Warm holiday greetings from campus. This time of year brings together friends and family and allows students, faculty and staff a welcome break between semesters. I would like to extend a special welcome to the parents of our students, who are receiving this newsletter for the first time.
As we look back on the past year, there is much to be thankful for with significant historical accomplishments and milestones in Clemson’s history, including Jim Clements being named our 15th president and the hiring of our new Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Bob Jones. We’ve seen Clemson reach the U.S. News and World Report Top-20, received unprecedented applications for admission and had our Architecture and City and Regional Planning programs achieve national rankings. Additionally, the Brooks Center and Lee Hall were named to Top-10 lists for academic excellence.
In mid-November, the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities hosted a visit by Dr. Craig Wilder, noted historian from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery and the Troubled History of America’s Universities. Dr. Wilder spent two days on campus, speaking to students, faculty, staff and community members. The highlight of his visit was a well-attended keynote address in Tillman Hall. The conversations that permeated throughout and following Dr. Wilder’s visit will help build a bright future for Clemson through a better understanding of our past. A very big thank you to Professors Rhondda Thomas and Diane Perpich for putting together Dr. Wilder’s remarkable visit.
A Milestone for Clemson
The Clemson University competition team of students and faculty who are participating in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 will unveil their design and prototype to the public this morning. The project, titled Indigo Pine, has the potential to revolutionize the homebuilding industry, transform low-cost affordable housing options and provide a new level of sustainability education for our students. The project touches virtually every emphasis area at Clemson and is a model of collaboration between Architecture, Engineering and more than a dozen other majors across campus. The team is being led by principal investigators Vincent Blouin, who holds a joint appointment in architecture and materials science and engineering, and Dan Harding and Ulrike Heine from the School of Architecture.
Indigo Pine is a perfect representation of a STEAM initiative. A national focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education has been around since the 1990s. Over the past several years, the addition of an “A” to STEM has gained significant traction – the idea that the arts, (broadly defined as inclusive of all the liberal and design arts) can empower students to be creative, innovative and problem-solving critical thinkers. STEAM education is increasingly seen as a priority for K-16 students. To accelerate the college’s STEAM efforts, a college-wide task force was formed in November with 29 faculty and staff volunteering from across the college. I was blown away by the amount of interest in STEAM. It reinforces the notion that Clemson is poised to take STEAM education to the next level in order to educate the next generation of college students in important and innovative new ways.
It truly has been a remarkable semester and, to all our students, faculty, staff, parents and friends, I wish all of you the happiest of holidays.
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