October update from Interim Dean Boosinger

October 8, 2019

Dear students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of CAAH:

Autumn greetings! With a break in the weather, it’s finally beginning to feel like October at Clemson University.

Michael and Robyn Nieri

The Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management now carries the name of Michael and Robyn Nieri, in honor of their $5 million Academic Cornerstone Partner gift. Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

I want to share some news from the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

In my role as Interim Dean, my highest priority is to ensure a strong future for the College by securing a strong Dean. I am happy to announce that our national search for a permanent Dean continues in earnest. We have placed an ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education in addition to engaging the search firm R. William Funk & Associates.

If you are aware of any exceptional leaders who have the credentials and vision to lead our College forward, I ask that you send those nominations to the search firm as soon as possible though Krisha Creal (

The search committee will meet with the most qualified applicants in December and January, and we are on track to have a new Dean in place next spring.

School of Architecture seeks new director

Clemson University has benefitted greatly from Kate Schwennsen’s leadership in the School of Architecture since her arrival at Clemson in 2010. Schwennsen served as the national president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 2006 and received the 2018 Educator Honor from the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) – the most prestigious national award the organization presents to educators.

During Kate’s tenure, the School of Architecture has thrived, producing exceptional graduates and garnering high rankings in DesignIntelligence. The School opened impressive new facilities – Lee III on the main campus and the Clemson Design Center in Charleston – and added the forward-thinking Master of Resilient Urban Design program.

Schwennsen is now passing the torch to a new director.

We have placed an ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education and ask for all nominations, inquiries and questions to be sent to the care of Dr. Winifred Elysee Newman, Mickel Professor of Architecture and chair of the search committee (

New era in construction science

We are proud to announce that our College’s highly regarded construction science program has a new name, thanks to the recent $5 million Academic Cornerstone Partner gift from Michael and Robyn Nieri. Michael Nieri is the founder and president of Great Southern Homes and an alumnus of the construction science program at Clemson.

The gift was formally announced and the Nieris were celebrated at a luncheon held Sept. 20 at the WestZone Club at Memorial Stadium. President James P. Clements called the Nieri gift both “generous and visionary.”

“It’s gifts like this that change this institution and literally make us the best of the best,” President Clements said.

With the family’s endowment, The Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management will be able to provide even more opportunities for students. Department chair Mike Jackson said the gift will make it possible to hire a professor who specializes in residential construction, and to increase hands-on homebuilding experiences.

Acting Associate Dean is named

James Burns has been appointed Acting Associate Dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. James has taught at Clemson since 1999 and served as the chair of the Department of History since 2015. A past Fulbright scholar, James specializes in African history and the social history of film.

James assumed his new role on Oct. 1, when Lee Morrissey returned to the English faculty, his work as director of the Humanities Hub and his own research. We thank Lee for his service to the College as Interim Associate Dean. The search for a new Interim Associate Dean will begin shortly.

Daniel Hall update

Most students who have attended Clemson have spent a fair amount of time in the classrooms of Daniel Hall.

Daniel Hall architectural sketch

Architectural renderings from Lord Aeck Sargent show how the new and improved Daniel Hall will look from the Bridge.

When the building opened in 1969, Clemson had an enrollment of just 6,666 students, Lyndon B. Johnson was president, Woodstock was only a spot on the map and humans were leaving fresh footsteps on the moon.

It’s been a while.

I have recently seen some exciting plans for the expansion and renovation of Daniel Hall, and I want to share a few highlights with you. The addition will include new classrooms; a 250-seat auditorium; a physical space for our humanities center, the Humanities Hub; and a variety of collaborative and lounge spaces that can be used by students, faculty and staff.

This new space, projected to open in 2021, will be a new home for general education classes and a great new resource for the College and University.

Conferences and community

OR mockup with overhead lights

The “Innovations in Surgical Environments” conference in Charleston shared  findings from the four-year Realizing Improved Patient Care through Human-Centered Design in the Operating Room (RIPCHD.OR) project.

A recent workshop and two upcoming events offer evidence on how design and build programs in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities at Clemson University have a significant impact in South Carolina and beyond.

  • About 100 designers, clinicians, administrators and other healthcare professionals took part in the “Innovations in Surgical Environments” workshop last month in Charleston. Attendees had the opportunity to benefit from knowledge gained over a four-year collaboration between Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina, focused on designing safer operating rooms. Anjali Joseph, David Allison and their entire team in Architecture + Health have done great work that will continue to be shared through initiatives such as the newly launched Safe OR Design tool.
  • For professionals in the construction industry, our Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management will host a one-day event, “Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Opportunities” on Oct. 10. The program in Greenville will include speakers and expert panels, along with opportunities to network and strengthen ties between industry and education in South Carolina.
  • The Department of City Planning and Real Estate Development will host the national conference for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) from Oct. 24-27 in Greenville. Planning professionals and educators from around the country will be able to share insights and expertise, while discovering what is special about Greenville, the Upstate and the University.

A loss for the College

In closing, I am saddened to report the death of Robert A. Bruhns, a respected member of the faculty. Bruhns died Sept. 15. Five days later, students and colleagues – many of them wearing the Hawaiian shirts he loved – gathered at Lee Hall to honor his memory. As his obituary said, “Robert was an architect by training and a teacher at heart.”


Tim Boosinger

a large crowd in colorful shirts

Robert A. Bruhns, a Senior Lecturer of Architecture, was remembered by students and colleagues on Sept. 20 at Lee Hall.