James P. Clements, Ph.D., President, Clemson University

James Patrick Clements, President at Clemson University, Clemson SC

Official (formal) high resolution portrait available for download.
President's information and ranking card. (PDF)

James P. Clements became Clemson University’s 15th president on Dec. 31, 2013. Since his arrival, the value of the Tiger Paw has never been higher, thanks to an increasing academic reputation and the national exposure from our recent success in athletics.

Under Clements’ leadership, Clemson has raised the bar in admissions, enrollment, research, athletics, graduation and retention rates, and fundraising, including the successful completion of the $1 billion Will to Lead capital campaign. In addition, the campus is currently undergoing the largest construction boom in the history of the university.

Clements is a nationally recognized leader in higher education who has served as president of a university in three different athletic conferences – the Big East, the Big 12, and the ACC – where he also served as the 2016-17 chair of the ACC Council of Presidents. He also was awarded an honorary degree as Doctor of Public Education from his Alma Mater, the University of Maryland – Baltimore County.

Before he came to Clemson, Clements served as the president of West Virginia University for nearly five years. During that time, WVU set significant records in private fundraising, enrollment, academic rankings and research funding.

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. And while he loved his time at WVU, he decided he would leave for only one institution – Clemson University.

Clements was born in Arlington, Va., but spent the majority of his life in Maryland before relocating to West Virginia and until his move to Clemson.

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 computer science, higher education, information technology, project management and strategic planning. 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.

Clements’ Successful Project Management book is now in its seventh edition and is published in multiple languages and used in numerous countries.

Clements and his wife, Beth, have been married for 28 years and have four children - Ty, Hannah, Maggie and Grace – and two sons-in-law, Tanner Coombs and Max Kinser.


  • Ph.D., Operations Analysis — University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1993
  • M.S., Operations Analysis —University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1991
  • M.S., Computer Science — Johns Hopkins University, 1988
  • B.S., Computer Science — University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1985

Leadership Positions

  • Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents,
    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
    Member, Executive Committee;
    Previously chaired the Board of Directors

  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
    Member, Executive Committee, Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity

  • National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE 2.0)
    Past Co-Chair

  • The Business-Higher Education Forum
    Member, Executive Committee, Board of Directors

  • National Innovation Advisory Board
    Past Member

  • Council on Competitiveness
    Member, Executive Committee, Board of Directors;
    Past Co-chair of the Energy & Manufacturing Competitiveness Partnership Committee

Notable Numbers as President

Admissions — Undergraduate applications to Clemson increased 55 percent from 2013 to 2018.

Diversity and Inclusion — From 2013-2017, Clemson has seen a 25 percent increase in African American undergraduate enrollment and a 21 percent increase in African American graduate enrollment. During that same time period, there has been a 66 percent increase in Hispanic undergraduate enrollment and a 72 percent increase in Hispanic graduate enrollment. There has also been a 33 percent increase in the number of African American and Hispanic faculty.

Research — Clemson has been designated a Research 1 university by the Carnegie Classification for Institutions of Higher Education. The university’s total research funding increased 90 percent since 2013, from $78 million to $148 million.

Facilities — Oversaw $791 million in facilities construction so far at Clemson and more than $1 billion at WVU.

Graduation — Led the commencement ceremonies for more than 28,600 newly graduated Tigers, as of December 2018, and more than 21,000 graduates while at WVU.

Fundraising — Helped to raise more than $1.5 billion in private funds between the two universities – $725 million at WVU and nearly $840 million at Clemson through five consecutive record-setting years and the close of the Will to Lead Capital Campaign, the largest fundraising effort in the history of the state of South Carolina.