Traditions, Old and New

May 13th, 2011

Recently, on a trip though Greenville, South Carolina, I had the opportunity to visit the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, which is a dynamic collaboration among private industry, government organizations, and academia.  Our firm has been involved with several projects at CU-ICAR since 2006, but it was my first opportunity to visit the campus in several years.  I was struck by the modern tone set by the architecture and the vibrancy of the partnership.  A short walk through the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center revealed a part of the outcome from our involvement with one aspect of the project – I’d only seen images from the installation to that point.  Much like the CU-ICAR itself, our work is a partnership, unifying voices, sometimes quite different voices, into harmony, and the pieces seem representative of that spirit.

Earlier this week, I noted remarks from the current President of Clemson University,  James F. Barker, speaking to the importance of CU-ICAR to both Clemson University and South Carolina.  In his eleventh year leading Clemson University, President Barker is plainspoken and direct about the role of partnerships, exemplified by CU-ICAR.  Most interesting for me, however, is his reference to the will of Thomas Green Clemson, which provided for the founding of Clemson Agricultural College in the late nineteenth century.  President Barker isn’t simply articulating the goals for the institution in the coming years, he’s codifying a legacy.

Working with donor recognition, one given the opportunity to share stories that compel people to give.  Sometimes, the connection between an outcome and a gift is clear, but other times, a gift goes much further than the giver may have ever imagined.


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