Clemson receives record $60M gift for its business school

Dean Wendy York says "the sun is rising on a new era" for the university's program, which features a newly completed state-of-the-art building named for the philanthropists
By: | October 16, 2020
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The motto “Clemson Means Business” featured on its website has new meaning now.

Clemson University on Friday received the largest single donation in school history – and in the history of all other public institutions in South Carolina – a $60 million gift from philanthropists Billy and Ann Powers that will help raise the stature of its College of Business.

With the finishing touches just completed on a cutting-edge building that will be named for them, the Powers’ donation not only will serve as a vehicle for scholarships and financial aid for future students, but it also will fuel some of the university’s signature programs, including entrepreneurship, economics and business analytics.

“This is an incredible milestone for Clemson, not only because it is the largest gift in our history but also because it will truly transform the way we teach business at Clemson,” said president Jim Clements. “This gift will enable the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business to reach new heights, growing to become one of the country’s best institutions for educating the next generation of global business leaders.”

The new five-story building, which had been planned for nearly a decade, has more than 175,000 square feet of learning space for its students and faculty. The second tower is being named in honor of the Powers’ grandson, Chandler Burns, a Clemson graduate who died in 2016 after a brief illness. In those dual spaces, which will offer distance learning potential throughout, there are 303 rooms with the capabilities of hosting more than 1,600 students.

The facility will house a number of other upstart programs including sales innovation, value-chain and advanced manufacturing, leadership, brand marketing and graphics and its MBA program, which is flexible and fully online. Clemson leaders say the new building, with hands-on laboratories and experiential learning, will be key in enhancing its industry partnerships, attracting research scholars and putting its name on a global stage.

“The generous support from the Powers family enables critical faculty research, professorships and fellowships; provides needed student scholarships; and enhances the prestige of our business degrees for years to come,” Dean Wendy York said.


Chris Burt is a reporter and editor with University Business. He can be reached at cburt@lrp.com