CLEMSON — Two veteran Clemson University faculty members and administrators will take on additional responsibilities to provide leadership for economic development and public service, President James P. Clements announced Monday.

John Ballato

John Ballato

John Ballato, professor of materials science and engineering, director of the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies and academic director for the Clemson University Restoration Institute, takes on additional duties as vice president for economic development.

George Askew, associate vice president of public service and agriculture (PSA), will be the university’s vice president for public service and agriculture.

“Both of these individuals are exceptionally qualified and well-known and highly respected on and off campus,” Clements said. “It’s imperative that the individuals filling these two mission-critical positions are knowledgeable about the strengths of the university and needs of the state of South Carolina. We’re fortunate that we have people ready to step into these key positions.”

No new administrative positions are being created. Ballato takes on areas previously led by John Kelly, who assumed the presidency of Florida Atlantic University earlier this month. Askew already manages day-to-day PSA operations and, as vice president, will become part of the president’s executive leadership team.

“I’ve been a part of Clemson’s public service role for 34 years as a faculty member; director of the Baruch Institute; director of the Pee Dee Research and Education Center; and numerous other research, Extension and administrative roles,” Askew said. “I am looking forward to working with the executive team at Clemson and our many partners in South Carolina to help fulfill Clemson’s land-grant mission.”

Ballato said, “It is humbling to lead this central enterprise for Clemson — especially given our mission as the state’s land-grant research university. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and leverage the remarkable intellectual capacity and infrastructural assets on main campus and our enterprise campuses to unleash job creation for South Carolina by enhancing the competitiveness of our big and small, new and existing companies.”

George Askew

George Askew

Askew and Ballato, along with the vice president for research, will report to the executive vice president for academic affairs and provost when that position is permanently filled and will continue to serve as important members of the president’s executive leadership team. A national search is under way to fill the provost position.

Clements said that the organizational restructuring is intended to increase collaboration and institutional effectiveness by ensuring that these critical mission areas are aligned on major decisions, such as faculty hires, facilities improvement and programmatic initiatives.

Ballato previously served as Clemson’s interim vice president for research, associate vice president for research and economic development, and faculty representative to the board of trustees, and in these roles, he represented Clemson in numerous economic development organizations and participated in the recruitment of new industry to the state.

Ballato earned his bachelor’s degree in ceramic science and engineering and doctorate in ceramic and materials engineering from Rutgers University. He has published 300 archival scientific papers, holds more than 25 U.S. and foreign patents, has been a principal investigator on more than $46 million in sponsored programs and has co-founded three S.C.-based companies.

He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the International Society of Optical Engineering and the American Ceramic Society. He is a Liberty Fellow (class of 2007), fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership and was the 2014 recipient of the Class of ’39 Award for Excellence.

Askew earned his bachelor’s of science in forest management, master’s in forestry and doctorate in agronomy from Clemson.

As associate vice president, Askew currently manages day-to-day operations of the university’s statewide PSA division, which includes Extension offices in all 46 counties; research and education centers in Florence, Blackville, Columbia and Charleston; the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science in Georgetown; the Archbold Tropical Research Institute in Dominica; and the agricultural centers on the main campus.

In this role, Askew maintains relationships with agriculture and forest products producers and commodity groups and provides planning and collaboration between the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences and the agriculture and natural resources program of PSA.

Askew previously has served Clemson as director of the Baruch Institute and executive director of the Wallace F. Pate Foundation for Environmental Research and Education.

He has received numerous grants from the USDA Forest Service and private agencies for research on forest genetics, seed orchard management, forest recovery from hurricane damage, intensive forest management for energy production and prescribed fire as a forest management tool.

END