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. 

Clemson Life.jpg

the design

The hotel’s exteriors have been designed by Goff D’Antonio Architects of Charleston, SC. The hotel’s interiors are being designed by Leslie Schultz of Interior Image Group of Cooper City, FL.  The hotel’s design is intended to compliment the hotel’s purpose by further inspiring guests with its lighter color palette and “points of engagement” found in the guest rooms and public spaces. 

for gathering


The hotel is designed to be a place to connect with those people, and ideas, that are most important to you. We believe that life is about supporting those we love and those that need our love. We are creating unique spaces meant for those purposes. Yet to be announced, a national Fast Casual Restaurant will share the college avenue lobby with the hotel’s reception area.  Over three meal periods and all points in between, guests can expect fresh ingredients, comfortable decor and natural light to start or finish your day. A limited in-room dining menu will be available for those ‘i want to eat in bed’ moments.

exclusive bar overlooking college ave

Tucked on the second floor you will find a bar designed to bring people together over artfully made, southern inspired cocktails. A place to meet and connect. A place that says ‘let’s sit and sip for a bit’. This indoor/outdoor bar will feature a vast menu ranging from regional iced teas to a classic sazerac. On game weekends, foes can become friends. The bar’s terrace overlooks college avenue putting guests above the action, just not in the action.

the shepherd rooftop

At the very top of the hotel we are creating a special event space for up to 125 guests. This is fully customizable based on your specific needs. Ideal for receptions, the rooftop affords spectacular views of the Clemson campus and beyond.