College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

New Endowment Honors Former School of Architecture Director


A new endowment created to support students in Clemson University’s School of Architecture will honor Professor Kate Schwennsen, former director of the school.

The Kate L. Schwennsen Scholarship Endowment for Architectural Excellence is being established in Kate’s honor with a lead gift from Scott L. Garvin A.I.A., Class of 1984, and Mary E. Garvin, Class of 1985, along with gifts from family and friends.

The Garvin family: (left to right) Mary, Laura, Scott, Becca, Maryann and Monica.

“I served on the Clemson Architectural Foundation Board for 12 years, most of which overlapped with Kate’s tenure as Director of the School of Architecture,” Scott Garvin explained. “Because of her leadership style, she successfully realigned academia and professional practice and created a strong bond with alumni and donors.  She also made decisions that solidified the Fluid Campus as a long term, life changing program for architecture students.”  

Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, served as the Director of the Clemson School of Architecture from 2010 to 2020.

“It would be an understatement to say that I was surprised by the announcement of the endowed scholarship in my name,” Schwennsen said. “It is undoubtedly the greatest honor I can imagine receiving, supporting Clemson Architecture students into perpetuity.”

Schwennsen is an internationally recognized leader in bridging architectural education and practice, with expertise in issues of design leadership, diversity, and evolving models of practice and education in architecture.  In 2018, she was presented the Educator Honor Award, the most prestigious honor that the American Institute of Architecture Students confers on a faculty adviser or educator.  In 2019 she was listed on DesignIntelligence’s “Most Admired Educators” list.  Kate was also the president of the American Institute of Architects in 2006, becoming only the second woman to serve as the elected leader of the organization. 

“Kate has had an enduring impact on many people, including me, and that was the reason that I wanted to create the Kate Schwennsen Endowment for Excellence, and Mary and I wanted to make the lead gift, so that her amazing legacy will carry on,” Garvin said.  

The endowment, which will be governed by the Clemson University Foundation, was announced at the fall meeting of the Clemson Architectural Foundation. At the meeting, Schwennsen was installed as an Honorary Lifetime Trustee of the Clemson Architectural Foundation. Also installed as Lifetime Trustees were Rick Goodstein, retired Dean of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities; and Bill Pelham, ‘77 and M’81, a former CAF president and Cornerstone Partner of Clemson University.

New Clemson Architectural Foundation Honorary Lifetime Trustees (left to right) Rick Goodstein, Bill Pelham, and Kate Schwennsen celebrate with CAF President Eric Holmberg (right).

“Kate is a truly inspirational leader,” said Eric Holmberg, President of the Clemson Architectural Foundation. “Her influence extends far beyond the daily running of our school to the many lives she affected both during her tenure as Director and going forward.” Goodstein, Pelham and Schwennsen join former Clemson University President Jim Barker and former CAF President John Jacques as the only Lifetime Honorary Trustees.

“Both Bill’s and Rick’s contributions to CAF are immeasurable,” Holmberg said. “Bill is a major benefactor and champion of the arts in Greenville. Rick was a mentor and valuable ally for many years as Dean. Their guidance in helping navigate the CAF will be felt for decades to come.”

Donors looking to contribute to the Kate L. Schwennsen Scholarship Endowment for Architectural Excellence can make donations online by clicking here.

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