Advancement; Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Phyfer family impacts Clemson students with $2.5M Academic Cornerstone gift


CLEMSON, South Carolina — Business leaders Ben and Cheri Phyfer are forever impacting Clemson University students with a $2.5 million gift  to support the College of Business and student scholarships. With this transformational gift, the Phyfers become the third – and youngest – Cornerstone Partner for Academics at Clemson University.

Ben and Cheri Phyfer (left) and their daughters, Danielle and Allison are pictured with President James P. and First Lady Beth Clements.
Ben and Cheri Phyfer (left) and their daughters, Danielle and Allison are pictured with President James P. and First Lady Beth Clements.

The Cornerstone program is made up of visionary individuals who commit transformational funding of $2.5 million or more to help set the course for Clemson’s future success as one of the nation’s top-ranked public universities. To date, there have been 12 Cornerstone Partners for Clemson Athletics.

“This is a remarkable gift from a remarkable couple,” said President James P. Clements. “Cheri and Ben both have very successful careers in business, and their gift will help give Clemson students the education they need to start their own paths to success. The Phyfers are incredible leaders for Clemson, and we will be forever grateful to them for making their mark on the Clemson legacy in such a profound way.”

Specifically, this Cornerstone Academic gift provides:

  • $2 million for the Phyfer Auditorium, making this the largest gift to date for the new College of Business building;
  • $380,000 for the Phyfer Innovation Hub at Greenville ONE; and
  • $120,000 for university-wide student scholarships.

“Clemson University is a significant part of our lives,” Cheri Phyfer said. “While we love Clemson football, academic success – particularly in the business school – is very important to us. We are excited to make this gift to help further the university’s business programs and impact the lives of students for years to come.”

The Phyfers have previously given to several initiatives to advance Clemson University’s vision, including the Women’s Leadership Initiative, the College of Business Dean’s Excellence Fund, the WestZone project and several scholarships.

“The Phyfer family is an inspiration, as leaders and philanthropists. With contributions of their time, leadership and treasure, they are forever leaving their mark on Clemson University, the College of Business and future generations of Clemson students,” said Brian O’Rourke, vice president of Development and Alumni Relations.

“Ben and Cheri Phyfer’s contributions to Clemson, specifically the College of Business, are extraordinary. They have already had a significant impact on past and current students with their support and insight as business leaders,” said Wendy York, dean of the College of Business. “This amazing gift to the College of Business will prepare our students for success in business and in life.”

Cheri Phyfer is a class of 1993 Clemson alumna with a bachelor’s degree in management. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Clemson in 1999. After graduating from Clemson, she joined Sherwin-Williams, where she worked her way up the ladder to president and general manager of the Consumer Brands Division. She joined Fortune Brands Global Plumbing Group as president of Moen U.S. in 2018.

Cheri Phyfer was named to the Clemson University board of trustees in 2016 and is a former member of the Clemson University Foundation board and a past chair of the Trevillian Cabinet for the College of Business. She is a member of the board of directors of W.C. Bradley Company and CollegeNow, an Ohio nonprofit. In 2008, she was named one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas” by the Texas Diversity Council, and, in 2009, the Dallas Business Journal named her to its list of the city’s “Top 40 under Forty” business people. In 2017, she was honored with the Manufacturer Leader Award by Industry Week.

Ben Phyfer graduated from Westminster College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Tennessee. He is a successful real estate investor/developer and has built a number of properties in the Atlanta and Cleveland areas, with 700 Lake in Ohio being his largest project to date. Ben Phyfer also serves on the Clemson University MBA executive board.

The Phyfers live in the Cleveland area with their two daughters, Allison, 10, and Danielle, 8.

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