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B-Note April 2, 2020

April 2, 2020

Greetings fellow Tigers,

“Reign supreme alway.” The words of our alma mater feel especially symbolic during the unprecedented times our world is facing. Our University has stood strong and proud for more than 130 years, and I’m confident we can get through this – together.

Our world has changed. Our professional and personal lives look vastly different. Higher education is different than it was just weeks ago. There is uncertainty that many of us have never faced. But we are adapting. The Clemson Family thrives on being together, and while the distance between us right now is unfamiliar, it is necessary to protect our Clemson Family, the nation and the world. The times are challenging, but Clemson Tigers are resilient, and we will emerge from this prepared to impact future generations of Clemson students.

These are extraordinary times, but it has been even more extraordinary to watch our faculty, staff and students rise to the challenge as they are well into their second week of online instruction. Change can often be one of our greatest challenges, but today – more than ever – it is necessary.

We have been brought and bound together by these hills for more than 100 years. These bonds allow us to respond to COVID-19 with strength, warmth and compassion for those in our community who are suffering as a result of this unexpected and unprecedented challenge. Never has the generosity of our Clemson Family been more important or more urgently needed. Under the Division of Student Affairs, we have a Student Emergency Fund that helps provide financial support for students struggling with unforeseen emergencies. We have also set up a Staff and Faculty Emergency Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our Clemson employees.

If you’re able to do so, please make your secure online gift here. Your gift to the Student Emergency Fund or the Staff and Faculty Emergency Fund provides the Clemson Family with financial support during times of uncertainty. Thank you for your support of Clemson students, faculty and staff. We are forever grateful.

Unfortunately, we’re likely to be feeling the effects for a while. But Clemson stands strong today because of our people, and we will stand strong in the future because of the people and plans in place that will ensure our great University continues to move forward. Members of Clemson’s leadership team updated the Board of Trustees on Tuesday morning on the University’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. University officials briefed the board about progress in several areas, including: online learning; campus operations with social distancing measures in place; possible financial impacts; accommodations for on-campus residents; and the safe return of study abroad students. You can read more about the University’s response to each of these areas here.

Our University has been working closely with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education to address the important issue of providing reimbursement for certain student fees as result of the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak. Clemson’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to give the University administration the authority to provide prorated refunds for a range of student fees, including unused portions of housing and dining plans, as well as student activity, recreation, parking and transportation fees.

Clemson’s guiding principle is always to do right by our students and their families. By coordinating with the state and our partner institutions of higher education across South Carolina to ensure that we understood the full scope of the situation, Clemson’s leadership was able to thoughtfully finalize this plan. You can read more details about refunds for student fees here.

We are committed to doing everything we can to make sure that this moment in our history, despite the circumstances, brings our Clemson Family together. Our Clemson Alumni Association is working diligently to keep you connected to Clemson by offering virtual opportunities for us to support and learn from each other. The Alumni Association offers many ways to stay involved, and we continue to add new forums and virtual events. Stay connected through this web page to learn about upcoming networking chats; webinars; Q&As with Clemson alumni experts, faculty and staff; virtual social hours; celebrations of Clemson Traditions; and more.

We are eternally grateful to the parents, alumni, donors and friends of Clemson who forever impact our University through their passion and support. Together, we are the Clemson Family, and the words of our alma mater echo in my mind as we join together to face the uncertainty of the times:

“Dear Old Clemson, we will triumph
And with all our might
That the Tiger’s roar may echo
O’er the mountain height.”

What we do today will forever impact the future. Together, we can support our fellow Tigers.

Please, take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Go Tigers!

Brian O’Rourke