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Message from the CAF President

The Clemson Architectural Foundation exists to enhance the learning experience for all students enrolled in the programs of Clemson University’s School of Architecture. The CAF has its focus on two orbits of influence: at home and abroad.

Here at home, we strive to connect the academic world to the world of practice by funding grants, offering travel assistance, and supporting the guest lecture series. Our grants vary widely each semester, from introducing grade school children to the world of architecture and construction to providing timely assistance to students in need, to sponsoring a recent series of lectures and discussions in Charleston entitled “Keeping History Above Water.”  Beginning this fall, we plan to engage students in open conversations about what might lie ahead after graduation in forums where board members will discuss their own experiences leading from graduation to professional success. Our hope is to open the students’ eyes to the many different pathways and opportunities leading to successful, fulfilling careers.

Abroad, the CAF owns and operates the Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genova, Italy (aka “the Villa”), the foundational piece of the School of Architecture’s “Fluid Campus” concept.  The Villa and its program are part of an enlightened vision of Dean Harlan McClure’s original idea to immerse students in a foreign city that is somewhat off the beaten path, a place set apart to strengthen their real-world design abilities.  The CAF purchased the Villa and welcomed its first students in 1973 and, since then, over 1,600 students have had the privilege of going through the program. Every one of us who attended a semester in Genova wholeheartedly agrees that it was a life-changing experience.  In anticipation of the upcoming 50thanniversary of this program, we have been undertaking a complete overhaul of the place, both inside and out.  The Villa is over 120 years old and needs constant maintenance and care.  The Fluid Campus concept has expanded to include facilities in Barcelona and Charleston which we also support through grants, assistantships, and guest lectures.” 

Of course, all of this support takes money.  Your annual gift to the CAF goes directly to the students since our board is filled completely with volunteer alumni intent on giving back to the program that gave so much to each of us.  While our twenty-two endowments provide funding for many supplemental programs of the School of Architecture and the Villa’s maintenance is funded by the University, we yearn to do more but need continuous funding.  Your recurring, unrestricted annual gift to the CAF is, therefore, the best way to help these initiatives to continue and grow.

I thank you and encourage you to contact us to see how you can help.

ERIC HOLMBERG, '78, B.S., CONSTRUCTION SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT

Meet Our President

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ERIC HOLMBERG, '78, B.S., CONSTRUCTION SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT

"I first arrived at the Villa late in the afternoon when no one was around to greet me. So, I scaled the wall and camped in the Villa garden overnight. Early the next morning, I was greeted by the professor and his wife, who heard the sound of my soccer ball as I bounced it against the sunroom shutters. Little did I know that the semester would prove to be such an important time in my life. At the end of the term, the professor organized an informal, individual commencement ceremony so that I was able to graduate from Clemson in the garden surrounded by my newly formed, lifelong friends."

"I learned that I could, indeed, be self-reliant. I gained confidence in my ability to make my way in the world with a great degree of certainty and a clear point of view. Studying in the Villa, traveling in Italy, and working with students in a variety of disciplines helped me start my career with an appreciation of the challenges faced by others. This understanding made me a stronger team player and a huge proponent of the team approach to 'well-being.' The Genoa experience stayed with me through every day of my working life and throughout each stage of my career. It is with great pleasure that I look forward to being back in the Villa garden for the celebration of the Villa t 50!"

In addition to being the CAF President, Eric is the former President of Broadcast Building Company in St. Johns, Fl and a Trustee for the Clemson Advancement Foundation.