James P. Clements

James P. Clements


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

James P. Clements became Clemson University’s 15th president on Dec. 31, 2013. Since his arrival, the power of the Tiger Paw has never been higher, driven by 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, diversity, graduation and retention rates. Clements has led the effort to raise more than $1 billion in private funds since he arrived at Clemson. In addition, our main campus and our facilities around the state are currently undergoing the largest construction boom in the history of the university with more than $900 million in new projects.

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 served as the 2016-17 chair of the ACC Council of Presidents and the presidential representative for the ACC-ESPN network partnership. He also served as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in 2015, and continues his service in a national leadership role.

He is a member of the Board of the American Council on Education, where he also served as chair of the ACE Commission on Leadership. In addition, he served on the executive committee of the APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity.

Clements was the only university president selected for the 15-member Innovation Advisory Board to the U.S. Department of Commerce. He also served as the co-chair of the National Advisory Committee for Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2.0, again serving as the only university president. He was nominated for, and participated in, the 81st Joint Civilian Orientation Conference through the U.S. Department of Defense where he was one of only a few dozen people selected in the country.

Clements serves on the Executive Committee for the Council on Competitiveness and on the Executive Committee of the Board for the Business Higher Education Forum.

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, research funding, academic rankings, application, diversity, enrollment, and retention 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.

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

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 29 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; and one grandson, Cannon Coombs.

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