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.

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.