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Greenville Business Magazine

Erwins Donate $2.5 Million to Clemson

Mar 29, 2018 04:10PM ● By Kathleen Maris

Photo: Clemson President James P. Clements thanks Gretchen and Joe Erwin for their academic cornerstone gift at Thursday’s announcement. Provided by Clemson University Relations.

Joe and Gretchen Erwin of Greenville made a $2.5 million gift to Clemson University - $1 million for the new College of Business building and $1.5 million for a student scholarship and programming support for communication students and adjunct faculty. Cumulatively, the Erwins have given more than $5 million to Clemson to further the university’s mission and vision.

“The impact of Joe and Gretchen’s generosity is far-reaching and speaks to the innovative leadership they have displayed consistently on behalf of Clemson,” said Clemson President James P. Clements. “Their latest gift will support scholarships for some of our country’s most talented students, ensure the continued success of The Erwin Center for Brand Communications and help us create a world-class business education facility.”

With this gift, the Erwins become the second Cornerstone Partner for Academics at Clemson University. The Cornerstone program is made up of individuals who commit transformational funding of $2.5 million or more to help set the course for Clemson’s future success as one of the nation’s top-ranked public universities. To date, there have been 10 Cornerstone Partners for Clemson Athletics.

“As Clemson continues to elevate its national presence and rankings, it is even more important that future marketers graduating from Clemson and The Erwin Center for Brand Communications enter their chosen fields not merely prepared, but with a competitive advantage,” said Joe Erwin, president and founder of Erwin Creates.

“Gretchen and I are thrilled that this new investment will allow the Erwin Center to expand course offerings and faculty, and that Erwin Center funds will, for the first time, be available for research in the brand communications and marketing fields,” he said. “Programmatically and physically, this commitment helps establish the Erwin Center’s presence in the new College of Business, and we so appreciate President Jim Clements and Dean Bobby McCormick for helping make this possible.”

In 2012, the couple established The Erwin Center for Advertising and Communication (now the Erwin Center for Brand Communications) at the university. Its mission is to ensure that graduates are equipped to enter today’s global workforce and contribute their creativity and resourcefulness in a variety of communications fields. Professors build on their industry experience and apply communication theories to actual client challenges.

“Joe and Gretchen are two of Clemson’s most generous supporters who share their vision and creativity by their actions as well as their words. They have been demonstrating their commitment to Clemson and Clemson students for years, and by becoming the university’s second Cornerstone Partner for Academics, they are taking that commitment to an even higher level. They exemplify enlightened philanthropy at its best,” said Brian O’Rourke, vice president for Development and Alumni Relations.