Clemson Division of Research

February 2017

Dear Colleagues,

As some of you may know, I came to the United States in 1989 from Turkey to pursue graduate studies at the University of Michigan. Coming to America was an opportunity to fulfill professional and personal dreams in a country where the federal government valued science and engineering, and scholarship was apolitical.

In July 2016, a coup attempt in Turkey caused flights into and out of the country to be temporarily banned. This happened to be during a time I planned to visit my family there. My wife had arrived in Turkey before the coup attempt, and I was scheduled to arrive a few days later. After some delays, I was able to travel, but this was the first time I felt nervous and uncertain while heading to visit my family. Suddenly, being an American did not assure the freedom to travel to my home.

Several weeks ago, when immigrants who legally lived and worked in the United States were denied entry back into the country from overseas, I empathized with their fears and frustrations. And when our own alumna, Nazanin Zinouri, was not allowed to return to her home here, I felt the crisis personally.

Diversity and inclusion are hallmarks of American higher education, and especially of major research universities like Clemson. Our different races, cultures and religions make our campus a nexus of global perspectives. We are a tapestry of diverse threads, and we are stronger, more vibrant and more complex because of it. Whether our goals are to understand our value as human beings through literature, redefining transportation, conserving energy or understanding the genetics of agricultural crops – our research is more innovative and more valuable when our researchers reflect the world we serve.

After my first year as vice president of research, I am in awe of your dedication, your depth and your devotion to searching for understanding, and how that translates into educating generations who, very soon, will become our leaders. Clemson researchers are currently contributing to 1,200 active projects worth about $300 million.

This year, Clemson is on track to submit research proposals valued at more than $600 million. We also have significantly increased the number of grants awarded in the amount of $2 million or more, further confirming the caliber and success of Clemson faculty’s thinking about big, multidisciplinary, translational projects with proportional impacts. And, we are on track for the second year in a row to top $100 million in competitive research funding.

As Clemson’s research enterprise grows, let’s remember the value each of us brings to the whole. Our tapestry, with its weft of education and warps of innovation, discovery and scholarship, colored with diverse backgrounds, enriches the value we offer to our disciplines and our students. Every thread of our tapestry has merit, every thread is necessary to make us who we are.

Go Tigers!