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B-Note February 4, 2016

February 4, 2016

Greetings fellow Tigers!

Thomas Green Clemson believed the way to rebuild the state’s war-ravaged economy was through scientific education, so he left his home and fortune to the state of South Carolina to create the institution that bears his name. In his will, he outlined a unique governance system that included seven trustees who would select their successors and six trustees who would be appointed by the state legislature — a system that would provide both long-term stability and public accountability. The system works.

Today and tomorrow, the Clemson University board of trustees will meet for the first quarterly meeting of 2016. Could Thomas Green Clemson have imagined how his will would help transform our state, our nation and our world? Stay tuned for announcements and updates from this meeting to see how we will continue to honor his will to lead.

There are many ways the University works to introduce itself to prospective students, but few as exciting as virtual reality. Clemson is the first university in the state invited to participate in Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program, a virtual reality project introduced by First Lady Michelle Obama. The program will enable school children around the world to “visit” campuses from their classrooms. Imagine a child anywhere across the nation or around the world taking a realistic tour of more than 30 points of interest on the Clemson campus with nothing more than a smartphone and a simple cardboard viewer. Find out more about this innovative opportunity to reach out to the world, and how to get or make your own cardboard viewer.


Through a trade mission trip to Vancouver, B.C., two Clemson business management students are building something very important out of a resource both Canada and South Carolina have in abundance — wood. Kaitlynn Lewis and Jacob Young are building a relationship between the University and the Canadian wood-construction industry with a purpose of building learning synergies that will benefit the state’s forest products industry. Their trip was supported in part by the Clemson Wood Utilization + Design Institute (WU + D), and now they plan to communicate their findings to classes that have a stake in wood and forest industries, including architecture, engineering, business, real estate and landscaping, and also with business leaders in the Upstate. “Kaitlynn and Jacob are not only ambassadors for Clemson, but also for the state,” says Pat Layton WU + D director, “The connection they make with stakeholders inside and beyond the campus community could be a catalyst for bringing jobs and economic growth to the state.” Read more.


You may not care about professional football or even be aware of which teams are playing in the Super Bowl, but on Sunday, I bet you’ll make a point to be in front of a screen to watch the “coolest 12 minutes in television” — the Super Bowl halftime show. If you’ve ever wondered who’s responsible for producing this event — witnessed each year by more than 100 million viewers — it’s a proud Clemson Tiger, Sarah Moll ’99. As director of media events for the NFL, she has eight Super Bowl shows under her belt, featuring artists from Springsteen to Bruno Mars to Katy Perry. (Remember that entrance on the giant tiger?) But it was at Clemson, as a sports management major with a minor in journalism, sports editor of the Tiger and working in the football office, that Sarah developed her lifelong skills of preparation, organization, being a team player — and a passion for the Tigers. Take a look at the current Clemson World story featuring Sarah. And take the time to watch her conversation with Clemson students last year when she relates that one of her current aspirations in life is to “dot the I” in Death Valley when the Tiger Band spells out “Tigers.”


As we’re all hard at work advancing this great University, I want you to know that I am a big fan of you, your enthusiasm and commitment. I’m very sure that Thomas Green Clemson would be, too. Once again, and always, I thank you for all you do for Clemson.

Go Tigers!
Brian O’Rourke