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Tigers of the valley: Tate Fowler

Contributed by John Michael Hayde

Gatorade, Jurassic Park and the Oscars. Three things central to the life of Clemson’s one and only Tate Fowler.
Embodying all the traits of a “perfect Charleston gentleman,” the freshman world cinema and history double major spends most of his days in Daniel Hall, occasionally making an appearance in Schilletter for a bite to eat with friends.
Fowler is heavily involved in many extracurriculars, including Tigervision, Clemson’s student-run TV network; the mixed choir ensemble, Clemson Singers; and community council for Byrnes and Lever. In the future, he plans to be a film director.
“Considering I’m a film nerd and that I want to be a film director, I would love to, as superficial as this is, maybe just one day hold an Oscar in my hand,” Fowler said. “If I could just even see one of my movies make it to theatrical release, that’s really all I’d need.”
In his spare time, Fowler enjoys watching movies, running and writing scripts. He is working on two scripts right now: one about a man who works at a diner and the other being a crime thriller about a man seeking to avenge his daughter’s death. By not only watching, but also analyzing and critiquing movies, Fowler has developed a keen eye for the best movies around, including his personal favorite “Jurassic Park.”
“My first memory is watching ‘Jurassic Park.’ You know the scene where the scientists first see the long necked dinosaur, the Brachiosaurus? I remember watching that in my aunt and uncle’s home in Wisconsin,” Fowler said. This moment, although brief, became central to Fowler’s life as he pursues a career in the film industry.
Throughout his life, Fowler has always made a point to help people whenever he can, and he continues to make a point of it daily.
“Typically, people always say I’m nice and caring and giving. I don’t really like to believe that, but if it is true, then I know the first event that started to cause that,” he said.
Fowler and his family have volunteered every year at Christmas for the past decade at Toys for Tots in Charleston. His first delivery 10 years ago set him on a path towards helping people. There were two kids around his age at the very first house his family visited on Christmas Day in 2008.
“With how things change, electronics become the new fun, and what we did was we gave them a Wii. We gave them something that at the time was $300 with several $60 games. They were just so happy, and they just couldn’t stop smiling,” he said.
What made this delivery even more special was that one of the cops volunteering with Fowler and his family knew the kids personally from school visits.
“The entire family was thanking him so much that he was just asking for no thanks. He just wanted to [give them a Wii], everyone there just wanted to do it, to give them these toys, this Wii, this humongous gift,” Fowler said.
Volunteering with Toys for Tots still impacts Fowler in the same way it did the very first time just over 10 years ago. This past year, he worked with a young boy who wanted nothing more than to help others have a nice Christmas, too.
“Every time we went to a house this kid would always grab toys from the bag, he wouldn’t look at them, he wouldn’t inspect them, he wouldn’t turn to his mom and say, “I want this.” He would just walk right up to the door and just hand every single kid these toys. As soon as he handed a kid a toy, he would turn back and run and grab another toy. He carried bikes twice his size to give to kids twice his age because he wanted to give them toys,” Fowler said.
Toys for Tots is what Fowler believes gave him such a “giving” reputation among his peers. This, combined with his positive outlook on life has allowed him to make countless friends who know him fondly as the guy who loves movies and has a Gatorade addiction, which is a problem he chooses not to address for the time being.

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