Determined spirit and alumni generosity put Clemson student on the fast track
While most college students follow a typical four-year plan that ends with a diploma on graduation day, Angela McKinney has put herself on track to earn a bachelor’s degree as a political science major and Spanish minor in just two-and-a-half years. With her sights set on graduating in December 2015, McKinney has streamlined her efforts in order to reach her goal. McKinney’s willingness to take summer classes has accelerated the degree-earning process, as did the significant number of college credits she brought to Clemson from her prestigious International Baccalaureate high school program.
What compels McKinney to push for an early finish has nothing to do with competitiveness or even the prospect of an enticing post-college job offer. McKinney’s motivation comes directly from her heart. By shortening her stay at Clemson, McKinney will be able to return home and help out her parents who have faced a series of significant medical problems and cascading financial hardships over the years.
Born and raised in Greenville, McKinney was in fourth grade when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although far from grown up, McKinney handled her mother’s devastating news with great strength. She knew how much her parents valued education and was determined to become the first person in the family to attend college. McKinney has always been a diligent and achievement-oriented student. While attending high school, she held down a 50-hour-a-week job so that she could help with household expenses and family medical bills. When she received her letter of acceptance to Clemson, her first choice university, McKinney knew that the dream she shared with her parents was becoming a reality.
What was really important to McKinney was Clemson’s close proximity to her parents’ home. “I was excited about living on campus and knew I would benefit from the experience, but for me, it was also very important to have close proximity to my parents,” said McKinney. “When I began my first semester in the fall of 2013, I felt secure in knowing I was less an hour away, in case one of my parents needed me.”
Before too long, McKinney had established herself as a political science major in the College of Business and Behavioral Science (CBBS). Following political news in print rather than on television, McKinney particularly likes looking at the relationship between the presidential office and Congress. While juggling her major, McKinney also works as a cashier at a women’s clothing store. In addition, she has served as a Clemson resident assistant, and has launched her own jewelry business.
For McKinney, Clemson could not have been possible without support through scholarships and financial aid. A Thomas F. Chapman Leadership Scholar, McKinney was named as one of two Sudduth Family Scholarship recipients this year as well. Recently established by David and Kathy Sudduth, this annual scholarship has been designated specifically for CBBS students. As alumni of Clemson and as the parents of triplet Clemson students (Emily, Haley and John) who graduated May 2015, the Sudduths are committed to their alma mater. Through their scholarship, they will be able to reach out to worthy students who demonstrate financial need. David Sudduth was the keynote speaker at this year’s donor appreciation event. He has been an elected member of the Greenville City Council since 2005 and serves on the CBBS Senior Advisory Board. He is employed as Executive Director of Community and Governmental Affairs for the Greenville Health System. Kathy Davis Sudduth is a registered nurse with Pediatric Neurology of the Greenville Health System.
Deeply grateful to the Sudduth and Chapman families for their support, McKinney is looking ahead to what she hopes will be a future as a criminal defense attorney. By September, McKinney will apply to law school and once again she will face the challenge of juggling school, career and family responsibilities. There is no question that McKinney is up for the challenge.
If you would like to learn more about how you can contribute to student scholarships, please visit clemson.edu/cbbs/giving or contact Senior Director of Development Michael T. Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.