Clemson has secured a serious donation — a college’s report donation of $60 million — to call the brand new enterprise college on the heart of campus.
The donor is a Pee Dee businessman who was raised on a farm and made his fortune by way of his Florence-based development and property administration companies. W.O. “Billy Powers, now in his 80s, attended Clemson within the Nineteen Fifties earlier than returning residence to work on the household farm.
The reward, made alongside together with his spouse Ann Powers, marks the biggest one-time donation to a enterprise college within the state. Darla Moore has donated a mixed $70 million to the enterprise college named after her on the College of South Carolina.
The lion’s share of the cash might be positioned in an endowment, Enterprise Dean Wendy York stated. It’s going to fund packages and pupil scholarships for “100 years.” Particulars on how the cash could be spent weren’t but launched, however York stated a number of the cash would go towards the brand new enterprise faculty’s development as nicely.
Clemson’s Faculty of Enterprise has greater than 5,000 college students, and enterprise is the quickest rising main on campus.
The school of enterprise will now be often called the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers Faculty of Enterprise. Constructed at a value of $87.5 million, the twin-tower business college just off Walter T. Cox Boulevard supplies 176,000 sq. ft of instructing and customary area for undergraduate enterprise college students. Situated on the coronary heart of the Clemson campus simply throughout from Sikes Corridor, it opened for courses this fall.
The South Tower of the Enterprise faculty might be named after their grandson, Chandler Burns, who graduated in 2015 however died of a sudden sickness in 2016.
Ann Powers stated her husband is accustomed to donating anonymously however broke with behavior due to the chance to highlight their grandson. Billy Powers stated he had all the time anticipated Chandler to take over his enterprise
“It simply destroyed us,” Billy Powers stated in a taped assertion
The Powers’ daughter, Penny, stated Billy Powers acknowledged how laborious Chandler labored. Penny Burns stated she hopes the constructing and her son will encourage college students to not take without any consideration the time they’ve.
“Will probably be troublesome to take all of it in,” Penny Burns stated of the prospect of seeing her father and son’s names on buildings at Clemson.
Billy Powers has a protracted legacy of philanthropy. His donations in recent times by way of the W.O. Powers Basis have benefited the Florence County Disabilities Basis, the United Method of Florence County and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, amongst others. He has additionally obtained the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Pee Dee Boy Scouts and is a previous board member of the Nationwide Residence Builders Affiliation.
Powers has obtained multiple honors from Clemson, together with a distinguished service award from the college’s alumni affiliation in 2011. He attended Clemson from 1953 by way of 1956 however didn’t graduate. Powers is a previous board member of the Clemson College Basis, and he obtained an honorary physician of humanities diploma from Clemson in 2004, in line with a 2011 media launch. He’s additionally a lifelong member of IPTAY.
“We’ve got our first named faculty and our college students are going to profit … for many years to come back,” Clemson President Jim Clements stated after the announcement.
“Billy loves this place,” Clements stated. “He believes Clemson modified his life.”
He described Billy and Ann Powers as laborious working and humble folks. He stated they’ve quietly donated a lot to the college through the years.
Billy Powers began his first enterprise — Powers Development — in 1965 after working as a surveyor for the South Carolina Division of Transportation.
Powers’ different firms embody Powers Properties, Worth Carolina Aquatech Swimming pools and Powers Aviation, in line with a 2018 profile of the businessman within the Florence Morning Information.
The Morning Information piece described his “quiet generosity” after he was awarded the Marion Medallion from the newspaper and Francis Marion College. College President Fred Carter declined on the time to say how a lot cash Powers had given his college and to different organizations all through the Florence group besides to say it had made a big impression.
“I am unable to inform you how a lot he is given, as a result of he would not need me to,” Carter stated on the time. “He is supported scholarships, amenities, scholarships, expertise, scholarships and scholarships and scholarships.”
Comply with Anna B. Mitchell on Twitter at @AnnaBard2U.