The generosity of committed donors supports some of the most innovative spaces within the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business.
A strategically planned learning environment that brings students, faculty and industry together in a collaborative space, one that is forward-thinking in its design and daily application: This is the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business.
Inside the doors of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business are spaces honoring successful businesspeople who have left their mark on South Carolina and the world, most of whom began their journeys right here at Clemson. Like Billy and Ann Powers, their legacy and their generosity will serve as inspiration for the students who spend their college years studying and learning within these walls. The Clemson Family is grateful to the benefactors who have made significant contributions to the spaces inside Clemson’s grand new facility.
Pattillo Family Foundation Classroom
David Pattillo ’82 and Dan Pattillo ’80
The philanthropy and dedication of the Pattillo Family Foundation have supported numerous initiatives across campus through the years including the Class of 1956 Academic Success Center and Lee Hall. As important, the Pattillo brothers have shared their generosity and their wisdom, serving on numerous University advisory committees and boards.
The family’s support of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business adds yet another brick in the already solid foundation of their giving legacy, evident across some of the University’s most notable academic endeavors.
Currently, David Pattillo serves as a Board member and Audit Committee Chair of Endava, Plc (NYSE: DAVA), a London-based IT services company with over 7,400 employees and offices throughout North America, South America and Europe. David understands the foundational elements that help drive successful careers. Giving Clemson students more chances to lead and succeed is just one of the reasons why the Pattillo Family Foundation threw its support behind the new Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business.
“It has been important for me to stay connected with Clemson and support various initiatives that advanced growth and development,” says Pattillo. “There is so much opportunity for the University and endless opportunities for graduates entering the work force with a degree from Clemson. We are pleased to support this transformative project that empowers Clemson students and complements Clemson faculty with world-class facilities and technologies.”
Through the family’s foundation, the Pattillos have applied forward thinking to areas such as the Class of 1956 Academic Success Center as well as the expansion, restoration and renovation of Lee Hall a decade ago.
Now, the newly named Pattillo Family Foundation Classroom will empower business students with a learning environment that connects values integral to successful business practices — respect, leadership, generosity and service to others — with leading-edge technologies.
Professor Mary Ann Prater ’78, M ’83
Mary Ann Prater, a beloved accounting professor, inspired, mentored, challenged and encouraged every student who entered her classroom. She was honored by friends and family with the naming of a classroom inside the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. The naming serves as an inspiration for future generations of students and faculty.
Prater taught at Clemson for nearly 30 years and retired in 2012. A senior lecturer, she was recognized with two awards from the South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants and was named 2011 Accounting Educator of the Year; she also received a Women to Watch Leadership Award.
In addition to the intermediate accounting courses she taught at Clemson for 29 years, Prater also served as an academic adviser and mentor to countless students. Among the many student organizations that she served included Blue Key National Honor Society, which named her the 2011 Blue Key National Adviser of the Year. She also was a member of Tiger Brotherhood and the Golden Key Honor Society, and she received the first Extraordinary Educator Award presented by Clemson’s chapter of Delta Alpha Phi honor society for students with disabilities.
Prater was the past chair of the Women’s Alumni Council at Clemson, recipient of the Clemson Alumni Master Teacher Award and recipient of the Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award.
That long record of service in the classroom and the countless students who went on to succeed in business make the Prater Classroom an aptly named and inspirational space for many future generations of Clemson business students.
Garrison Sales Lab
Dan Garrison ’72 and Nancy Garrison
Clemson Cornerstone Partners are a select group of principal thinkers and innovators — leaders who provide the knowledge, experience, boldness and wisdom to shape the landscape of Clemson. These leaders contribute financially to academic and athletic endeavors, and they challenge others to step forward and lay the foundation for the next generation of Clemson Family members.
Dan and Nancy Garrison were Clemson’s first ever Cornerstone Partners in both academics and athletics; their gift to the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business is as inspirational as it is impactful.
Garrison, who received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Clemson in 1972, is a retired senior vice president of sales for Service Corporation International (SCI). SCI is North America’s largest provider of funeral and cemetery services, with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange. During his career, Garrison also served as president of the Southern Cemetery Association and the Florida Cemetery Association. He is a member of the Thomas Green Clemson Society and the Houston Clemson Club.
As a Clemson student, Garrison learned the skills needed to successfully address business issues and discover real-world solutions. In academics, athletics and now as strong supporters of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, the Garrisons have further amplified their legacy of building passionate, well-prepared, competent leaders — in business and beyond.
The Garrison Sales Lab is a training ground for current and future students seeking to enhance their communication skills, hone their interviewing techniques and prepare for a successful career in sales.
“We are taught that to whom much is given, much is required,” the Garrisons explain. “The ability to give is a blessing for anyone who has the time, talents and treasures to do so. We are humbled to participate in the foundation of making a world-class business program sustainable for years in the future.”
Johnson Study Lounge
Ashley L. Johnson ’89
An accounting major with an entrepreneurial spirit, Johnson’s philanthropic support has impacted several important initiatives across campus since she graduated in 1989.
When Johnson first arrived at Clemson from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, she wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted out of her academic career; she pursued three different majors before settling on accounting. Having leveraged both her academic and professional experience, as a motivated entrepreneur, she has been involved in the formation, growth and leadership of several specialty finance companies.
Johnson has taken her success since graduation and used it to contribute to meaningful Clemson philanthropies, including the Professor Mary Ann Prater Endowment. She is also a major donor to the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel, a place of reflection and worship, where Clemson students of all beliefs are welcome that is being built in memory of Sam Cadden and his inspiring life.
Johnson’s gift to the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business was inspired by a deep appreciation for her Clemson experience. It emphasizes not only the significance of connecting with others but also the magnitude of the Clemson Family.
Her vision for the Johnson Study Lounge? That it will be a space for students to study, create and dream.
Says Johnson: “May you find the courage to pursue your endeavors with the support of your fellow Clemson friends and alumni. May you find compassion to see and help others. May you not just thirst for knowledge but internalize wisdom. May you find joy in all trials and tribulations. May you have a heart that feels the enormity of love, the pain of failure, the satisfaction of success and the freedom of forgiveness.”
Cheri Dunmore Phyfer ’93, M ’99 and family
Crediting her Clemson education as the catalyst for her career as a successful business leader across global markets, Phyfer became an active champion of Clemson University through her deep engagement and generous philanthropy.
She has supported numerous initiatives including the Women’s Leadership Institute, the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business Dean’s Excellence Fund, the WestZone project, multiple scholarships and the Phyfer Innovation Hub at Greenville ONE. Phyfer served as chair of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business’ Trevillian Cabinet and as a member of the Clemson University Foundation Board. She was also named to the Clemson University Board of Trustees in 2016.
By advancing academic success and opportunity as an Academic Cornerstone Partner, Phyfer has imparted the value of philanthropy and the importance of impacting future generations to her daughters, Allison and Danielle, as well.
“My gift to the College of Business symbolizes the great value of empowering younger generations and enabling them with the tools they need to become tomorrow’s leaders,” Phyfer said. “My hope is that Clemson students will be inspired to help others, give back and recognize how their own support and participation can make a difference.”
Mark S. Richardson ’83
The Richardson Atrium occupies a central and welcoming location in the new Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business building, which is fitting because of the central role Mark Richardson has played in the building and in business education at Clemson.
Richardson has a long legacy of building pathways to education for generations of future Tigers. A member of Clemson’s 1981 national championship football team, Richardson graduated with a degree in business administration.
Through his entrepreneurial vision and work ethic, he built a diverse portfolio of successful business ventures. Among those successes was playing an integral role in bringing professional football to the Carolinas as a founding owner of the Carolina Panthers National Football League franchise.
Through the years, his engagement as an alumnus advanced numerous academic and athletic programs across campus: Richardson was a founding member of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business’ Trevillian Cabinet and was named to the Clemson University Board of Trustees in 2013. In 2018, he received the Brian Dawkins Lifetime Achievement Award from Clemson’s football program.
Richardson’s commitment to educational access also inspired support to the Emerging Scholars program, the Call Me MISTER® program, the ClemsonLIFE program and the President James F. Barker and Mrs. Marcia D. Barker Scholarship Endowment.
Melvin and Dollie Younts Trading Room
Melvin K. Younts and Dollie Isgett Younts
As Academic and Athletic Cornerstone Partners, Melvin and Dollie Younts embody Clemson’s values of integrity, generosity and devotion to supporting students — both in the classroom and on the athletic field. In addition to the named room at the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, the 600-seat South Club area at Memorial Stadium was named the Melvin and Dollie Younts South Club in appreciation of their cornerstone gift to athletics in 2016. Younts is also a pillar donor for the Samuel J. Cadden chapel and made his gift in memory of his late wife.
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, his service has included being on the board of trustees at North Greenville University and a lifetime member of the Advisory Council at Furman University. Dollie Younts is a 1951 graduate of Columbia College.
As notable philanthropists in the Upstate, the Yountses have contributed significantly to a variety of community organizations including Columbia College, Greenville Technical College, the Younts Performing Arts Center and the Kerry Ann Younts Culp Library in their hometown of Fountain Inn.
Their gift to Clemson’s business programs is designed to deepen students’ understanding of real-world business challenges, which is important and gratifying to Melvin in particular. The trading room will help students learn how to start stock and financial trading by doubling the previous Bloomberg machine capacity for the University. It also features a ticker inside and outside of the room and includes a 48-seat behavioral lab.
“Studying and trading in the stock market is a rewarding endeavor,” Melvin Younts said. “It brings me great joy that Clemson students will gain a deeper understanding of financial markets in a real-world trading environment, shaping future generations for financial success and prosperity.”
Erwin Center for Brand Communications
Joseph A. Erwin ’79 and Gretchen Erwin
Boasting a long and successful career in advertising, Joe Erwin is the ideal namesake for the Center for Brand Communications. His 29-year tenure as president of Erwin Penland primed him to create a center for business students to learn about the world of marketing and brand communications.
In 1979, Erwin graduated from Clemson with a bachelor’s degree in political science. His wife, Gretchen, graduated from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1977. Together, they co-founded the leading advertising and marketing firm Erwin Penland, which now has over 400 employees in Greenville and New York. In 2018, the Erwins became the University’s second Cornerstone Partner for Academics with their gift.
The Erwin Center for Brand Communications was initially founded as a strategic partnership with Clemson’s Department of Communication. Featuring a “teaching hospital” model, the program utilizes a blend of traditional coursework and hands-on instruction that allows students to learn best practices from top industry professionals. Today, it is housed in the new Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business building and teaches students real-world skills that will prepare them for careers in the communications field.
Throughout his career, Erwin has remained deeply devoted to his alma mater. A former Clemson cheerleader, he has served on the President’s Advisory Board and the Rutland Institute for Ethics Advisory Board.
“Joe is a loyal alumnus, a valuable adviser and a visionary leader whose commitment to his alma mater sets him apart from his peers,” says President Jim Clements. “As generous as he is with his gifts, his contributions of time and experience are second to none.”
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