University establishes Clyburn endowed chair with $1.5 million donation from Boeing – UofSC News & Events


The Boeing Co. provided the University of South Carolina with a $1.5 million gift to establish the James E. and Emily E. Clyburn Endowed Chair of Public Service and Civic Engagement Fund. This endowed chair, awarded to Associate Professor Bobby Donaldson, will allow the university’s Center for Civil Rights History and Research to continue its programming and outreach initiatives within the university community and throughout the state of Caroline from the south.

University President Michael Amiridis was joined by Donaldson, U.S. Representative James Clyburn, Boeing executives and other university officials on Thursday (October 20) to announce the donation.

“Boeing has been a valued and committed partner of our university for more than a decade, supporting academic programs, research innovation and community service,” said President Amiridis. “Through this generous donation, we are proud to join Boeing in honoring the outstanding civic contributions of Congressman Clyburn and his wife, Emily, and advancing their legacy of public service and outreach.”

Endowed chairs are the university’s most prestigious faculty recognition, and Boeing’s commitment to fund this endowed chair continues its philanthropic relationship with the university. In 2021, Boeing provided a $225,000 grant to support the university’s Veterans Legal Clinic and to expand the clinic’s free services to low-income veterans living in South Carolina. He then donated an additional $125,000 to the clinic in 2022. The society believes the Clyburn Chair will further foster public service and civic engagement in South Carolina by enabling the university to attract and retain faculty exceptional.

“At Boeing, we have deep respect for the civil rights activism and leadership of Congressmen James Clyburn and Emily Clyburn,” said Ziad Ojakli, executive vice president of government operations at Boeing. “We are grateful to partner with the University of South Carolina to honor their legacy through this new endowed chair at the Center for Civil Rights History and Research. Presidents will have access to the resources they need to deepen their knowledge and continue to share the civil rights story – a pursuit we proudly support.

Plans to develop a civil rights center began eight years ago with a dinner conversation with the congressman and Mrs. Clyburn. …Since that time, we have made tremendous strides in expanding our archival holdings, our scholarly efforts, our public programs, and our community engagement initiatives.”

Bobby Donaldson, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research

James and Emily Clyburn met in 1960 when they were students at South Carolina State College after participating in a civil rights demonstration. The two were married from 1961 until Emily’s passing in 2019. Throughout their 58 years together, they left a lasting legacy in the state of South Carolina and the country – Emily as a librarian and civil rights activist, and James as a member of the National Congress and majority. whip.

James Clyburn hopes this endowed chair, at the university where he attended law school and where Emily earned her master’s degree, will spur the next wave of civic leadership within Palmetto State.

“I am truly honored by Boeing’s gift in honor of the contributions Emily and I have made to civic engagement, and I am pleased that their generosity supports the important work that Dr. Donaldson and the Center for history and civil rights research at USC,” said Congressman Clyburn. “This center serves as the primary repository of our civil rights history in South Carolina and will be an important conduit through which future generations learn lessons that will hopefully help ensure we don’t repeat our past mistakes.Today’s announcement reinforces the center’s mission and reach with a talented leader at the helm, who is dedicated to engaging the community in a public discourse about our past, our present and our future.

The Center for Civil Rights History and Research was founded at the university in 2015 with the goal of chronicling the state’s contributions to the broader American civil rights movement. That same year, Clyburn donated his Congressional papers to the center, forming the cornerstone of his collection. These materials, its Justice for All exhibit, and its partnership with the National Park Service have helped the center shine a light on South Carolina’s role in civil rights history.

As the first Clyburn Chair, Donaldson plans to continue sharing this history through his fellowship as a historian and as executive director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research.

“I am deeply honored by the appointment of the first James E. and Emily E. Clyburn Professorship in Public Service and Civic Engagement at the University of South Carolina,” Donaldson said. “Plans to develop a Civil Rights Center began eight years ago with a dinner conversation with the Congressman and Mrs. Clyburn on the stage of the historic Booker T. Washington High School Auditorium. Since then, we have made tremendous strides in expanding our archival holdings, research efforts, public programs, and community engagement initiatives.

“It’s an exciting and phenomenal moment for the center. I want to thank Boeing for joining us as a partner in this critically important work. The company’s generous and significant investment allows us to elevate the center to greater heights as we progress in our mission of teaching, research and outreach.


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