Clemson University’s 15th president, James P. Clements, took office December 31, 2013, after serving nearly five years as president of West Virginia University. Clements succeeds James F. Barker, who retired after serving as president for 14 years. He is also a Professor in the School of Computing, College of Engineering and Science, at Clemson.
Clements is a nationally recognized voice in higher education who currently serves as chair-elect of the Board of Directors of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities; co-chair of APLU’s Energy Forum; chair of the American Council on
Education’s Commission on Leadership and member of the Business Higher Education Forum that includes Fortune 500 CEOs and higher education executives. He previously served on the U.S. Department of Commerce Innovation Advisory Board.
Clements holds a B.S. in Computer Science and M.S. and Ph.D. in Operations Analysis from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. He has published and/or presented more than 75 papers in the fields of computer science, higher education, information technology, project management and strategic planning. He has been the principal investigator or co-PI on more than $15 million in grant funding. During Clements’ tenure at WVU, the university set records in private fund-raising, enrollment, research and patients served through the health system. Under Clements’ leadership, WVU reached $716 million, or 95 percent of its $750 million capital campaign goal, two years ahead of schedule. Through WVU projects, as well as public-private partnerships, more than $1 billion in capital improvements began on campus, in WVU's health care system, and in the community.
Clements began his career as a faculty member and has risen steadily through the academic ranks to the president’s office. Prior to his appointment at WVU, Clements served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Robert W. Deutsch Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Vice President for Economic and Community Outreach at Towson University, the second largest university in the University System of Maryland. He also served as the leader of the Center for Applied Information Technology, which was a strategic, entrepreneurial initiative for the university, and chaired Towson’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences.
“I have been a follower and admirer of Clemson for many years and have actually based a number of initiatives at Towson and West Virginia on Clemson models,” Clements said. “Having the opportunity to lead this great university – one of the most outstanding land-grant public research institutions in the country — is both exciting and humbling.”
He also has served as a consultant to numerous private-sector companies, including Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages; Chesapeake Directory Sales Corporation; Loyola College; Outreach Technologies; Padova Technologies; Solipsys; UPS/Roadnet Technologies, and Verizon, assisting with strategic planning, development of information technology systems and corporate-wide training programs.
Clements and his wife, Beth, have four children: son Tyler, 21, a fourth-year student at WVU, studying a combination of business, leadership and political science; 18-year-old twin daughters, Hannah — a Clemson freshman studying special education - and Maggie — a WVU freshman majoring in elementary education; and 13-year-old daughter Grace, a seventh grader.
The extended family includes its share of Clemson connections. Two of Beth’s brothers and a sister-in-law are Clemson graduates. One, Greg Smith, serves on the advisory board of Clemson’s Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. The Championship Awards Room in the golf clubhouse is named for Beth’s parents – Clif and Priscilla Smith.