James P. Clements, Ph.D., President, Clemson University

James Patrick Clements, President at Clemson University, Clemson SC

Official (formal) high resolution portrait available for download.
President's information and ranking card. (PDF)

James P. Clements became Clemson University’s 15th president on Dec. 31, 2013. Since his arrival, the value of the Tiger Paw has never been higher, thanks to an increasing academic reputation and the national exposure from our recent success in athletics.

Under Clements’ leadership, Clemson has raised the bar in admissions, enrollment, research, athletics, graduation and retention rates, and fundraising, including the successful completion of the $1 billion Will to Lead capital campaign. In addition, the campus is currently undergoing the largest construction boom in the history of the university.

Clements is a nationally recognized leader in higher education who has served as president of a university in three different athletic conferences – the Big East, the Big 12, and the ACC – where he is also the current chair of the ACC Council of Presidents. He also was awarded an honorary degree as Doctor of Public Education from his Alma Mater, the University of Maryland – Baltimore County.

Before he came to Clemson, Clements served as the president of West Virginia University for nearly five years. During that time, WVU set significant records in private fundraising, enrollment, academic rankings and research funding.

He was a leader in West Virginia – chairing the boards of the West Virginia United Health System, the WVU Hospitals and the WVU Research Corporation. And while he loved his time at WVU, he decided he would leave for only one institution – Clemson University.

Clements was born in Arlington, Va., but spent the majority of his life in Maryland before relocating to West Virginia and until his move to Clemson.

The grandson of a coal miner and a firefighter, and son to parents who taught him and his three older siblings that education was the key to a better life, Clements is a first generation college graduate. This was a key reason he pursued a life and career in higher education – to give others the same opportunity he was given by getting a formal education.

He has published and presented more than 75 papers in the fields of computer science, higher education, information technology, project management and strategic planning. He also served as principal investigator or co-investigator on more than $15 million in research grants.

Prior to his service at WVU, Clements served as provost and vice president for academic affairs, vice president for Economic Development & Community Outreach and the Robert W. Deutsch Distinguished Professor of Information Technology at Towson University, the second largest university in the University System of Maryland, where he was a four-time winner of the Faculty Member-of-the-Year Award, given by Towson students.

Clements’ Successful Project Management book is now in its seventh edition and is published in multiple languages and used in numerous countries.

Clements and his wife, Beth, have been married for 25 years and have four children - Ty, Hannah, Maggie and Grace - and a son-in-law, Tanner Coombs.


  • Ph.D., Operations Analysis — University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1993
  • M.S., Operations Analysis —University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1991
  • M.S., Computer Science — Johns Hopkins University, 1988
  • B.S., Computer Science — University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1985

Leadership Positions

  • Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents — Member and Current Chair
  • American Council on Education — Member, Board of Directors; Past Chair, Commission on Leadership
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities — Member, Executive Committee; Past Chair of the Board of Directors
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities — Member, Executive Committee, Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity
  • National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE 2.0) — Co-Chair
  • Business-Higher Education Forum — Member, Executive Committee
  • National Innovation Advisory Board — Past Member
  • Council on Competitiveness — Member and co-chair of the Energy & Manufacturing Competitiveness Partnership Committee

Notable Numbers as President

Admissions — Applications to Clemson increased more than 26% from 2013 to 2016.

Diversity and Inclusion — From 2013-2016, freshman enrollment has increased by 53% for African-American students, 64% for Latino or Hispanic students, and 70% for Asian students. During the same three year period, the overall undergraduate Hispanic population has increased by 30%, and the African-American population is up by 12%. African-American and Hispanic faculty represented 16% of newly hired members in 2016 as compared to 12% the previous year.

Research — Clemson’s total research funding increased 37% in three years, from $102 million to $140 million. And Clemson was designated a Research 1 university by the Carnegie Classification for Institutions of Higher Education.

Facilities — Oversaw $700 million in facilities construction so far at Clemson and more than $1 billion at WVU.

Athletics — Clemson Men’s sports finished in 5th place in the 2016 Capital One Cup – the highest Clemson finish since the standing were created – thanks in part to 2015 ACC titles in football, baseball and men’s golf, as well as National Championship appearances in football and men’s soccer.

Graduation — Led the commencement ceremonies for approximately 15,000 newly graduated Tigers, as of August 2016, and more than 21,000 graduates while at WVU.

Fundraising — Helped to raise more more than $1 billion in private funds between the two universities – $725 million at WVU and $350 million at Clemson through three consecutive record-setting years and the close of the Will to Lead Capital Campaign, the largest fundraising effort in the history of the state of South Carolina.