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Taking the lead in supporting SC's future

Take The Lead in Supporting HEHD and South Carolina's Futureby Msiba Dalton

As many of you have heard, on August 27, 2010, Clemson announced The Will to Lead, a campaign to raise more than $600 million by July 2012. The money raised will ensure our students are offered the best education and the best college experience possible. It will also help Clemson forge ahead as one of the country’s top public research universities.

The College of Health, Education, and Human Development (HEHD) directly affects the life of every citizen in South Carolina. Our students go on to become teachers, nurses, public health advocates and recreation specialists — professionals who are crit- ical to developing and maintaining a healthy and educated work force, placing us at the core of the state’s economic development.

Our uniqueness as a college helps us attract nationally recognized faculty and develop cutting-edge programs and units, many of which are cited as national models for health, education, lifestyle and family functionality. We are conducting research in all of these areas and looking to create new initiatives that address the present and future concerns surrounding our society.

takeHEHD is “the engaged college with a personal touch.” We edu- cate and produce the thinkers, leaders, entrepreneurs and global citizens who will navigate us successfully through the 21st century. In continuing this important work, the college has outlined funding priorities that will support its most critical needs. As
a college, HEHD has identified four major priorities across our units:

  • Raise unrestricted dollars to be used where the need is greatest
  • Recruit and retain top students
  • Attract and keep outstanding faculty
  • Support initiatives that make a Clemson education exceptional

In the current economic climate, it is imperative that we continue to improve the quality of our students, faculty, public service and student life. Funding the College of Health, Education, and Human Development is funding the future — future educators; health care professionals; and park, recreation and tourism specialists.

Allow me to introduce you to some of the reasons HEHD is so engaged, collaborative and focused. Bob Powell’s long road to Clemson spans six continents and meanders through rain forests, white water, glaciers and the Ivy League. His concern for wild places and local populations intensified through his 20 years as an adventure guide before he earned advanced degrees in environmental studies at Yale.

Now he’s leveraged his experience and knowledge into an academic program at Clemson that focuses on environmental stewardship and reduction of poverty. As a faculty member of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (PRTM), he hopes to instill in Clemson students the same kind of passion and to challenge them to “contribute to earth’s fragile environments and make a big difference in people’s lives.”

Ab WatkinsWhen Ab Watkins arrived at Clemson, he was determined to take advantage of every opportunity the University offered. He participated in the Eugene T. Moore School of Education’s Call Me MISTER® program, which gives African-American males the opportunity to go to college and become teachers. Last year, Watkins was awarded a prestigious Fulbright grant to study and teach English in Indonesia. He fulfilled his obligation year for the Fulbright and had an opportunity to return and teach a second year in Indonesia. When he returns, he plans to teach in a school in the Upstate. “This experience will help me help my students understand what it means to be a global citizen,” Watkins says. “And, it will show them that if I can have this type of opportunity, they can, too.”

Now let me introduce you to some of the college’s donors who have invested in this college. Bettye Cecil of Pawleys Island just recently made a gift of $160,000 to fund a fellowship in the School of Nursing’s healthcare genetics doctoral program. The Oliver Kent Cecil and Bettye C. Cecil Annual Fellowship in Geriatrics and Genetics will be awarded over the course of four years to a Ph.D. student who intends to specialize in geriatrics research or care.

Bettye and her husband, the late Oliver Kent Cecil, a Clemson alumnus, founded White Oak Manor, an assisted-living and retirement home business with facilities in North Carolina and South Carolina. The Cecils have made several gifts to Clemson’s School of Nursing, which include creating the Oliver Kent Cecil Memorial Distinguished Professorship for Architecture and Nursing and providing funding for the School of Nursing Clinical Learning Research Center.

Attorney Marsha Ward of Atlanta, Ga., has established a $75,000 endowment that will award a fellowship to a PRTM doctoral program student who intends to study play and its value in modern society.

The Marsha A. Ward ’79 Fellowship Endowment for Play at Clemson University will enhance the department’s initiative to support the concepts of “No Child Left Inside,” a national movement to encourage childhood play in society. Ward also is giving an annual gift of $3,000 until the endowment matures.

HEHD is looking to its alumni and friends to help us create a pipeline of givers to help us scale up our efforts as a college. We understand that everyone has to be smart about philanthropy, but we also understand that giving, even in hard times, is necessary for growth.

Let me introduce you to the idea that it is not the amount of the gift that counts, but establishing the habit of giving that makes a difference.

To support students and faculty like Ab Watkins and Bob Powell or to join donors like Bettye Cecil and Marsha A. Ward, please call 864-656-5896 or visit