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Florence philanthropists donate $60m to Clemson

on Tuesday, 27 October 2020. Posted in News, Education, Local News

Florence philanthropists donate $60m to Clemson

Largest-ever gift from Wilbur O. “Billy” and Ann Powers will benefit the school’s College of Business. 

The Clemson University Board of Trustees recently approved the naming of the school’s College of Business after receiving a $60 million gift. 

The gift came from Wilbur O. “Billy” and Ann Powers, longtime philanthropists from Florence and friends of the University, according to a release from the university. 

The school will now be named the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, which is housed in a new building that opened this semester. 

"This is truly history in the making," President Jim Clements said. “This building and this gift are game changers for Clemson and the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business. Billy and Ann are longtime supporters of the University, and, once again, they have stepped up for Clemson. We are so grateful for their generosity and vision.” 

The two-tower college complex, located in the center of the University campus, covers 176,000 square feet and has 303 classrooms. 

The towers are five stories each. 

One tower will be named for Chandler Burns, the Powers’ grandson, a Clemson graduate who died in 2015. 

Billy Powers attended the university in the 1950s but did not graduate. The Florence native founded Powers Construction in 1965 and from there, ventured into a variety of other businesses, according to information on the University website. 

The Powers have been decades-long supporters of the university, Clements said. 

“I have been lucky to be a part of the Clemson family since I enrolled in 1953,” said Billy Powers in a recorded video about the gift. 

Billy Powers said he was raised to be a quiet servant leader but wanted to share the gift publicly to pay tribute to his grandson and to show his gratitude to Clemson University. 

“Billy always wanted to do things anonymously... but this is a way to honor Chandler,” said Ann Powers said of her husband and late grandson. 

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