CLEMSON — The largest family-controlled bank in the U.S. is partnering with the Clemson University family through a three-year, $60,000 contribution to the College of Business that will fund professional development opportunities for students.

EDGE, First Citizens Bank, Etiquette dinner, soft skills

First Citizens Bank is funding a program that will sharpen students’ soft skills.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

First Citizens Bank, with more than 135 locations in South Carolina, is funding CU Business EDGE (Engage Students in Development and Global Experiences). The new business program will complement students’ educational experience with a variety of engaging activities that will sharpen their soft skills and help differentiate them in the job market.

“This is an investment in our students by First Citizens Bank that will pay off for them well beyond the dollar amount,” said Helen Diamond Steele, the business college’s director of student enrichment. “Student enrichment initiatives give our students an advantage, and through this program we will advance their potential further to become globally competitive professionals.”

First Citizens’ contribution will fully fund CU Business EDGE, enabling the program to improve and expand such development initiatives as etiquette dinners, resume workshops, mock interviews and dress-for-success events, to name a few. First Citizens also has announced it is contributing an additional $40,000 toward construction of the new business school, expected to be completed in January of 2020.

“First Citizens’ stepping up like this will help our students become more well-rounded and competitive,” Diamond Steele said. “This partnership is going to provide us the wherewithal to deliver these programs on a larger scale.”

Chuck Perry, an ’84 graduate of Clemson’s business college and area executive at First Citizens, said the partnership will enrich development opportunities for students, and it may open a talent pipeline for his employer.

“In supporting Clemson’s next generation of talent, First Citizens is hoping this partnership will make a difference in students’ lives and, of course, their careers,” said Perry, of Clemson. “We are well aware of the caliber of student the Clemson business college graduates, and we hope this connection will also make them more aware of the career opportunities First Citizens Bank has to offer.”

Nearly 90 Clemson alumni are employed by Raleigh, N.C.-headquartered First Citizens, which has grown to more than 500 branches in 21 states and has in excess of $34 billion in assets. Perry, along with another area executive, Jimmy Gulledge of Greenville, an ’83 graduate of Clemson’s business college, are First Citizens’ unofficial drivers of the partnership with Clemson’s College of Business.

“This is a mutually beneficial program that will bridge the demands of corporate culture and student experience,” Perry added. “The program is adding polish to the great education students are receiving at Clemson, plus they have an edge in employment opportunities with First Citizens and some of our customers.”

Diamond Steele said the EDGE program and building fund contributions epitomize the importance First Citizens puts on being a good corporate citizen.

“First Citizens is to banking what Clemson is to higher education,” she said. “Their generous support of business education at Clemson is a good illustration of why their business has had sustained success for more than 100 years, and continues to grow and prosper.”

END