Making Life Better: A Sweet Legacy — Wallace R. Roy
If you grew up on orange juice — the sweet, slushy, frozen kind that comes in a tiny can and magically turns into a delicious pitcherful with the swirl of a spoon and some water — you have a Clemson alumnus to thank.
Chemical engineering graduate Wallace Roy ’26 helped develop the frozen concentrated orange juice of our childhood, establishing nearly the same process that’s used today. A former vice president and board member of Minute Maid, he was also vice president for technical services and a consultant for the Coca-Cola Co. In addition, he helped develop the Fresca and Fanta brands.
After Clemson, Roy earned advanced degrees at the University of Kentucky and the University of Minnesota. Soon after military service, he joined National Research Corp. in Orlando, Fla., which later became Minute Maid.
His career was so successful that he was named one of the “top 20 distinguished contributors to 20th century food processing” by Canner-Packer Magazine. He also held three patents, a stack of professional publications and many other honors.
His success was no surprise to those who knew him at Clemson. In fact, he was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977 for records he set in track and for performances in football and basketball. And, in 1986, the Clemson Alumni Association presented him with its highest honor – the Distinguished Service Award.
Along with his civic activities and philanthropy in Orlando, Roy continued to support Clemson throughout his life, giving to the Permanent Unrestricted Endowment, the Pooled Income Fund, the Libraries and other areas.
When Roy passed away last summer at the age of 97, his daughter, Patty Roy Edwards, chose to continue his legacy at Clemson. She established an endowment through the Clemson University Foundation to fund a professorship in his name – the Dr. Wallace R. Roy Distinguished Professorship. The endowment will provide supplemental support for an outstanding faculty member in the area of biotechnology and biomedical sciences.
“After love of his family and his church, came my father’s lifelong devotion to Clemson,” says Edwards. “Of all the honors that came to him during a long career, induction into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame and being given the Clemson Distinguished Service Award were among his most cherished achievements. It’s appropriate that my father’s love and respect for Clemson will go on in the form of a science-related endowment in his name.”
Because Patty Edwards shares the foresight and generosity of her father, the Roy legacy at Clemson will continue to make life better.
It was this kind of concern for the future and belief in education that prompted Thomas Green Clemson to begin his own legacy over a century ago with a provision in his will. His decision to establish a “high seminary of learning” continues to make a world of difference today.