Dear Clemson Family: Congratulations to Clemson Football and Welcome to 2017!

January 11, 2017

How about those Tigers? What a great way to end an outstanding first half to the academic year and welcome everyone back for what I am confident will be a great spring semester!

I want to congratulate Coach Swinney, his coaches, all our great players and everyone associated with the football program for a job very well done. They have made the entire Clemson Family very proud with their performance on the field, in the classroom and with the way they represent the university off the field.

As we celebrate Clemson’s first national championship in football in 35 years, I also want to personally thank all of you for your support of our team this season and for everything you do for this university day in and day out, whether it’s in support of our championship athletic teams or our world-class academic programs.

Not only are we the best college football team in the nation, but we are one of the nation’s top public universities, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our incredible faculty and staff. Our student body is one of the most spirited and enthusiastic in the country and their innovation and creativity – both in and out of the classroom – never cease to amaze me. We are a championship university in so many ways, and that is because of each and every one of you.

I also want to say thank you to everyone for supporting the Tigers with sportsmanship and class. When you are on a national stage the way our team has been, the spotlight shines very brightly and expectations are high. I am proud of all of you for exceeding those expectations and representing our university so well.

This week marks the beginning of a new semester, and as you all return to campus and get back to work, I want to share a brief recap of some of the wonderful things we accomplished together in 2016:

  • We launched the Clemson Forward strategic plan, which sets the course for the university for the next 10, 20, or even 50 years. You can read more about the plan here.
  • We restructured our academic core from five colleges to seven.
  • We finished the Will to Lead capital campaign, with a grand total of $1,062,528,346, making it the largest fundraising campaign in the state of South Carolina and the largest campaign ever completed in the country by a university with an alumni base smaller than 150,000. This also included a record-breaking $149M raised during the final year of the campaign.
  • We were designated as a Research 1 University in the Carnegie Classification for Institutions of Higher Education, putting us among the universities with the highest research activity. We have seen an increase of nearly 60 percent in sponsored research and programs over the past three years — from $102M in 2013 to $159M in 2016.
  • We continued to rank among the best public universities in the country by publications such as S. News & World Report, Princeton Review, Money Magazine, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. In addition, Time magazine last month ranked Clemson No. 2 among the nation’s top 25 football-playing universities when it comes to the academic performance of our student-athletes, behind only Stanford. You can read the article here.
  • We received a record number of applications for admission, with nearly 24,000 applications for approximately 3,700 spots.
  • We began to implement the recommendations of the board of trustees’ task force on the history of the university by erecting four new historical markers on campus that help tell the story of the important contributions of African Americans and Native Americans in the founding of the university.
  • We made incredible progress on the largest campus construction initiative in the history of our university. The following buildings opened for business in 2016:
    • The Watt Family Innovation Center
    • Core Campus
    • Littlejohn Coliseum
    • The Clemson Design Center in Charleston
    • The Pitner Center at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence
    • One Research Drive at CU-ICAR
    • The Zucker Family Graduate Education Center at the Restoration Institute in North Charleston.
  • Our athletics programs were extremely successful this year, as we won ACC championships in:
    • football (for the second straight year)
    • baseball
    • men’s golf
    • women’s soccer (regular season title) and
    • our men’s soccer team finished a great season with an appearance in NCAA Elite Eight.
  • And, most importantly, thousands of students graduated from Clemson in 2016. During the ceremonies in May, August, and December, we awarded a total of:
    • 4,122 undergraduate degrees
    • 1,427 master’s degrees
    • 303 doctoral degrees
    • 5,852 total degrees.

If you would like to see a video recap of the year, click here to see the holiday greeting Beth and I made for the Clemson Family. I honestly believe that 2017 will even be better.

Thank you again for all that you do to keep Clemson moving forward. Happy New Year and Go Tigers!!





Clemson University's 15th president, James P. Clements