The Moments that Matter Most
The Clemson Experience is made up of countless moments. These snapshots in our histories make an indelible mark, not only on our pasts, but also on our present and future paths. Here are three Clemson moments, as unique as the students themselves. The common tie is a love of this place and a commitment to aspire for even more.
It was 2013. Rachel Wyatt was a senior in high school and had just been named to the Clemson Rally Cats squad. She would start classes at Clemson in the fall. As she gathered with her new fellow Rallys and performed the Tiger Rag dance for the first time, she listened to the iconic music and knew Clemson was her perfect fit.
Flash forward to December 2015. After beating Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl to head to the College Football National Championship, the Clemson fans were celebrating. Rachel stood in the middle of the field enveloped in a sea of orange, surrounded by Tiger fans as they cried, laughed, hugged and proudly celebrated the win. Coach Dabo Swinney passionately gave his winning remarks.
There on that field, with oranges flying over her head and surrounded by her Clemson Family, Rachel could tangibly feel the pride, the spirit and what it meant to be a Tiger. It was simply unforgettable.
– by Courtney Meola
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Architecture
These days, Jonathan Shaffer spends much of his time designing Nike stores. Before graduating in 2014, however, he was just another student in Clemson’s architecture program. He was still searching for his identity as a designer, poring over sketches with a perfectionist’s eye, in the hope of finding something new in the points and curves.
Now he uses his keen eye for design to enhance the shopping experience for Nike customers all over the world.
Prior to becoming a Nike store designer living in Portland, Oregon, he was studying, learning and growing at Clemson through architecture’s fluid campus program in Charleston.
“It was amazing to work part time at an architecture firm and to be immersed in a rigorous curriculum, all while living in one of the most beautiful cities in the United States,” Shaffer said.
When he returned to the Clemson campus, he came back with valuable experience that he used to inform his designs. Guided by professors such as Ray Huff and Dan Harding, he began to build a strong identity as a young designer. The identity he developed at Clemson helped him land his current job with Nike.
“Clemson gave a sense of independence and drive to my life. Simultaneously, it taught me that relationships are everything when it comes to realizing your full potential in life.”
– by Glenn Bertram
Mauriq Hill grew up on the small Atlantic island of Bermuda, with a soccer ball at his feet and the sand between his toes. Everywhere he went, he saw someone he knew.
At Clemson, though, the ocean isn’t anywhere in sight. Instead, there’s placid Hartwell Lake and the Blue Ridge Mountains standing watch on the horizon. One feature, however, is the same — the soccer field. There he has made many a memory. As a member of the Clemson men’s soccer team, he’s had some moments that he won’t ever forget. And his teammates have been alongside him for all of them.
They’ve practiced together, they’ve traveled together, and they’ve won together. They’ve even gone sledding together. The most memorable moment thus far, though, was their trip to the 2015 national championship match in Kansas City.
“Playing in the National Championship almost felt like a dream,” Hill said. “It didn’t really hit me until we were in the locker room before the game. Playing on the biggest stage in college soccer was one thing that the whole team dreamed about.”
Hill felt the sting of defeat that day in Kansas City, but he’s not looking back with any regrets. The ability to play alongside his teammates — his brothers — on the national stage is reason enough to savor that particular moment for the rest of his life.
– by Glenn Bertram