The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 11, 2013

Clements named president of Clemson University

Associated Press

CLEMSON, S.C. — Jim Clements has been named the 15th president of Clemson University.

Clemson Board of Trustees Chairman David Wilkins announced the board’s selection Monday. Clements has been president of West Virginia University since 2009.

Clements succeeds Jim Barker, who announced in April that he planned to retire after 14 years and become an architecture professor at the school.

Wilkins says Clements is the right fit for Clemson, adding he understands the unique mission of land-grant universities. Clements is chairman-elect of the Council of Presidents of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities.

James W. Dailey II, chairman of the West Virginia University Board of Governors, said Monday, “Since the hiring of Jim Clements in 2009, West Virginia University has experienced unprecedented success in many areas – private giving, enrollment, academics, research funding, health care, community service, economic development and so much more. Of course he will say it is because he has had a great team, but it’s more than that.

"Jim is a natural born leader – someone who understands the higher education climate. He is committed to excellence. He stands for integrity and is a champion for this University and its diverse audiences – from students and their parents, to faculty and staff, to donors and funders, to city, state and federal lawmakers, to opinion leaders, to our state’s citizens and others.

"The bottom line: He understands how a public land-grant University changes lives — and he has brought people together to make that mission a very powerful one on our campus.

"I want to personally thank him for his leadership and vision, as well as his friendship. And on behalf of the WVU Board of Governors and a grateful University, we wish Jim and Beth – and the entire Clements family – all the best as they transition to a new home at Clemson University.

"The Clemson Tigers are getting a national-caliber leader who, we know, will always carry the Mountaineer spirit in is heart.

"In the coming days and weeks we will announce a plan for interim leadership, and then a permanent plan moving forward.”

Clements sent the following letter to the WVU community following Monday’s announcement of his appointment to lead Clemson University:

Almost five years ago my family and I moved to Morgantown, West Virginia. At that time we didn’t really know anyone in the state. We quickly learned that West Virginia is filled with wonderful, hard-working, loyal, and dedicated people – and that West Virginia University is made up of great faculty, staff, administrators, and students. I am so thankful and honored that I had the chance to serve with so many outstanding people in the pursuit of the important land-grant mission at WVU.

Together, we built momentum for our University. We have broken numerous records including many in enrollment, fundraising, and research. We have been blessed to have alumni and friends who give so much to make a difference in the lives of others. The support through private giving has been overwhelming. Our hospital system has grown significantly with WVU health care providers saving lives as they reach out to every corner of the state. Our extension program expanded, and continues to be recognized as the go-to place in the local communities. Although there is much more to do in terms of salaries and benefits for the faculty and staff, we have made critical gains in funding more competitive salaries. We are in the midst of nearly $1 billion in construction projects that will provide an enhanced learning environment, better research labs, patient care, and improved housing for our students. These projects are building a better future for the generations that follow us.

We accepted an invitation into the Big 12 – one of the major power conferences in college athletics. This move was also about a realignment in academics and research with universities that share a common profile and mission with WVU. The benefits of this new partnership will continue to grow over time.

We tried our best to keep tuition low for our students – and we should be proud that our tuition is still several thousand dollars below our peer average both for in-state and out-of-state students. And, through strategic investments and the efforts of our faculty and staff, we have kept our academic quality high. In the past few years our students won numerous national awards, proving time and again that WVU can compete with anyone in the world. And, I am very proud of the fact that during my time at WVU we graduated 25,473 students. The amazing faculty and staff at WVU deserve all of the credit for this accomplishment.

When my family arrived at WVU we didn’t realize how much we would fall in love with the state and the university. 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. Beth’s family lives near the university and her two brothers, and a sister-in-law, are graduates of Clemson.

I wasn’t looking to leave WVU. In fact, when I first was called I simply responded that I love WVU, the students, faculty and staff and the community. However, after much thought, reflection and prayer, Beth and I decided that this is an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.

West Virginia and WVU will always have a very special place in our hearts. Three of our children currently attend WVU and they love it. Our son is in his fourth year at WVU and will graduate soon. Our twin daughters recently graduated from Morgantown High School. They are now enjoying their first semester at WVU.

Our youngest daughter Grace, who has special needs, did well at North Elementary School and Suncrest Middle School. She has been surrounded by loving and kind friends. However, as she enters the next phase of her life we believe that having her extended family close to her is something that will be very important.

In addition, Beth and I developed many strong friendships that we will cherish forever. We are so thankful to the large number of people who have been incredibly kind to us and our children.

We are also thankful to the WVU Board of Governors. They are an outstanding group of individuals who truly care about all aspects of the university. Their advice and counsel have been instrumental in our success. We are also thankful for the support of the governor, our elected officials at the state and federal levels, the Higher Education Policy Commission, the senior leadership team at WVU, the WVU Foundation Board, the WVU Alumni Board, the WVU Hospital Boards, the WV United Health System Board, and the wonderful faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of WVU.

We are very proud of what we accomplished together.

We wish you all the very best in the future. May God Bless the entire Mountaineer Nation now and always!