CLEMSON — Professional engineer Richard Cottingham and his wife, Nancy, of Seneca have pledged $500,000 to establish the J. Richard (’66) and Nancy W. Cottingham Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering Endowment at Clemson University.

The Cottinghams are passionate about Clemson and about professional licensure in the engineering profession. Both have served on state boards of registration, and Richard has served as president of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). In 2014, he received the NCEES Distinguished Service Award with Special Commendation for his dedicated service to the engineering and surveying professions—the highest award given by the NCEES.

Richard and Nancy Cottingham

Richard and Nancy Cottingham

The endowment will support a Distinguished Professorship in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering and Science. The recipient must be a professional engineer. Promotion of licensure among students and faculty in the College of Engineering and Science will be one of the primary objectives for the position, thus enriching the student process for professional engineering development and licensure and helping to meet the engineering challenges of the future.

“In my career, I have personally experienced the value of licensure as a professional engineer and am committed to encouraging other Clemson alumni, students and faculty to pursue licensure,” said Cottingham.

An endowed professorship will enable Clemson University to attract and retain a professor with national prominence. A portion of the endowment budget will be used to supplement the salary of the named distinguished professor.

“We appreciate this generous gift from the Cottinghams, as well as the countless hours that both Richard and Nancy have invested in promoting licensure to engineers at Clemson,” said Dr. Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering and Science.

This gift is part of Clemson University’s The Will to Lead capital campaign to raise $1 billion to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.

Richard is a retired U. S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps captain and has had a successful career in engineering private practice since Navy retirement. His accomplishments and generosity to his alma mater include: recruiting and hiring numerous Clemson engineering graduates, serving on the civil engineering department’s advisory board, serving as a guest lecturer each semester in the engineering college, serving on the Clemson University Foundation board and the Alumni National Council and serving as an IPTAY regional coordinator. He is an IPTAY Life Endowment Donor, and in 1998 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Clemson Alumni Association, its highest award.

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