Alumni couple give $1 million to benefit Clemson students
CLEMSON — Clemson University alumnus Maurice “Butch” Ferree and his wife, Joy, have created a charitable remainder trust valued at more than $1 million to benefit students in the university’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.
Half of the money will establish the Dr. Maurice E. “Butch” Ferree and Joy Culver Ferree Scholarship Endowment to provide scholarships for students in the college. The other half will create an endowment to provide experiential learning opportunities for students.
“We are so grateful to the Ferrees for their generosity,” said Thomas Scott, dean of the college. “This gift will not only help students attend Clemson, but it will also fund priceless learning experiences for them. Like Dr. Ferree, our students will go on to work in such industries as agriculture and horticulture. This gift will help our students be better prepared to enter those industries and make an impact in their fields.”
The Ferrees, who have been married 49 years, have long ties to the city of Clemson and the university. Both were born elsewhere, but moved to Clemson during childhood. They became friends in the mid-1950s at Calhoun-Clemson High School, and both graduated from D.W. Daniel High School.
Joy attended the University of Georgia, then transferred to Clemson after one quarter. Butch earned his degree in horticulture in 1965. His father, who graduated from Clemson in 1939, worked at the school as a peach expert. Ferree wanted to follow in his footsteps by working with the peach industry, so he stayed at Clemson to earn his master’s degree in 1967 and then attended Virginia Tech, earning his Ph.D. in 1970. Joy later completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia in 1976.
After completing school, Butch served with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged as captain. After serving in the military, he went on to hold positions on the faculties at Ohio State University, Auburn University and the University of Georgia.
During his career, he was named “Mr. Peach” by the Georgia Peach Council, received a service award from the South Carolina Peach Council and received the Distinguished Achievement in Public Service Medal from the University of Georgia.
In 1998, the couple retired to Clemson.
“We just both love Clemson,” said Butch. “I don’t have anything but good memories of being a student here. Looking back, most of my professors were tough as nails, but they loved their students. They were making men out of boys — that stuck with me. That experience was so valuable for me.”
“Clemson is a place I have loved all my life,” said Joy. “We want to see it continue to grow, and we wanted to help deserving students complete their education here.”
This gift is part of Clemson University’s The Will to Lead $1 billion capital campaign to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.