Dear Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Friends,
Welcome to the new College of Arts and Humanities. This is my first column for this new beginning, and I am so excited at the opportunity and the possibilities. In the next few months, I will set out our goals and aspirations for the new College.
Let’s start with our space. After two years of construction zones, blocked pathways and mud, the heart of our college now sits at the most photographable location on campus: our renovated and expanded Daniel Hall. The old building looks new again, and it’s connected by a shiny white bridge to a new section that students now know as “Humanities Hall,” overlooking the reflection pool and with sightlines pointing toward Old Main.
What our locations communicate is that we are at the heart of this University, and I include the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, historic Hardin Hall and Sirrine in that roster.
We also have a new department to celebrate: Interdisciplinary Studies. It has been a three-year undertaking to get us to this point, and I am so grateful to the Provost and the Board of Trustees for giving us this chance to try something new. Over the summer, our faculty worked tirelessly to build the procedural scaffolding that will support the coming into being of this department. The word “interdisciplinarity” is uttered a lot at meetings and in speeches, but it remains elusive to achieve institutionally. We have done something tangible to make this word and concept a reality.
We already have established areas of excellence in the college that we can now build on. For starters, we are one of the main drivers of teaching excellence at Clemson, and contribute significantly to Clemson Elevate’s stated priority of “Number One Student Experience.”
We are also reaching new levels of accomplishment in research and development. Our former home, the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities celebrated its final year with its highest-ever fundraising total: $8.23 million. Hidden in that number is a huge contribution from the Arts and Humanities, specifically from two major gifts, both of which you may have heard about by now. The first was the Mellon Foundation grant to support Professor Rhondda Thomas’s work on the Black Heritage Trail project, which totaled $3.4 million. The second was a generous gift from Kaye and Bob Stanzione to support making Clemson an All-Steinway School, a designation that just became official.
We already contribute to Clemson’s standing as an R1 research institution, and we embrace the aspirational goals of Clemson Elevate to join the ranks of the nation’s most elite institutions. Our faculty already hail from many of those same institutions: Harvard, Yale, Duke, Emory, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, the list goes on and is impressive. This year, we once again will have an opportunity to hire new faculty in most of our departments: English, History, Philosophy, Languages, Interdisciplinary Studies. And once again, we will do our utmost to attract the best and the brightest to join us as we reach for the stars.
Nicholas Vazsonyi, Dean
College of Arts and Humanities
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