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Nov 12, 2013 07:49 AM EST

Jim Clements Named New President of Clemson University


James P. Clements has been named the new president of Clemson University by its Board of Regents. Clements, who is currently the president of West Virginia University (WVU) will take over the new responsibility at the public land-grant university in South Carolina, beginning January.

Clements, 49, will succeed James F. Barker, who announced plans to retire in April after serving 14 years as president. Barker will remain on the faculty of the School of Architecture.

"Dr. Clements is a distinguished scholar, a nationally recognized voice in higher education and a proven leader who understands the unique mission of land-grant universities. We are confident he is the right person to lead Clemson University to the next level as a great public research university," said board Chairman David Wilkins," Board of Trustees Chairman David Wilkins said in a statement.

Wilkins said that Clemson, the school's 15th president, will be earning $775,000 through public and private funds, nearly $304,000 more than Barker.

 "We are so excited to be joining the Clemson family. Clemson is one of the greatest public, land-grant research universities in the country," Clements said.

Under Clements' leadership, WVU set new records in private fundraising, enrolment and research funding. Plus, the university moved into the Big 12 athletics conference too.

Clements "developed himself into a national recognizable president who has taken WVU and done things with it that many other institutions are struggling with, whether it's their budgets, whether it's their student enrollment, whether it's their lack of fundraising or raising additional research dollars," James Dailey, chairman of WVU's Board of Governors told Daily Mail.

Lisa Martin, president of WVU's Staff Council, told Daily Mail that as a president, Clements has guided the university positively.

"President Clements came to WVU at a time when we needed a positive leadership role model," she said. "He has done a great job of leading our university and positioning us to be in better shape than when he arrived."

In a letter addressed to WVU community, Clements' said

 "When my family arrived at WVU we didn't realize how much we would fall in love with the state and the university.... However, after much thought, reflection and prayer, Beth and I decided that this is an opportunity that we couldn't pass up."

"Beth and I knew that it would be very difficult for any university to convince us to leave WVU. However, Clemson is a university that is very special to our family." His wife, Beth, has family near the university, and her two brothers are Clemson graduates.

Prior to WVA, Clements served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Towson University in Maryland. He had previously been Towson's vice president for economic and community outreach, held the Robert W. Deutsch Distinguished Professorship and chaired the department of computer and information sciences.

He earned a bachelor's in computer science and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in operations analysis from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, as well as a master's in computer science from Johns Hopkins University. He chaired the department of computer and information sciences at Towson.

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