President Clements speaks at a podium on the Brooks Center stage.

Clemson University James Clements speaks at the general faculty meeting Dec. 14, 2016. (Photo by Ken Scar)

CLEMSON – Clemson University President James Clements applauded high-profile accolades for the school, celebrated the completion of multiple building projects, and highlighted accomplishments of faculty and staff during the first semester under a new college structure during the school’s general faculty meeting Wednesday.

Clements noted that in September Clemson was ranked among the top 25 public universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for the ninth consecutive year, receiving its highest scores ever in 16 areas of academic quality. In addition, the Calhoun Honors College was ranked one of the top 10 honors colleges in the country by the book “Public Honors Colleges,” and the Creative Inquiry program was recognized with a Campus-wide Award for Undergraduate Research by the national Council on Undergraduate Research.

Clemson’s place in national rankings should only get better with the new Clemson Forward plan, said Clements.

“Our over-arching goal is that in 10 years, Clemson will rank year-after-year as one of the nation’s top 20 public universities, and always be ranked as a Carnegie Tier 1 research university,” he said.

Clements lauded the opening of several new facilities this semester, saying they have added greatly to Clemson’s infrastructure and ability to give students the very best college experience. They include the Core Campus student housing and dining facilities and the refurbished Littlejohn Coliseum.

He also noted four ribbon-cutting events during the semester at several of Clemson’s off-campus locations:

■ The Clemson Design Center in the historic Cigar Factory in Charleston.

■ The renovated John B. Pitner Center at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence.

■ One Research Drive, a cutting-edge facility designed for research and development at the CU-ICAR campus in Greenville.

■ The Zucker Family Graduate Education Center in North Charleston.

The president expressed pride in the school’s continuing work towards diversity and inclusive excellence – critical components of the Clemson Forward plan.

“I’m pleased that we continue to make good progress in this area,” he said. “We are implementing the recommendations of the trustees’ Task Force on the History of Clemson, which supports our broader commitment to create a more inclusive campus climate.”

Clements said the student body is more impressive than ever, with more than 3,600 freshmen boasting average SAT scores of 1243 and ACT scores of 28.4, and a 10 percent increase in new graduate students.

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Bob Jones presented awards of achievement to five outstanding faculty and staff members:

— Antonis Katsiyannis, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Special Education in the  Eugene T. Moore School of Education, was given the Class of ’39 Award for excellence.

— Melissa Lockhart, senior manager of emerging technologies, received the Ralph D. Elliott Endowed Award for outstanding services to off-campus, distance, and continuing education.

— Amanda McNulty, senior Cooperative Extension agent and host of “Making it Grow” public television show, received the Rowland P. Alston, Sr. Award for excellence in public relations.

— The Thomas Green Clemson Award for Excellence was given to Kim Arp, director of development for the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.

— Katheryn “Katie” Berry Shaw, Laurens County 4-H agent, was presented the Alumni Award for Cooperative Extension Distinguished Public Service.