James F. Barker (1999-2013), the fifth alumnus to serve as president, came to the office with a vision to enhance Clemson’s national reputation and guided the university to its highest national ranking to date (#21 among national public universities in 2013). His tenure was also marked by substantial improvement in the quality of the student body, higher retention and graduation rates, record fundraising levels and development of major economic development and research campuses in Greenville, Anderson and Charleston. On-campus facilities added include the Class of 1956 Academic Success Center, the life sciences facility, Rhodes Annex and numerous athletics projects including the WestZone. Barker is also credited with effectively leading the university through the largest state funding cuts in history without negatively impacting academic quality or faculty and staff jobs. He awarded more than 59,000 degrees – representing more than 40 percent of Clemson’s alumni.