Graduate School

Clemson hosts CSGS meeting with record attendance, emphasizing reflection and growth in graduate education


It’s no coincidence that the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) chose Clemson to host its annual meeting in 2024, which marks the 100th anniversary of the first graduate degree awarded at Clemson. “We approached CSGS with the idea of hosting this year in part to celebrate the centennial of graduate education at Clemson, and the conference seemed like a very fitting soft launch,” explained Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School John Lopes. The centennial celebration will officially launch in May.

More than 300 representatives from more than sixty universities attended the meeting, held on March 13-15 in Greenville. The group’s theme for this year, Navigating the Falls: Reflection, Resilience, and Reinvention in Graduate Education, addresses the current challenges in higher education while giving a nod to the natural beauty of downtown Greenville’s Reedy River Falls.

Dr. Frankie O. Felder, who served as the Graduate School’s senior associate dean until her retirement in 2017, was the meeting’s first plenary speaker. Her presentation, Navigating the Falls… What Value the Reflection, Resilience, and Reinvention in Graduate Education? Clemson University: An Example, was a compelling reflection on progress, problems, solutions, predictions, hopes and desires—not just at Clemson, but in the 15-state CSGS region. Felder used Clemson as an example of the values embodied in the conference theme and highlighted the invaluable contributions of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools to the growth of graduate education and research in the South. Her message was well-received: “I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more enthusiastic standing ovation at a professional conference,” noted Lopes.

Lopes himself was elected to a three-year term on the CSGS executive board during the conference.

The meeting was the most well-attended that CSGS has produced. “It was a tremendous conference and we were so proud of all the Clemson touches,” said Lopes, from a reception at Greenville One to the Clemson Steel Band ensemble that performed at an Avenue reception. “And to have our 3-Minute Thesis competitor win first place in the regional competition was the perfect close to the meeting!”

Clemson staff from various units provided support for the conference. “The Graduate School staff , Jeremy Kroeber and the Greenville One staff, Brian Dominy (former Graduate School associate dean and current associate dean of undergraduate studies), and Graduate Student Government Director of Research Initiatives Virginia Clark were a point of pride for Clemson,” said Lopes. “We can’t thank CSGS leadership enough for their hard work and support of graduate education at Clemson.”

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