The Clemson University Board of Trustees has approved a change of the name of the Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management to the “Nieri Department of Construction, Development and Planning.” The new name was approved at the board’s meeting on October 21, and it reflects a reorganization and expansion of the department which was approved last spring.
The department began the current school year as the home to two graduate programs that previously comprised a department of their own: the Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) and the Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP). The department continues to be home to B.S. and M.S. degrees in construction science and management, and it is in the process of offering a Ph.D. in construction science and management, pending approval from the Commission on Higher Education.
“My thanks to the Board of Trustees and to Michael Nieri for their enduring support of our initiatives and encouragement to seek positive change,” said Nicholas Vazsonyi, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. “Change can be difficult, and moving programs to a new home can produce a lot of anxiety and worry. I am extremely grateful to the faculty and staff of the affected units for their collaboration and collegiality, and for the spirit of optimism with which they are approaching this opportunity.”
“The recent expansion of the department opens up real opportunities for greater collaborative learning and scholarship for both our students and faculty,” added Mike Jackson, department chair. “The newly named department is pleased to move forward with strong roots with the Nieri family, and we look forward to continued growth and expansion at the undergraduate and graduate levels as others step forward to meet the Nieri family challenge in the coming months and years.”
The department continues to bear the name of Michael Pennington Nieri, ’86, owner and president of Great Southern Homes. In 2019, he and his wife, Robyn, made a Cornerstone gift of $5 million for the Department of Construction Science and Management, after which the department bore the Nieri Family name. In 2021, Nieri received the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.
“I am very pleased with raising the profile of both planning and development in the newly-named department,” Nieri said. “As someone who has spent a lifetime in the building business, I understand that you can’t get to vertical construction without valuable partnerships with planning officials, engineers, and property developers. Bringing these fields together will improve on an already stunning track record in preparing graduates for careers in a field that affects everyone, whether it’s the homes you live in, places where you work or shop, or the roads you drive on.”
The department currently enrolls 347 students across its undergraduate and graduate programs. Its undergraduate enrollment has more than doubled over the past five years, and the construction science and management major boasts a 100 percent rate of job placement before graduation for the past five years.
“As an alumnus myself, a great deal of my success is due to the education I received at the University,” Nieri added. “While my office may be in Columbia, my heart is, and always will be, in Clemson.”
Last month, the department hosted the 7th Annual Construction Symposium, attracting more than 200 industry professionals. The department also hosted its semiannual Construction Career Fair and Industry Advisory Board (IAB) meeting this month at the Clemson Madren Center, drawing over 170 students and over 70 CSM Corporate Partners (employers). The symposium and career fair, along with the department’s active Corporate Partner Program, underscores its strong relations with the business community and firm commitment to real-world student success.
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