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Anderson University Receives $8 Million Gift for Graduate Studies, Awards Honorary Degree

Today at Anderson University’s commencement, university president Dr. Evans Whitaker announced that Anderson has received the largest gift in its 98-year history.  The $8 million gift from the late David T. Clamp, originally of Honea Path, SC, is designated for the university’s growing graduate programs.  The University will honor the donor by naming its recently established graduate program in ministry the David T. Clamp Graduate School of Christian Ministry.

“David Clamp was one of the finest men I have ever known,” Whitaker said.  “He had a lifelong passion for Christian higher education and Anderson University in particular.  His interest led him to commit to help Anderson successfully launch its graduate programs.  He was particularly interested in providing avenues of study that prepare men and women for the ministry,” he added.

Over the last few years, Whitaker and Anderson’s vice president for institutional advancement, Dean Woods, visited often with Mr. Clamp and his wife, Jane Ferguson Clamp, at their home in Waynesboro, Virginia to discuss the gift.

Of Mr. Clamp, Woods said, “He was a very humble and unassuming man who dedicated the better part of his life to saving and investing as a matter of stewardship.  In recent years, he was especially proud of the way Anderson University had advanced and risen in the national rankings.  He saw his gift as an investment that would pay dividends far beyond his lifetime,” Woods added.

Also during commencement, Whitaker posthumously awarded Clamp an honorary doctor of humanities degree for his extraordinary life of service, stewardship, and support of Christian higher education.  Mrs. Clamp was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree for her shared generosity in the gift.

“Mrs. Clamp is an exceedingly special individual.  Not only did she lead a distinguished life of civil service, she was a faithful spouse and a dedicated, loving care-taker for her husband in the last years of his life.  Without her support, this gift would not have been possible,” Whitaker said.

One of eight children who grew up on a cotton farm just outside Honea Path, SC, Mr. Clamp discovered early that he had a gift for managing numbers with great attention to detail.  He used that talent in the U.S. Army and, after graduating with a degree in business from Pace University in New York City, he applied his accounting talent to a long career with the Civil Aeronautics Board in Washington, D. C.  He focused most of his time auditing U. S. air carriers and evaluating their operations.

Mrs. Clamp grew up in Uniontown, PA, where she was one of six children.  She began her career with the F. B. I. and later worked for the Civil Aeronautics Board as an administrative officer with the Bureau of Accounts and Statistics, where she met David Clamp.  The Clamps retired to Waynesboro, VA, where their church home is the historic First Baptist Church.   

Whitaker began implementing the Clamp’s vision last year and, as a result, the Clamp Graduate School of Christian Ministry plans to launch its first offering, the Master of Ministry (M. Min.) degree program in fall 2009.  The program will be offered on campus and online.  Last summer, the university hired as the Clamp School’s founding dean, Michael Duduit, Ph.D., a highly respected educator and editor of Preaching Magazine, a role he will continue as dean.  The program will be open to men and women who hold bachelor’s degrees from regionally accredited institutions.  More information on the program is located at www.andersonuniversity.edu.

The program will be launched in early August with a special retreat for faculty and students led by Dr. Calvin Miller, pastor, author of over 40 books, and formerly of the faculty of the Beeson Divinity School at Samford University.  Miller will also serve on the “strategic faculty” of the Clamp School at Anderson.

In addition to the special recognition of the Clamp gift, another highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of an honorary doctor of humanities degree to its distinguished alumnus, South Carolina Representative Dan Cooper, for his outstanding public service and support of students pursuing college degrees in both private and public higher education.  Whitaker praised Cooper for “discharging his public duties with the rare heart and temperament of a true statesman.”

A native of the Piedmont community, Mr. Cooper spent two years after college working for state and local governments.  In 1987, he embarked on a career in insurance and is currently vice president of Capstone Insurance Services, LLC in Greenville.  Succeeding his father, the late M. J. “Dolly” Cooper in the SC House of Representatives in 1990, Cooper has represented District 10 in Anderson County and serves as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The commencement program featured the awarding of 230 undergraduate and graduate degrees, the largest number of graduates in the university’s history.  Dr. Shirley R. Jacks, a retired Anderson professor of French and Spanish of 44 years gave the commencement address.  The university also unveiled its new academic banners during the ceremony.  President Whitaker commissioned the banners in honor of the faculty from the university’s seven colleges and schools.  They will be displayed in all academic ceremonies to commemorate the faculty’s commitment to the university.

Anderson University is a liberal arts-based, comprehensive university affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The University was named one of 100 Best College Buys for 2009 by Institutional Research and Evaluation of Rome, Georgia, to the top tier of comprehensive colleges in the South by U.S. News and World Report for 2009, and was selected as one of America’s 136 Best Colleges by The Princeton Review. Located in the Upstate region of South Carolina near the foothills of the Appalachians, Anderson University features a rigorous education in a supportive Christian environment.

                                                         

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