President’s Update: Living our ‘Clemson Family’ values; more in-person classes set for spring

November 6, 2020

Dear Clemson Family:

This has been an extraordinary week for our nation. While watching our electoral process play out for all the world to see, I find myself thankful for the rights we all have as citizens of this great country. To our students who voted, many for the first time, I applaud you for making your voices heard.

Inevitably, some will be delighted with the results while others will be disappointed. That diversity of thought and opinion is good and necessary. The success of our work as a university depends, to a large degree, on informed and civil debate among a community that represents a wide range of viewpoints and experiences.

In my message last week, I shared the view that what unites us as a nation is greater than what divides us. That is especially true within the Clemson Family. Our university has, for more than 131 years, stood as an embodiment of Thomas Green Clemson’s vision for a “high seminary of learning” in service to our students, state and nation.

As we reflect on this week and what lies ahead, I want to encourage all members of the Clemson Family to look for ways to bridge any gaps among those around you and to not lose sight of our core values of honesty, integrity and respect. We’re not always going to agree with one another, but we can, and should, always strive to share our views in a civil manner that respects the views of others. I urge everyone to extend to one another an extra measure of grace and be willing to accept the same in return.

More in-person classes expected in the spring

Our faculty has worked extremely hard to provide some in-person instruction this semester, while at the same time offering a robust online experience for students. While we have been pleased with the offerings this fall, we understand — and share — the desire from our students and their families for even greater in-person instruction.

Accomplishing that goal has been a priority for our Provost and his academic leadership team. We are confident that for the Spring semester we will be able to offer both more courses with an in-person component and a greater number of courses that will include the option for students to attend completely in person if they choose.

In order to finalize our spring academic plans, we have delayed the start of course registration for the Spring semester by a few days. Registration will now start Nov. 9. I want to stress that our plan for the spring includes continuation of the COVID-19 safety and prevention measures that we instituted this fall, including our aggressive testing strategy.

Graduation ceremonies set for next week

Next week is a big one for our May and August graduates. Our graduates and their families will participate in one of seven scheduled ceremonies Nov. 13-15 at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville.

We used the arena last month for our Ring Ceremony and the Bon Secours staff did a great job of ensuring a safe and successful event for us. I can’t wait to honor the accomplishments of our recent graduates next week!

And, as a reminder, our December graduation ceremonies also will be held at Bon Secours Dec. 16-17. Details can be found here.

Finally, as we continue to navigate these challenging times during this pandemic, please continue to wear your masks, wash your hands and maintain safe distances. I am especially proud to be part of the amazing and caring Clemson Family and am deeply appreciative for all that each of you do to make our university a truly special place.

Go Tigers!

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