CLEMSON — Clemson University is establishing an endowment to honor its Provost Emerita Doris Helms, who retired June 30 after 40 years of service to Clemson. The Dr. Doris R. “Dori” Helms Creative Inquiry and Innovation Endowment will support student and faculty teams generating ideas and solving problems through engaged learning and undergraduate research.

“All of us on this campus know how much Dori Helms has meant to Clemson,” said Clemson President James Barker. “For 40 years, she has been a teacher, mentor, breaker of glass ceilings and an inspiration to thousands of young people who have gone on to successful careers in science, education and academia.

“Almost every good idea we’ve had over the past decade to improve Clemson as an academic institution has come from the creative mind of Dori Helms. We thank her for her tremendous service and wish her well.”

Some results attributable in large part to Helms’ vision and leadership include:

  • More than 1,700 students have succeeded in the Class of 1963 Bridge program, moving to Clemson from Tri-County Technical College.
  • More than 13,000 students have had a Creative Inquiry undergraduate research experience.
  • An average of 6,500 students per year find help at the Class of 1956 Academic Success Center for a total of more than half a million contact hours since the center opened.
  • More than 5,000 students learned much of what they know about biology from her.
  • She has overseen the development of 128 academic programs changes (new degrees, certificates, concentrations or delivery sites) and 39 new centers and institutes.
  • More than 400 faculty members earned tenure during her service as provost.
  • About 40 percent of all living Clemson alumni — 50,000 students — graduated during her tenure as provost.

The Helms endowment is part of the university’s The Will to Lead campaign, a $1 billion capital campaign to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.

Donors can contribute online at or send checks payable to Clemson Fund to: Clemson Fund, PO Box 1889, Clemson, SC 29633. Note that the check is for the Helms Endowment.