A Clemson family is establishing an endowment that will help provide the funds that students need to study abroad while they are in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.

Rusty and LeeAnn Harris, who both graduated from Clemson in 1986, have pledged funds to start the Rusty and LeeAnn Harris Family Grant-in-Aid Endowment.

Rusty Harris, left, and his wife, LeeAnn, recently met with Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.

Rusty Harris, left, and his wife, LeeAnn, recently met with Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.

The pledge comes as the college expands its global engagement options, aiming to have at least one third of its students traveling abroad by 2025.

The Harrises designed the fund to enable the dean to recruit top incoming freshman or provide awards to current students in the college.  Recipients of the award should exhibit strong academic merit, financial need or are members of an underrepresented population.

The award funds may be used to offset expenses related to study abroad, intern or co-op abroad, service abroad, or other academic international experiences.  The dean will work with the college’s global engagement program manager to select grant-in-aid recipients.

Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the college, said he was grateful to the Harris family for their generous support.

“Global engagement is essential to developing engineers and scientists who are prepared to lead in an increasingly interconnected world,” he said. “I would like to thank the Harrises for helping enhance the college’s competitiveness in offering global engagement experiences.”

Rusty Harris received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Clemson. He is SCANA’s senior vice president of gas distribution.

LeeAnn (Haralson) Harris received an elementary-education degree from Clemson.

Their oldest son, Will, is a student at the University of North Carolina.  His experiences as a recipient of dean-directed, study-abroad aid and recruitment helped to inspire the fund.

Their middle son, Jack, is a sophomore studying mechanical engineering at Clemson and was recently accepted into Calhoun Honors College. The couple’s daughter, Carlisle, is a high school senior, and has submitted her application to Clemson for fall 2017.