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Graduate donates largest gift to Clemson college of science

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Emily Peek graduated from Clemson University. (Photo/Provided)Clemson graduate Emily Peek Wallace is giving back to her alma mater through the largest donation ever granted to the university’s College of Science: $1.25 million for an endowed directorship.

An endowed faculty position allows Clemson to retain top talent, according to a news release.

As the first endowed faculty position at the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, the Emily Peek Wallace ’72 Endowed Directorship provides support for the school director and supports additional initiatives throughout the school.

“I wanted to do something to help the faculty,” Wallace said in the release. “Everybody has had to shift their teaching and learning methods due to COVID-19, and the faculty has additional challenges to make sure students are not getting behind and that they’re learning what they need to be learning. I wanted to provide encouragement and funding to help them, add additional facilities to help students stay current.”

The purpose of the endowment focuses on increasing student engagement and success, as well as enhancing the relevance of the curriculum for the next generation of mathematicians, statisticians and data scientists.

The support includes tutoring assistance for students who may be struggling academically or to help students who may have fallen behind due to unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, the funding will help establish business connections and internships for students who wish to enter the job force instead of going into academic research, and will make training with current statistical software and other resources available for students regardless of future tracks, according to the release.

“With gifts such as this one from Emily, our donors help position Clemson as a destination for the finest academic leaders to develop innovative curriculums benefitting our students and equipping them with the skills needed for what is to come,” Brian O’Rourke, vice president for development and alumni relations at Clemson, said in the release. “Our donors are investing in the future — not just in Clemson and our students, but also in the industries our students will influence. We can’t thank them enough for their assistance and generosity.”

Wallace was the first woman to serve as a top leader of the university’s WSBF radio station and was named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She was often the sole woman — or one of only two — in her technical courses. A first generation college graduate, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1971.

In 2014, she established the Emily Peek Wallace ’72 Scholarship Endowment for STEM, which provides financial assistance for underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to the release. This academic year, 25 students will benefit from the Wallace scholarships. In addition to the two endowments, she also serves on the Clemson University Foundation Board of Directors and as a founding member of the Order of the Oak.

Wallace and her husband Jack were among the first 100 employees to join the Statistical Analysis System Institute in 1981. Headquartered in Cary, N.C., SAS is a global software company, which has also provided support to Clemson through software.

Currently, she oversees a team of 50 people as the senior director of the Knowledge Management Center at SAS.

“I am so honored to have met such special people within the Clemson family, like Emily Wallace,” Cynthia Young, dean of the College of Science, said in the release.  “She was and remains a pioneer at SAS, paved the way and created opportunity for so many, including our Clemson students. Under the leadership of the Emily Peek Wallace ’72 Director, our outstanding faculty and staff will honor her legacy with their new discoveries, innovation, and in how they are preparing the next generation of leading mathematicians, statisticians and data scientists.”

Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1223.

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