College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences; Graduate School

James Jones and Carolyn Freeman Pellerin fondly remembered


Two retired lecturers who helped usher in the digital age by teaching computer science to Clemson University students recently died and are being fondly remembered by their colleagues.

James Jones was 86 years old when he died May 4, and Carolyn Freeman Pellerin died April 14 at 73 years old.

Jones received an electrical engineering degree from Clemson in 1957 and later went to work for IBM. After retiring from the company, he returned to his alma mater to teach, mentoring more than 1,000 students in 17 years.

James Jones

Pellerin received a master’s degree in math and returned to her alma mater to teach computer science for more than 20 years. She was remembered as a role model for women, who are underrepresented in computer science.

“The passing of James Jones and Carolyn Freeman Pellerin remind us that we stand on the shoulders of giants,” said Amy Apon, the C. Tycho Howle Director of the School of Computing. “Our hearts go out to their families and friends. Jim and Carolyn will be missed, and we will be eternally grateful for their service to Clemson.”

Jones taught Introduction to Information Technology, a course where he loved to show students the computing artifacts he had collected and describe the changes he had seen in his career.

Jones mentored more than 1,000 computer science and computer information systems majors in sophomore-level and senior-level professional seminars. He was passionate about helping students gain an appreciation of the importance of oral and written communication in their careers and to help them improve their skills.

Jones supervised senior projects in the senior-level professional seminar and sought projects that would benefit people on and off campus while helping students get real-world experience. He personally recruited many dozens of regional employers to speak to students about career topics and to recruit them for employment.

“It would be reasonable to talk of a ‘Jim Jones era’ since every computer science and computer information systems senior during that time would have completed the required senior-level professional seminar with him,” said Mark Smotherman, the associate director of the School of Computing.

Larry Hodges, former director of the School of Computing, added: “Jim was a dedicated instructor who brought insights from his many years of industrial leadership to the classroom. He loved teaching at Clemson and always looked for opportunities to contribute to the School of Computing.”

For more on Jones, you can view his obituary here.

Pellerin taught computer science at Clemson for more than 20 years, according to her obituary, and she made an impression on her colleagues, including Wayne Madison, associate professor emeritus in the School of Computing.

Carolyn Freeman Pellerin

“I had the good fortune to work with Carolyn Pellerin as a colleague and a friend for many years,” he said. “I considered Carolyn to be a key and valued member of what was then called the Department of Computer Science, now a part of the School of Computing, starting from the earliest days of the program.

“During Carolyn’s career computer and information technology moved from somewhat exotic applications that supported a limited number of fields to being ubiquitous to our everyday lives. Carolyn was often tasked with the difficult job of introducing students from other majors to the potential of computer technology and how it would affect their future careers and lives.

“Many Clemson students received their first introduction to these concepts in Carolyn’s classes. As director of instruction and later associate director of the school, I was always confident in Carolyn’s ability to inspire her students while providing a solid foundation for understanding this rapidly evolving field.

“Carolyn also provided an excellent role model for our female majors. Women were and still are a substantially underrepresented group in the field. Carolyn’s success in the field was and still is an important inspiration for others.”

For more on Pellerin, you can view her obituary here.

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