Clemson University will always remain close to the hearts of Shay and Lillian “Lil” Stoney. Shay Stoney graduated from Clemson in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree, and his wife, Lil Stoney, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973. As expected, the Tiger couple was elated when their son, Charles, became a member of the Clemson Family. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental and natural resources in 2006, Charles Stoney remained at Clemson to pursue his graduate degree.

Charles Stoney was in his second semester of graduate school when an event happened that changed many lives. On April 8, 2007, he was involved in a fatal car accident in his hometown of Charleston, SC.

On the night of the accident, two of the Stoney’s dearest friends, David and Ann Westerlund, were visiting the Stoney family at their Charleston home. The Westerlunds have been friends with the Stoneys for over 40 years and can recall many memories with Charles — a young man with a contagious personality.

Charles Stoney, endowment

Charles Stoney with his parents, Shay (left) and Lil Stoney (right).

“Charles was a combination of Lil and Shay,” said David Westerlund. “He loved the outdoors and always had a big smile on his face. He was the light of his parent’s lives.”

Shay and Lil Stoney’s son was their pride and joy, and on June 30, 2008, they established the Charles P. Stoney Scholarship Endowment to preserve his memory. The endowment provides undergraduate scholarships to students majoring in environmental and natural resources within the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. “We wanted to do something in his memory that would benefit other students. He loved Clemson,” said Lil Stoney. Recipients are known as Charles P. Stoney Scholars.

The Stoneys also took into consideration the financial burden that many families are faced with due to increases in college tuition, and the couple is proud to say the endowment is helping Clemson students while honoring their son’s memory.

David and Ann Westerlund contributed to the endowment over a period of years after it was established. But it was in 2014 when the couple decided that now was the time to fund the existing scholarship and raise the balance to the Presidential Scholarship level. “This was for Shay and Lil and Charles. It meant a lot for us to do this so a student attending Clemson will be able to have a full ride for a year in Charles’ memory,” said Ann Westerlund. David and Ann Westerlund were recognized for their contribution to the Charles P. Stoney Endowed Presidential Scholarship on October 11, 2014 at the home football game against Louisville.

Charles Stoney, endowment

Charles (left) and his father (right) on vacation in Glacier Park, MT in 2006.

The Westerlunds were already familiar with various methods of giving including establishing a scholarship. In 2005, they had established a scholarship for non-traditional students at Ann’s alma mater. Ann Westerlund was a non-traditional student herself, and she and David thought this was the perfect way to give back to the university as well as contribute to students 25 years of age or older who are in need of financial assistance.

Although the Westerlunds are not Clemson alumni, the University is very special to the couple for many reasons. Not only is it near and dear to their best friends’ hearts but both of their children, Margaret ’03 and Alan ’03, are faithful Clemson alumni and donors.

Charles Stoney will always be remembered as a hard worker and an admirable young man. He actively pursued hunting, fishing and boating. Charles also loved Clemson more than anything and was looking forward to achieving his graduate degree. In November 2007, Clemson’s gift and estate planning senior director, JoVanna King, accompanied then President James F. Barker to Charleston and presented a posthumous graduate school certificate of attendance to the Stoney’s for their son, Charles.

The University is thankful for the Stoney’s and the Westerlund’s generous support. The Charles P. Stoney Endowed Presidential Scholarship has changed the lives of many students, and the University is confident that the endowment will continue to grow and benefit many more Tigers throughout the years.

GIVE NOW
To give now or learn more about establishing an endowment or making a bequest, please visit our website, call the Clemson Forever Fund at 864-656-5896 or email giving@clemson.edu.