Four Faculty Members Honored with Endowed Chairs

This past fall, Eileen T. Kraemer came to Clemson as the new C. Tycho Howle Director of the School of Computing. Characterized by Dean Anand Gramopadhye as “an impeccable researcher and scholar” with “a wealth of leadership experience,” Kraemer comes to Clemson from the University of Georgia, where she was associate dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
Being an administrator has not meant that she has left behind her research, which has combined psychology and computer science to find new ways of helping students reach greater achievements in computer science. She also is interested in the human aspects of software development. Kraemer’s other area of expertise is bioinformatics. She helped build a web-based database,, that allows biologists to analyze disease-causing pathogens, such as cryptosporidium, giardia and plasmodium. The website was a decade in the making and has received more than $6.5 million from the National Institutes of Health.
At Clemson, Kraemer oversees a school whose enrollment has grown nearly 84 percent, from 387 in 2007 to 712 in 2013. The school has 31 faculty who are tenured or on track to be tenured and six lecturers; three divisions: Computer Science, Visual Computing and Human-Centered Computing; and seven undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
[pullquote]Recruiting faculty such as Kraemer is made easier when Clemson is able to offer endowed professorships such as the one she holds, that provide support for the director’s salary and various activities, such as research.[/pullquote]
Kraemer was one of four faculty members honored this fall with the presentation of their endowed chair medallions at a ceremony that also honored the individuals and families who have provided funding for the chairs. In addition to Kraemer were Michael S. Caterino, who holds the John C. and Suzanne E. Morse Endowed Chair in Arthropod Biodiversity; Stephen Kresovich, who holds the Robert and Lois Coker Trustees Chair of Genetics; and Marek W. Urban, who holds the J.E. Sirrine Textile Foundation Endowed Chair in Advanced Polymer Fiber-Based Materials.
View a video of the endowed chairs ceremony:

My Freshman Year

Many people have asked me what I learned during my “freshman year” at Clemson.
Most of what I learned confirmed what I already knew. Our University has world-class faculty, dedicated staff, smart students, loyal alumni, great traditions, a proud history and unlimited potential.
In 2014, the rest of the country caught on to this truth as Clemson rose to the rank of No. 20 among national public universities in the U.S. News Guide to America’s Best Colleges. This recognition was based on the hard work done by thousands of people and the visionary leadership of President Emeritus Jim Barker that put a singular focus on improving the quality of undergraduate education.
We did it, and we should be very proud. But we know that Top 20 is not a destination. This is not a moment to kick off our shoes, sit back and relax.
[pullquote]Now the question is: With Top 20 as a starting point and a launching pad, where can Clemson go from here?[/pullquote]
This question will be asked often this spring as a review of the current strategic planning gets underway, led by our new provost, Robert Jones, and co-chaired by Brett Dalton and Ellen Granberg.
If you are not familiar with his qualifications for the job, let me introduce Bob to you. He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in forestry and forest management from Clemson. It was here that he met his wife Jeri, also a Clemson graduate. Both hold doctorates — his in forest ecology and hers in veterinary medicine.
Bob is not only provost, but also Clemson’s first executive vice president for academic affairs. That means he will provide leadership for our undergraduate and graduate programs, academic support programs, research and public service activities.
His previous experience at Georgia, Auburn, Virginia Tech and West Virginia included leadership of very successful strategic planning efforts. They were inclusive, “bottom-up” efforts that succeeded because they had broad participation and a big vision.
At a November 19 Town Meeting in Tillman Hall — which was well attended and live-streamed to online viewers through ClemsonTV — I asked the campus to think 10, 15, even 50 years into the future. Bob and I challenged all of us to seek not only undergraduate excellence, but excellence in graduate education and research. To meet that challenge, we will be guided by four key words that we hear over and over when people talk about Clemson:

  • Quality. This has been Clemson’s mantra and rallying cry for many years, and we must continue our push for academic excellence.
  • Impact. Thomas Green Clemson founded this University to have a positive impact — on our community and our economy.
  • Distinction. Where can we be the best? What will bring us distinction? We must focus our limited resources on building areas of strength.
  • Differentiation. What sets us apart from other universities? Let’s look for the niche areas to develop where Clemson’s unique strengths match society’s need for answers and innovation.

[pullquote]We need to look over the horizon to what might be future opportunities to serve humanity, drive economic growth and distinguish Clemson from other research universities.[/pullquote] And we need to do this in a way that does not de-emphasize or diminish our unshakable commitment to undergraduate excellence.
Will it be hard? Yes. Can we do it? Yes.
But it will require the best thinking and the best efforts of every constituent, every stakeholder and every member of the Clemson family. That includes you, our fantastic alumni. I invite you to be part of this process of reflection, goal-setting and planning. Visit our website at and join the conversation.
In 2015, our focus is solidly on the future. By this time next year, we will be well on our way to building a new vision for Clemson in 2025 and beyond.
I am excited about our future!
Go Tigers!
James P. Clements

DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins

S.M.O.O.O.T.H. operator

Former Clemson football standout and now starting wide receiver with the NFL’s Houston Texans, DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins has always been a smooth operator on the football field. But he can be just as smooth off the field.
Hopkins teamed up with his mother, Sandra Greenlee, and founded S.M.O.O.O.T.H Inc. — Speaking Mentally, Outwardly Opening Opportunities Toward Healing — an organization devoted to helping women and children heal from domestic violence situations. Greenlee, a victim herself, along with Hopkins, wanted to help end the cycle of domestic violence through education and empowering women and children. Hopkins has stood by her side and shared his perspective as a child who witnessed a bad situation, lived through it and is now successful.
With the help of sponsors, they have been able to provide children with school supplies as well as food, secure educational speakers, and set up booths promoting self-defense, anti-bullying and higher-education opportunities.
“This is an important issue, and if we can do anything about it to help people get around it, then we want to,” Hopkins says. “So we want to show people you don’t have to have a lot of money to overcome this. It’s something my mom went through, and she wants to reach out to people and help them.”
Hopkins also serves as an ambassador and spokesman for the Houston Food Bank and Souper Bowl of Caring. He hopes to raise awareness about hunger and help bring about hunger relief throughout the Houston community through volunteer activities, appearances and nutrition education.

Tiger Mascots

Celebrating 60 Years of The Tiger

Sixty years ago, the Clemson family grew by one, one who quickly became one of the most recognizable, lovable and iconic members of the family: the Tiger mascot.
He’s been to every football game since his welcome to the Clemson family, done thousands of push-ups, visited hospitals and even danced at weddings. But only the select few actually have had the honor of bringing life to the Tiger.
With around 350 appearances each year, committing to being the “man in the suit” is no small feat. These men must travel frequently and train extensively, spending hours brainstorming and executing creative and entertaining stunts, mastering the mascot’s mannerisms and practicing hundreds of push-ups in preparation for sporting events all while still balancing a full student workload.
Michael Bays ’97, M ’99, Tiger mascot from 1994 through 1997 and record holder for most push-ups in his career, organized a reunion of former Tigers during Homecoming to share stories and memories of their glory days behind the mask as a celebration of the Tiger’s 60th birthday.
“Not only did being the Tiger bring me closer to my school,” said Bays, “but it also brought me closer to many people and taught me that the most important thing is putting a smile on a person’s face.”
An impressive total of 35 alumni and former Tiger mascots gathered together to tailgate, reunite at Death Valley and honor the birthday of their beloved mascot. Among others, this group included several Tiger legends such as Zach Mills ’80, inventor of the push-up tradition, push-up record-setters like Bays, and the oldest living Tigers, Billy McCown ’60 and *Steve “Frog” Morrison ’63.
“I think all of us feel a special connection to Clemson that nobody else can ever understand,” said Bays. “When the Tiger is around, it is magic. All I can say is that with 35 Tigers around, the magic is indescribable.”
For more stories of Mascots though the years, go to and click on “Alumni Profiles.”

CADENCE COUNT: Clemson Hits the Top 20

This fall, Clemson broke into celebration mode when the U.S.News & World Report rankings hit the street. Sitting beside Clemson University’s name on the listing of national public universities was a #20.
The audacious idea that Clemson could rank among the top national universities in the nation was first articulated by President Emeritus Jim Barker in a 10-year plan he set forth in 2000. At that time, Clemson was tied for 38th. It was a bold goal, and it took a bit longer than 10 years.
So what does it mean to be top 20? For alumni, it means that your degree keeps gaining value each year, as public recognition of a Clemson education grows. There are both quantitative and qualitative factors that go into the rankings. Here are just a few of the pieces of that puzzle.



Up & Coming Universities

One of 11

Recognized for Writing Across Disciplines program


Alumni Giving


Best Undergraduate Engineering Program


Best Undergraduate Business Program


Average ACT Score (28)


Average Math SAT Score (637)


Average Critical Reading SAT Score (609)


Percentage of Incoming Freshmen who Ranked in top 10% of High School Class (56%)


Fall 2013 Acceptance Rate


Average Freshman Retention Rate


Classes with Fewer than 20 Students


6-year Graduation Rate


Student-Faculty Ratio

Matthew C. Reinhart ’94

“Pop-up” Engineer

Take a biology major, mix in a portion of art training and a large serving of creativity, and what do you get? A pop-up engineer!
That’s the combination that resulted in a successful career for author, illustrator and paper engineer, Matthew Reinhart.
Reinhart began his Clemson experience with intentions of becoming a physician, but he had always enjoyed art and took art classes to build up his portfolio. After graduation, he realized that medicine was not his true calling and took off to New York City.
Reinhart attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, majoring in industrial design, with a concentration in toy design. His focus soon shifted to becoming a paper engineer. More precisely, a pop-up engineer.
Cutting, folding and taping small pieces of paper to make model after model to create dancing princesses, open-jawed dinosaurs and flying super heroes became his passion.
Reinhart apprenticed with renowned pop-up bookmaker Robert Sabuda, and soon they were collaborating. Reinhart made his first big breaks into the pop-up world with The Pop-Up Book Of Phobias, Animal Popposites and The Ark. Many book collaborations with Sabuda followed, including a trilogy of New York Times best-selling Encyclopedia Prehistorica and the series Encyclopedia Mythologica. He co-authored Mommy? with the ever-popular Maurice Sendak, and Brava Strega Nona with famous writer and illustrator, Tomie DePaola.
Reinhart’s solo pop-up books include The Jungle Book, Cinderella: A Pop-Up Fairy Tale, The Pop-Up Book of Nursery Rhymes, and STAR WARS: Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy, DC Super Heroes Transformers: The Ultimate Pop-Up Universe and Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros.
He continues to work and live in New York City, cutting, taping and folding paper into pop-up masterpieces.

ClemsonLIFE Students in the Spotlight

If you’ve attended football games, you may have seen student equipment manager David Saville on the sidelines. Saville, who has Down Syndrome, hit the national spotlight this past year when he was featured in ESPN commentator Holly Rowe’s “Front Rowe” series as well as being a keynote speaker at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention.
At the convention, Saville was introduced by former Clemson All-America football player Dwayne Allen, who now plays for the Indiana Colts. “I went into the relationship,” Allen said, “thinking I would learn something about Down Syndrome. I came out learning about a kid who loved video games, loved to eat hamburgers, knew every college team mascot. The only out-of-the ordinary thing I learned about him is his extraordinary ability to love. David loves everyone; it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you’re about.”
Saville is enrolled in ClemsonLIFE (Learning is for Everyone), a four-year post-secondary program focused on vocational and independent- living success for young adults with disabilities. For the first two years, students live in apartments on campus with an on-site independent living assistant while taking classes on independent living, employment, personal finances, health and nutrition. During the last two years of the program, students live in off-campus apartments and are employed in the local community.
In Saville’s keynote, he quoted one of Coach Dabo Swinney’s life lessons: “The only real disability in life is a bad attitude.” Rion Holcombe, another ClemsonLIFE student, hit national news last year when a video of him receiving his acceptance letter went viral. “CBS Evening News” covered Holcombe’s journey from acceptance to move-in.

Watch David Saville’s speech at the NDSC on 9/12/14:

 Watch Holly Rowe’s feature on the ClemsonLIFE program:

Additional videos and articles about Saville can be accessed below:–clemson-manager-david-saville-s-locker-room-victory-dance-160355527.html

Soccer Dad by Day, Star-Gazer by Night

Astrophysicist Sean Brittain straddles two worlds

Sean Brittain has used some of the world’s most powerful telescopes to study the chaos swirling around a young star about 335 light years from Earth. Huge chunks of rock are slamming together to form what could be the first planets of a budding solar system.

Back home in Clemson, [pullquote]Brittain deals with a different kind of chaos each Tuesday and Thursday night during soccer season. He coaches a team of youths, ages 7-9.[/pullquote]
“We’re working on passing the ball,” the father of three said with an easygoing smile.
Brittain’s feet are on Earth, but his eyes are often on the night sky. He led an international team of scientists that discovered evidence strongly suggesting a planet is orbiting a star known as HD100546. The team reported its findings in The Astrophysical Journal. News outlets around the globe covered the discovery in at least four different languages.
The planet would be at least three times the size of Jupiter, so there would be plenty of real estate. But if you’re looking to relocate, don’t book your ticket on the USS Enterprise just yet. The planet would be an uninhabitable gas giant. And even if you traveled at the speed of light, it would take more than four lifetimes to get there.
Astronomers are interested in the solar system for a different reason.

This graphic is an artist’s conception of the young massive star HD100546 and its surrounding disk. Brittain’s team believes that this is a new planet that is at least three times the size of Jupiter. Credit: P. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF

This graphic is an artist’s conception of the young massive star HD100546 and its surrounding disk. Brittain’s team believes that this is a new planet that is at least three times the size of Jupiter. Credit: P. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF

The work that Brittain’s team did built on previous research by a team that found a collapsing blob of gas and dust could condense into a planet in about one million years. That means astronomers believe they have found not one but two “candidate planets” orbiting HD100546.
Taken together, the findings could mark the first time astronomers have been able to directly observe multiple planets forming in sequence. It’s something astronomers have long believed happens but have never been able to see.
Other solar systems that astronomers have observed are either fully developed or too far away to see in the kind of detail that HD100546 offers.
“This system is very close to Earth, relative to other disk systems,” Brittain said. “We’re able to study it at a level of detail that you can’t do with more distant stars. This is the first system where we’ve been able to do this.
“Once we really understand what’s going on, the tools that we are developing can then be applied to a larger number of systems that are more distant and harder to see.”


sean brittain_036_final_aAs an astrophysicist, Brittain could be working just about any time of the day or night. It sometimes means staying up all night to observe the stars and then pushing through to teach class.
In one recent all-nighter, Brittain logged on to a video conferencing website to work with two collaborators, one in Tucson and one in Berkeley. The telescope they used was at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
The patchwork of faces on his screen looked like something out of “Star Trek,” Brittain said.
The team worked from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. Clemson time, and then Brittain headed for the classroom.
“You finish observing, and you still have to teach class,” he said. “Your day job doesn’t get pushed aside.”
Brittain has the opportunity to observe the stars about four times a year. He collaborates with researchers all over the world, so conferences calls can be early in the morning.
“There’s no time of day when it’s 9-to-5 for everybody,” he said.
Brittain made three trips to Chile as far back as 2006 to gather data for the research he did on HD100546. He used telescopes at the Gemini Observatory and the European Southern Observatory.
Northern Chile is one of a few places in the world just right for high-powered telescopes, Brittain said. The weather is predictable, the skies are usually clear and the political climate is stable.
Each time Brittain went to Chile, he flew from Atlanta to Santiago, where he would spend the night. Then he would take another flight to Antofagasta, where he would catch a two-hour ride to the observatory. The city quickly gave way to a desert landscape, he said.
“It’s like being on Tatooine,” Brittain said, referring to the desert planet from “Star Wars.” “There’s no vegetation. It’s sand and rock, a really bleak landscape.”


Brittain grew up watching “Star Wars,” but he isn’t a serious sci-fi fan. And he wasn’t the kind of kid who grew up gazing at the stars through a telescope in his backyard every night.
Brittain fell into astronomy after receiving his bachelor of science in chemical physics from LeTourneau University in Texas. He headed to Notre Dame to study the foundations of quantum mechanics but found that the adviser he wanted was retiring and not accepting new graduate students.
Brittain soon found another professor who was doing research into the organic chemistry of comets.
It seemed to be a fit considering Brittain’s chemistry background. Even better, the professor did some of his research at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
“Here I am in South Bend, Indiana, where it’s cold and gray, and here was an opportunity to go to Hawaii,” Brittain said.
Brittain has spun the opportunity into a successful career. He received his Ph.D. in 2004 and became a NASA-funded Michelson postdoctoral fellow at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
Brittain came to Clemson two years later with his wife, Beth, and their children, Olivia and Sam. They have since added a third child, Charlotte.


[pullquote]Brittain’s chemistry background helped get him an early start on using high-resolution spectroscopy to study the formation of stars and planets.[/pullquote] It was a relatively new technique early in his career, he said, and has played a major role in his research on HD100546.
The technique enabled the team to measure small changes in the position of the carbon monoxide emission. A source of excess carbon monoxide emission was detected that appears to vary in position and velocity. The varying position and velocity are consistent with orbital motion around the star.
The favored hypothesis is that emission comes from a circumplanetary disk of gas orbiting a giant planet, Brittain said.
“Another possibility is that we’re seeing the wake from tidal interactions between the object and the circumstellar disk of gas and dust orbiting the star,” he said.
Brittain served as lead author on The Astrophysical Journal article. Co-authors were John S. Carr of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.; Joan R. Najita of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona; and Sascha P. Quanz and Michael R. Meyer, both of ETH Zurich Institute for Astronomy.
Mark Leising, the chair of Clemson’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Department, said Brittain’s work will raise the department’s international profile.
“I congratulate Dr. Brittain and his team on their excellent work,” Leising said. “Astronomers are now very good at finding already formed planets around many nearby stars, but it has been difficult to watch the planets in the process of forming.
“Using very clever techniques and the most advanced telescopes on Earth, they have accomplished that. It’s great to see our faculty working with leading institutions around the world to make discoveries at the forefront of astronomy.”
Brittain said he is looking forward to observing the solar system using more advanced telescopes, including the James Webb Space Telescope scheduled for launch in 2018 and the 30-meter telescopes that could be ready as early as 2022.
If there’s any similarity between Brittain’s research in space and his coaching on Earth, it’s that both take teamwork to be successful, he said. “No one is the boss, but every-one is working toward a common goal,” Brittain said.
You can read more about Brittain’s research at the following links:

Clements to Co-Chair Commerce Advisory Committee

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has selected Clemson University President James P. Clements to serve as a co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). NACIE is a federal advisory committee charged with identifying and recommending solutions to issues critical to driving the innovation economy, including enabling entrepreneurs and firms to successfully access and develop a skilled, globally competitive workforce.
“I’m honored to be asked to serve in this capacity, and I believe my participation will create opportunities for Clemson University and for the state of South Carolina,” said Clements. “The council’s mission aligns perfectly with Clemson’s commitment to workforce development for new and emerging industries, research-driven innovations that spur economic growth, and resources that support the launch and growth of new businesses. My appointment is a reflection of the outstanding work being done by our faculty, staff and students.”
Clements will advise Pritzker on issues related to accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship — with an emphasis on proven programs that create jobs and boost innovation.

The Clemson Medallion

In October, trustee Ellison Smyth McKissick III of Greenville and retired professor Jerome V. Reel Jr. of Clemson were awarded the Thomas Green Clemson Medallion, the University’s highest public honor. The medallion is awarded to those members of the Clemson Family whose dedication and service embody the spirit of the University’s founder.
“These two gentlemen each have devoted decades of their lives to Clemson and its faculty, staff and students,” said President James P. Clements. “Clemson would not be the university it is today without their hard work and leadership. It is a great honor to recognize them for their dedication, exceptional example and continuing impact.”


Smyth McKissick’s father was a great believer in an honest day’s work and admired hard-working people. The younger McKissick learned this lesson well and began work at age 16 in the spinning room of his family’s textile company, Alice Manufacturing.
McKissick entered Clemson in 1975 to study business, then went on to the University of South Carolina for an MBA in 1981. He characterizes his time at Clemson as a life-changing experience, and says he “grew up” in Sirrine Hall. He then returned home and to Alice Manufacturing, where he had the pleasure of learning and working alongside his father.
Soon after his father’s death in 1998, he took the reins as president and CEO, knowing the company needed to transform its business model to survive the many changes in the U.S. textile industry. He credits the success of his family’s business and its re-creation to the dedicated people within the company.
The McKissick philosophy of hard work is evident in his involvement and investment in Clemson. A successor member of the Board of Trustees since 1998, he has chaired or served on almost every board committee, including the search committees for Clemson’s 14th president, James F. Barker, and 15th president, James P. Clements.
An IPTAY member, McKissick supported the WestZone initiative; served as Clemson University Foundation director; is a member of the Thomas Green Clemson Cumulative Giving Society; and is a charter member of the President’s Leadership Circle. McKissick chairs the University’s $1 billion Will to Lead for Clemson campaign, the largest fundraising initiative in Clemson’s history. In 2012, he received the Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.
McKissick has served as a leader in numerous textile industry organizations and is an active member of Christ Church Episcopal. He and his wife, Martha, live in Greenville and have three children, Smyth, Holly ’13 and Caroline.


Clemson University historian since 2002, Jerry Reel has quite a history with the University. His career at Clemson went from potentially short-lived to honored professor and academic leader for 50 years.
The New Orleans native began putting down his roots in Clemson in 1963, when he joined the faculty while still finishing up his Ph.D. in British medieval history at Emory University. His plan was to stay long enough to finish his research, but he never left.
Reel began as an instructor, advanced to assistant and associate professor, and was named professor of history in 1971. He worked with student groups including Tiger Brotherhood, Blue Key, Golden Key, Omicron Delta Kappa and Order of Omega. He served as adviser to Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity for more than 25 years.
Reel served as dean of undergraduate studies, vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies, and senior vice provost. He was named professor emeritus in 2003 and was honored with the Governor’s Award in the Humanities in 2011.
For decades, students filled his “History 101 ­— History of Clemson” course in which he indoctrinated generations with stories of the families who founded the University and the leaders who presided over it. Reel is the author and co-author of several books on Clemson history.
Reel is a member of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, and past president of the National Opera Association and the national Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He is active in Fort Hill Presbyterian Church, serving as an elder.
Students nominated Reel as an Alumni Master Teacher in 1975. Friends and former students honored him in 2009 with the establishment of the Jerome V. Reel Jr. Endowed Scholarship. Reel has direct Tiger “orange bloodlines” throughout his family. His wife, Edmeé, holds a master’s degree, and all three of his children and their spouses are alumni. One grandson is a current student.