Top-notch support from top-notch Tigers
Every August, you will see cars and trucks parked curbside; family and friends moving boxes; and students reuniting with old and new friends. It marks the beginning of the Fall semester - a new academic year. For our incoming freshmen, it is an exciting and overwhelming experience. It's a memory that will stay with them forever; a feeling of independence; a time when they leave their home to find a new "home;" a time when they make friendships that will last a lifetime; a time that launches countless unforgettable moments - like walking into your freshman dorm for the first time. It can be a defining moment - one you will never forget. For Kay Wolfe '86, it was especially noteworthy. She says, "It was the day my life changed forever."
Kay started Clemson in 1982. With her parents in tow, she opened the door to her freshman dorm room in Manning Hall. Hanging photos on the wall was, as she describes, "The most incredible boy I had ever seen in my entire life." It truly was love at first sight. And to her delight, the sophomore boy was her roommate's cousin.
Kay reminisces about meeting Robert at the walkway between Hardin Hall and Brackett Hall between classes. She remembers the smell of the air and the excitement she felt in knowing he was waiting for her.
After they graduated from Clemson, Robert pursued a graduate degree from the University of South Carolina. Kay began working and focused on planting roots for their future together. After graduate school, Robert began working for Georgia-Pacific and has now been with the company for 34 years as a human resource executive.
Robert and Kay married in 1989, and they lived in Atlanta, Georgia, for many years. However, their long-term plan was always to return to the place where their great love story began - Clemson. They built a house on Lake Hartwell where they would eventually retire. During the pandemic, opportunities to work remotely allowed them to accelerate their timeline for moving into their dream home - and they love every minute of it. While in Atlanta, they attended every home football game; however, living in Clemson has provided numerous opportunities to experience a variety of sports - like men's basketball and women's softball. They love the students and atmosphere in Littlejohn Coliseum and McWhorter Stadium on gamedays.
It was their experiences with Clemson Athletics and IPTAY that inspired them to create an estate plan for Clemson. Robert and Kay have thoughtfully and generously left their entire estate to IPTAY for unrestricted purposes. Around 15 years ago, Kay suffered a very serious medical event. Unsure if she would make it, Kay began a deep reflection of her life and everything she was grateful for. She says, "You start looking at what you're leaving behind." She adds, "Everything came back to what we had created together." At the core was Clemson - the place that brought them together. Kay says, "Clemson set everything into motion for what we have become - personally and professionally." She began asking herself, "What do I want everyone to remember about us?"
The answer to that question was simple. Robert and Kay want to be remembered for the impact they have on others. They are passionate about providing future students with the same opportunities that they were fortunate to experience. Robert says, "We benefited from Clemson, and I want others to benefit; I wouldn't change a thing about my experience, and by helping others, they will have an even greater opportunity to be successful." Supporting IPTAY through an unrestricted planned gift will allow Robert and Kay to make the greatest impact. While they may never see the impact their investment will have on future generations of Clemson students, they are witnessing IPTAY's current impact on our student-athletes and devoted fans. It has inspired them to create a planned gift, confident that the administration will utilize their gift for the most effective and efficient needs.
Kay adds, "Athletics is changing so much and so fast, but we know Clemson will continue to bring in top-notch people who will ensure top-notch support." With a landscape that is swiftly shifting, unrestricted support affords Clemson the much-needed flexibility to use funds where the need will be greatest at that time.
For example, one of today's greatest needs is more emphasis and support for women's athletics. Over the past 12 years, Clemson has added women's golf, softball, lacrosse and gymnastics, and they are planning new athletic facilities in the near future. Additionally, POWER: Women's Leadership Academy was officially launched.
Most recently, IPTAY has introduced Hear Her Roar, a fundraising initiative to raise awareness and financial support for our student-athletes, providing them a premier collegiate experience - both athletically and academically. This initiative will:
- Provide scholarships, a nationally acclaimed academic experience, and state-of-the art training facilities and competition venues ensuring success both academically and athletically.
- Empower and develop female student-athletes to become leaders in their workplace, family and community.
- Recruit exceptional women to be part of the Clemson Family.
- Ensure an elite student-athlete experience that is unrivaled across the country.
Support for these initiatives is imperative to the success of our student-athletes, and unrestricted gifts allow Clemson to allocate funds to the areas of greatest need. Women sports represent a vibrant need for more support today, and once the Wolfe's planned gift is realized, the needs of Clemson and IPTAY will likely have shifted dramatically - which is why unrestricted support from donors like Robert and Kay is so vital for our future. It requires a great deal of trust between the individual and the institution, and for the Wolfes, there was no hesitation. Robert says, "We trust Clemson. It is in good hands, and they will make excellent decisions."
As Robert and Kay reflected on the legacy they wanted to leave, Clemson was always front of mind. First as students and now as alumni and donors, the couple has garnered an understanding and appreciation for the generosity of others that has impacted their lives. It was the generosity of one special couple that laid our foundation. Kay says, "Thank you, Thomas. Thank you, Anna. We greatly appreciate the fact that you donated and created this school that led to this." Thomas and Anna - and all of those who followed in their philanthropic footsteps - have inspired her and Robert to do the same for those who will follow them. It's a cycle that has withstood decades, wars, depression, recession and numerous challenging times, and through it all, the generosity of the Clemson Family has never faltered. When you are the recipient of extraordinary philanthropy from others, you feel inspired and empowered to pay that generosity forward to the next generation. It is a human chain of philanthropy that established the Clemson University we all know and love today, and it has given us the tools we have needed to grow into one of the nation's leading public research universities.
The Clemson Experience inspired this wonderful couple to provide for Clemson in a meaningful and thoughtful way, and we sincerely hope you will reflect on what has occurred throughout your life that would prompt you to leave a legacy for those who will follow in your footsteps. Our team is always here to support you through that journey and help you make a plan that can benefit you, your family and the future of this great University. Our website features useful online resources to guide you through a planning process. For information about general estate planning, our free Wills Guide is available to help you prepare your thoughts and ideas before visiting with your legal and financial professionals. We always enjoy hearing from you and hope you will contact us directly at 864.656.0663 or by email at [email protected].