In 2015 the Clemson Board of Trustees established a task force on the History of Clemson to find ways to tell our complete story – one that past generations, current Tigers and future members of the Clemson family can be proud of for many decades to come. The task force, along with the President and the Chief of Staff, engaged students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the community. The feedback received was thoughtful, creative and reflected the need to tell our full and complete history. The Board received the final report of the task force in February 2016. Shortly afterward, President Clements appointed an implementation team to turn the Board’s recommendations into action.

The Plan

More than 70 faculty, staff, students, alumni and trustees participated in a focus workshop to help create a comprehensive interpretive plan for Clemson University. The project stemmed from the work of the Implementation Team to address the recommendations of the Board of Trustees History Task Force in a cohesive and sustainable way. Over the course of three days, nationally known interpretive planner John Veverka facilitated small-group discussions that focused on identifying and prioritizing the stories we want to tell and how to tell them. The implementation team is now working with the Boudreaux Group – an architecture, design and master planning company based in Columbia – to turn the ideas into a plan for campus review.

The National Parks Service defines interpretation as communication that conveys the significance and underlying meaning of a place. It’s about understanding, not just knowing. It connects the tangible (a building, landscape or event) and the intangible (an idea, core value or strategic goal). The plan will be a management tool that identifies stories, sites where stories can be told, events when they can be told and media for delivering them – such as signs, tours, phone apps or publications.