Dr. James Clements
President, Clemson University

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 led the way in helping to raise more than $2.5 billion in private funds during his career, including approximately $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 on the board of directors for the ACC and as one of eleven members on 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 and the Special Olympics International Board. Clements previously served as the Chair of the Board for the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities.

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. His 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 and five grandchildren. 

  • He has led commencement ceremonies for more than 61,000 graduates at Clemson. These Clemson graduates represent more than one third of Clemson’s 180,000 living alumni. 
  • Freshman applications have more than tripled since his arrival to more than 60,000 in 2023. 
  • Clements has helped raise more than $2.5 billion in private funds, including approximately $1.7 billion since he arrived at Clemson, resulting in record-breaking fundraising every year. 
  • The value of the Clemson Foundation Endowment has doubled since Clements arrived at Clemson and surpassed $1 billion for the first time in 2021. 
  • Total research expenditures reached an all-time high of $263 million in 2022 and total research awards reached an all-time high of $282 million for 2023. 
  • Clemson achieved and was re-affirmed Carnegie R1 for highest research activity. 
  • Nearly $2 billion has been invested in new or renovated facilities.
  • Clemson is on more than 100 top-20 lists, including “Best Colleges,” “Great Career Services,” “Most Trusted Universities” and “Best Alumni Network.” 
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