Former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. served as the featured guest at the first joint reception hosted by the Clemson Architectural Foundation and the Humanities Advancement Board.

Joseph P. Riley Jr. left an immeasurable mark on Charleston and the city also was his guide. Image credits: Gary Coleman.

As noted by Richard E. Goodstein, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, “One of the promises of the College when it was founded in 1995 was to find pathways for collaboration, pathways in which we can work together across disciplines and work together in the arts, in the humanities and in the design and build community.”

This type of collaboration was exactly what happened Thursday, Jan. 31 at the Clemson Design Center in Charleston.

The event was sparked by an idea from Greg Edwards, a member of the Humanities Advancement Board, and was developed by Lee Morrissey, the College’s interim associate dean for academic affairs and the founding director of the Humanities Hub.

Their concept came to fruition as a gathering shared with the local alumni club and the city’s celebrated former mayor.

Joe Riley served 10 terms as mayor, making him not only an institution in Charleston, but also one of the longest-serving mayors in the country. In his time as mayor, he was known for spearheading innovative redevelopment projects that took Charleston from a decaying urban center to a top cultural destination.

Richard E. Goodstein and Kate Schwennsen flank guest speaker Joe Riley Jan. 31 at the Clemson Design Center in Charleston.

Asheley Scott St. John, president of the Clemson Architectural Foundation (CAF), and Pam Robinson, a recent chair of the Humanities Advancement Board (HAB), introduced the former mayor.

Riley’s remarks revolved around how the city of Charleston has been his best teacher throughout the years.

“The city was always teaching us. It taught us lessons of historic preservation and leadership; it taught us lessons of scale, of quality, of material, of balance and so much more,” he said.

Because of this, Riley knew it would be important to establish a Clemson presence in Charleston, where students in architecture could have the experience of living and being taught by the city.

Pam Robinson, left, represented the Humanities Advancement Board and Asheley Scott St. John is president of the Clemson Architectural Foundation.

This vision prompted the formation of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2019.

Over the years, Clemson has expanded in Charleston, now offering programs in both undergraduate and graduate architecture and landscape architecture, along with master’s programs in historic preservation and resilient urban design.

Attendees at the event included CAF and HAB board members, Clemson officials and alumni, and architecture industry leaders. Among the guests were Frank Lucas, founder of LS3P, and Thom Penney, CEO of LS3P, both to be inducted this spring into the Hall of Fame of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. Betsy Goodale, a current member of the Hall of Fame, also attended the reception.