Celebrating Our Graduates; College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Trio of students claim CAAH’s highest honors


Each spring, the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities’ Honors and Awards ceremony culminates with the College’s four highest student awards. This year, the awards were earned by three students — Hannah Burns, Hannah Roebuck and Madelyn Stafford — who have each ensured that their impact at Clemson extended well beyond the classroom.

Hannah Burns, Blue Key Academic and Leadership Award

Hannah Burns

“I chose to be an English major originally because I have always loved reading and I wanted to go to law school,” said Burns, who came to Clemson from Charleston. “As I took my first creative writing course, something clicked and I have been writing fiction ever since.”

Although her academic focus moved away from law, her emphasis on justice—especially for victims of sexual and domestic violence—remained strong. As a member of the It’s On Us student group, Burns helped raise money for the Now Empowered Fund, the goal of which is to open a Gender Equity Center at Clemson. In addition to fundraising, she was active multiple demonstrations on campus intended to increase the University’s support for survivors of abuse, including the creation of “Clemson Gets Consent” buttons for students to wear on gameday, which she counts among her best memories.

“It was incredible to be in the student section of Death Valley and look around, to see people wearing our hand-made buttons,” she said.

Her work to make Clemson more safe and inclusive didn’t end with It’s On Us, of which she became vice president. She also ran a diversity, equity and inclusion book club for Alpha Chi Omega and was a member of the Call My Name Student Advisory Board and worked with the Clemson Abolitionist Assembly.

“My love for Clemson doesn’t always look like you would expect, with a warm and blind embrace of the Clemson Family, but you don’t give up on a community you love. I couldn’t, at least,” she said.

While advocating for change, Burns continued to excel academically and as a writer. She served as assistant editor of the South Carolina Review and on the staff of The Sensible Tiger, a humorous alternative news source geared toward Clemson students. After graduation, she plans to attend The New School to pursue a master’s degree in fiction writing while working in the publishing industry in New York.

“My involvement has allowed me to touch parts of campus I wouldn’t have known existed, to learn from students with diverse perspectives and experiences, and to create an amazing community for myself. Without these things, I feel that my writing would lack a certain depth and empathy that characterizes it,” she said.

Hannah Roebuck, Phi Kappa Phi Certificate of Merit and Dre Martin Service Award

Hannah Roebuck

Hannah Roebuck’s Clemson Experience is best understood not by her major, or activities, but by the word that has guided her: “welcome.”

“Welcome is the driving force of my work, service, and personhood,” she explained. “I believe deeply that people are of immeasurable value not because of what they have to offer or what they produce but simply because of who they are. People deserve space to exist and evolve in their fullness—to be seen, to be heard, and to be honored—and I have committed myself to that mission in a variety of ways at Clemson and beyond.”

Roebuck is set to graduate with a double major in Religious Studies and Political Science, “the two things one ought not talk about, certainly not together,” she quips. In her case, her interest in both disciplines are linked.

Her philosophy of welcome worked itself out through her service and leadership activities as a student. She completed two service internships—with New American Pathways and Refugee Coffee Co.—which both focused on the resettlement of refugees in the Atlanta area. She completed a Creative Inquiry Project entitled, “Stories of Refuge, Detention, and Hospitality.” Her list of service-based involvement on campus was extensive: founder and director of the Clemson History Committee; founder and leader of the Youth Scholars Program; editor of “The Pendulum” magazine; member of the Council of Diversity Affairs; chair and member of the Honors Student Advisory Board and more.

Each point on Roebuck’s resume at Clemson is a story of its own, but in each case, she impressed professors and fellow students with her ability to listen and communicate with respect and insight.

“In every space and context, I try to ask, ‘Who is being left out? Whose voice, perspective, or story is excluded here?’” she said. “How can resources be leveraged or systems be restructured to serve people here and now?”

After graduation, she plans to continue her education at Duke University, pursuing a master’s degree in teaching as a Durham Teaching Fellow. After earning her graduate degree, she will have the opportunity to become a social studies teacher in Durham Public Schools. After some time in the classroom, she says she may consider an administrative role or one that can influence policymaking.

“It is my hope that the organizations, structures, and communities I touch become more just and welcoming places,” she said. “I will always seek to demonstrate our responsibility and belonging to one another—my fate and thriving is tied up in yours.”

Madelyn Stafford, Cameron Chase Huntley ’11 Award

Madelyn Stafford

Since arriving at Clemson from her hometown of Grayson, Georgia, landscape architecture major Madelyn Stafford has made efforts to help underserved populations with her activities both inside and outside the classroom.

“One of the biggest reasons I’m so interested in landscape architecture is because there are a handful of key issues in our built world and society that landscape architecture can help combat and work to solve through design,” she explained.

In 2021-2022, Stafford helped research and produce a commemorative book celebrating the the School of Architecture’s BIPOC alumni, which was released at a first-of-its-kind conference organized by the Clemson chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (cNOMAS).

“The goal of this publication was to highlight these names and stories to give current and future students of color role models that look like them, shed light on those who paved the path for them and emphasize the need for a more diverse college,” she said.

Her commitment to diversity and inclusion extended to her Greek life as well. As a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, she serves as a Fraternity and Sorority Life Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ambassador and as secretary for Clemson Student Government’s Greek Affairs. She was also a member of the Call My Name student advisory board, helping to implement the projects’ first historical tour showing the contributions of people of color who built Clemson’s campus.

In her design studios, her commitment to designing for diversity—diverse races and diverse abilities—has caught the attention of faculty.

“My most recent project was centered around creating a more inclusive outdoor space for a predominantly black community,” she said. “People of color are less likely to engage in outdoor recreation, primarily because of historical discrimination and lack of resources. I focused on designing and creating programs that would foster a more welcoming and educational outdoors experience.”

Stafford’s work at Clemson still isn’t finished. Set to graduate in 2023, she is working to establish a National Association of Minority Landscape Architects chapter at Clemson, and to continue the effort to increase diversity in the discipline.

“For years, policies, costs, and lack of resources have negatively affected African Americans’ ability to access the profession,” she said. “To turn those negative impacts into positives, we must push for that increase in diversity as well as educate and address the erasure of the true history of cultural landscapes.”

About the Awards

Blue Key Academic and Leadership Award

As a result of funds generated from Tigerama, an endowment has been established to give an award to one student in each college who has distinguished himself or herself in terms of academic scholarship and campus leadership. The winner receives a plaque and a cash award.

Dre Martin Service Award

In memory of Chardrevius “Dre” Martin, the College or Architecture, Arts and Humanities presents this award annually to a student who is highly committed to service in our surrounding community, demonstrates a passion for helping others and possesses a strong academic record. Students may be nominated by a peer, a faculty member or a staff member.

Phi Kappa Phi Certificate of Merit

Each year, the Clemson Chapter of the National Society of Phi Kappa Phi provides Certificates of Merit for students majoring in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. To be eligible, one must have senior standing or have graduated not earlier than the preceding December; must have achieved an overall grade point ratio of at least 3.5; must have submitted written work which is evaluated by a faculty committee; and must have made noteworthy contributions to the Clemson University community.

Cameron Chase Huntley ’11 Annual Award

The Cameron Chase Huntley ’11 Diversity and Inclusion Annual Award was established in loving memory by his parents, Kevin Wade Huntley and Kimberly Wardlaw Huntley, along with gifts from family and friends. The purpose is to provide an award to a student who is highly committed to service aimed at benefitting underserved populations and bridging cultural differences, and who possesses a strong academic record.

About the College

Established in 1996, the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities celebrates a unique combination of disciplines—Architecture; Art; City Planning; Construction Science and Management; English; History; Languages; Performing Arts; Philosophy; Philosophy; Religion; Real Estate Development and interdisciplinary studies—that enable Clemson University students to imagine, create and connect. CAAH strives to unite the pursuit of knowledge with practical application of that knowledge to build a better and more beautiful world.

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