Robert B. “Bob” Hambright ’70

Retired Construction Industry Executive to Receive Clemson Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award

Retired corporate executive Robert B. “Bob” Hambright of Blowing Rock, N.C., will receive the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.

Hambright is former president of J.A. Jones Construction, one of the nation’s largest construction companies during his 25 years of employment there. He then started the Southeast Division for Balfour Beatty where he was president and chief executive officer before retiring in 2010. During this time, the company was an industry-leading provider of general contracting, at-risk construction management, design-build and privatized military housing services for public and private sector clients across the country.

Born in Spartanburg, Hambright grew up in Grover, N.C. He graduated from Clemson University in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Winthrop University in 1974.

He has been a volunteer leader for many organizations, ranging from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and the Charlotte Discovery Place Children’s Museum to the Crossnore School and Children’s Home, which assists children and families in crisis.

For Clemson, Hambright serves on the Clemson University Foundation’s board of directors and was its 2018-2020 chair. He was the lead volunteer driver of a university-wide initiative to improve donor stewardship at all levels of the institution and led the foundation’s recent restructuring to streamline its operations and enhance its support for Clemson fundraising activities, including the establishment of the Order of the Oak fundraising council on which he serves.

He also was instrumental in launching an effort within the foundation board to raise funds for the “Clemson University Foundation Tomorrow Begins Today Scholarship Quasi-Endowment” to generate more unrestricted scholarships, one of the university’s top priorities.

Hambright and his wife, Susan, are among Clemson’s most generous benefactors. Within the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, they have created the Hambright Scholars Program, the Robert B. (’70) and Susan B. Hambright Annual Leadership Program in Engineering and The Hambright Distinguished Professorship in Engineering Leadership. They are also major donors to the athletics program, including significant support for basketball facilities and the PAW Journey program.

The Hambrights have three children: Son Mathew B. Hambright is a 2006 Clemson graduate; son Benjamin T. Hambright is an Elon University graduate; and daughter Steffan H. Hambright Kelly is a graduate of Salem College.


The Clemson Alumni Distinguished Service Award is based on three main criteria: personal and professional accomplishments; dedication and service to Clemson University; and devotion to community and public service. Members of the Clemson family nominate potential honorees, who are then selected by the Clemson Alumni Association as outstanding alumni, public servants and examples to others. The 2021 award presentation will occur during the fall.

The Clemson Alumni Association is an open-membership, nonprofit organization that exists to connect alumni with their alma mater. Through a variety of programs and services, the Alumni Association works with alumni around the world to ensure they have a Clemson Experience every day.