Clemson receives $2.5 million gift for athletic facilities


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Poe donated the money in honor of Swinney, his staff and in memory of her late husband, Billy.

CLEMSON — Longtime Clemson supporter Betty Poe of Greenville made the second cornerstone gift of $2.5 million to Clemson University Athletics for facilities.

The Clemson Athletic Cornerstone Program is a vital part of the new athletics facilities initiative. With new facilities, upgrades or rebuilds planned for football, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer and Vickery Hall, it will be the most comprehensive change to the facilities of athletics ever undertaken at Clemson.

“Betty Poe has given so much to Clemson, both as a donor and as a volunteer. I cannot thank her enough for everything that she has done,” said President James P. Clements. “Betty is a truly outstanding member of the Clemson Family, and her gifts have made a real difference for the University.”

A retired insurance executive, Poe served as co-chair of the leadership phase of The Will To Lead Campaign and on the Foundation Board at Clemson, following in the footsteps of her husband Billy’s commitment to his alma mater. She serves on numerous other boards and is active in her church and community. Additionally, she serves as the First Vice President for the National Federation of Republican Women and is actively engaged with republican presidential candidates, many of whom she has invited to Clemson football games.

The Poe Cornerstone Gift is the second Cornerstone Gift to Clemson Athletics announced by the university, and is one in a long line of donations made by Mrs. Poe. Her lifelong giving has eclipsed $5 million, in appreciation for which she will be inducted into Clemson’s prestigious Trustee Oak Society. She has supported facilities such as Memorial Stadium’s Poe Plaza and student entrance gate and was a Founding Partner of the Barker Scholars Initiative. She also served on the WestZone Capital Committee, leading the effort to raise funds for the football stadium expansion.

Mrs. Poe makes this generous donation in honor of head football coach Dabo Swinney and his staff and in memory of her late husband, Billy “Tweet” Poe, a football letterman for legendary coach Frank Howard at Clemson in 1944-46. He was drafted into the Army and, after serving his country with distinction, returned to Clemson to finish his degree.

“Betty has long been a tremendous supporter of our athletic programs here at Clemson, and her recent commitment to become a Cornerstone Partner solidifies her place as the First Lady for Clemson Athletics,” IPTAY CEO Davis Babb said. “She has graciously donated not only her support but also her time as she has taken a leadership role in every athletics and IPTAY initiative we have embarked upon.”

The influence of Clemson Cornerstones will be felt across campus and in every area of Clemson athletics, and will be recognized at every facility. As the names of Riggs, Heisman, McFadden and others are engraved on the programs they built, the names of Cornerstone philanthropists will be engraved in every new and renovated athletic facility.

This cornerstone gift is part of Clemson University’s The Will to Lead capital campaign to raise $1 billion to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.

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