Until our launch, we are on a learning journey for how to provide the best possible experience for our guests and our employees. This blog is meant to share learnings and stories from people and organizations who inspire us as we prepare to offer authentic hospitality to all who enter our doors.

Construction Ramps Up

As Spring begins to come out in full force in Downtown Clemson, so does construction on The Shepherd Hotel. The skyline of College Ave has started to transform with the appearance of not one but two cranes that now sit on site.

These cranes have been hard at work every day hoisting 35,000-pound exterior panels into place one at a time. With the outside beginning to take shape the Shepherd Hotel is quickly becoming a reality!


On site crane lifts 35,000 lb panel into place 
Bird's eye view of the site under construction!


Clemson LIFE Work Rotations

In late 2020, we built a model room for The Shepherd Hotel. The room allows us to refine the look and feel of the room to achieve the high quality offering we are excited for guests to experience. 

The model room also gives ClemsonLIFE students a place to train to work in the hotel prior to opening. This semester, we were able to host the freshmen work rotations. The purpose of the rotations is to give freshmen the opportunity to experience different industries before choosing their sophomore internships. 

Shepherd Hotel Co-Founder Rick Hayduk introducing the hotel to students on their first day of their rotation

We are lucky that each of the freshmen spend three weeks (six days) getting to know what it will be like to work in the hotel. By the time they are making their junior internship decisions, we hope this experience will lead them to work at The Shepherd Hotel.

Freshman Jessica teaching her peers how to make the bed

Of course, testing the room wouldn't be complete without making sure everything we offer is the best standard for our guests, including ensuring we have the most comfortable beds in Pickens County.

Two students testing out the beds, which were generously sponsored by Vicosoft

Site Visit to Metromont

One of the joys of bringing the Shepherd Hotel to life is seeing the partners who are coming alongside us to advance opportunities for people with disabilities.

Metromont Team showing ClemsonLIFE students drawings of the hotel


On Monday, we had the opportunity to tour the Greenville Metromont Plant alongside ClemsonLIFE students. The Metromont team generously showed the students all aspects of the precast process, from the design docs to where the concrete is poured in the plant. The team used the CMC machine to cut a Clemson Tiger Paw! 

Metromont Team used the CMC machine to cut a Tiger Paw that will go in the ClemsonLIFE office

The visit culminated in seeing the external walls of the hotel which will be installed later this year. The walls are meticulously colored to match our desired look and feel. It's exciting to imagine what they will look like as they go up in Clemson. 

ClemsonLIFE students with Shepherd Hotel leadership in front of a wall of the hotel


More Jobs

We are thrilled that our General Contractor, Mashburn Construction, has brought on a ClemsonLIFE student intern every Friday. Kalim supports the site maintenance crew every Friday to ensure the site remains clean for the Clemson Community.

Kalim and a Mashburn employee on the hotel construction site
Kalim making sure the site is maintained for the Clemson community

Mashburn is one example of ways The Shepherd Hotel and its partners are bringing more jobs for people with disabilities. This is just one of many more jobs to come.  

For more information about hiring a ClemsonLIFE student, contact Sarah McAlpine (skudevi@g.clemson.edu) who directs student employment.

Our Journey

We’ve been “Sh” for a while… the design team has been creating, the construction has been buzzing... We now excitedly welcome you to our journey in bringing The Shepherd Hotel to life. 

A rendering of our lobby by our awesome design team, IIG Design

Here we will share stories of the exciting ways we are unleashing the potential of capable people, the unique design elements that will make this hotel feel like home, and the community where our deep roots are beginning to produce fruit. 

ClemsonLIFE students with our co-founder, Rich Davies, at All In Ball 2019 hosted by Dabo's All In Foundation

Our promise is to ensure each person who journeys through our doors experiences real love through our authentic hospitality. Whether you’re a parent exploring Clemson as a college option for your daughter, an eager recruit deciding where to continue your athletic career, or the business traveler closing a big deal with the University – we look forward to welcoming you into our Clemson family.  

Groundbreaking Ceremony

In November 2019, we gathered to celebrate the Shepherd Hotel's groundbreaking at 389 College Ave. Our fireside chat featured co-founders Rich Davies and Rick Hayduk, Dabo and Kathleen Swinney, ClemsonLIFE Leaders Joe Ryan and Erica Walters and Construction Lead Paul Mashburn. 

Below is a 3-minute highlight reel from our ceremony: 

Learn more about the ceremony from from the news outlets below:

Greenville Online

WYFF News 4

Welcome to The Shepherd Hotel

The Shepherd Hotel is more than just a place to gather, relax, and cheer on the Clemson Tigers -- it's meant to be a source of hope. It's where passion and expertise have combined to create something extraordinary in a very special place.

Inspired by his daughter Jamison who has Down syndrome, Rick Hayduk, a seasoned luxury hotel leader, has long aspired to operate a hotel and employ individuals with disabilities as valuable members of the team.

In 2011, Clemson's Head Football Coach, Dabo Swinney, introduced Rick to Rich Davies, a third-generation real estate developer and involved Clemson alum. The two have come together to bring The Shepherd Hotel to life.

Our goal is to approach the employment of individuals with special needs as a business challenge rather than one designated to social services. We aim to create opportunities for an under-engaged portion of the population in a collective, focused environment while providing top-notch service and care to our guests. We have partnered with the ClemsonLIFE program to create part-time roles for students and graduates, and are in the process of creating a Certificate of Hospitality for students who have trained and worked with us.

Welcome to the Shepherd Hotel.