Clemson World Magazine | The heart of the campus

An infectious smile

Around the same time, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a baby boy was born to Ken and Mary Cadden and was destined to date Clemson. As soon as he set foot on campus, Sam Cadden knew he was home. His warm and welcoming personality captivated everyone he met. His smile invited friendship in the classroom, in his fraternity and on the intramural field.

Cadden was involved in many activities during his two years at Clemson. Specializing in financial management, he was active at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, where he served on the finance board. He worked at MH Frank, the menswear boutique in downtown Clemson, and interned for U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and the Terminus Group at Morgan Stanley. He was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and active with the Knights of Columbus. Sam Cadden didn’t just attend Clemson; he immersed himself in every possible way.

Clemson’s friend Katherine Nahigian Clowes remembers Cadden as full of life. “Regardless of what Sam was doing,” she said, “he was going to do it with an infectious smile on his face and give his whole heart to it. He poured his love into everything and everyone.

Clowes remembers Cadden always had the ability to make everyone feel included. She recalls: “If Sam was around, no one would feel left out, whether it was on a trip to the beach with friends, studying in the library or just hanging out. He had a way of not only including you, but also making you feel like you were the most important person in the room. I don’t know if Sam has ever met a stranger.

They imagined an event that would have made Sam smile. “Samapalooza was a benefit golf tournament, a race and a concert at Club Esso,” she explains. “It gave us all a way to mourn Sam, but more importantly, it was a way to honor him.

“As students, we didn’t have big gifts to give to the chapel. But what we had was the time and the desire to help our friend’s legacy continue. Our group of friends came to this event without funding or organization. What we had was one person that united us all. And we did exactly what Sam would have done; we did it with smiles on our faces, and we gave it our all.

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