by President Jim Clements, Clemson University
Without a doubt, this has been the most challenging year in my more than three decades in higher education. At Clemson, the pandemic has changed the way we educate students, conduct research, do our daily work and serve the state of South Carolina. It also has placed a significant short-term financial burden on our university, as it has on all universities and many other employers.
At the same time, I am immensely proud of how our faculty and staff have risen to the occasion. We completed a successful fall semester and have a great plan in place to offer more in-person classes in the spring.
Our COVID-19 testing strategy, among the most aggressive across higher education, has seen us provide more free tests to our students, employees — and now community members — than any university in South Carolina. This allowed us to quickly identify and isolate those infected with or exposed to COVID-19 and drive down the positivity rates among our students and employees to below 2%. Due in large part to our on-campus testing lab, designed by Clemson faculty members, we plan to test even more frequently in the spring.
Clemson is positioned to emerge from the pandemic strong, and I could not be more proud of my teammates
Despite the challenges placed on us by the pandemic, Clemson continues to be an attractive option for outstanding high school graduates in South Carolina. At a time when many universities nationwide have experienced declining enrollments, our enrollment in the fall increased 2.3% from 2019.
Consistent with our commitment to the state, two-thirds of our undergraduates are from South Carolina. Ninety-seven percent of in-state applicants for the fall were offered a path to Clemson, either by being directly admitted to the university or through an invitation to join Clemson’s Bridge program in partnership with Tri-County Technical College.
In challenging times such as these, the state’s leading institutions need to rise up and be counted. Clemson is positioned to emerge from the pandemic strong, and I could not be more proud of my teammates for their commitment to Clemson, in keeping with our land-grant mission of service and the vision of Thomas Green Clemson’s “high seminary of learning.”