CLEMSON — James F. Barker, who steps down on Dec. 31 as Clemson’s president following 14 years of leadership, thanked the faculty and staff for “everything you do for Clemson University” in what was his final general faculty meeting Wednesday.

Before a crowd of approximately 100 in the Robert Howell Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, Barker recognized Staff Senate President Angela Nixon; David Blakesley, faculty representative to the board of trustees; and Faculty Senate President Kelly Smith for their work in their respective leadership roles.

“I want to start by thanking our dedicated staff for all they do, day in and day out, for Clemson and for our students,” he said. “We all know that without the staff, our paychecks would not be deposited. Our buildings, grounds and computers would not be maintained. Offices and classrooms would be dark … and hot in the summer, cold in the winter. And students could not be admitted, enrolled, housed, fed, protected and cared for without staff.”

Provost Nadim M. Aziz, too, thanked all faculty and staff “for everything you do for our students,” and then paid tribute to Barker.

“As we welcome a new year, we also welcome a new president: Jim Clements,” Aziz said. “And as we do that, we bid farewell to Jim Barker as president and welcome him back to the ranks of faculty. As a tribute to what you have done for Clemson, and for making Clemson one of the nation’s top universities, I, as chair of the faculty and on behalf of the faculty, thank you for your service.”

In what was one of Barker’s final official acts as president, he helped preside over the awards portion of the event, as staff and faculty were recognized for respective achievements and accomplishments.

  • Roseanne Pruitt, professor and director of the School of Nursing, received the Ralph D. Elliott Award for Outstanding Service to Off-Campus, Distance and Continuing Education. The award was established in 2006 by family and friends of Ralph Elliott in honor of his retirement as vice provost for off-campus, distance and continuing education and professor of economics. “[She] has served as an excellent teacher and mentor to continuing education learners throughout her career and has been an advocate for off-campus and distance education, meeting the needs of returning professionals, instrumental in the development of four of the five off-campus programs in the School of Nursing,” Aziz said of Pruitt. “She is also a champion of quality teaching in a web-enhanced and online format, always encouraging faculty to complete opportunities for training to promote teaching effectiveness.”
  • S. Bruce Martin, professor of entomology, soils and plant sciences, was named the winner of the Rowland P. Alston Sr. Award for Excellence in Public Relations. Established in memory of Rowland P. Alston Sr., Class of 1942, by his son, Rowland P. Alston Jr., classes of 1970 and 1972, this award recognizes outstanding faculty/staff who, through programs and activities in the areas of agriculture and/or natural resources, have provided Clemson University with positive visibility throughout South Carolina, the United States and the world. Because of Martin’s efforts in the area of commercial turf grass pathology, the Carolinas continue to retain their role as the second most-visited golf destination in the United States.
  • Two longstanding members of the Clemson Family — Verna Howell and Elham B. Makram — each were presented with the Thomas Green Clemson Award for Excellence, given to faculty and staff whose teaching, research or service is exemplary. Howell, associate vice president and interim dean of students, has been with Clemson 31 years. She “has worked diligently in her many roles to foster collaboration across the campus to better serve our students, faculty and staff,” Aziz said. Makram, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been with Clemson more than 27 years, and has served as chairwoman of the College of Engineering’s Women Faculty Quality Council, a member of the board for SUCCEED Women Engineering Coalition, and a faculty senator.
  • Danny Howard, Greenville Extension director, was presented with the Alumni Award for Cooperative Extension Distinguished Public Service by Wil Brasington, senior director of alumni relations. The award is given to an Extension Service professional that has significantly enhanced the wellbeing of the citizens of South Carolina and beyond and has provided exemplarily service to their fields on behalf of Clemson University.

The next general faculty meeting will be held in the Brooks Auditorium at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 8.