Vice President for Public Service & Agriculture
Brian J. O’Rourke is Vice President of Advancement at Clemson University and a member of the University’s Executive Leadership Team.
He directs a development operation that brings in more than $150 million annually and that conducted the most successful fundraising effort to date in the state of South Carolina. Through its Will to Lead campaign, Clemson became the first public university in America with an alumni base of less than 150,000 to raise more than $1 billion.
Clemson’s alumni relations program, led by O’Rourke, consistently ranks as one of the nation’s best. The Princeton Review rated Clemson as having the top alumni network in the country based on data and student surveys about the activities and visibility of alumni and the percentage of alumni who recommend Clemson to prospective students and top four with Alumni participation.
O’Rourke first came to Clemson in the late 1970s as a freshman, sight unseen, from Massachusetts. “The Clemson community embraced me,” he recalls. “I was a Yankee from Hanover, but by second semester, I was at home.” Continuing that kindness, he now sends a personal welcome letter to each new Clemson freshman from the Bay State.
He earned two Clemson degrees: a bachelor’s degree in administrative management in 1983 and a master’s degree in personnel services in 1985. He was an IPTAY scholarship recipient, basketball manager and active member of numerous student organizations.
After graduation, O’Rourke spent five years as Director of Field Activities for the Clemson Alumni Association. He went on to become Vice President of Development for St. Francis Health System in Greenville, S.C., and Executive Director of its foundation. Later, he was a senior consultant for Corporate DevelopMint, a Charleston-based fundraising consulting firm. He returned to his alma mater in 2004 to lead its alumni and fundraising operations.
O’Rourke is a major donor to Clemson academic and athletic programs and a volunteer leader in his community and profession. He also inspires others to give and serve. In 2007, a Clemson couple surprised him by establishing the Brian J. O’Rourke ’83 Unrestricted Endowment for Performing Arts. He was described as “one of Clemson’s finest and most enthusiastic stewards.”
Brian and his wife, Amy, whom he refers to as “my greatest asset,” have two sons, Josh (wife Cameron) and Nick (wife Jennifer) Kendrick, and two granddaughters.