Richardson $1 million challenge gift to benefit Emerging Scholars attending Clemson
CLEMSON – Businessman and Clemson University trustee Mark Richardson and his wife, Kathryn, have given $1 million for a scholarship fund to help ensure that all Emerging Scholars students accepted into Clemson University can attend the school with financial aid.
Since 2002, the university’s Emerging Scholars program has made higher education a reality for students at five high schools along the I-95 corridor who may not have seen college in their future.
Selected rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors attend the residential program on the Clemson campus in three separate summer experiences. They enroll in courses and workshops that prepare them to graduate high school and apply for college.
During the academic school year, these students participate in college-access workshops and exercises at a local community college. They also visit colleges and universities in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina.
To date all of the program’s students have graduated from high school. Ninety percent of them attend college or join the military their first year out of high school. The Richardson gift is designated to help the students who are accepted into and decide to attend Clemson University.
“I am grateful to Mark and Kathryn for their support of our Emerging Scholars students,” said Clemson University President James P. Clements. “This gift will make a Clemson education accessible to generations of students who once thought that college was out of their reach. The Richardsons are truly making a difference for these students and for Clemson.”
“My family and I believe that every student, regardless of financial need, who wishes to develop their greatest abilities through education should have that chance. This gift is the beginning of an effort to ensure that any Emerging Scholar who wants to come to Clemson University can,” Richardson said.
Ten alumni of the Emerging Scholars program have attended and graduated from Clemson. Nine more are currently enrolled, three of whom will graduate this May. With the help of this scholarship, 13 incoming freshmen have been admitted for the fall semester.
Chuck Knepfle, Clemson’s associate vice president for enrollment management, said “The Emerging Scholars Program does a fantastic job of preparing their students for college. With the help of this gift, we now can recruit them to Clemson without worrying about it being affordable. The Richardson gift, along with a significant scholarship commitment made by the University, greatly reduces, and for some students eliminates, the financial barrier for the next 10 years, but a sizable endowment is needed for the financial support to continue forever.”
Emerging Scholars Program Manager Amber Lange acknowledged the impact of the Richardsons’ generosity. “The goal of Emerging Scholars is to not only change a student’s life but to make college accessible in communities where there is not always a clear path to success,” she said. “This gift from the Richardsons will help our students attain a valuable Clemson degree and make sure the financial burden they often feel is lifted.”
The gift is a part of Clemson’s The Will to Lead $1 billion capital campaign to support students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.