Erwin Scholars pose with President James P. Clements, Joe Erwin, faculty and members of Clemson’s executive leadership team.

Erwin Scholars pose with President James P. Clements, Joe Erwin, faculty and members of Clemson’s Executive Leadership Team.
Image Credit: Erwin Center for Brand Communications

CLEMSON – Students representing nine colleges and universities in both Carolinas are learning about the impact of effective communication during the first Clemson University Erwin Center Summer Scholars (ECSS) program.

The objective of the Erwin Center Summer Scholars program is to give students access to industry professionals and provide hands-on training and advance diversity in the world of brand communication.

Students in the program are from six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) – Claflin University, Elizabeth City State University, North Carolina Central University, South Carolina State University and Winston-Salem State University. Clemson, the University of South Carolina and the University of North Carolina are also represented.

Erwin Center logoInclusion is a strategic priority at Clemson and a key pillar of branding education at the Erwin Center for Brand Communications.

Diversity is an integral part of the Erwin Center’s mission for branding education and it is such an important focus of the marketing industry as a whole.” said Joe Erwin, Erwin Center Co-founder. “Brands can and should play a strong role in making the world a better place by embracing multicultural communication and cultivating future leaders.”

Erwin Scholars are networking with industry professionals, receiving hands-on training and engaging in a little competition by working on a real-world brand project from presenting sponsor Denny’s.

“We are honored to partner with the Erwin Center for this year’s Summer Scholars Program,” said John Denny's logoDillon, chief marketing officer for Denny’s. “Since opening our doors, Denny’s has been committed to building a brand that strongly embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion at every level of our organization. This year’s Erwin Center partnership allows us the chance to extend that commitment to the students and future leaders in our communities. We are thrilled to have the chance to guide this year’s group of passionate, talented and diverse leaders as they work on real brand projects, including ours at Denny’s.”

The Erwin Center teamed up with Clemson Inclusion and Equity for the new summer initiative.

Erwin Center Summer Scholars learn from industry professionals and Clemson faculty.

Erwin Center Summer Scholars learn from industry professionals and Clemson faculty.

“We are proactively leading education-based programming within diversity and inclusion efforts in a way that collaborates with other members of the higher education community,” said Cherese Fine, Ph.D., Clemson Inclusion and Equity. “Together we are equipping students with practical tools and networking opportunities to help them achieve their desired results.”

Adjunct professors from the Erwin Center and faculty in the College of Business and the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences and guest lecturers from leading marketing and brand agencies will teach the sessions. And Clemson’s chief brand ambassador, President James P. Clements, visited with the students to talk about the importance of communications and messaging.

The marketing and communications field covers a wide range of careers from public relations to journalism, and the Erwin Center Summer Scholars program is comprehensive and immersive.

“Tools, contacts and experiences are the primary takeaways of this program,” said Lori Pindar, Ph.D., Erwin Center assistant director. “We hope students leave empowered and ready to provide leadership in both marketing and diversity with some of the world’s most influential brands.”

The program ends at 6 p.m. Friday with a graduation ceremony and banquet at Clemson’s Greenville One campus in downtown Greenville. Katrice Hardy, executive editor of the Greenville News and South Regional editor for the USA Today Network, will deliver the keynote address.  A panel of marketing experts will judge the students’ brand projects and organizers will announce the winner at 9 a.m. Saturday.

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In addition to Denny’s, program sponsors include the Greenville Drive, the USA Today Network and the Greenville News, the Clemson Master of Business Administration, the Erwin Creates and Endeavor.