the mission & the story
The Shepherd Hotel is more than a boutique hotel in Downtown Clemson; it’s intended to be a source of inspiration. The majority of the staff will be individuals with some form of an intellectual or developmental disability. Many will be attending Clemson University’s LIFE (Learning Is For Everyone) program or have graduated from CU LIFE. The hotel will provide the students with practical hospitality training to fulfill their requirements for a Certificate of Hospitality from Clemson University. The students will then have a greater opportunity to find gainful employment once the student returns to their home towns.
Inspired by his daughter Jamison who has Down syndrome, Rick Hayduk, a seasoned luxury hotel leader, aspired to operate a hotel with individuals with disabilities as the primary service providers for the hotel’s guests. Rick’s oldest daughter, a Clemson engineer, was active in the Clemson LIFE program and encouraged her father to develop the hotel by partnering with Clemson LIFE. Rick befriended Rich Davies, a Clemson alumni and real estate developer, and the two have come together to bring The Shepherd Hotel to downtown Clemson with the help of committed investors, a local Steering Committee, the City of Clemson and the leaders of the CU LIFE program.