President for Student Affairs Almeda Jacks.
“Almeda wants every student to be successful, no matter what it takes to make their experience a wonderful one,” Misty said. “She takes a big university and makes it seem not so big.”
Added Carl, “It’s been really neat to watch her work. With the board, the way she interacts with us is with the utmost professionalism and candor. I love honest and forthright people, and she’s one of those people.”
Like his parents, Chase now lives in Charlotte. He graduated in 2017 and works in commercial real estate for a Clemson graduate.
“Clemson was Chase’s first and only choice,” Misty said. “When he was accepted, we felt accepted too. Not only did he have a great education and experience, but we have too. When that happens with family, you continue to stay connected and give back. It’s not a four-year commitment; it’s a lifetime. And that’s what we have at Clemson.”
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