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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 27th best national public university by U.S. News & World Report, Clemson is 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, 92 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 Public College Values” by Kiplinger magazine in 2019, and The Princeton Review named us among the “Best Value Colleges” for 2020.

Our beautiful college campus sits on 20,000 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, along the shores of Lake Hartwell. And we also have research facilities and economic development hubs throughout the state of South Carolina — in Anderson, Blackville, Charleston, Columbia, Darlington, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, and Pendleton.

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 $1.9 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 founders Thomas Green and Anna Calhoun 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

  • Year Founded: 1889
  • Location: Clemson, SC
  • Founder: Thomas Green Clemson
  • President: James P. Clements
  • Undergraduate Students: 20,195
  • Graduate Students: 5,627
  • Academics:
    • 80+ majors and 80+ minors
    • 120+ graduate degree programs
    • 7 colleges
    • More than 3 million print and electronic books in the Clemson Libraries
    • Nearly 1,300 students studying abroad every year
    • 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio
    • The middle 50% range of SAT scores for incoming freshmen in 2019 was 1240-1390
  • Campus:
  • Research:
    • Awarded $106.3 million in external research funding for fiscal year 2019
    • Clemson University’s sponsored research expenditures topped $100 million for the first time in school history in fiscal year 2019. This is an increase of $10.3 million compared with fiscal year 2018
    • In fiscal year 2019, Clemson University’s expenditures from competitively awarded federal-sponsored projects topped $85 million. This is an increase of $7 million compared with fiscal year 2018
  • Recreation & Extracurriculars:
  • More statistics

Did You Know

Clemson College opened in 1893 with 446 students and 15 faculty under President Edwin Boone Craighead.

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