A Word from Dean Richard Goodstein – January 2015

January 5, 2015

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! It felt strange writing the 2015 date for the first time! I hope the holidays were a time for you and your families to spend time together and celebrate the season.

The New Year always seems to bring a bevy of Top 10 lists, end-of-year reviews and other reflections of the past 12 months. This year, seemingly more than ever, the complexity of the world in front of us is staggering. From ever-changing world geopolitics, to hyper-charged race relations, both nationally and locally, to Ebola and Obamacare, and to a constantly evolving job market, predicting the future is in many ways impossible. A year ago, who would have thought that gasoline prices would be below $2 a gallon, that the nation would reflect and react to incidents in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York or that individual drones could be flown to deliver a package to your doorstep?

I was reflecting on these and other complexities of the world in which our students will be entering while sitting at last month’s commencement ceremonies. Watching our students cross the stage and receive the congratulations of the university, family and friends, I was more convinced than ever of the value of a college education. The price of attending college has risen dramatically over the past several years, but so has the absolute necessity for broadly educated adults who have the layers of knowledge and social tools needed to succeed in such an environment.

To meet the challenges of the future and to meet the complexities of today’s world, graduates who have extraordinary critical thinking abilities, broad problem-solving capabilities and strong communication tools are essential. Consequently, the cost-to-benefit ratio of a college education can’t just be measured on an immediate return on investment, but considered an investment to build capacity to face a lifetime of constant change. Ten years ago who would have thought Twitter would be valued at over $20B or that Apple is the world’s most valuable company? Thus, is seems imperative that a college education must be constantly evolving in order to be relevant and reflective of the ever-changing world in front of us. Our future is in the hands of our students and we have an amazing opportunity at Clemson to help shape the world through them.

Kate SchwennsenIn exciting news from the end of last semester, I am pleased to announce that Kate Schwennsen has been appointed as director of the School of Architecture. This appointment recognizes Kate’s outstanding leadership of the school, which includes our fluid campus programs, the Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genoa, the Community Research + Design Center and the Clemson Architectural Foundation among many others. The School of Architecture is Clemson’s highest nationally ranked program and our international profile has never been stronger!

Brad Elliott wins customer service award.I would also like to congratulate Brad Elliott for receiving the 2014 Clemson Vice President’s Award for Outstanding Customer Service. Brad’s work over the past year has helped elevate the college’s sponsored grant program in many ways, including effective interaction with faculty and stronger proposals. This recognition is a significant award recognizing staff members for performance above and beyond the call of duty and contributing to the university’s research mission.

With the spring semester about to begin, it’s an exciting time for all of us. Best wishes to all for the New Year.