Kimberly P. Johnson M ’10

Johnson pictured with members of the Friendship 9. From left, civil rights activist David Boone, who took part
in 1960s sit-ins, and Friendship 9 members Clarence Graham, James Well, Willie McCleod and W.T. “Dub” Massey. CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

Righting History

In 1961, nine young African-American college students were arrested for sitting at a whites-only lunch counter at McCrory’s Five & Dime in Rock Hill. Instead of posting bail, they became the first sit-in participants to insist on doing jail time — 30 days hard labor — that served as a model for future sit-ins and protests.

For 54 years, historians have credited the men — known as the Friendship 9 — for actions that revived the civil rights movement. But their story was little known outside Rock Hill residents or civil rights scholars.

Until they met Kimberly Johnson.

Johnson, a graduate of Clemson’s youth development leadership program, is an award-winning children’s author living in nearby York who met the Friendship 9 by chance at the same McCrory’s Five & Dime in 2011. After her conversation with them, she knew it was a story to be shared.

She released her 17th title, No Fear for Freedom: The Story of the Friendship 9 — a children’s book — in 2014. The book received a wonderful reception locally, but Johnson was restless to do more, inspired by her research on the Friendship 9 and the civil rights movement as a whole.

Moved in particular by Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, which emphasized the creation of unjust laws, she approached the Rock Hill-area solicitor to see if the Friendship 9’s convictions could be overturned.

On January 28, 2015, in a packed courthouse and the eyes of the nation on them, the solicitor presented their case — and a judge threw out their convictions.

“There is always something that we can do to make things better,” said Johnson. “This case, in a small way, has opened the door for bigger conversations about race and diversity — it also sends a message to children and adults alike that justice is possible.”

Johnson says that message was reinforced during her time in Clemson’s youth development leadership program. “The program helped me understand that we are all change agents and that we can make a difference, starting with our own communities,” she said. “In that process, we can even begin to change the world!”

More information about the Friendship 9:

New York Times: South Carolina Court clears Friendship Nine in 1961 Sit-in (includes video of court appearance)

 New York Times: Decades After Sit-in, South Carolina Seeks to Make Things Right

For more information about Johnson’s work with the Friendship 9 go to

Clemson team to compete in international Solar Decathlon

For the first time, Clemson will be among the 20 teams selected from universities around the world to compete at this fall’s international Solar Decathlon, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The competition, held every two years in Irvine, California, challenges teams to design and build a cost-effective, energy-efficient and visually appealing solar home, blending affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and design efficiency.

Comprising students from each of Clemson’s five colleges, along with dedicated faculty members, Clemson’s team has embraced the challenge to build and operate the home, named Indigo Pine, a three-bedroom, 1,000 square feet, net-zero energy, solar house that is cost-efficient in today’s market and comfortable in South Carolina and comparable climate zones. The name “Indigo Pine” originates from the home’s Southern roots. Indigo was historically grown in South Carolina while pine trees remain a vital cash crop to the state’s economy. The concept focuses on stitching together innovative building methods, Southern charm and local products in a home for a Southern family.

Clemson is taking the competition to a new level by choosing to “email” the house across the country then using those digital files to cut out the structural system using a CNC, a computer-controlled cutting machine. This system, referred to as Sim[PLY], allows Indigo Pine to be built virtually anywhere a CNC is available using off-the-shelf materials and handheld tools. Indigo Pine is challenging the construction and design world to think differently about light wood framing and construction in general.

Utilizing the Sim[PLY] system to email the house digitally from coast to coast rather than shipping the entire home by truck allows the team to vastly reduce the production of carbon dioxide emissions from the project. Furthermore, Team Clemson plans to construct not one but two versions of Indigo Pine, one in the South Carolina Botanical Garden this spring and the other in California this fall. This will allow for testing of the home’s functionality and will showcase the ability of the home to be built anywhere.

Clemson’s Solar Decathlon team is operating entirely on private funding from individuals and corporate sponsors.

The Unveiling of Indigo Pine: 


More information about Indigo Pine, including how to volunteer or donate. 


Raymond E. Jones ’86

raymond jones

Problem solver on an international scale

What Raymond Jones learned in mechanical engineering at Clemson was how to learn and how to solve problems. And he’s doing that at ExxonMobil Development in a big way.

A vice president with ExxonMobil Development Company, his region of the world is Asia Pacific (Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam). The company executes multi-billion dollar projects around the world, and Jones manages a portfolio of projects aimed at bringing oil and gas to market. “Our role,” he says, “is to take resources identified by our exploration company, develop an economic concept, design the facilities and execute the project for turnover to our production company for operations.”

His biggest challenge, he says, is trying to get all of the constituents — including foreign governments and foreign contractors — to line up on a common objective and execute the project flawlessly. He has worked in Qatar, Australia, Nigeria and Europe; now he’s based in Houston, but travels regularly to the countries in his portfolio, checking in at different stages of the projects, making sure everybody is “pointed in the right direction, trying to tackle the same hill.”

Jones came to Clemson in 1982, wanting to be an engineer, but he says he “didn’t really know what an ‘engineer’ was. The professors and staff at Clemson opened my eyes to opportunity and, for that, I will always be grateful.” He joined Exxon (now ExxonMobil) Pipeline Company after graduation as a pipeline engineer, designing pipeline systems to move oil and gasoline from fields to refineries and from refineries to terminals.

The longer he stayed in his career, he says, “the more it was about knowing how to learn, how to solve problems, how to take details and put it in a form others could understand — to communicate the ideas.” And that’s what he passes on to the new engineers who come in: “Just learn how to learn and learn how to communicate.”

Mayberry Scholarship brightens Egan’s future

Forever-Chris EganRobert P. “Bob” Mayberry Jr., who passed away in 2012 after a battle with cancer, was a member of Clemson’s much-touted 1981 National Championship football team. When his friends and family remember him, however, it’s not for his exploits on the field. They remember the way he went about helping other people. “Quietly and without the need for recognition,” is the way Kendall Alley ’83, M ’85, another member of that team, describes it.

So when Mayberry’s friends and family thought about how to honor his memory, they settled on a scholarship endowment that would provide partial scholarships to football trainers and/or managers. “We are confident it would have been Bob’s dream to honor those who work hard day in and day out with no expectation of recognition beyond that which accrues to the whole team,” said Mark Richardson ’83, a member of the committee that initiated the effort. Alley referred to the team managers and trainers as “the unsung individuals who are so important to the football team’s success.”

In the Clemson football equipment room, you can find one of those unsung heroes. Chris Egan operates under the same philosophy that characterized Bob Mayberry. He quietly goes about his job of cleaning helmets, organizing gear and toting bags of footballs on and off the field.

Egan’s life has not been easy. His family moved around 11 times before he was 12 years old, so his mother home-schooled six children. When he was 13, his father left, and his mother went to work outside the home, still managing to homeschool the kids. Chris dropped out of school at 14, working odd jobs to help support the family.

During what was supposed to be his senior year in high school, he took the ACT and spent a year at Greenville Tech; the next summer he worked at Camps Hope and Sertoma, based at Clemson’s Outdoor Lab. It was during that summer, working with special-needs adults and kids from underprivileged families, that he began to find his calling.

The next year, he transferred to Tri-County Tech, continuing to work at the Outdoor Lab. A chance meeting with Alphonso Smith, head of equipment for Clemson football, would prove beneficial. Egan applied to Clemson, knowing he would have to pay his way through loans and part-time work. He contacted Smith, who hired him for a position, one with long hours and not much recognition.

Being an equipment manager is not Egan’s only job. He lives and works at the Outdoor Lab as well. And he works with the ClemsonLIFE program, teaching classes for young adults with disabilities. During the summer, he is assistant director of the two camps at the Outdoor Lab. Along the way, he has finished his degree in history and begun a master’s degree in public administration with a focus on working with nonprofits.

When the scholarship committee came looking for recommendations, equipment manager Abe Reed answered without hesitation. During spring practice, Reed stopped Egan on the way out of practice, took the ball bags from him and told him he needed to talk with someone. Heart in his throat, not knowing what to expect, Egan went in to find Mark Richardson waiting for him. The two talked about the scholarship and about Mayberry, and Richardson had a chance to gauge the young man for himself before signing off on the selection.

For Chris Egan, what does a scholarship like this mean? Egan says his first reaction was “total shock.”

“In my family,” he says, “we’ve always worked very hard for everything. Hearing about that almost made me tear up — helping me get through the rest of school and pay off my loans.” For someone who sees his future as working with special-needs adults, it’s particularly meaningful. “It frees me up to do what I want to do, which doesn’t involve a lot of income. It’s pretty incredible.”

When asked what advice he’d share with other students, he pauses. “Paying for it on my own gave it extra meaning for me. Every class I took, every grade I got — it was all mine. I’d encourage students to do that — there needs to be some ownership with school and with work — realizing that you’re signing your name on everything you do, whether it’s sweeping the floor or doing a presentation for 200 people.”

Chris Egan signs his name on a lot these days. Without looking for any recognition or special attention. Just the kind of thinking Bob Mayberry would appreciate.

Explore the world with your Clemson family

Wayne and Shirley Bennett hosted this group of 21 for the Clemson Alumni Danube Cruise this past year. Their enthusiasm is infectious as they talk about the cities they explored, the things they learned, the people they enjoyed and the comforts of cruising down the Danube River through eight countries and 12 cities. A particular highlight was having a Clemson expert along to share tidbits about the history and culture of the areas in which they were traveling.
Alumni trips offer unequaled access, educational value and the knowledge of Clemson experts to enrich your experience. You can relax, explore and immerse yourself in dream destinations without having to worry about making arrangements and reservations.
Has the travel bug bitten you? Trips this year include Alaska, the Swiss Alps, the Pacific Northwest and Nashville. Contact Randy Boatwright at for more information.

Alumni Authors

CLEMSON TIGERS can be found in every profession, and many are published authors. Here is a short, but not exhaustive, list of alumni authors and some of their books that may pique your interest.


Lawrence V. Starkey Jr. (’56 A&S)
The Inheritance
(CreateSpace) is a suspense novel based on how great wealth can strain family relationships.

Little Pee Dee Cover
William S. Walker (’67 HIST)
Down the Little Pee Dee, Paddling South Carolina’s Legendary Blackwater River
(Dog Ear Publishing) takes readers on a 109-mile journey down the river with adventures and personal narrative.


FROGS Ken Dodd_covers
C. Kenneth Dodd Jr. (PhD ’74 ZOOL)
Frogs of the United States and Canada (Johns Hopkins University Press) is a two-volume, fully referenced resource providing color photographs and range maps for 106 native and nonindigenous species. The book was selected for the 2014 Wildlife Publications Award — Outstanding Book Category.


DeMint bookcv
Jim W. DeMint (M ’79 BUSADM)
Falling in Love with America Again (Center Street) shares the inspirational stories of individual Americans across the country who are rekindling the fires of patriotism and activism.


Ron Rash (M ’79 ENGL)
Nothing Gold Can Stay (Ecco) is a collection of stories that take place in western North Carolina.


Jerry N. Whittle (’79 ENGL)
Slingshot, Standing with Better Angels, Two Hearts Make a Bridge, Honeysuckle Time and Santa Rides Again (Amazon Digital Services) are novels with settings from South Carolina to Tennessee to Louisiana.


reluctant copilot_Durham
W. Kelly Durham (’80 POSC)

The Reluctant Copilot (Amazon Digital Services) is a novel set in the flak- and fighter-filled skies over Nazi-occupied Europe as two men battle for the respect of their crew and for survival against their common enemy.


For Better or Worse_new proof
Leigh Anne Whitlock Hoover (’83 SED-EN)
For Better or Worse
(Jan-Carol Publishing) is a mother’s memoir that chronicles a family’s emotional journey through the joys of a wedding and the life events that follow.


The story of Philadelphia Eleven
Darlene O’Dell (M ’88 ENGL)
The Story of the Philadelphia Eleven (Seabury Books) is the story of the first eleven female priests in the Episcopal Church and how their ordinations set off a media firestorm and upended centuries of customs defining the role of women within the church.


SOUTH Book Cover
Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer (’88 PRTM)
South (Starbooks) features 50 essays about the Southfrom notable musicians, athletes, journalists, writers, business leaders, artist, actors, clergy, chefs and more. It captures the heritage and treasures of the region through a collection of photographs.


Cancel the Wedding
Carolyn Tempel Dingman (’91 DESIGN)
Cancel the Wedding (Harper Paperbacks) is the story of a woman’s journey to discover the secrets of a request from her mother’s will and the shocking truths about the past.
Sean C. Foley (’91 ENT)
The Iguana’s Eyes (Columbia Vista Publishing) is a young adult novel about 13-year old Madeline Bloomfield
suddenly finding herself alone in the world and her experiences with adventure and friendship.


Patrick M. Duffy Jr. (’92 POSC)
Parenting Your Delinquent, Defiant, or Out-of-Control Teen (New Harbinger Publications) is designed to provide practical and effective skills for parents faced with challenging behavior.


Adrian M. Hunter (’94 INDE)
Bello One (iBooks) is a poetic endeavor.
Stigma Surrender
Brian K. Feltman (’99 SED-H, M ’02 HIST)
The Stigma of Surrender: German Prisoners, British Captors, and Manhood in the Great War and Beyond (UNC Press) examines the experiences of the approximately 130,000 German prisoners held in the United Kingdom during World War I.
Jacob B. “Jake” Moran (’02 MKTG)
Can You Hear Me Now? (WestBow Press) chronicles one man’s faith journey. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to funding mission work in eastern Uganda.


great awakening cover current 2
Chaise A. Crosby (’07 FINMGT)
The Great Awakening (CreateSpace) is a novel set in the Carolinas that promotes sustainable farming with realism and humor.


Daniel R. Rodriguez (’14 PRTM)
Rise: A Soldier, a Dream, and a Promise (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) details the Clemson student-athlete’s
experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If you’re a published author, send us a high resolution image of your book cover so we can include you in next spring’s “Alumni Authors.” Send to Julia Sellers at or 114 Daniel Dr., Clemson, S.C. 29631.

R. Adam Kern ’12

Adam Kern

Using technology to improve quality of life for children with special needs

Adam Kern ’12 was working with autistic students as a behavioral therapist when he found himself frustrated with the lack of technological tools to help his clients.

“Every day I went to work, knowing that technology exists that could improve my clients and their family’s quality of life, but that technology hadn’t been applied to help them,” said Kern, who graduated from Clemson’s Eugene T. Moore School of Education with a degree in secondary education.

Out of this experience, Kern co-founded ExcepApps, a startup focused on creating technological tools to benefit children with special needs.

“In 2014, we have technology like the PS3 or the XBOX One, but our advances in technology aren’t being used to help the children who could benefit from it the most,” said Kern, who lives in Mauldin. “ExcepApps seeks to change that.”

ExcepApps released its first product, Color Countdown, in August. Color Countdown is a simple tool that works by representing time through colors, shapes and numbers, Kern said. He and his business partner, Ryan Poplin, designed the product to help individuals with transitions, task behavior and time management.

“Color Countdown is a tool that I wished existed while I was a therapist,” Kern said. “It can be used in a classroom when completing time sensitive assignments, in a therapy session or during every day tasks.”

ExcepApps’ second product — a communication tool designed to allow parents, teachers and therapists to track a child’s language development as they learn to speak — launched in November. ExcepApps created the tool for non-vocal children who already rely on technology to communicate, Kern said.

The 2015 Clemson Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award

DSA-Clemson Rings

DSA 2015 pms 165xEvery spring, Clemson recognizes a select number of extraordinary alumni. And this year is no different. Five men have been nominated and selected by their peers using three areas of evaluation: enhancing Clemson’s value for future generations, serving both in the professional and public realm, and serving as a model for present and future students through personal accomplishments.

These are no ordinary alumni. And because of that, they have been designated as recipients of the 2015 Distinguished Service Award.

Gerald M. Glenn ’64 

When Gerald Glenn was still a student in civil engineering at Clemson, he was offered a position with Daniel Construction, which merged with Fluor. An integral part of the team that designed the structure of Fluor Daniel, he rose to group president and later became the chair, president and CEO of Chicago Bridge & Iron, one of the world’s largest construction companies. After early retirement in 1994, he started his own consulting company, The Glenn Group.

Glenn serves on the board of directors of Houston’s CHI-St. Luke’s Hospital and United Way. He stays involved with Clemson, recruiting students from The Woodlands area and supporting the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, named in his honor.

A member of the Clemson University Foundation Board, he is a founding partner of the Barker Scholars Endowment and a major supporter of IPTAY.

PullmanNorman F. Pulliam Sr. ’64 

Personal discipline and the mentorship of one of his closest friends, Dean Walter Cox, helped Normal Pulliam achieve his degree in industrial management. A job at Owens Corning Fiberglass and an MBA from Harvard Business School followed. After a position at Sonoco Products, Pulliam founded Pulliam Investment Company and Pulliam Enterprises, as well as First National Bank of the South in Spartanburg.

Pulliam has served on the board of commissioners of the S.C. School for the Deaf and Blind, and has been president of the Spartanburg Boys’ Home and currently serves on the board of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

A faithful Clemson supporter, Pulliam provided the endowment and initial funding for Clemson’s Master’s of Real Estate Development, is the namesake of the Norman F. Pulliam Founders Award and was responsible for the development of the Walter T. Cox Scholarship.

MortonGregg F. Morton ’78  

Gregg Morton believes Clemson prepared him for life — it taught him discipline and to always be prepared. After graduating in administrative management in 1978, he worked his way up at Southern Bell to become president of AT&T Southeastern region, managing state governmental and external affairs.

Morton has served on and chaired the executive committee and legislative task force of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education and the National Advisory Board of the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville.

A mentor for students in the College of Business and Behavioral Sciences, Morton is a past member of the Clemson University Foundation Board. He has supported Clemson Athletics both financially and by mentoring football players through the new Tigerhood Program. He has secured more than $1 million in gifts and contributions from AT&T for the University, including donations for the AT&T Auditorium at the CU-ICAR campus.

MickelCharles C. Mickel ’79 

Charles Mickel credits his Clemson education for his success — from graduating with a degree in industrial management to earning an MBA from the University of South Carolina to his professional career.

After serving as vice president for U.S. Shelter Corporation, which
was acquired by Insignia Financial Group, Mickel founded Capital Deployment LLC, which manages commercial real estate and private equity investments.

Mickel volunteers with the Daniel-Mickel Foundation, dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all people in the Greenville community. President of the Museum Association board and of the 2014-2015 Artisphere festival, he serves on the Christ Church Episcopal School Board of Visitors and with the Community Foundation of Greenville.

Mickel was the president of the Clemson Real Estate Foundation, served on the Board of Visitors and the Clemson University Foundation Board, and was integral in the development of the CU-ICAR project in Greenville.

ConradRobert J. “Bobby” 
Conrad Jr. ’80 

A member of the 1980 basketball team that advanced to the Elite 8, Bobby Conrad graduated with a degree in history. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia, then carved out a legal career that took him from South Carolina to Washington, D.C.

Conrad was selected by Attorney General Janet Reno as chief of her Campaign Financing Task Force in 2000. That year he became the first lawyer to question under oath in the same week a seated U.S. president and vice president (Clinton and Gore). In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated him as U.S. Attorney for Western North Carolina, and in 2005, he was confirmed by the Senate to a position as U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of North Carolina.

Conrad is an adjunct professor at Wake Forest School of Law, a trustee at Belmont Abbey College and on the faculty of the Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia.

A member of Clemson’s Athletic Hall of Fame and Letterwinners Association board of directors, Conrad serves as a mentor for pre-law students.

Video profiles of the 2015 Distinguished Service Award recipients

Peanut Butter Jelly

slider-2015-peanutbutter-backNew film shines light on Clemson’s Hollywood connection

One jellyfish fires projectiles from a sunken airplane, and another retaliates with a blast from a ship’s canon.

What caused all the fuss?

A jar of peanut butter that had fallen off a boat and drifted to the coral reef below.

The animated short, “Peanut Butter Jelly,” showcases the increasing sophistication coming out of a Clemson program that mimics a real-world animation studio. It also shines a light on the School of Computing’s growing influence in the movie industry.

Graduates are winning top honors, including an Academy Award as recently as February. They are learning from professors who have worked their computer magic on feature films ranging from “Happy Feet” to “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

“Peanut Butter Jelly” takes about one minute to watch, but it’s the result of a year’s work by 26 students, said Alex Beaty, the student writer and director.

The film’s producer, Jerry Tessendorf, racked up  credits in several movies, including “Happy Feet” and “Superman Returns,” before becoming a professor of visual computing at Clemson.

While Tessendorf provided some guidance on “Peanut Butter Jelly,” he described it as an “all-student production.”

“This is very close to what is done in feature films,” he said. “The ability to do this kind of work is rare in academics.”

“Peanut Butter Jelly” illustrates the growing technical ability of students in Digital Production Arts, a program in Clemson’s School of Computing. Students learn the skills needed to work in the animation, visual-effects and electronic-games industries.

Beaty, who recently received his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in the program, said 14 graduate students worked on the film in artistic roles and 12 undergraduates worked in supporting roles. Tessendorf and Joshua Tomlinson, who is also a faculty member, supported their efforts.

PBJ-Alex_Beaty“What excites me most is the number of people who came together to make this,” Beaty said. “We’re not paying them, and they’re putting in large amounts of time. It all came from passion, and that represents why we’re all here in the DPA program — not to be on screen but because we all love making movies.”

One of the strongest ties between Clemson and Hollywood is Tessendorf. He shared in a 2008 Technical Achievement Award from the Academy with Jeroen Molemaker and Michael Kowalski while at Rhythm & Hues Studios. They developed a system that is still used in film and allows artists to create realistic animation of liquids and gases.

Beaty, who aspires to direct movies, said he decided to write and direct “Peanut Butter Jelly” after participating in an intensive summer program at Clemson with professionals from DreamWorks.

“They said if you’re interested in layout you need to have some sort of film that you direct,” Beaty said. “That’s the role of layout — it’s really close to a directorial role. As soon as I heard that, I said, ‘Ok, I’ve got to make my own film.’”

The DreamWorks program was a success and will be back this summer, Tessendorf said.

“It’s a very intense 10 weeks during the summer,” he said. “We choose a few students. They are volunteers because they have to commit to working 100 hours a week in the studio with DreamWorks mentors. The goal is to produce professional-quality work, not just student-quality films.”

Peanut Butter Jelly – Animated Short FIlm from Alex B on Vimeo.

The School of Computing’s Digital Production Arts program offers both an undergraduate minor and an MFA. Currently, 30 graduate students are enrolled in the MFA program.

Two School of Computing alumni were recognized last year for their work on the Academy Award-winning film, “Frozen.”

Jay Steele, who received a Ph.D. in computer graphics, received a film credit in the area of animation technology. Marc Bryant, a Digital Production Arts graduate, was part of the animation team that received an award from the Visual Effects Society for outstanding FX in the segment called “Elsa’s Storm.”

Digital Production Arts’ co-founder, Robert Geist, who had a credit  in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” remains a professor in the School of Computing and currently serves as interim director of the DPA program.

“Our graduates are doing some of the highest-level visual effects in the world,” Geist said. “For them, the sky is the limit.”

Paul Alongi is a technical and feature writer for the College of Engineering and Science.

More information on Clemson’s Digital Production Arts program

The View from Sikes

Building Futures

If you’ve been on campus lately, you’ve noticed a lot of construction fences, cranes and re-routed traffic. That’s because Clemson University has embarked on one of the largest campus development projects in at least half a century — maybe in history.

We call it Building Futures — a capital improvement plan to ensure that Clemson can compete at the highest levels and win — whether we’re competing for top students, big grants or athletics championships. This once-in-a-generation physical transformation will move the university forward and cement our place as a top-20, nationally regarded research University.

Building Futures is a strategic plan to look past 2015 or 2020 or even 2025. It is intended to set the stage for Clemson’s next 50 years, just as a surge of construction half a century ago, in the 1960s, positioned Clemson to become what it is today. It’s about building advanced and sustainable facilities to prepare us for whatever comes next — facilities that foster innovative teaching and learning, support advanced research and technology transfer, improve productivity and efficiency, and protect our rich physical and natural assets. It’s also about creating more educational and economic opportunities for South Carolina.

Already underway are major projects that will transform many areas of campus.

This summer, work begins in earnest on the Douthit Hills redevelopment to create a residential village for students that will change a main gateway to the campus — and change the view from the President’s House. Seven residential buildings and a contemporary student hub will rise on 80 acres on the north side of Highway 93, telling students and visitors they’ve arrived at one of the nation’s top schools. The facilities will provide more on-campus housing options for upperclassmen and bring Bridge to Clemson students to campus. A comprehensive tree plan will ultimately increase the number of trees on the site by 30 percent.

With the Core Campus development, the last vestiges of 60-year-old Johnstone Hall — built as temporary housing, mind you — and Harcombe Dining Hall will give way to a complex that includes a residential hall for freshmen that provides convenience, security, utility upgrades, modern dining facilities, a home for the Calhoun Honors College and more amenities. I know many of you have fond memories of Johnstone, but your children probably don’t share that sentiment.

An addition to Freeman Hall will add teaching and office space for industrial engineering that frees up research space, helps accommodate growth in student demand and makes room for fast-growing online master’s programs targeted to non-traditional students working in corporate engineering jobs.

In the center of campus, the digitally dazzling Watt Family Innovation Center will further define the area south of the library as the academic heart of the University. The center will be a hub of intellectual and entrepreneurial activity as it connects students, faculty and leaders from industry and government to generate ideas, solve problems and move new product concepts to the marketplace.

Days after graduation, Littlejohn Coliseum closed for a major renovation that will include reconstruction of seating areas, new practice facilities, locker rooms, meeting rooms and offices for the men’s and women’s basketball teams — a project completely funded by the athletics department and IPTAY.

Less visible but essential to the success of the Building Futures plan is a major overhaul of our electrical infrastructure — components of which date back to the 1950s.

The process won’t always be pretty. But the long-term gains — more and better housing and classrooms for students, capacity to grow research, improved landscapes and a tree stewardship plan that will leave us with more trees than when we started — are worth the temporary inconveniences.

There’s more to come — pending development of business plans and board and state approvals. Stay tuned for updates.

Please pardon our progress. Think of the sound of construction as a tiger’s roar — a sign of strength and greatness.

James P. Clements