Skip to main content

You can make a powerful difference in our University’s future by including Clemson in your estate plans.

Your Legacy is our Future

Establishing a legacy by including Clemson as a beneficiary of your estate plans will impact generations of Clemson students, faculty, and staff by enhancing learning perpetuity. Generally, assets are used to establish endowed funds that can be dedicated to support Clemson in the way that follows your estate plan instructions. Our Planned Giving team will quickly and confidentially provide gift illustrations and the language needed to ensure your wishes are realized. We are here to serve you with expertise and partnerships as you explore the impact you can make at Clemson — today, tomorrow and forever.

Al Berry '65 and Evelyn Berry

Al Berry '65 and Evelyn Berry

"True love is about moving forward with effort and passion to share your good fortune with others."

In this month in which we spend so much time thinking about love, sometimes we need a reminder that love is not just a feeling. It is also an action. Al and Evelyn Berry demonstrate love in action in their daily lives, not only in their love for each other, but also in their love for society at large. Their love story is inspiring to all who know them.

Al Berry '65 tells the story of how coming to Clemson changed the course of his life. "I still get tears in my eyes when I think of how I, a farm boy from Saluda, hitchhiked my way to Clemson, found the admissions office and told them I wanted to be a Clemson student," Al recalls. Literally and figuratively, doors were opened for him as he met with the Dean of Admissions who asked him about his life goals and how Clemson fit into the picture. After Al completed his application for admission that same day, the Dean directed him to the financial aid office where he received the assistance needed to become a Clemson student.

More doors continued to open for Al after he enrolled at Clemson. Although on a very tight budget, Al worked hard in his classes. His diligence was noticed by his professors, and one of his animal science professors asked if he would be interested in managing two farms on Clemson's campus. That opportunity gave Al the ability to buy a used car to be able to travel back and forth to manage the two farms at Clemson, and the experience was instrumental to his Clemson Experience. "The leadership skills I learned by managing those farms also helped open doors for me upon graduation," Al says. "After I graduated with a degree in ag-education, I had an offer to teach physical science and coach football, girls basketball and baseball. My teams won three state football championships in four years, and I moved into school administration."

Along the way, Al met the love of his life, Evelyn. They married in 1991 and shared a full household of children. One day while in the office at the school where Al taught, he had a conversation with someone who was looking for a home builder. Al thought about it and decided he could start a side business of building homes to support his growing family. He became a licensed surveyor and real estate broker and began building two homes per year. Al later served as Superintendent for Planning and Operations for Lexington School District One, and retired in 1994. After retirement, he represented school districts and the purchase of more than 100 school sites in South Carolina.

Evelyn and Al share a passion for public school education. Evelyn began her career as a teacher and worked her way through the ranks of administration in Columbia area school districts, eventually serving as Superintendent of Lexington School District One. She held many different leadership roles with school board associations and as a volunteer for multiple organizations, including her alma mater, Winthrop University. She even served as the President of the Winthrop Alumni Association and as a member of the Board of Trustees and Foundation Board. Together, she and Al modeled servant leadership and love in action in all aspects of their careers. Evelyn shared: "It is important in life to have a passion for discovering how to serve others."

Since their retirements, Al and Evelyn have continued to volunteer their time, talent and treasure in many different ways. Al serves on Clemson's Board of Visitors and led the Board of Visitors as chairman in 2000 - 2001. Al was awarded the Distinguished Service Award — the highest honor that the Alumni Association can bestow on an alumnus, given to those who have not only devoted their life to professionalism and public service, but who have also demonstrated a lifelong dedication to Clemson University.

Al and Evelyn firmly believe in paying it forward for the next generation of educators, so that others may come behind them and carry on their legacy of service. "True happiness in life is found in what you give to others, not what you keep for yourself," Evelyn said. "Al is a great example to others; his heart is all about giving. We both try to see all the ways we can do something to help others. Our marriage has been about using the opportunities God has given us to help others and support each other. When we have a disagreement, we talk through it and work together to come to a solution. As we have gotten older and health challenges have arisen, we continue to support and encourage each other. We believe that how we handle our struggles and challenges ties directly to how we live our lives of faith."

Al and Evelyn have established multiple scholarship endowments for College of Education and College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences students to pay it forward for the next generation. This love in action shows their commitment to making the world a better place for others and is a great example of how their shared love and passion for education will elevate the Clemson Experience for generations to come.

I hope you will reach out to our team to discuss how you can also make a difference for future Clemson students through a planned gift. Our website features useful online resources to guide your thought process. For information about general estate planning, our free Wills Guide is available to help you make plans before visiting with your attorney. Of course, you are most welcome to contact us directly by email us at [email protected].