College of Business has new name after largest gift in Clemson University history

College of Business has new name after largest gift in Clemson University history


College of Business has new name after largest gift in Clemson University history


Clemson University’s Board of Trustees officially approved the name of its new home for its College of Business on Friday.

The new dual-tower, a five-story structure across from Sikes Hall, is named after Wilbur Owens “Billy” Powers, who gave the University a $60 million gift for the Business College, the largest in the history of Clemson University.

Powers, who is from Florence, was a Distinguished Service Award winner in 2011, the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor.

The new home for the College of Business, located at 225 Walter T. Cox Blvd., is a think tank environment, bringing students, faculty, and industry together in a collaborative, inspiring space that is forward-thinking in its design and daily application.

The new College of Business:

  • houses 176,000 square feet of space to accommodate growth, encompassing more than twice the square footage of Sirrine
  • allows students and faculty to be centrally located in one building compared to the 5 buildings currently
  • possesses the technological capabilities of a top university, with the capacity to evolve as technology changes
  • facilitates and enhances the partnership between academics and industry, providing opportunities for cutting-edge and applied research
  • creates a flexible think tank with post-doctoral fellows, adjunct and visiting dignitaries and scholars, graduate students and permanent faculty that tackle the major business and social issues
  • is a model of sustainability with quality daylighting, recycled or locally sourced materials; and
  • is open for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Powers attended Clemson from 1953-’56, but did not graduate because he had to leave school to help run his family’s farm when his father fell ill. Clemson honored him in 2004 with an honorary doctor of humanities degree.

After a job as a surveyor with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Powers began his own business, Powers Construction, in 1965. Today, Powers Construction is known across the region as a large-scale commercial construction firm, building condominiums, churches, schools and government buildings across North and South Carolina.

Powers’ other entrepreneurial endeavors include Powers Properties, Powers Aviation and Price Carolina Aquatech Pools. He is a registered land surveyor, real estate developer and holds a South Carolina real estate broker’s license.

Powers has served as a board member for the Clemson University Foundation and as a consultant for Clemson’s departments of construction science and mechanical engineering. His financial contributions to the university have made him a member of the Trustee Oaks Society and a charter member of the President’s Leadership Circle. He also is a life member of IPTAY and a member of the Greater Pee Dee Clemson Club.

He has been named Business Person of the Year by the Florence Chamber of Commerce and received the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Pee Dee Boy Scouts. He also is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

On the national level, Powers has served on the board of directors for the National Home Builders Association and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Presidential Arts Advisory Board. He has been named a life director for the National Homebuilders Association.

Clemson University Communications contributed to this story

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