James P. Clements, Ph.D., President, Clemson University
James P. Clements became Clemson University's 15th president on Dec. 31, 2013 after serving as president of West Virginia University. Since his arrival, the value of the Tiger Paw has never been higher, driven by the university's elevated academic reputation and the exposure from Clemson University's athletic success on the national stage.
Under Clements' leadership, Clemson has raised the bar in academics, admissions, enrollment, research, retention rates, graduation rates and diversity. Clements has also led the way in helping to raise more than $1.2 billion in private funds since he arrived at Clemson.
Clements is a nationally recognized leader in higher education who has served as president of a university in three different athletic conferences, Big East Conference, Big 12 Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, where he served as the 2016-17 Chair of the ACC Council of Presidents. In April, he was named to the College Football Playoff Board of Managers.
He currently serves on the board of directors of the American Council on Education, the executive committee for the Council of Competitiveness, the Council of Presidents for the Association of Governing Boards and on the Special Olympics International Board of Directors. Clements previously served as the Chair of the Board for the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities.
Clements holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science as well as a master's degree and Ph.D. in operations analysis from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He also holds an M.S. degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering and was awarded an honorary degree as Doctor of Public Education from his alma mater, UMBC.
During the nearly five years Clements served as the president of West Virginia University, WVU set significant records in private fundraising, research funding, academic rankings, application, diversity, enrollment, and retention and graduation rates.
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.
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 higher education, leadership, strategic planning, project management, computer science and information technology. 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. He was a member of the Colonial Academic Alliance as part of the Colonial Athletic Conference.
Clements' "Successful Project Management" book is now in its seventh edition and is published in multiple languages and used in numerous countries.
Clements was born in Arlington, Va., but spent the majority of his life in Maryland before relocating to West Virginia and then to Clemson. He and his wife, Beth, have been married for 30 years and have four children, Tyler, Hannah, Maggie and Grace; two sons-in-law, Tanner Coombs and Max Kinser; a daughter-in-law, Margot Murray Clements; a grandson, Cannon Coombs; and a granddaughter, Eliza Clements.
- Ph.D., Operations Analysis
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1993
- M.S., Operations Analysis
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1991
- M.S., Computer Science
John Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering, 1988
- B.S., Computer Science
University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1985
- Atlantic Coast Conference, Board of Directors
Member and Past Chair
- American Council on Education
Member, Board of Directors;
Previously chaired the Commission on Leadership
- Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Previously chaired the Board of Directors
Previous Member, Executive Committee and Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity;
- National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- National Innovation Advisory Board
- The Business-Higher Education Forum
Member, Executive Committee, Board of Directors
- Council on Competitiveness
Member, Executive Committee; Past Co-chair of the Energy & Manufacturing Competitiveness Partnership Committee
- Association of Governing Boards
Member, Council of Presidents
- College Football Playoff Board of Managers
- Professor with a joint appointment in Computer Science & Industrial Engineering, Clemson University
- Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, West Virginia University
- Robert W. Deutsch Distinguished Professor, Computer and Information Science, Towson University
Notable Numbers as President
Undergraduate applications to Clemson increased 153 percent.
Student and Faculty Success
Retention rate and graduation rate are at all-time highs. Clemson's freshman retention rate is 94% and our six-year graduation rate is 85%.
Total graduate student enrollment increased by 25% since 2013.
Faculty members earning national or international awards increased by 33% percent between 2013 and 2019.
The majority of Clemson students, 53%, graduate with no debt – compared to the national average of 35%.
Diversity and Inclusion
Clemson was one of just 15 schools across the country to be recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine with the Diversity Champion award. 2020 marked the third year in a row Clemson has received that award. Clemson also received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award for fourth consecutive years from INSIGHT Into Diversity.
Under Clements' leadership, Clemson has seen a 66 percent increase in underrepresented minority undergraduate enrollment and a 102 percent increase in underrepresented minority graduate enrollment.
During that same time period, there has also been a 41 percent increase in the number of underrepresented minority faculty, and a 22 percent increase among underrepresented staff members.
Since his arrival to the university, Clemson achieved – for the first time ever – and was reaffirmed as a Research 1 university by the Carnegie Classification for Institutions of Higher Education.
Total research expenditures reached an all-time high of $230 million.
Approximately $1 billion in new or renovated facilities constructed, including the Wilber O. and Ann Powers College of Business, the Allen N. Reeves Football Complex, the Watt Family Innovation Center, the new soccer facility, the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Complex, the Andy Quattlebaum Outdoor Education Center, the McWhorter Family Stadium, the Early Childhood Education Center, Littlejohn Coliseum, and Douthit Hills, the largest construction project in university history.
Celebrated more than 46,000 newly graduated Tigers, as of May 2021, and led the commencement ceremonies for nearly 22,000 graduates while at WVU.
Clements has helped to raise more than $1.2 billion in private funds, resulting in record-breaking fundraising every year. The value of Clemson Foundation Endowment surpassed $950 million. At WVU, the endowment grew by more than $500M during his tenure as president.
He closed the Will to Lead Capital Campaign at Clemson, the largest fundraising effort in the history of the state of South Carolina.
Athletic Success at Clemson
- 2 National Championships in football (2016, 2018)
- 6 Straight College Football Playoff Appearances (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
- 6 straight ACC Championships in football (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
- Bowl Victories – Orange Bowl (twice), Russell Athletic Bowl, Fiesta Bowl (twice), Cotton Bowl
- Sweet Sixteen in Men's Basketball (2018)
- ACC Champions in Men's Soccer (2019, 2020)
- National Quarterfinal Appearance in Men's Soccer (2019)
- Largest Turnaound in a Season – Women's Basketball (2019)
- Women's Basketball appears in the WNIT (2020)
- ACC Tournament Champions in Baseball (2016)
- Softball claims the regular season ACC Championship during their first full season (2020)