Funding the future
Like many Clemson University donors, Wade Sellers’ (CE ’63) philanthropy is framed and influenced by his student experiences.
As a civil engineering major, Sellers fell under the tutelage of Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Jack McCormac, who guided civil engineering undergraduates for a half-century. When McCormac retired, years after Sellers graduated, a call went out to former students to contribute remembrances and monetary donations to fund a retirement gift for McCormac.
“I sent in my recollections,” recalled Sellers. “But initially I didn’t provide a financial gift. After I got to thinking about what Professor McCormac had meant to me personally, I began contributing to the Jack McCormac Endowed Scholarship fund.” Since then Sellers has become more involved in giving back to the university.
When his class began planning its 25th reunion, the goal was to have every member contribute $1,963 to commemorate the year they graduated. Sellers thought about two members of his ROTC detachment who had not made it back from Vietnam, so he provided a gift in their names to honor the sacrifice they’d made.
A few years ago, Sellers was invited to become a member of the Brookland-Cayce High School Education Foundation. Serving his alma mater brought into focus the genuine need for undergraduate scholarships, so he and his wife, Judy created the Wade H. (’63) and Judy M. Sellers Civil Engineering Annual Scholarship.
More recently they’ve help fund the Lowry Hall Expansion and Modernization, and to commemorate the Class of 1963’s 50th anniversary reunion, the Sellers family also contributed to the Class of 1963 Bridge to Clemson University Endowment.
“Judy and I became aware of the Bridge program when a family friend was accepted and successfully transferred to Clemson,” he said. “This program holds so much potential for South Carolina students who are willing to put in the time and effort to become Clemson students.”
The Bridge to Clemson University program is a distinctive academic-transfer program available by invitation only. Beginning with a strong first-year academic experience at Tri-County Technical College, the Bridge program includes dedicated academic advising, student support services and a student life component — all of which are designed to help students succeed in meeting Bridge academic requirements and transferring to Clemson.
“A lot of us who graduated from Clemson in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s perhaps didn’t appreciate at the time what a valuable investment we’d made in getting a Clemson degree,” he said. “I’m just glad that I’m in a position to help some of these young people realize their dreams of becoming Clemson students, and eventually graduates.”
Gifts to the Class of 1963 Bridge to Clemson University Endowment can be made here: https://cualumni.clemson.edu/give/helms.