Clemson’s business school draws $60M gift, the university’s largest ever donation | Greenville Business

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Clemson has secured a major donation — a university record of $60 million — to name the new business school at the center of campus.

The donor is a Pee Dee businessman who was raised on a farm and made his fortune through his Florence-based construction and property management businesses. W.O. “Billy Powers, now in his 80s, attended Clemson in the 1950s before returning home to work on the family farm. 

The gift, made along with his wife of 38 years, Ann Powers, marks the largest one-time donation to a business school in the state. Darla Moore has donated a combined $70 million to the business school named after her at the University of South Carolina.

“We have our first named college and our students are going to benefit … for decades to come,” Clemson President Jim Clements said after the announcement.

Powers himself did not make a statement on Friday, though in a pre-taped video shown to about 40 people gathered at the college for the announcement he spoke about the virtues of perseverance and working from the bottom up. 

Clemson University Powers College of Business

Brian O’Rourke, left, Clemson’s vice president for development and alumni relations, speaks with Ann and W.O. ‘Billy’ Powers on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, during a ceremony to announce the Powers’ $60 million donation to the university.

“Billy loves this place,” Clements said. “He believes Clemson changed his life.”

The lion’s share of the Powers’ money will be placed in an endowment, Business Dean Wendy York said after the announcement. It will fund programs and student scholarships for “a hundred years.” Details on how the money would be spent were not released, but York said some of the money would go toward the new business college’s construction as well.

Clemson’s College of Business has more than 5,000 students, and business is the fastest growing major on campus.

The college will now be known as the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. Built at a cost of $87.5 million, the twin-tower business college just off Walter T. Cox Boulevard provides 176,000 square feet of teaching and common space for undergraduate business students. Located at the heart of the Clemson campus just across from Sikes Hall, it opened for classes this fall.

The South Tower of the Business college will be named after their grandson, Chandler Burns, who graduated in 2015 but died of a sudden illness in 2016.

Clemson University College of Business

The Clemson University College of Business.

Ann Powers said in a taped statement that her husband is accustomed to donating anonymously but broke with habit because of the opportunity to spotlight their grandson. Billy Powers said he had always expected Chandler to take over his business.

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“It just destroyed us,” Billy Powers said in his taped statement.

The Powers’ daughter, Penny, said Billy Powers recognized how hard


Why Clothing Donation Benefits Everyone

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Most of us are guilty of over-consumerism today. One of the things that most of us have is having more clothes than we actually needed. If I would look into my closet, I can collect together quite a pile of items that I haven't looked at or used in over six months or even a year. Somehow, it's very hard to get the time to collect these clothing items together, bag them up and get rid of them. Plus, many of the clothing are in excellent, almost new condition.

It is such a shame to dump it into the trash, when it could be going to good use. That's where our local charities and used clothing stores come to the rescue. These establishments always welcome clothing donations and often offer discount coupons should you choose to shop for other needed items at a later date. Also, you don't have to limit your drop-offs to clothing only. You can also send shoes, household items, books and even furniture items, as long as they are in good condition and not requiring any major repairs.

Having a place to send our clothing donations has been half the battle for our family. From time to time we've found a needy family who can benefit from our unneeded items, however, it's can be a touchy topic to bring up, and some people have hang-ups about wearing used clothing or they feel like their a charity case , if you try to give them something. Having a retail establishment that welcomes clothing donations solves all those problems for us and eliminates the guesswork.

In addition, many of these used clothing stores now offer free pick-up of your used clothing donations. In our area, we will get a call about once a month notifying us that a truck will be on our street on a particular date, and asking if we will be putting anything out for pick-up. This service is wonderful. All you need to do is bag up your clothing donation along with any other items you would like to have carted away, and the truck will stop by and pick up your donation. Often times, the proceeds from the sales of donations, will go in part to a local charity. This is an added incentive for people to clear out their unused, unneeded items for a good cause!

It is such a waste to throw clothes away or to just leave it hanging in one's closet, and not worn. Donating used clothing is a gesture of generosity; it helps less-fortunate individuals in our communities. It helps to clear out space, making room for items we actually need and use, and eliminating clutter.

In short, clothing donations can benefit everyone. It is definitely something meaningful and our family will continue doing.

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