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Baruch Institute

History & Timeline

In 2018, Clemson celebrated the 50th anniversary of its partnership with the Baruch Foundation. Since its inception, Clemson’s Baruch Institute has provided space for creative problem solvers to study, appreciate and preserve the natural resources of South Carolina. As a nurturing caretaker of the coast’s vital natural features, the Baruch Institute demonstrates the powerful combination of science, education, and sustainable management while celebrating the past and shaping the future.

In 1905 Benard Baruch, a Wall Street financer and advisor to presidents, purchased the land to be used as a winter hunting retreat. He sold the land 50 years later to his daughter Belle Baruch. Upon her death in 1964, Belle created a foundation to continue managing and conserve the property for future generations. She also invited the local colleges and universities of South Carolina to to use the land as an outdoor laboratory. This invitation resulted in the creation of the Belle W. Baruch Professorship of Forestry at Clemson in 1965.

The Baruch lab was established in 1968 to take better advantage of the facilities at Hobcaw. Clemson assumed responsibility for conducting research and education in forestry, wildlife science, and beach stabilization at the property. Donald Hook was appointed as the Institute director in 1973 and more scientists joined the staff in 1974 and 1975, establishing a resident program at the lab. In 1975 a tripartite agreement was made between Clemson, University of South Carolina, and the Hobcaw Foundation further solidifying the earlier arrangements made in Belle's will and between the two schools. This agreement between Clemson and USC spelled out a working relationship and responsibilities of the labs on Hobcaw.


  • 1968 The first agreement is signed between Clemson University and the Baruch Foundation to establish the Belle W. Baruch Research Institute in Forestry, Wildlife Science, and Marine Biology (now known as the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science).
  • 1973 Henry Franklin Percival completes the first Baruch Institute doctoral dissertation. Faculty and staff expansion begins to better support research. Dr. Donal Hook is hired as the first faculty resident director of Clemson’s Baruch Institute, replacing James Halpin, who directed activities from campus.
  • 1974-75 The Institute is renamed the Belle W. Baruch Forest Science Institute to better reflect the research focus of the time. Four full-time permanent resident research scientists are hired.
  • 1975 A tripartite agreement is signed between Clemson, University of South Carolina and the Baruch Foundation to define the research roles of Clemson and USC.
  • 1986 The Institute’s 100th publication in a scientific journal or book appears.
  • 1989 The Baruch Institute opens a new line of research on disturbance ecology after Hurricane Hugo hits SC and moves its operations from the Hobcaw House to its current location.
  • 1993 Through efforts of the DeBordieu Keep-It-Green campaign and the Pate Family, land on the northern border of Hobcaw is donated to Clemson for use by the Baruch Institute. More land is added to the parcel in 1998. In total, Clemson receives over 700 acres.
  • 1994 The Wallace F. Pate Foundation for Environmental Research and Education is incorporated, formalizing a partnership between Clemson’s Baruch Institute and the DeBordieu Colony.
  • 1999 The Institute is renamed the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science.
  • 2001 Expansion increases number of scientists from 5 to 8, including first two female scientists (Bo Song and Linda Roth) and first full-time extension specialist (Jack Whetstone).
  • 2008 New LEED gold headquarters and education building is completed (Building B). Replacement faculty add new expertise in hydrology and biogeochemistry.
  • 2013 A formal partnership with the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center is announced to focus on wildlife research, particularly alligator ecology.
  • 2014 The James C. Kennedy Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation Center is founded upon the receipt of an endowment from Mr. Kennedy.
  • 2018 Clemson celebrates 50 years of partnership with the Baruch Foundation and shares the master plan for the future of the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science.
  • 2023 Andy’s Cottage is opened as a gift from Hayden and Don Quattlebaum through the Andy Quattlebaum and Blackwell Family Foundation in honor of their late son. The 2-bedroom cottage provides housing to students, research technicians, visiting scientists and workshop and conference participants as they explore the state’s coastal environment and study conservation at the Institute.
Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science
Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science | 177 Hobcaw Road, Georgetown, SC 29440 | PO Box 596 Georgetown SC 29442-0596