President’s Update: Fall semester begins and a reminder that we’re all in this together

August 21, 2020

Dear Clemson Family:

The new academic year is off to a good start, although it is unlike anything we have previously experienced in higher education.  I want to, once again, welcome our new students to the Clemson Family and welcome back our returning students.

Over the past few months, the University has invested significantly in technology and faculty training so that we can provide an outstanding online experience until our students return to the campus. And, as you know, we plan to bring students back to campus shortly after Labor Day.

Our careful approach to the start of the academic year gives us the best chance of success this semester and we continue to make progress on a number of fronts. Here are some updates since my most recent communication.

Move-in Dates Set

We will begin welcoming students back to campus on Sept. 11 with all move-ins expected to be completed by Sept. 18 – in time for the first day of in-person instruction on Sept. 21. We appreciate the patience you have shown throughout this process.

The demand for our residence halls remains strong and Clemson’s Housing and Dining team has done an outstanding job creating a safe environment and in communicating with our  students. Additionally, we have instructed faculty to provide additional flexibility related to assignments and tests to on-campus residents during move-in week.

Testing Transparency

I’m pleased to share that we launched an improved testing dashboard. The dashboard, which can be found here, provides information related to the number of COVID-19 tests that have been taken by employees and students. That information will be updated every Friday.

May and August Commencement

In my message two weeks ago, I shared the news that our plans for commencement ceremonies in early October to celebrate our May and August graduates had to be changed due to a modification in the football schedule that was beyond our control. I believe that it is important to offer these special groups of graduates the opportunity to be recognized in person, and we are getting close to finalizing new plans for commencement later this fall.  We will communicate those revised plans soon.

We’re All in this Together

Our students will play a critically important role in our ability to have a successful, in-person, experience this academic year. The University is doing everything in its power to create a safe environment under very challenging circumstances, but ensuring our success is going to be a shared responsibility on the part of everyone.

I want to thank our student government leadership for spearheading an effort to get students to sign onto a voluntary pledge to do their part to help keep the community healthy. We all know, however, that a part of college life takes place off campus, where approximately two-thirds of our students live and where the temptation to let your guard down is the greatest. I ask our students to exercise good judgment at all times, whether on campus or in the community, and to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Clemson employees are doing their part as well.  And, I am incredibly proud of the work that our faculty and staff have done and continue to do to safely prepare for this academic year.

We all want the same thing – a safe and successful academic year with on-campus instruction and activities – and I am convinced that we can get there if we remain united as Tigers.

Go Tigers!

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