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.