Clemson University

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Clemson University, located in Clemson, South Carolina, was founded in 1889, a legacy of Thomas Green Clemson, who willed his Fort Hill plantation home, its surrounding farmlands and forest, and other property to the State of South Carolina to establish a technical and scientific institution for South Carolina. Clemson opened its doors to 446 students as an all-male military college in 1893. Today, approximately 17,000 students attend the co-educational institution, with 64 percent of those students from South Carolina and the remaining 36 percent from 49 other states and 70 nations. In U.S. News and World Report's 2006 issue of America's Best Colleges, Clemson University ranks 34th among the nation’s 162 public doctoral-granting universities. Clemson’s engineering program ranks 57th in the country.

Today, Clemson is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Doctoral/Research University-Extensive, a category comprising less than 4 percent of all universities in America. Academically, the university is divided into five colleges: Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences; Architecture, Arts and Humanities; Business and Behavioral Science; Engineering and Science; and Health, Education and Human Development. The University's most noted academic programs include those in agriculture, architecture, business, education, engineering, nursing, and textile studies.

The university's newest academic endeavor is the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), a 250 acre automotive and motorsports research campus located in nearby Greenville. CU-ICAR will include a graduate school to open in 2006 with Master's and Doctorate level degrees in automotive engineering, offering programs focused on systems integration. The campus also includes an Information Technology Research Center being developed by BMW Manufacturing Company. BMW, Microsoft, IBM, and Michelin are all corporate partners of CU-ICAR. Private sector companies that have committed so far to establishing offices and/or facilities on the campus include the Society of Automotive Engineers and The Timken Company. Plans for the campus also include a full-scale, four-vehicle capacity rolling-road model wind tunnel.

The school's sports teams are called the Tigers. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A and in the Atlantic Coast Conference (Atlantic Division). Clemson's primary rivals, however, are the in-state University of South Carolina Gamecocks. The two institutions usually play against each other on the last week of the football season. This is the fourth longest rivalry in college sports. The Clemson University football team claimed its only NCAA National Championship so far in 1981.

Clemson's president since 1999 is James F. Barker, a former dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. Its Botanical Garden is the State Botanical Garden of South Carolina. Clemson University is served by Clemson Area Transit.



Thomas Green Clemson's will called for a "high seminary of learning" to be founded upon the estate of Fort Hill. The will called for the State of South Carolina to fund the institution, but provided it a limited role in the institution's governance. Clemson called for a 13-member Board of Trustees to govern the course of Clemson Agricultural College, with seven "lifetime" trustees and six trustees selected by the South Carolina state assembly to serve two-year terms. A president would also be appointed by the trustees to oversee the day-to-day operations of the college. Henry Aubrey Strode was selected by the Clemson Trustees to lead the new institution.

Clemson Agricultural College opened its doors in 1893 to 446 new cadets. At that time, the campus had only constructed two poorly-masoned brick buildings but by 1914 had increased in size and reputation, academically and athletically. The legendary coach John Heisman coached Clemson football from 1900 to 1903, before moving to greater fame at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In addition, Clemson's academic calendar became a model for many universities and colleges in the United States at that time, and the "Clemson calendar" became adopted as the traditional two-semester academic calendar for the majority of institutions in the U.S. through today.

The World Wars saw a flurry of cadets leave Clemson for active duty and the campus itself became a base for military training. World War I saw nearly every cadet in the classes of 1917 and 1918 enlist, and at one point the college had only 42 active student-cadets. World War II saw even greater involvement. Airborne troops training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, would march the thirty miles to Clemson to practice on the campus rifle range. Clemson ranked third in the country in institutions providing Army officers. Only the United States Military Academy and Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University (since 1963 Texas A&M )provided more.

As a result of the G.I. Bill providing increased opportunities for Americans to go into higher education, Clemson experienced a significant period of expansion under the leadership of two long-serving presidents, Robert M. Cooper and Robert C. Edwards. In 1953, a consulting firm was enlisted to help Clemson college plan a path for its future. In its findings, the group recommended that Clemson drop its military status and become a civilian institution and that it should enroll women. Following this advice, the first women were enrolled in Clemson in 1954, also the first year the school entered civilian status. Compulsory R.O.T.C. training remained until 1969.

The campus also experienced a frenzy of construction during the 1950s, as new academic buildings and contemporary student housing was constructed. The Johnstone Hall complex became a model for college dormitories, implementing a new raise-slab construction method, a practice which was featured in many architectural magazines at that time. This method - the Youtz-Slick "lift-slab" method - lifted reinforced concrete slabs onto columns with hydraulic jacks. These slabs weighed 224 tons and were nine inches thick, 122 feet long, and 43 feet wide. Today, only one of the original Johnstone buildings is still standing on the campus. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, additional buildings, including the R.M. Cooper Library, the Bryan Mall and "Shoebox" residence areas, and the innovative Lee Hall were also constructed.

In sharp contrast to the strenuous and violent situations at other southern universities in the early 1960s, Clemson became peacefully integrated on January 22, 1963, when Harvey Gantt became the first African-American student at Clemson. Lucinda Harris, who entered a semester later, would become the first African-American female student, and later married Gantt.

Clemson's expanding student body and expanded academic offerings prompted college administrators to submit to the South Carolina legislature to change its name to Clemson University in 1964. The University continued to expand into the 1970s when enrollment topped 10,000 for the first time.

Clemson achieved great recognition during its 1981 football season, when the Tigers were undefeated, winning the Orange Bowl 22-15 over the Nebraska Cornhuskers to become national champions. During the 1981 season, the Tigers beat top 10 teams Georgia, North Carolina, and Nebraska. They also defeated conference rival Wake Forest 82-24, setting numerous stadium, school, and conference records. During the 1980's, Clemson football under the leadership of Danny Ford was a scandal-plagued but successful program, establishing it as a football powerhouse. Memorial Stadium, or "Death Valley" nearly doubled its capacity during these years of popularity, which continue to this day.


In the 1990s, Clemson underwent additional transformations, which included an internal restructuring of the university from nine colleges into five, in an effort to streamline operations and cut costs. In 1995, the Carolina Panthers played their inaugural season in Clemson, and in 1997, Clemson was ranked as one of the "Top 50 Public Universities" in the United States by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

Continued distinctions continue into the 2000s. Clemson was named as "Public School of the Year" in 2001 by Time Magazine for its "Communication across the Curriculum" program.

Football Traditions

Death Valley
Clemson's Memorial Stadium was given this nickname in 1942 by the late Lonnie McMillian, a former coach at Presbyterian College. He once told sports writers he was going to play Clemson at "Death Valley," because his teams always got killed. The term caught on when football coach Frank Howard popularized it during the 1950's. As of now, they are building a nicer facility in the west end zone called the West Zone Club. This facility adds locker rooms for both teams, recruiting room, more seats for fans, lockers for fans personal belongings, and more. This project will be completed before the start of the 2006 football season.

First Friday Parade
The Clemson football season kicks off each year with the annual First Friday Parade. Founded in 1974, this annual event takes place on the Friday afternoon prior to the first home football game. Floats created by fraternities, sororities, and other campus organizations originally paraded down College Avenue, Clemson's main downtown street, winding their way to the Amphitheater, located in the middle of campus, where the first pep rally of the year took place. In recent years, the route has been altered, starting in front of the university administration building on Old Greenville Highway (recently renamed Walter T. Cox Boulevard after a former university dean and president), and ending at the Riggs Field soccer stadium. Traditionally, the Grand Marshall of the parade is featured at the pep rally. Former Grand Marshalls include current PGA professional Dillard Pruitt, college football Hall of Fame legends Jess Neely and Frank Howard, and noted television announcers Brent Musburger and Ara Parseghian.

Clemson holds a classic homecoming every year. Displays by fraternities, sororities, and other student organizations are constructed on Bowman Field during the week prior to the Homecoming Weekend. Additionally, the Clemson chapter of Habitat for Humanity sponsors the construction of a Habitat House during Homecoming Week, which is constructed on Bowman Field and then moved to a permanent location. The Friday evening prior to the game, "Tigerama" is held in Littlejohn Coliseum, an event that attracts over 35,000 fans. The Homecoming Queen and her court are presented, in addition to Homecoming skits, a pep rally, and a large fireworks display. The first Homecoming game played at Clemson took place on September 30, 1922, when Clemson met Centre College. Clemson has a 56-19-3 record in Homecoming games over the years. Clemson has been especially successful on Homecoming in recent years, posting a 26-3-2 record since 1971.

Orange Pants
The Tigers first wore an all orange uniform for the final game of the 1980 season against South Carolina. Clemson upset the 14th ranked Gamecocks 27-6, setting the stage for Clemson's National Championship run of 1981. Clemson has ten wins over Top 20 opponents when wearing Orange pants, including the 22-15 National Championship clinching win over Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl and their exciting last second victory over #17 Texas A&M to kickoff the 2005 season.

Howard's Rock

When the Clemson team gathers to run down the Hill, the players rub Howard's Rock because of the mystical power it is supposed to give Clemson players. The rock is mounted on a pedestal at the top of the hill, and was given to Coach Frank Howard by a friend (S.C. Jones' 19) who picked it up in Death Valley, CA. The rock was first placed on the pedestal at the top of the hill on September 24, 1966, a 40-35 victory over Virginia. The team started rubbing the rock for the first game of 1967, a 23-6 win over Wake Forest on September 23, 1967. Frank Howard told his players that if they were not going to give 110 percent, then they weren't going to rub his rock!

Running Down the Hill
"The most exciting 25 seconds in college football." After Clemson's last warmup, the team retreats to the home dressing room located under the West Stands. Shortly before kickoff, the team boards two buses and drives around the periphery of the stadium to the East side of the field. As Tiger Band performs its traditional pregame show, spelling out "Clemson Tigers" on the field, the players gather at the top of the grass hill that comprises the general admission section. As the band completes the "Orange Bowl March," also known as "Sock It To 'Em," they form a tunnel formation on the field and turn homeside. At the pedal note of "Tiger Rag," the Clemson fight song, the cannon sounds and the team charges down the hill and onto the field, with the cheerleaders leading the way, carrying a huge Tiger Paw flag. The Tigers have done this for every game since 1942, excepting games during 1970, 1971 and four games of the 1972 season. This exciting tradition began early in the history of Memorial Stadium. When the stadium was built in 1942, the football locker rooms were up the street in Fike Fieldhouse. When the players finished dressing for the game, they would simply walk down the street to "The Hill." Coach Howard continued the tradition when locker rooms were finally built inside the stadium, because Clemson fans would get fired up when the team gathered at the top of the hill.

Notable Alumni






External links

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