A Fresh Start

It’s exciting to be on campus this fall, with a new sense of energy and optimism. After a year and a half of dealing with COVID-19, we are happy to be returning to a more normal Clemson experience while we continue to monitor the science and data to keep our students, faculty and staff safe. We welcomed a record-sized freshman class with exceptional academic credentials. They are ready to explore their potential and excited about being a part of the Clemson Family.

This past spring, we honored David Beasley, executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme, with an honorary doctor of humanities degree. In this issue, you can learn about the life experiences that have brought him to where he is, living in Rome and heading up the world’s largest humanitarian operation.

You most certainly have heard the name Harvey Gantt, and probably know that he was the first African American student at Clemson. Take the time to discover his whole story, from a politically engaged teenager to an accomplished architect, civic leader and successful two-term mayor of Charlotte.

Closer to home is an equally determined Trudy Mackay, director of the Clemson Center for Human Genetics and Self Family Endowed Chair of Human Genetics. Read about her pioneering research with fruit flies that potentially lays the groundwork for the development of drugs to treat or prevent addiction.

I hope you’ll join us on campus this fall, whether it’s for an athletic event, a concert at the Brooks Center or just wandering around on campus. Reconnect with faculty who have influenced you and with friends and classmates you haven’t seen in a while.

Thank you for being a part of the Clemson Family. Go Tigers!


Shifting Perspectives

Work in Charleston seeks to honor cultural heritage through conservation

Conservators at Clemson’s Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston have been working on preserving the Civil War-era Hunley submarine for a number of years. Now, there’s another vessel to be preserved. And this one is far older.

With a new project involving a Native American dugout canoe that has been carbon dated as more than 4,000 years old, the center is hoping to shift the conversation and process of conservation by incorporating cultural groups on the front end of the project to help guide the conservation of cultural heritage items, providing those groups with direct access and authority over their cultural heritage.

When the team was asked to take on the canoe’s conservation, the first thing they did was to begin working on a way to recognize the rights of the Native American communities of South Carolina “to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions,” as defined in Article 31 of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In late May, the conservation team hosted a consultative event with eight Native American tribes in South Carolina where tribal representatives viewed the canoe and heard about options for conservation. The team then opened the floor for discussion on next steps for the 

canoe — giving the tribes full control over how this item from their cultural heritage would be cared for moving forward.

The tribal representatives agreed that conservation was of the utmost importance and approved a plan for the canoe’s conservation. Now the hands-on work with the canoe begins — the Clemson team will begin conservation treatment of the canoe, which is expected to take several years to complete.