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Greenville Business Magazine

Wells Fargo Donates to Clemson Diversity Programs

Jan 12, 2018 08:42AM ● By Emily Stevenson

Students in two Clemson University programs will benefit from scholarships and course enhancement, resulting from a Wells Fargo gift of $350,000.  The funding — $200,000 in scholarships for Call Me MISTER and $150,000 for Emerging Scholars — will support initiatives focused on improving educational outcomes for diverse student populations across South Carolina.

“We are thrilled to continue our support of Clemson University’s Emerging Scholars and Call Me MISTER programs,” said Wells Fargo South Carolina Community Affairs Officer Susan Bankson. “Wells Fargo believes that supporting education is one of the most important investments we can make in our country’s future. Today’s young people are tomorrow’s business owners, leaders and teachers, and we are proud to support Clemson University in its efforts to provide students with opportunities through significant diversity initiatives like these programs.”

Lee A. Gill, Clemson’s chief diversity officer and special assistant to the president for inclusive excellence, said the Wells Fargo gift plays a crucial role in Clemson’s continuing efforts to pull increasing numbers of students from underserved areas. He said Wells Fargo’s support is also integral to increasing the pool of diverse educators in the state.

“Wells Fargo’s generous grant to these programs could not be more welcomed or timely,” said Gill. “As Clemson focuses greater attention on inclusive excellence, this grant brings brighter educational and career prospects for young people of color and first-generation college students.”

Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) was established to increase the number of diverse teachers in South Carolina. The program provides tuition assistance for its students in teacher education at participating colleges. It also provides a social, cultural and academic support system that helps assure the graduates’ success.

“Every time a MISTER graduates and arrives in a school to lead their own classroom, there is a ripple effect across education,” said Call ME MISTER Director Roy Jones. “By supporting our mission to recruit and develop even more prospective teachers, this gift from Wells Fargo helps us to continue to produce a wave of effective teachers for our state.”

The Emerging Scholars program provides high school students in economically challenged counties in South Carolina the knowledge and skills to succeed in college through a variety of initiatives, including mentoring, workshops, college tours and summer residential experiences at Clemson. All of the Emerging Scholars students — more than 500 to date — have graduated from high school, with 90 percent going on to attend college or join the military.

“The continued support Wells Fargo provides Emerging Scholars has allowed us to increase the number of students we serve,” said Amber Lange, executive director of the Office of College Preparation and Outreach. “This summer we will expand into two new high schools and that would not be possible without Wells Fargo.”

Since 2008, Wells Fargo has given a total of $1.56 million to Call Me MISTER and $750,000 to Emerging Scholars. As a longtime supporter of the university, Wells Fargo has donated more than $3.6 million to Clemson since 1991.