Clemson University means everything to Rob and Claudia Hubbard.
It’s where they first met in January 1973, when Rob was working part-time for Tom Lynch at Lynch Drug Co.
For months, Tom talked to both Rob and Claudia, a nursing professor at the University, trying repeatedly to set them up on blind dates. Though they weren’t interested in blind dates, they finally gave in.
In December 1972, when Rob was working, Tom handed Rob the phone and said “Someone wants to talk to you.” Unbeknownst to Rob, Tom had called Claudia and asked if she would be interested in doing some private nursing care for someone. Claudia said she would need further information before she would consider. All of a sudden, they both realized they had been “set up.” They laughed and talked and decided to go on their first date in January of 1973.
“We danced the same shag steps, and it was a match made in heaven,” Claudia said.
And from that moment, they knew they were meant for each other. They got married in August and throughout their marriage had three children and now six grandchildren.
For many years, Rob wanted to honor his wife, but he wasn’t sure the best way to do so until he talked with someone in the Clemson University Development office.
Claudia received a note explaining the gift on Thanksgiving Day and read it in front her children.
“She looked at it and all of a sudden, the big smile came and the tears started to flow,” Rob said.
A scholarship endowment to help second degree nursing students was a surprise gift to Claudia from her husband.
“I’m still very humbled and still don’t feel very deserving,” Claudia said, looking back on Thanksgiving.
The Hubbards chose the accelerated second degree nursing program for the endowment because of the lack of financial assistance for those students.
“There’s not much financial assistance for these students. A lot of them are already married and have children of their own, so it’s a strain for them to come back,” Claudia said.
Recent Clemson graduate Kelsey Sherard remembers the struggle of finding scholarships as a second degree nursing student. She knows other students will appreciate this gift too.
“It was discouraging at first. I thought, ‘How are you supposed to do this?’ and ‘How am I supposed to do what I love?’” Sherard said. “With the Hubbards and their contribution, it lowers that money barrier of ‘I don’t feel like I can do this,’ and it provides hope for us.”
Giving back to Clemson wasn’t a hard choice for the Hubbards.
Rob Hubbard says that Clemson is in his blood. His father, class of 1940, was the department head of Agricultural Communications as part of the Cooperative Extension Service. His love for Clemson prompted Rob to attend Clemson and major in pre-professional studies. After graduation, he went to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Since his graduation, he has practiced pharmacy in the Clemson area. In 1998, he and fellow Clemson alumnus and pharmacist Ron Young, started The Hubbard/Young Pharmacy in Clemson.
Even though Claudia grew up in New Bern, North Carolina, she also became part of the Clemson Family. After graduating from East Carolina University with her bachelor’s degree in nursing, she attended Emory University for her master’s degree. While there, she was recruited by Dean Geraldine Labecki to be a faculty member in what was then the College of Nursing at Clemson. She served as an assistant professor in the College of Nursing off and on for 20 years.
Their love for Clemson made it an easy decision for Rob to honor Claudia.
“Clemson’s done so much for us. And this was a way not only to give back to Clemson, but also to honor Claudia. She made an impact on many students,” Rob said. “I can’t think of a better way to honor Claudia. If she had not come here on staff, then I wouldn’t have met her. So, Clemson is special to us in so many ways. It’s special because of her, and it’s special because of our family.”
The Hubbards say they believe giving back to Clemson is one of the best investments one could make because the dividends truly make an impact on the students’ time here, and it makes a difference in the lives of future generations.
They are more than happy to invest in Clemson. The Hubbards also support the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, the South Carolina Botanical Garden, the Alumni Association and IPTAY.
“We’re all in!” said Rob.