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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: $10 Million for Clemson Scholarships

Nov 16, 2022 06:11PM ● By David Dykes

Mark and Kathryn Richardson: Passionate About The Power of Education

Mark and Kathryn Richardson are making a transformational gift of $10 million to support scholarships for Clemson University students.

Clemson officials said that with this gift, they become the university’s newest Academic Cornerstone Partner.  

Mark Richardson is a 1983 Clemson graduate, former 1981 National Championship Football team athlete, university trustee and a successful businessman. Kathryn Richardson is an Elon University graduate.

Their $10 million gift — the largest gift to Clemson University from a former student-athlete—will support general scholarships, the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, projects and programs within the College of Education that strengthen teacher retention, and several crucial programs across Clemson that increase access to education and enhance students’ Clemson Experience: Emerging Scholars, Call Me MiSTER and ClemsonLIFE.

“Mark and Kathryn Richardson’s transformational $10 million dollar gift to Clemson University will increase access to education for generations of future Tigers,” said Clemson University President Jim Clements.

“The Richardson’s believe in the power of an education and know the impact a college degree has on students, families and entire communities. Through their gift, the Richardsons are also challenging the Clemson Nation to contribute to the success of our students through the Champions 4 Access to Education challenge, and we know our community will step up in a big way. We are incredibly grateful for Mark and Kathryn Richardson’s generosity and for all they have done and continue to do for Clemson University.”

Mark Richardson came to Clemson from Spartanburg, S.C., in 1979. A defensive end for Clemson Football, he was a three-year letterman and played on the National Championship team in 1981 and ACC Championship teams in 1981 and 1982.

Richardson earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Clemson in 1983 and an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in 1987.

Through his entrepreneurial vision and work ethic, Mark Richardson built a diverse portfolio of successful business ventures.

He is the co-founder and former co-owner and president of the Carolina Panthers. Richardson was the Panthers’ first employee and spent the franchise’s initial 17 years as director of business operations and president. 

Starting at his kitchen table in May 1987 as the sole employee, Richardson led and directed a team throughout a 6½-year NFL expansion campaign that culminated with the unanimous selection of the Carolina Panthers, the 29th franchise of the NFL, on Oct. 26, 1993.

Since 2009, he has been the managing partner of MAR Real Estate and RAM Investments, private equity and real estate development and investment firms with single-tenant, multi-tenant, industrial, retail, hospitality, residential and office properties in Alabama, Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Illinois and Ohio.

He holds private equity investment positions in 52 Bojangles, 98 Sonic Drive-Ins, Ascension, Wheels Up, Sure Can, Christensen Arms, Spacious Skies Campgrounds, Red Rock Industrial Fund, Encore Bank, Cantoni Furniture, Savannah Aloft Hotel and BOA Nutrition. 

Mark and Kathryn Richardson split their time between residences in Charleston, Charlotte and Chicago. They have four children.

He serves on the Clemson University Board of Trustees, Encore Bank Board of Directors, MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital Advisory Board in Charleston and SC Teach For America Advisory Board. He has previously been a board member for Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Regional Partnership and Classroom Central.

Through the years, Mark Richardson’s engagement as a Clemson alumnus has advanced numerous academic and athletic programs across the university.

Richardson was a founding member of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business’ Trevillian Cabinet and was named to the Clemson University Board of Trustees in 2013.

SC Ports Handled Record Volumes in October

South Carolina Ports handled a record number of containers in October, marking its third busiest month in port history.

SC Ports reported 9 percent container growth year-over-year as 256,879 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) moved through Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in October.

When accounting for boxes of any size, SC Ports handled 142,276 pier containers last month.

Imports remain strong, with 121,305 loaded import TEUs coming through the Port of Charleston last month, up nearly 13 percent from last October. Ports officials said the sustained growth is driven by strong consumer demand and a growing Southeast population.

“Our excellent SC Ports teammates and maritime partners seamlessly handled record cargo volumes in October,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said.

“We have maintained berth availability and terminal capacity since early May, making SC Ports the only major East Coast port without ships waiting to access our terminals.”

SC Ports recently handled three 1,200-foot ships simultaneously at Wando Welch Terminal — a first for the 40-year-old container terminal that has been enhanced with big ship capabilities and more cargo capacity.

SC Ports also handled 14,365 rail moves at Inland Ports Greer and Dillon, 17,996 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal and 24,406 cruise passengers at Union Pier Terminal last month.

Nucor Joining the United Nations 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Global Compact

Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) said it is joining the United Nations 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Global Compact.

Nucor also said it is the first major industrial company to join this global effort, which is aimed at accelerating the decarbonization of the world's electricity systems to mitigate climate change and ensure access to clean and affordable electricity.

"In order for us to achieve a carbon-free energy future while also meeting the growing demand for energy, it is critical that we embrace all forms of clean, zero-carbon energy sources, from wind, solar and hydro, to nuclear power," said Leon Topalian, Nucor's chair, president, and chief executive officer.

To further its commitment, Nucor said it is working with its electricity suppliers to access 24/7 clean energy at the company's steel mills. It is actively investing in a number of innovative projects that the company believes will accelerate the transition to 24/7 clean energy.

For example, in April 2022, Nucor announced a strategic investment in NuScale Power Corporation (NYSE: SMR), a developer of small modular reactor nuclear plants.

Nucor said it believes this technology presents an incredible opportunity to develop a safe, modern, zero-carbon nuclear energy future.

The compact was formed in response to the urgent need to drive rapid decarbonization across the global economy.

A group of energy buyers, energy suppliers, governments, system operators, solutions providers, investors and other organizations joined together to adopt, enable and advance the transition to a zero-carbon electrical grid.

Supporters say the compact is a set of principles and actions that stakeholders across the energy ecosystem can commit to in order to drive systemic change. 

Carolina Lights Show Returns Dec. 3 at South Carolina State Fairgrounds

The South Carolina State Fair welcomes the holiday season with the return of Carolina Lights, its annual downtown drive-through holiday lights show, taking place Dec. 3-26 (closed Christmas Day) at the Lexington Medical Center Fair Park at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia.

Now in its fourth year, the holiday drive-through lights experience will feature more than 100 individual LED light displays synchronized to holiday music along a nearly two-mile stretch inside the fairgrounds.

Guests will be delighted by dinosaurs, gingerbread soccer, Santa Claus, Elf on the Shelf, tunnel of lights, the 12-days of Christmas, plus many more surprises. The S.C. State Fair’s popular chocolate chip cookies, milk and Pepsi products will be available for purchase.

Guests can tune their radios to 88.9 FM to music that synchronizes with the lights.

Discount car passes ($5 savings) are available at now through Dec. 2, 2022.

Admission is $20 per car, $35 per mini-bus (9-24 passengers) and $70 for vehicles with 25 or more passengers. Passes can be purchased at or at the gate. Cash and credit card (VISA and Mastercard) will be accepted.

Carolina Lights will run Dec. 3-26 from 6-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The lights show will be closed on Christmas Day.

Patrons should enter at Gate 6 on George Rogers Boulevard.

To ensure the safety of all and in order to control the flow of traffic, visitors will not be permitted to exit their vehicles. Guests who wish to drive-through a second time on the same night may request a re-entry pass at the exit gate. (The opportunity ends 15 minutes before closing each night.)

The South Carolina State Fair, a self-supporting 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was organized in 1869 and is dedicated to preserving and promoting South Carolina’s agricultural roots while supporting statewide education.

In addition to the 12-day South Carolina State Fair, the charitable organization manages annual football parking, is a popular event venue and hosts Carolina Lights — Columbia's downtown drive-through lights show.

The South Carolina State Fair has awarded more than $4 million in scholarships since 1997.

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