Message from the Chair

January 5, 2022

Greetings from Clemson University! Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, fall 2021 was marked by three extraordinary events, namely, the official launching of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences (CEEES) on Aug. 15; the adoption of the next-generation civil engineering (CE) undergraduate curriculum on Nov. 1; and the CE Donor Recognition Event on Nov. 4.

What is in a school? The new CEEES school houses the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and is home to 60 faculty, 220+ graduate students, and 550+ undergraduates.  The school’s academic ecosystem is being built around the theme “Things That Matter to Society,” such as arid land, clean water, water security, air quality, sustainable environment, smart cities, and natural disaster mitigation. The school will be adding as many as 12 faculty positions over the next several years.  We are currently advertising for two positions focused on adaptation to climate change, including an endowed professorship focused on risk engineering and systems analytics and a position focused on advanced materials in pavement engineering. The school’s North Star is Top-10 status among public universities. A successful CEEES school will cement Clemson’s position as a Carnegie R1 research university and enhance its brand.  However, our march towards preeminence will be done the Clemson way, one which is student-centric and one that it is conducive to a fulfilling and highly coveted Clemson Experience.

What is in a curriculum? We are in the people development business.  We take people with high school degrees and turn them into career-ready civil engineering professionals who underpin society.  We take people with civil engineering bachelor’s degrees and turn them into alumni with master’s degrees and PhDs.  In our CE department, we have adopted a student-centric philosophy, which embraces our alumni-everyday attitude to produce more than mere graduates; that is, our goal is to produce proud and loyal alumni who in the fullness of time become Clemson Multipliers, who continue to give time and treasure to their alma mater long after graduation. In November, the faculty approved a major overhaul to our undergraduate curriculum that is responsive to the changing marketplace. These curriculum changes were sponsored by our National Science Foundation-funded RED grant. RED is an acronym, and the heart of the program is spelled out in the full title– Revolutionizing Engineering Departments.  At the core of these changes is the introduction of a capstone-like experience during the sophomore and junior years.  With these changes, our students will develop a heightened degree of belongingness and identity with the civil engineering profession much earlier than they did studying under the previous curriculum. It’s a win-win-win strategy for our students, department, and industry.

What is in a name? Nov. 4, 2021, marked a glorious and special day for Clemson and for all of us in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering.  In recent years, Clemson Multipliers–CE Alumni–have been very generous with their financial resources, counsel, love, and with their most valuable and non-renewable asset, their time. We gathered together to celebrate the Clemson Multipliers’ unwavering commitment to our students and to our program by naming spaces in Lowry Hall that we use for classrooms, student services, conference rooms and offices.


While the credit belongs to the past leadership in this department, I consider myself the luckiest of the recent chairs because I am the one who got to express Clemson’s gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to all who made this day possible.  My heart thanks you!

I’m honored and privileged to be at the helm of this CE Department and very pleased to share in this newsletter some of our recent highlights.  We are, indeed, feeling very positive about our much brighter future ahead.

As we start 2022, we, the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering family, wish you and yours much health, renewed friendships and connections, and much love.

Stay safe and GO Tigers!

Jesus M. de la Garza, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE, NAC, F.CMAA
Professor and Chair