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Spring Quarterly Meeting of Clemson Board of Trustees


Spring Quarterly Meeting of Clemson Board of Trustees  

  • The College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences received more than $5M in gifts through its first Academic Cornerstone and an additional gift from supporters across the state. 
  • Amy and Mitchell “Micky” Scott’s $2.5M gift provides support for scholarships and the recruitment and retention of top undergraduate talent. It will also provide fellowships and program support to graduate students enrolled in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation.  
  • $2.8M in gifts from Gregory Pest Solutions and Terminix will launch a new urban entomology initiative, strengthening outreach across South Carolina and the pest control industry.  
  • The Board approved a plan to widen and make pedestrian improvements to a 1.2-mile section of Perimeter Road from U.S. 76 to Cherry Road. The $25 million project is expected to be completed in summer 2023. 
  • Approved the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences forming into the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, effective fall 2021. 
  • The University endowment closed the first quarter of 2021 with a value of $925 million, topping $900 million for the first time. 


Clemson University’s Board of Trustees completed its 2021 Spring Quarterly Meetings with an in-person session on Friday at Jervey Gymnasium.  

The Trustees heard updates from the administration on how the University has started to return to more normal operations, largely due to its successful COVID-19 testing strategy. The University plans to offer more in-person classes this fall, and more staff have returned to their offices, President Jim Clements said. He recently presided over two socially distanced ring ceremonies with students and will be leading in-person May graduation ceremonies in a few weeks. Provost Bob Jones said the campus CLIA lab has processed more than 330,000 tests and the positivity rate since January 2021 has remained below one percent. 

“I think it’s amazing how Clemson has navigated COVID,” board Chair Smyth McKissick said. “They’ve done it with hard work, intelligence, and a great plan.” 

During his presentation to the board, President Clements also highlighted: 

  • The University already has received 46,000 applications for the fall. 
  • Competitive research awards already have reached $117 million, including the $11.5 million grant to establish the Center of Biomedical Research (COBRE) in Human Genetics and $6.3. million in first-phase funding from the U.S. Army to create innovative technology for 3D-printed components. 
  • University fundraising has topped $153 million, surpassing the $140 million goal for this fiscal year. Wednesday’s Give Day raised more than $1.7 million. “Once again, the Clemson Family has stepped up big for this University,” he said. 
  • The University endowment has reached $925 million, topping $900 million for the first time. 
  • Clemson’s efforts to secure vaccine doses and appointments for faculty, staff, and students who are looking for opportunities to be vaccinated. 

“By any measure, the University remains incredibly strong and well-positioned for the future,” Clements said. 

Tony Wagner, executive vice president for Finance and Operations, told the trustees his division has begun multi-year financial planning and debt analyses of the University. Clemson’s outstanding debt of about $600 million is comparatively conservative and has low fixed interest rates. He said the University has the capacity for additional debt of $350M to $580M. 

The multi-year financial analysis projects 2.3 percent revenue growth, largely from enrollment growth, and 4.3 percent expense growth, primarily due to inflation and mandatory compensation increases. “Managing payroll is going to be one of the most important things we do,” Wagner said. 

Wagner and Lisa Knox, director of strategy and operations for the University’s Division of Finance and Operations, presented updates on the effort to drive change through enterprise operational excellence. The University’s strategy will be to establish relevant goals, continuously improve efficiencies, conduct organizational reviews, leverage technology to optimize operations and return resources to where the value is. 

The Trustees next quarterly meeting is scheduled for July 15-18.  

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