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Couple Gives $1M to Botanical Garden at Clemson University

CLEMSON, SC – Clemson University alumnus Mike McBride and his wife, Lynn, of Simpsonville, SC, have given $1 million to expand and improve the Children’s Garden of the South Carolina Botanical Garden (SCBG) at Clemson University. Mike is a 1981 graduate.

“We have been searching for the right choice for a contribution, and the Botanical Garden is the right choice for us,” he says. “We are making this gift because of my love for Clemson and the education and experiences I had while here as a student. Also because Lynn spent a lot of time in the Botanical Garden as a child when she lived in Clemson. Her parents, Joe (Class of 1962) and Sue Wallace, took her to visit the duck pond and garden as a child. Where much is given, much is expected. The Children’s Garden will be an amazing place for children and their families for generations.”

The gift ensures that families will benefit from the unique beauty of the Botanical Garden for generations to come, said Clemson President James P. Clements.

“I am extremely grateful to Mike and Lynn McBride for their generous support of the South Carolina Botanical Garden,” says Clements. “The Botanical Garden is an important resource for South Carolina, and their gift to expand the Children’s Garden will make a difference for so many children and families.”

The purposes of the gift are to complete the engineering for the canopy walk in the children’s garden, to construct and name a duck dock at the duck pond, and to advance the mission of the Botanical Garden.

“This incredibly generous gift is the largest single gift we have received in our history here,” says Garden Director Patrick McMillan. “This gift will allow us to provide a space to inspire and connect the next generation of South Carolina citizens to our natural heritage through the construction of the Children’s Garden. One of the greatest challenges we face today as a society is the loss of our connection to the world; it impacts our health, our productivity and our ingenuity.

“The younger generations are unique in being the first in our history to have a life expectancy that is less than ours. Change only comes with dedicated efforts and through the creation of a safe, fun and engaging place for children to be children, outside. Lynn came to the duck pond at the SCBG frequently as a young child and built connections in this magical space that transformed her life and will continue to transform lives far into the future.”

The McBrides both enjoyed successful careers in health care — Lynn in patient services and Mike as the president and chief executive officer of HMR Advantage Health Systems Inc. and chairman of the board for HMR Veterans Services Inc. The McBrides challenge others to join their family and raise an additional $1 million to turn the Botanical Garden into a showcase in the Upstate. The goal is to meet that challenge by May 30, 2016.

This gift is part of Clemson University’s $1 billion The Will to Lead capital campaign to support faculty and students with scholarships, professorships, facilities and technology.

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