CLEMSON — Like Thomas Green Clemson, the Fort Hill Clemson Club is investing in future generations of students.

The Fort Hill Clemson Club presents a $50,000 check to associate vice president of advancement Brian O’Rourke to establish an endowment for Pickens and Oconee county students. From left: Brian O’Rourke, Larry Sloan, Fletcher Anderson, Jim Douglas, Gregg Cooley (Photo by Ashley Jones)

The Fort Hill Clemson Club presents a $50,000 check to Associate Vice President of advancement Brian O’Rourke to establish an endowment for Pickens and Oconee county students. From left: Brian O’Rourke, Larry Sloan, Fletcher Anderson, Jim Douglas, Gregg Cooley (Photo by Ashley Jones)

On behalf of the club, President Fletcher Anderson presented a $50,000 check to Clemson University, the second such gift the club has made to establish an endowment that will provide scholarships for students from Pickens and Oconee counties.

“This gift is a tribute to the Fort Hill Clemson Club’s commitment to sustaining Clemson well into the future,” said Brian O’Rourke, associate vice president for development. “We have a strong and dedicated group of alumni in Pickens and Oconee counties, and they understand the impact of establishing an endowment for local student scholarships for years to come.”

The Fort Hill Clemson Club is one of 74 worldwide in which alumni connect with one another and celebrate common bonds in their communities.

In 2014, the club established an endowment to impact students over the long term along with the annual scholarships they have funded since 2006.

“Our club is very fortunate to be able to raise a substantial amount of money every year, especially for the size we are, about 100 members,” said Anderson. “As I see it, the club will just continue to work to raise our endowment until our annual scholarships have all been replaced with endowed scholarships. Within 20 years, we may have a million dollar-plus endowment.”

“What pushed us was a chat with the financial aid and admissions staff and hearing their perspective on the benefits of an endowment: being able to attract students and offer them four-year scholarships. It was a no brainer,” former Fort Hill Clemson Club President Eric Braezel said when the club presented the first $50,000 last November. “Clemson is still young and has centuries to go. An endowment can make a significant difference.”

The club took cues from none other than Clemson’s founder and namesake in deciding to invest in a lasting plan, said Anderson.

“Thomas Green Clemson could have done a lot of things with his wealth that could have made a great immediate impact — maybe a bigger splash that would have given him more recognition. But he planned it in a way that would make an impact for the long run and that influenced our thinking,” he said.

The endowment is part of The Will to Lead, a $1 billion capital campaign to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.

All Clemson Clubs operate in conjunction with the Clemson Alumni Association. An open-membership, nonprofit organization since its inception in 1896, the Clemson Alumni Association connects members of the 136,000-strong Clemson family, inspiring pride, celebrating achievement, providing service and strengthening relationships with the university and with each other.

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