When he was only 13 years old, South Carolina native Ray Anderson knew he wanted to become an architect, making Clemson an obvious in-state choice when he headed to college. What he didn’t know, however, is what a special member of the Clemson family he would become over the years to follow.
Ray graduated from Clemson in 1974 and since then has found countless ways to give back to Clemson. His contributions have been so significant that the Clemson Alumni Association chose him as the 2018 recipient of the Frank Kellers III Volunteer of the Year Award.
“I think it’s a treat to give back to the college that you went to,” Ray said. “You want to be able to extend the same opportunities that you had to other young adults as they’re coming through their careers.”
Ray’s passion for giving is readily evident in his long list of involvements. He is a member of the Clemson Alumni Association Board of Directors, a participant in Clemson’s legislative advocacy program, a member of the Clemson University Restoration Institute Advisory Board and a volunteer for the Charleston County Clemson Club Board of Directors and on the Clemson Lowcountry Board of Directors – and those positions are only his current roles. Previously, he has given of his time by serving as Chairman of the Clemson University Board of Visitors and a member of the Clemson University Foundation Board.
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“When you have the opportunity to give back to the university that you love so much, everyone’s pulling in the same boat to try to make the university a better place,” Ray said about staying connected to Clemson through his volunteer roles. “But I think it’s probably more about the friendships and new relationships.”
Though Clemson benefits greatly from Ray’s generosity, his willingness to serve extends past his alma mater. In addition to his role as Special Assistant to the Mayor for the City of North Charleston, he served on the North Charleston Planning Commission and was elected to the North Charleston City Council for two terms. He also served as a member of the first Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority from 1993-1995, the American Institute of Architects, the South Carolina City County Manager Association, the Urban Land Institute and the SC National Heritage Corridor.
As if Ray’s volunteer positions were not impactful enough, he has also donated substantially to a variety of programs at Clemson. He has made an estate gift to endow support of university-wide, unrestricted scholarships and to establish the Raymond H. Anderson, Jr. ’74 Annual Travel Grant-in-Aid for the School of Architecture. He is a major donor to the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center in Charleston and has also given to the President’s Leadership Circle, Barker Scholars and ClemsonLIFE.
“Looking at the LIFE program, I just can’t think of anything more beneficial than to see other young adults have the opportunity to have a college experience,” Ray said. “When you go to the graduations, you get a tear in your eye because they are so grateful and have learned so much. They are becoming self-sufficient, and that is such a reward to see that.”
For Ray, giving back was an obvious response to his Clemson experience. You invest in your future, he says, and that philosophy has translated into his remarkable dedication to Clemson, through his time, talent and treasures.
“Clemson is so different today than it was when I came through,” Ray reminisced. “But the one thing that transcends all of it is the Clemson spirit, and it has been so rewarding to see that stay from an 8,000-student school to a 22,000-student school.”
Clemson may have given Ray the knowledge and ability to build structures and cities, but what Ray has given back to Clemson will outlast even those – a legacy dedicated to building lives and futures that continue to preserve that Clemson spirit.
If you would like to join Ray Anderson in building a legacy at Clemson, visit clemson.edu/giving.
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