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Office of the President

President James P. Clements, Ph.D.


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 his leadership, Clemson has raised the bar in academics, admissions, enrollment, retention rates, graduation rates, research and diversity. Clements has also led the way in helping to raise more than $2.5 billion in private funds during his career, including more than $1.7 billion 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. He currently serves as one of eleven members of 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, the board of directors for the ACC and the Special Olympics International Board. 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 a master’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, applications, enrollment, diversity, retention rates 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 driving 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 as 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 Association.

Clements has a deep and abiding commitment to contributing to the development of others. One way he has exemplified this is through the creation of the President’s Leadership Institute at Clemson. PLI is a nine-month leadership development program, now in its eighth year, that brings faculty and staff together to develop their personal and professional leadership skills. Each year, PLI consists of 25 highly-qualified participants, and as of the 2022-23 cohort, there have been 170 graduates of the program. Of note, nearly 60% of all graduates have gone on to accept elevated leadership positions.

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 Clemson. He and his wife, Beth, have been married for 32 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; three grandsons, Cannon, Ronan and Tee; and three granddaughters, Eliza, Eva and Caroline.


  • 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

Leadership Positions

  • Atlantic Coast Conference, Board of Directors
    Member and Past Chair
    Previously served on the Executive Committee
  • 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 (NACIE 2.0)
    Past Co-Chair and only University president
  • National Innovation Advisory Board
    Past Member and only University president
  • The Business-Higher Education Forum
    Previous 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

Faculty Positions

  • 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 Sciences, Towson University
  • Adjunct Professor, Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

Notable Numbers as President


Undergraduate applications to Clemson have more than tripled since Clements’ arrival to more than 60,000 applications in 2023.

Student and Faculty Success

The retention rate and graduation rate are at all-time highs. Clemson’s freshman retention rate is 92.8% and our six-year graduation rate is 87.9%.

Total graduate student enrollment increased by 28% since 2013. Including a 25% increase in the number of doctoral student enrollment since 2013.

Faculty members earning national or international awards increased by 40% percent since 2013.

The majority of Clemson students, 53%, graduate with no debt – compared to the national average of 35%.

The number of national merit scholarships awarded to Clemson students has grown by 500% since Clements’ arrival, including, the University’s first ever Rhodes Scholar and the University’s first ever Churchill Scholar.

Diversity and Inclusion

Clemson continues to be recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine with the Diversity Champions award. 2023 marked the sixth year in a row Clemson has received that award. Clemson also received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award for seven consecutive years from INSIGHT Into Diversity.

Under Clements’ leadership, Clemson has seen a 100% increase in underrepresented minority undergraduate enrollment and a 112% increase in underrepresented minority graduate enrollment.

During that same time period, there has also been a 71% increase in the number of underrepresented minority faculty, and a 16% increase among underrepresented staff members.


Since Clements’ arrival to the university, Clemson achieved – for the first time ever – and has continued to be reaffirmed multipe times, as a Research 1 university by the Carnegie Classification for Institutions of Higher Education.

Total research expenditures reached an all-time high of $263 million – an increase of 74% since 2013.


Nearly $2 billion is being invested in new or renovated facilities. These major areas include:

Academic Structures:

The Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business
The Watt Family Innovation Center
The expansion and renovation of Daniel Hall
The Advanced Materials Innovation Complex

General Campus Facilities:

Replacement of the campus electric utilities and other critical infrastructure
Samuel J. Cadden Chapel
The Phil and Mary Bradley Early Childhood Education Center
Core Campus Housing and Dining facilities
Douthit Hills
The Andy Quattlebaum Outdoor Education Center
The Alumni and Visitors Center

Athletic Facilities

The Allen N. Reeves Football Complex
The Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Complex
McWhorter Family Stadium
Littlejohn Coliseum Renovations
Memorial Stadium Upgrades
The Brown Family Tiger Walk
New facilities for soccer, gymnastics and lacrosse

This represents the largest set of construction projects in university history.


During his tenure as university president at both Clemson and WVU Clements has convened over 85,000 new graduates, including almost 64,000 newly graduated Tigers. These Clemson graduates represent more than one third of Clemson’s 182,000 living alumni.


Clements has helped to raise more than $2.5 billion in private funds as a university president, including more than $1.7 billion since he arrived at Clemson, resulting in record-breaking fundraising every year.

The value of the Clemson Foundation Endowment has doubled during Clements’ tenure, surpassing $1 billion. At WVU, the endowment grew by more than $500M during his tenure as president.

He closed the largest fundraising effort in the history of the state of South Carolina at the time, the Will to Lead Capital Campaign at Clemson, reaching the $1 billion dollar goal in June 2016, which was the largest in the country for a university with an alumni base of under 150,000 as of that date.

Athletic Success at Clemson

  • Annual Fundraising for IPTAY increased from $26 million to an all-time high of $41 million over the last decade. Major Gifts and Pledges are also at an all-time high of more than $81 million.
  • 2 National Championships in Football (2016, 2018)
  • 2 National Championships in Men’s Soccer (2021, 2023)
  • 1 National Championship – Giano Roberts – Men’s Track and Field (2023)
  • 1 National Championship – Turk Pettit – Men’s Golf (2021)
  • 6 Straight College Football Playoff Appearances (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
  • 7 ACC Championships in football (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022)
  • Bowl Victories – Orange Bowl (twice), Russell Athletic Bowl, Fiesta Bowl (twice), Cotton Bowl, Cheez-It Bowl, Gator Bowl
  • 3 Number 1 Overall Picks in Professional Drafts – NFL Trevor Lawrence (2021), MSL Robbie Robinson (2020) and Hamady Diop (2022)
  • ACC Tournament Champions in Baseball (2016, 2023)
  • ACC Champions in Women’s Golf (2023)
  • ACC Champions in Mens Track and Field (2023)
  • ACC Champions in Men’s Golf (2021)
  • ACC Regular Season Champions in Softball (2021)
  • ACC Champions in Men’s Soccer (2019, 2020, 2023)
  • National Quarterfinal Appearances in Men’s Soccer (2016, 2019, 2023)
  • Women's Soccer College Cup Appearance (2023)
  • Women’s Basketball NCAA Appearance (2019)
  • Women’s Basketball appearance in the WNIT (2020, 2023)
  • Largest Turnaround in a Season – Women’s Basketball (2019)
  • Sweet Sixteen in Men’s Basketball (2018)