Tripp and Anne Jones have been tailgating in the same spot at Clemson for a long time – long enough that they have watched a tree grow up alongside their children and grandchildren.
But the length of time they have been a part of the Clemson family barely scratches the surface of their commitment to Clemson.
Long before the couple met, Tripp’s father started at Clemson in 1941 and attended for a year. Once World War II began, he left to serve and was even captured and imprisoned during his time of service. The couple’s story began later on April 11, 1970, when they met on a blind date as Clemson students, and the rest is history. Tripp graduated in 1971, and Anne finished in 1973, and after getting married, the couple has since settled on Lake Murray near Columbia, SC.
Tripp practiced as a medical oncologist until his retirement, and inspired by their experiences at Clemson, the couple decided to give back to their alma mater. Thanks to Anne’s suggestion, they decided to designate their gift toward student scholarships, and because of Tripp’s degree in zoology, they designated their scholarship for students from Lexington Country who are studying biological sciences.
“The education that we received was second to none,” Tripp said, “and as we have gone on in our careers, we decided that we wanted to do something for Clemson, and we decided we wanted to start this scholarship.”
Anna Phillips is evidence of what the Jones have done for Clemson. As a senior biological sciences major with minors in microbiology and chemistry, she experiences the pressure that college can bring. “This scholarship has helped me pay for college,” Anna said. “After this, I’m going to dental school, and without this scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to do that, so I’m really thankful.”
“I don’t feel like I could ever give enough back to Clemson for what it has done for us and for our family.” Tripp said. “We felt like we needed to do something to give back to Clemson because Clemson has meant so much to us.”
“Whatever we could do to help students, that’s what we aimed for,” Anne added.
Emily Davison is another one of those reaping the benefits of the Jones’ gifts to Clemson. As the first one of her siblings to attend college, any financial aid made a big difference. “Debt was always in the back of my mind,” Emily said. “Anything helps, but especially receiving something from a doctor from where I’m from meant even more.”
“Tripp and Anne’s gift is transformative, not just for the students they serve now, but for future students, and we are thankful for how they inspire them and how they inspire us,” College of Science Dean Cynthia Young said.
Not only do Tripp and Anne want to be a part of students’ educational journeys, but they stay connected to Clemson through several other avenues as well. Tripp is a member of Tigers on Call, a group of physicians who mentor students who are interested in entering the medical field after they graduate from Clemson. They are avid football fans and try not to miss Saturdays in Death Valley – Tripp even expresses laughing concern that if he’s not there, the Tigers might stumble running down the hill.
Though the football team could likely pull off a successful game in Tripp and Anne’s absence, other students’ success might not be as probable. Without the Jones’ generosity, several students’ college experiences would look quite different and present more daunting challenges. As the Jones have returned to Clemson football season after football season to find their same tree growing steadily at their tailgating spot, their connection to Clemson has grown as well as their family’s roots in Clemson deepen their commitment to giving back and the fruit of that commitment benefits many for years to come.
To contribute to the Jones’ scholarship fund, visit https://cualumni.clemson.edu/give/Jones-Endowment