By Joquita Burka | Office of Creative Services

Knowlton and Jillian JohnsonKnowlton Johnson ’64 had planned to sell the family’s farm in Chesterfield County after the death of his father. But, on further introspection and his return to the area, he decided that it could serve a bigger purpose.

“It was,” says Johnson, “an opportunity to give back. I wanted to leave a legacy.”

After discussions with Pat Layton of Clemson’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Johnson realized that his degree in forestry and his years in research could create a unique — and valuable — partnership that could provide benefits for generations to come.

Johnson donated his land through the Clemson Timberlands Legacy program, an initiative specially designed to enable landowners to gift their valued timberlands to generate revenue for Clemson.

“Clemson seemed to be the perfect fit for preserving and enhancing this property. I knew that my education at the University was excellent. And, I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the faculty members,” says Johnson.

The learning is already under way. Students, faculty and forestry professionals are working together to create a master plan. The 225-acre family property will be timberlands that will serve as a learning tool to inform and train students of forestry, management, natural resources, and wildlife and fisheries. Net proceeds from the property will create a quasi-endowment support of the Clemson University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Johnson has a clear goal for his timberland gift: “To establish a sustainable forest and enhanced wildlife habitat in partnership with Clemson University for study and demonstration of innovative forest management and environmental practice.” That’s a goal that Clemson clearly shares.

Learn more about the Clemson Timberlands Legacy program and how you can support Clemson through a gift of timberlands.