Parents’ gift to establish Clemson campus chapel in memory of son


Sam Cadden
Sam Cadden

CLEMSON — At age 21, Clemson University student Samuel J. Cadden of Richmond, Viriginia, already had a goal to one day have a building on campus named for him.

His parents, Ken and Mary Cadden, are making that wish a reality with a $1.5 million gift to establish a chapel on campus in honor of their son, who tragically lost his life in an automobile accident last summer.

“Sam’s life was a reflection of his strong faith in God and his love for friends and family. We could think of no better way to honor him,” said the Caddens.

To be located near the heart of campus, the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel will be a place to celebrate, meditate, worship and remember. The chapel will serve the students, faculty, staff, family and friends on campus for generations to come. The surrounding gardens will provide a serene natural area for anyone who prefers to reflect outdoors in the midst of nature.

Architect's rendering of the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel
Architect’s rendering of the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel

“Being a parent is a blessing, and our children are precious gifts,” said Clemson University President James P. Clements. “We thank Ken and Mary Cadden for celebrating Sam’s life in a way that will touch the hearts and lift the spirits of generations of future Clemson students. It will be a place as special as the young man for whom it is named.”

Sam was a rising junior, working toward a degree in financial management. He served on the finance council of St. Andrews Catholic Church in Clemson and worked at M.H. Frank Men’s Shop downtown. He completed internships in the office of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and the Terminus Group at Morgan Stanley in Atlanta. He was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and Knights of Columbus.

Friends and family describe Sam as “a competitor, storyteller, a friend to all he met with a smile that brought joy to all around him.”

”We are thankful for Sam’s life, and now he will be remembered to the Clemson family forever,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Almeda Jacks. “The Caddens are providing the lead gift in the effort to raise the $6 million needed for the project.

The Cadden family unveils a marker at the site where the chapel will be built.
The Cadden family unveils a marker at the site where the chapel will be built.
Image Credit: Ashley Jones / Clemson University

We look forward to having this chapel on our campus, and we’re glad that it honors a special student.”

An all-inclusive, welcoming chapel also will fulfill a dream that some students have had and worked toward for many years.

“We, as a committee, have imagined this day for a long time, and we could not be more thankful to the Cadden family and also to the Clemson family,” said Meredith Wingate, who currently leads the student group who continue to work on the plans for the meaningful addition to the campus and community.

“This proposed place on campus will not only be a place of remembrance but also of celebration and jubilee. We could not be more excited for the beginning of this new chapter at Clemson and appreciate the Cadden family making this a reality,” she said.

The Caddens’ gift is a part of Clemson University’s $1 billion The Will to Lead capital campaign to support faculty and students with scholarships, professorships, facilities and technology.


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