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2022 Kenelly-Voss Distinguished Emeriti Award

October 7, 2022

Dr. M. Elaine Richardson

Dr. M. Elaine Richardson was selected for the 2022 Kenelly-Voss Distinguished Emeriti Award. The diversity and depth of her post-retirement experiences are truly amazing! This Award would be a most fitting acknowledgement of her excellence and provide a powerful example of a life well-lived after retirement. I offer these examples to support my nomination. 

Leadership in Academia: In 2019, Dr. Richardson received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National College Learning Center Association. This prestigious award recognizes learning center professionals who have contributed an extraordinary amount of service and leadership to the organization. In 2020, Dr. Richardson was part of the Inaugural class of I. Dwaine Eubanks Emeritus College Fellows, an award given to recognize Clemson Emeritus faculty members for their valuable service to both the College and University. She continues to serve the Emeritus College on the Advisory Board and as Chair of the Undergraduate Support Committee. In 2021, the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations (CLADEA) named Dr. Richardson as a CLADEA Fellow for outstanding leader in the learning assistance field. This is the highest honor conferred upon professionals in learning assistance, tutoring, and developmental education.

Leadership in the Local Community: Dr. Richardson is the co-organizer of Clemson’s Historic West End neighborhood association, a volunteer membership organization working to build community through fellowship and cooperation. She led a consortium of local residents, the Clemson Arts and Cultural Commission, and the Clemson Center for the Arts to seek seed money from the Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Grant program. She served on the City of Clemson Board of Zoning Appeals and now has returned to service on the Planning Commission, where she was recently elected Chair. She led the Housing and Land Use components for the City of Clemson’s 2024 Strategic Plan that resulted in the formation a new city board for housing. Dr. Richardson was selected to serve on the ClemsonNEXT Implementation Committee to guide the development of a strategic plan for future development in the City of Clemson.  In 2020, Dr. Richardson joined with other community leaders to develop a non-profit housing center. In June 2021, the George and Roszena Shaw Center for Housing and Economic Growth received non-profit status and Dr. Richardson was elected to serve as the Vice-Chair of its Directors. Dr. Richardson has successfully written two grants (Community Foundation of Greater Clemson and Dabo’s All in Team Foundation) to receive funding totally over $6000 for housing repairs.  A third grant request to be submitted to the Lutheran Church is being finalized. 

Leadership in South Carolina: Dr. Richardson is passionate about the benefits of providing higher education opportunities to those presently incarcerated. She was an invited presenter to the SC Senate Department of Corrections Oversight Subcommittee. In 2018, Dr. Richardson was appointed by Governor Henry McMaster to the Palmetto Unified School District Board, the oversight Board for the SC Department of Corrections. She continues to serve on this Board, providing strong voice to encourage and support higher education opportunities. Presently the most common option for incarcerated individuals to benefit from higher education is through paper-based correspondence courses. After a presentation to the Emeritus College, Dr. Richardson has formed a task force to explore ways in which interested Emeriti may serve as mentors and/or academic coaches. Mentoring, even in virtual environments, has the potential to provide academic support for those on the inside and would enhance chances for success in the outside world.

Leadership for a Cause: As a two-time survivor of Breast Cancer, Dr. Richardson continues her long-standing commitment, leadership, and support for the breast cancer community. She was one of the original founders and has been Chair of the Clemson Area Breast Cancer Support Group, and also of Carolina Cups, the state-wide group that provides funding for breast cancer screening and research. She was elected Chair of the Board of Directors for the “Pledge the Pink” Foundation. She has always set a personal example by gathering and leading teams to participate in signature fund-raising walks. She served as Captain of a team called the “Tumornators”. They trained and participated in three 3-day 30-mile “Pledge the Pink” walks that span 3 counties and 3 islands, ending at Hilton Head. They have raised over $15K for breast cancer research.  From 2018-2020, Dr. Richardson served as Chair of the “Pledge the Pink” Foundation Board of Directors. Dr. M. Elaine Richardson epitomizes the values expressed in the Award description.  John Kenelly and his wife Charmaine Voss established this award to recognize an outstand emeritus whose contributions to academia, the University, the community, and mankind have continued past retirement.