Donors Seek to Build Community Support Through Athletics Gift

KENNESAW, Ga. | Sep 21, 2020

When he moved to the Atlanta area 20 years ago, Mel Clemmons decided early on that he would put his energy into supporting the local college team.

Mel and Stephanie Clemmons
Mel and Stephanie Clemmons

Since then, he and his wife Stephanie have sent their sons to Kennesaw State University basketball camps, served as community advisors in the search that landed coach Amir Abdur-Rahim and have led numerous fundraisers to support the Owls. Recently, the Clemmons gifted the Department of Athletics $50,000 to support the renovation of the men’s basketball locker and film rooms.

“In order to build a successful program, you need a community behind you offering financial and fan support,” said Mel Clemmons, who in November bought more than 200 tickets to Abdur-Rahim’s head coaching debut. “It was important for our family to help them build this facility and give KSU student athletes a place where they can thrive.”

KSU Athletic Director Milton Overton said their support has already been transformational.

“I have seen firsthand the level of impact the Clemmons family philanthropic heart has made on so many lives in our community,” he said. “Their wonderful gift in support of our men’s basketball program inspires our student-athletes and coaches to internalize and adopt their family motto to believe in your ability to achieve great success. They not only help build millionaires, they are also helping their new Owl Family build champions in the classroom, on the field and in life with academic integrity and excellence.”

Though neither of the Clemmonses attended Kennesaw State, both said they grew close to the University. A neighbor won a national championship as a member of the baseball team, and several friends have sent their children to KSU. Mel Clemmons, a University of Tennessee graduate who got his start in insurance, has grown his business portfolio to include a consulting firm and several restaurants. Stephanie Clemmons, a graduate of Winthrop University, currently serves as chief executive officer and president of a residential and rental management company.

Beyond KSU, the Clemmonses have long been proponents of higher education. In 2012, they launched the SuperHeroes Foundation to empower youths to become effective leaders. Through their foundation, they have provided more than 100 scholarships to high school graduates in Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina.

“We want to inspire others to invest in something bigger than themselves,” Stephanie Clemmons said. “It doesn’t have to be money. Sometimes it can be as simple has mentoring the next generation and motivating them to be the best version of themselves.”

Their investments exceed their monetary donations, Abdur-Rahim added.

“We want to thank Mel and Stephanie from the bottom of our heart for their generous donation and commitment to provide our student-athletes with a great college and athletic experience,” he said. “Investment doesn’t always mean monetarily. The friendship and mentorship Mel and Stephanie Clemmons have given my family and program during our first year has been invaluable.”

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit