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Clemson student stands on hill with Clemson flag

B-Note May 7, 2020

May 7, 2020

Greetings fellow Tigers!

Generosity is engrained within the Clemson spirit. It’s as much a part of Clemson’s culture today as it was when Thomas and Anna Clemson made the gift that would create the Clemson we all know and love. On Giving Tuesday, the Clemson Family came together to demonstrate our commitment to our heritage and make a difference in the lives of our fellow Tigers. Clemson Tigers united to make gifts toward the Student Emergency Fund, the Staff and Faculty Emergency Fund and to where the need is the greatest.

On #GivingTuesdayNow, more than 270 donors made gifts that will allow Clemson to continue assisting those in our community who have found themselves struggling to provide for and protect their families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gifts were also designated to where the need is the greatest, giving Clemson’s leadership team the flexibility to direct funds to University initiatives, allowing Clemson to meet unforeseen needs as they arise and to capitalize on opportunities as they emerge.

Thanks to the Student Emergency Fund and the Staff and Faculty Emergency Fund, we have been able to provide financial assistance to support members of our Clemson family – like Mary. When her parents contracted COVID-19, Mary drove to Charleston to be with them. Unable to stay at their house, Mary was forced to stay in a hotel for three nights. She was able to deep-clean her parents’ home and get them the supplies they needed while they recovered. When Mary returned to Clemson, she faced more unexpected challenges. While she was quarantining for the mandatory 14 days, she lost her job at a local pet store and was without power for three days after a devastating tornado hit the Seneca area. After a friend encouraged her to apply to the Student Emergency Fund, Mary was able to use the money to pay for the unexpected expenses she accrued while caring for her parents in Charleston.

Stories like Mary’s remind us of the power of the Clemson Family and what happens when we band together. Without the help of donors, Mary doesn’t know how she would have cared for her parents while they were sick.

“I’m always thankful for Clemson. This was just another moment that I was grateful for my school,” Mary says. “I really appreciate the support and the team responsible for raising these funds.”

If you missed your opportunity to give on this day, it’s never too late to give. And no gift is too small.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Bubba Britton on Giving Tuesday to discuss the importance of generosity – which is more important than ever. From my time as a Clemson student receiving a scholarship to working within the field of philanthropy to returning to Clemson 15 years ago to support Clemson’s fundraising mission, philanthropy has become a part of who I am – professionally and personally. You can watch my full interview with Bubba here to hear more about #GivingTuesdayNow and how philanthropy has been an important part of my life. Visit the Clemson University Alumni Association Facebook page for more opportunities to connect with your fellow Tigers virtually.

Brian O'Rourke was interviewed by Bubba Britton to discuss #GivingTuesdayNow

Last weekend, Clemson opened limited outdoor recreational areas including the South Carolina Botanical Garden (SCBG), portions of the Clemson Experimental Forest and the Walker Golf Course. All other university recreational areas remain closed, and all summer camps and educational programs on the University’s main campus were canceled. You can find additional information here.

B- there for the Clemson Family!
It’s hard to believe that final exams of the spring semester have wrapped up, and I would be remiss to not acknowledge how gracefully our students and faculty have responded to these unprecedented challenges. Today would have been our commencement ceremonies, but until we are able to safely come together to celebrate our graduates, we will be celebrating the class of 2020 virtually.

I hope you will take the time to visit Clemson University’s social media pages and a special webpage dedicated to the Class of 2020. The Clemson Alumni Association has also created a special page for our newest graduates, where they can request a commemorative $2 bill stamped with a tiger paw; make a $2 gift through an anonymous donor in honor of each graduate toward the Class of 2020 project, which supports the President’s Fund to help Clemson students in need; and become a part of IPTAY YA! (Young Alumni) for free, getting the same benefits as a regular IPTAY member at the purple level.

Congratulations to this incredible group of graduates are joining more than 162,000 living Clemson Alumni around the world. Even though we cannot be together in person, we can still join together with the Clemson Family in other ways to honor the Class of 2020, and I invite you to watch this special video dedicated to our graduates.

Go Tigers!

Brian O’Rourke