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About Clemson University

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One of the country’s most selective public research universities, Clemson University serves a uniquely driven and highly accomplished student body.

Ranked as the 20th best national public university by U.S.News & World Report, Clemson is a science- and engineering-oriented college dedicated to teaching, research and service. Founded in 1889, we remain committed both to world-class research and a high quality of life. In fact, 91 percent of our seniors say they’d pick Clemson again if they had it to do over.

Clemson’s retention and graduation rates rank among the highest in the country for public universities. We’ve been named among the best values by Kiplinger magazine in 2013, and SmartMoney in 2012 ranked us No. 7 in student return on investment.

Our beautiful college campus sits on 1,400 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, along the shores of Hartwell Lake. But we also have research facilities and economic development hubs throughout the state of South Carolina — in Greenville, Greenwood, Columbia and Charleston.

The research, outreach and entrepreneurial projects led by our faculty and students are driving economic development and improving quality of life in South Carolina and beyond. In fact, a recent study determined that Clemson has an annual $1.83 billion economic impact on the state.

Just as founder Thomas Green Clemson intertwined his life with the state’s economic and educational development, the Clemson Family impacts lives daily with their teaching, research and service.

How Clemson got its start

University founder Thomas Green Clemson had a lifelong interest in education, agricultural affairs and science.

In the post-Civil War days of 1865, Thomas Clemson looked upon a South that lay in economic ruin, once remarking, “This country is in wretched condition, no money and nothing to sell. Everyone is ruined, and those that can are leaving.”

Thomas Clemson’s death on April 6, 1888, set in motion a series of events that marked the start of a new era in higher education in South Carolina. In his will, he bequeathed the Fort Hill plantation and a considerable sum from his personal assets for the establishment of an educational institution that would teach scientific agriculture and the mechanical arts to South Carolina’s young people.

Clemson Agricultural College formally opened as an all-male military school in July 1893 with an enrollment of 446. It remained this way until 1955 when the change was made to “civilian” status for students, and Clemson became a coeducational institution. In 1964, the college was renamed Clemson University as the state Legislature formally recognized the school’s expanded academic offerings and research pursuits.

More than a century after its opening, the University provides diverse learning, research facilities and educational opportunities not only for the people of the state — as Thomas Clemson dreamed — but for thousands of young men and women throughout the country and the world.

At a Glance

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Did You Know

The mountains are less than an hour away and offer canoeing, kayaking, white-water rafting, hiking, camping, snow skiing and trout fishing.

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