My first semester as Clemson’s new president was busy, challenging and so much fun! Like all freshmen, I met thousands of new people and quickly learned my way around campus. My family and I even lived in the Clemson House for the semester. We enjoyed several snow days this winter and loved playing basketball outside on sunny days with our student neighbors.
Clemson deserves its reputation as a top-21 national public university. We have phenomenal students, teachers and researchers, and alumni who understand and support our goals.
From the Orange Bowl and a student-led campus tour in January, to Founders Week and Ring Week in April, to my investiture at commencent in May, it has been a whirlwind of activity.
On my campus “listening tour,” I met separately with students, faculty, staff and administrators. I’ve met twice with the Board of Trustees and with key volunteer groups like the Alumni Council, Board of Visitors, Will to Lead campaign executive committee and CU Foundation Board.
My introduction to South Carolina took me to Spartanburg, Columbia, Greenwood, Greenville, Charleston, Lake City and Florence. It’s a beautiful state filled with great people.
I’ve spoken with and to industry leaders in textiles and agri-business, including the Chambers of Commerce in Greenville, Clemson and Gaffney; testified at budget hearings in Columbia; announced a $5.6 million gift from Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood; and met alumni at the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., Clemson Club.
I am also reaching out to students and alumni in some new ways. If you tweet, I hope you will follow me on Twitter @ClemsonPrez.
What did I learn in my first semester at Clemson?
First, Clemson deserves its reputation as a top-21 national public university. We have phenomenal students, teachers and researchers, and alumni who understand and support our goals.
Second, people in this state are proud of Clemson. They want to send their children here; they want to partner with us; they want to advocate for us.
They know that Clemson is the total package — number one in the state for academic quality, value, return on investment and a great student experience. We’ve made substantial progress in undergraduate education, and that will continue.
Finally, Clemson is poised for even greater things as a national leader in graduate education, research and innovation. Here are just three indicators:
- A team of Clemson students from architecture and engineering was chosen to compete in the national Solar Decathlon 2015.
- We hosted the first-ever international conference on “Local DC Electricity: Transforming the 21st Century Energy Economy” this spring in Charleston.
- We are the lead institution — in a consortium that includes Wisconsin and Harvard — in a new $5.3 million National Science Foundation effort to broaden the impact of advanced computing resources to campuses across the country.
We are building on our national academic reputation as an institution that educates and innovates to solve problems and drives economic growth.
Everywhere I go, I find people ready and willing to help Clemson reach its full potential. They know that higher education is the key to a better future. Our University’s success will mean greater success for individuals and for society.
Thank you for my warm welcome into the Clemson Family!