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Clemson University is a public, coeducational, land-grant, research university located in Clemsonmarker, South Carolinamarker, United Statesmarker.Founded in 1889, the University is academically divided into five colleges: Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences; Architecture, Arts and Humanities; Business and Behavioral Sciences; Engineering and Science; and Health, Education and Human Development.

The University currently enrolls more than 17,000 students from across all 50 states and 89 countries.


Clemson University is located in upstate South Carolina in Pickens Countymarker just north of Interstate 85 and Anderson, South Carolinamarker, along the shores of Lake Hartwellmarker. The University is located just outside of the greater Greenvillemarker area and is approximately two hours away from Atlanta, Georgiamarker, Charlotte, North Carolinamarker and Columbia, South Carolinamarker. Clemson is situated in South Carolina's foothills, where excellent vistas of the rising Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolinamarker, North Carolinamarker, and Georgiamarker abound.

Clemson University operates a research park off Interstate 85 and is currently constructing its Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (I-CAR) center in Greenville, also off Interstate 85. The University has agricultural extension offices in every county in South Carolina as a public service in its furtherance of its founding goals as an agricultural institution.

The city of Clemson is served by the Clemson Area Transit bus system, as well as the Amtrak's Crescent line running through Clemson's train stationmarker right off Highways 28, US 76, and US 123. Oconee County Airport is located adjacent to the university's campus and is the closest public-use airport to the campus (as well as the home of the Clemson Flying Club and Dixie Skydivers), with Greenville-Spartanburg International Airportmarker offering commercial airline service only forty-five minutes away.


Thomas Green Clemson IV, the University's founder, came to the Foothills of South Carolina in 1838, when he married Anna Maria Calhoun, daughter of South Carolina statesman, John C. Calhoun. When Thomas Clemson died on April 6, 1888, he left most of his estate in his will to be used to establish a college that would teach scientific agriculture and the mechanical arts to South Carolinians. Clemson's decision was largely influenced by Gov. Benjamin Tillman. Clemson University founder Thomas Green Clemson directed in his will in 1888 that the University be modeled after Mississippi A&Mmarker. Tillman strongly lobbied the state legislature to create Clemson as an agricultural institution for the state and in the end, the resolution to accept Clemson's gift and create the institution passed by only one vote.

In November 1889, Governor Richardson signed the bill, thus establishing the Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina. As a result, federal funds for agricultural education were transferred from South Carolina Collegemarker to Clemson. See Hatch Act of 1887 and Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act.

Clemson Agricultural College formally opened in July 1893 with an initial enrollment of 446. From its beginning, the college was an all-white male military school. Clemson remained this way until 1955 when it changed to "civilian" status for students and became a coeducational institution. In 1963, Clemson admitted its first African-American student, Harvey Gantt. In 1964, the college was renamed Clemson University as the state legislature formally recognized the school's expanded academic offerings and research pursuits.


Enrollment (Fall 2007)
College Total Enrollment
College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences 2,911
College of Arts, Architecture, and Humanities 2,431
College of Business and Behavioral Sciences 4,357
College of Engineering and Science 4,581
College of Health, Education, and Human Development 3,156
Calhoun Honors College
  1. As found at [22821].
  2. Not a degree granting college.


The Carnegie Foundation classifies it as more selective, since Clemson admitted less than 55% of those who applied to be freshmen in 2006. When admitting Freshmen, the university places emphasis on the rigor of high school study and scores on standardized tests, SAT or ACT. Clemson also considers class rank, extracurricular activities, and an optional personal statement. The average incoming freshman had a combined SAT score of 1200 and a high school weighted GPA of 3.99 in 2006. In 2008, admission to Clemson was the most competitive in University history. Clemson had over 15,000 applications for their freshman class of approximately 2,800 students. It was especially competitive for out-of-state students in that Clemson is a state supported institution. Of those 15,000+ applications, over 10,000 were from outside of South Carolina; however, a little over 1,000 freshmen from other states were given admissions.

Calhoun Honors College and National Scholars Program

Clemson is home to The Calhoun Honors College, which is designed to offer academic diversity to gifted undergraduates and to provide for an atmosphere of a "higher seminary of learning" that Thomas Green Clemson outlined in his will within the large University.

Admission to the college is by application to freshman as well as to any student beyond freshman year but with over four semesters worth of undergrad studies remaining.. Admission to the college is based on a combination of standardized test scores, high school class rank, and leadership and extracurricular activities. A GPA of at least 3.5 is required for applicants to the college after their freshman year. Members of the honors college are permitted to live in the typically honors-only dorm, Holmes Hall, and are granted a variety of other benefits including complementary copies of the New York Times and free tickets to on-campus cultural events.

The Clemson National Scholars Program is the institution's top academic recruiting scholarship, offering a full tuition and fees scholarship plus study abroad in Europe, along with other learning and travel opportunities. The NSP selection process is highly competitive, with approximately 15 scholarships offered out of over 12,000 applicants to Clemson each year.

Top-20 initiative and research

Cooper Library and the Reflection Pool - in addition to its aesthetic appeal, the 1,960,000 gallon reflecting pool also serves as a heat exchange for the cooling systems of several academic buildings.
The University has undertaken an endeavor to become a "Top 20" public institution, undergoing a process of enhancing its graduate programs while continuing to emphasize the quality of the undergraduate experience. The initiative has led to increased faculty compensation, higher graduation rates, and higher incoming student SAT averages. The University has steadily moved up the rankings from 34, to 30, to 27, to 22 in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 respectively: according to the U.S. News and World Report.As part of its push to enhance graduate-level education, several new Ph.D. programs have been created including interdisciplinary doctoral programs in Rhetoric and Planning, Design, and the Built Environment (formerly Environmental Design and Planning). Also noteworthy is a new master's degree in historic preservation, jointly offered in collaboration with the College of Charlestonmarker.
The Clemson University reflection pond.

The university's currently most ambitious academic and research endeavor is the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR). ICAR is a 250 acre (1 km²) automotive and motorsports research campus located in nearby Greenville, South Carolinamarker. ICAR will include a graduate school offering Master's and Doctoral degrees in automotive engineering, and offering programs focused on systems integration. The campus also includes an Information Technology Research Center being developed by BMW. BMW, Microsoft, IBM, Bosch, Timken and Michelin are all major corporate partners of the ICAR center. Private-sector companies that have committed so far to establishing offices and/or facilities on the campus include the Society of Automotive Engineers and Timken. Plans for the campus also include a full-scale, four-vehicle capacity rolling-road model wind tunnel.

Clemson also recently established the Restoration Institute whose mission is to "advance knowledge in integrative approaches to the restoration of historic, ecological, and urban infrastructure resources." The institute will be located in North Charleston and subsume the Hunley Commission that is currently undertaking the stabilization of the Hunley, the world's first submarine to sink a ship.

While Clemson’s gains have generally been received well, at the 2009 forum of the Association for Institutional Research there was some expressed concern that the university was pursuing improvements that directly affect the rankings such as class size, professor salary, and SAT scores. President Jim Barker's also made the decision that many other University Presidents make to rate other schools lower than his own. Some attendees of the forum were also concerned that Clemson has become more exclusive and now appears to favor student merit as opposed to access when selecting students.


Publication Rank Category
U.S. News & World Report # 61 National Universities
(out of 262 institutions)
U.S. News & World Report # 22 Public Institutions (out of 164)
The Scientist magazine # 3 Places to work in academia (#1 among academic institutions)

Student life


Clemson offers club, intramural, and varsity sports. The University's 19 varsity men and women's sports teams compete in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference of the NCAA's Division I as the Clemson Tigers. The most prominent athletics facilities on campus are Memorial Stadiummarker, Littlejohn Coliseummarker, Doug Kingsmore Stadiummarker, Historic Riggs Fieldmarker, and Fike Recreation Centermarker. Clemson has won 4 national championships including football (1981), 2 in men's soccer (1984 & 1987), and men's golf (2003).

Two dollar bills
It has been a Clemson tradition dating from September 24, 1977 for Clemson fans to spend two dollar bills on away game trips. This began when Clemson played Georgia Tech "for the last time" as Tech refused to travel to Clemson. Of the seventeen games played between Tech and Clemson between 1953 and 1977, only once, in 1974, did the Yellow Jackets deign to come to Death Valley. To show the Atlantamarker business community how much money Clemson fans contributed to the local economy which would not be coming to town anymore, Tiger fans spent vast quantities of two dollar bills, many of them stamped with Tiger Paws. This was the start of Clemson's two dollar bill tradition, which, while very popular in the 1980s and 1990s, may have waned a bit.

Fight Song

The fight song is the classic jazz tune Tiger Rag recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, also known as Hold That Tiger, which was introduced in 1942 by Clemson cadet and band member Robert Dean Ross (Class of 1948), who brought the sheet music to campus, purchased at an Atlanta music store. Also popular is Eye of the Tiger, a number one hit of 1982 by the band Survivor.

Fraternity and Sorority Life

The newly renovated Fraternity Quad.
Clemson's Greek system is somewhat different from other large universities in the southern United States in that there are no Greek houses on campus. There are residence halls designated for fraternities and sororities, but there are no traditional Greek houses on Clemson's campus. The Fraternity Quad on campus (consisting of 6 fraternity halls) has recently undergone a major renovation and is certified by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Clemson is about to undertake a major central campus reconstruction program that will include all-new sorority housing. Currently, there are 19 NIC Fraternities, 11 NPC Sororities, and 8 NPHC Chapters, which make up approximately 21% of the undergraduate student body.

Military heritage

Clemson's rich military history is very conspicuous on campus.
Although Clemson became a coeducational civilian institution in 1955, the university still maintains an active military presence. The university is home to detachments for Army and Air Force ROTC as well as a host school for the Marine Corps PLC program adjacent to the Semper Fi Society. In addition to students from Clemson, these organizations also serve students from Anderson Universitymarker, Southern Wesleyan University, and Tri-County Technical College. The following organizations are present among the military personnel at Clemson:

Clemson's AAS squadron was selected to be home of Arnold Air Society's National Headquarters for the 2005-2006 year, and again for the 2006-2007 year. This is the first time is AAS's history that any university has served as National HQ two years in a row.

The C-4 Pershing Rifles have won the national society's drill meet six times: 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008. Company C-4 also performs colorguards, 21 gun-salutes, exhibition drill performances, and POW/MIA ceremonies. Company C-4 is well known for their colorguard performance at Clemson home football games. In addition to the C-4 drill company Clemson is the former home of the 4th Regimental Headquarters (4RHQ), the National Headquarters for the Junior ROTC level of Pershing Rifles (BlackJacks) and the Co-ed Auxiliary for Pershing Rifles (CAPeRs).

Clemson University's Air Force ROTC Detachment 770 "Flyin' Tigers" was selected as the #1 "medium-sized" Air Force ROTC detachment in the nation for 2006 (the "High Flight" and "Right of Line" awards), #1 Detachment in the "Southeast" in 2006 ("medium-sized") and 2007 ("large-sized"), and #1 in the state of South Carolina (out of 3 - University of South Carolina and The Citadel) three consecutive years (2005, 2006, and 2007).

MARINES AT CLEMSON - Clemson University has also developed a group of Marines and Marine Officer Candidates within an organizaiton called the Semper Fi Society. The society is in no way an ROTC organization, but can lead to a commission into the United States Marine Corps via the Platoon Leaders Course program, if desired. To find out more about the Marines at Clemson visit .


Students tend to socialize off campus in downtown Clemsonmarker. Downtown Clemson is located adjacent to the University's campus, and students on campus are within walking distance to restaurants, bars, cafes, and shopping. Greenvillemarker is about 45 minutes away and is a popular destination for many students on the weekends.

Some favorite bars downtown for students are TD's, Wingin' It, 356, Esso Clubmarker, Tiger Town Tavern (TTT), and Flip Flops.

Lake Hartwellmarker, Keowee, Issaqueena, and Jocassee, as well as the near-by Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina and North Carolina offer students many outdoor recreational activities like boating, rowing, rafting, kayaking, skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking and backpacking.


  • Henry Kissinger, political scientist, diplomat, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, National Security Advisor and later concurrently Secretary of State in the Nixon Administration pursued training at Clemson
  • Lucas Glover, Golfer, 2009 US Open Champion
  • James F. Byrnes, U.S. Congressman, Senator, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1941-1942), Secretary of State (1945–1947), Governor of South Carolina (1951-1955), and confidant of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A dormitory on the eastern part of Clemson's campus is named after Byrnes. While not a graduate of Clemson, Byrnes was a Life Trustee of Clemson University (appointed in 1941).
  • David Beasley, South Carolina governor (1995–1999). Beasley ran for the South Carolina State Housemarker while a student at Clemson and transferred to the University of South Carolinamarker upon taking office, from which he went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree and law degree.
  • Strom Thurmond, The late United States Senator from South Carolinamarker who was famous for being the longest serving Senator in U.S. history.
  • David H. Wilkins graduated from Clemson cum laude in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in history. He attended Clemson as an undergraduate on a tennis scholarship. Wilkins was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1981 and was elected Speaker Pro Tempore in 1992. After the elections of 1994, Wilkins was elected Speaker of the House; the first Republican Speaker in the South since Reconstruction. Wilkins had many legislative accomplishments during his tenure as Speaker, including welfare reform, property tax reform, tort reform and finding a compromise to remove the Confederate Flag from atop the statehouse dome. On April 27, 2005, President George W. Bush nominated him to be the U.S. Ambassador to Canadamarker.
  • Lt.Col. Jimmie Dyess, of the United States Marine Corps, the only person in history to earn both the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Carnegie Medal of Honor. Annually, the Semper Fi Society on campus holds a 5K in the Spring to honor LtCol Dyess and those Marines that served from Clemson.
  • Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, United States Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines. She received a Bachelors degree in Political Science from Clemson University. She was nominated by George W. Bush on November 3, 2005, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 16, 2006, and sworn in to office by Secretary Condoleezza Rice on March 6, 2006. On March 17, Kenney arrived in the Philippines to assume her duties as the first female ambassador to this former US colony in Asia.
  • Robert H. Brooks, founder of Hooters of America, Inc.

  • David Reinking, Eugene T. Moore Professor of Education (2003-present), Co-editor of Reading Research Quarterly, a peer reviewed journal published by the International Reading Association.

See also


  1. Gender and Race at Clemson University
  2. Clemson Freshman Admissions Data
  3. University Common Data Set for 2006
  4. {}
  7. Traditions :: Clemson Tigers - Official Athletic Site
  9. Blackman, Sam, Bradley, Bob, and Kriese, Chuck, "Clemson: Where The Tigers Play", Sports Publishing, L.L.C., Champaign, Illinois, 2001, ISBN 1-58261-369-9, page 144.

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