The immediate goal of the organization was to “to provide annual financial support to the athletic department at Clemson and to assist in every way possible to regain for Clemson the high athletic standing which rightfully belongs to her.”
IPTAY is a major fund-raising organization to support students and the athletic program at Clemson University. In August 1934 alumnus Rupert H. Fike, a medical doctor in Atlanta, enlisted the help of other alumni to found IPTAY, an acronym for “I Pay Ten A Year.” The immediate goal of the organization was to “to provide annual financial support to the athletic department at Clemson and to assist in every way possible to regain for Clemson the high athletic standing which rightfully belongs to her.” As founded, IPTAY was a secret order whose members took an oath of secrecy. In 1954 the organization was restructured under the leadership of Robert C. Edwards, who later served as president of Clemson from 1958 to 1979. In spite of a recommendation from a team of consultants that would have destroyed IPTAY, Edwards defended it to the board of trustees and its right to raise money for the athletic program. To further improve efficiency, the organization was restructured to include a board of directors elected from six districts within the state. During the next two decades, the mission and membership of IPTAY grew dramatically. In 1981 the membership topped twenty thousand. A variety of fundraising campaigns, aided by an official publication, The Orange and White, allowed the organization to fund numerous projects: more than two hundred scholarships for athletes; the construction in 1991 of Vickery Hall, a facility built specifically for student athletes; and the IPTAY Academic Scholarship Endowment, which was created to help meet the need for more academic scholarships for nonathletes. In 2000, for the first time in its history, IPTAY’s annual fund-raising total exceeded $10 million. In 2003 membership stood at 24,000 distributed throughout the United States and Europe.
Gault, Harper S., ed. IPTAY 50: The First Fifty Years. Columbia, S.C.: R. L. Bryan, 1984.