Clemson University to open interactive visitor center in downtown Greenville
GREENVILLE — Clemson University is stamping its orange paw print on Greenville’s picturesque Main Street with a new state-of-the-art satellite center, Experience Clemson, designed to make a permanent impression on prospective students, parents, alumni and visiting business people.
Experience Clemson — in the ONE Building at the intersection of East Coffee and North Main streets — is an interactive virtual museum where people can learn about Clemson’s history and traditions, touch a replica of Howard’s Rock and even “run down ‘The Hill’” with the Tigers football team.
“Greenville is Clemson’s home city and has the largest concentration of alumni, student prospects, fans and corporations that support Clemson,” said Neill Cameron, Clemson’s vice president for Institutional Advancement. “Experience Clemson, with its state-of-the-art interactive technology, brings the Clemson story to life on Main Street to thousands everyday.”
“The center is for everyone, not just Clemson fans,” said site manager Jessica Johnson of the ultra-modern space. “We want to reach the entire community with the spirit and excitement that comes with the Clemson brand.”
While the center is open only on a limited basis now, there will be a grand opening in August.
Lane Sulhan, director of the center’s design and development, said the ground floor space allows a lot of flexibility, and the experience will change over time with new videos and attractions.
“The design needed to resonate what you think of when you think of Clemson: warm, inviting, and dynamic,” she said. “It’s our opportunity to tell the Clemson story to somebody that may never make it to campus, just visiting or considering attending Clemson as an undergraduate or graduate student.”
The prime street level space was donated to Clemson as part of a larger gift of 70,000 square feet from Hughes Development Corporation and GAB Properties LLC for office and classroom space in the new ONE building. Clemson’s College of Business and Behavioral Science offers graduate programs on four floors, as well as several business centers and institutes.
This gift-in-kind was part of Clemson University’s $1 billion “The Will to Lead” capital campaign to support faculty and students with scholarships, professorships, facilities and technology.
In addition to serving as an extension of the Clemson visitors’ center, Experience Clemson also will be used for alumni gatherings, fundraisers and other special events, such as “Solid Orange Fridays” before football games.
Dave Dryden, director of the university’s Office of Creative Services, said the center will help reacquaint alumni with the school and attract prospective faculty and students.
“It’s a great tool to attract prospective students, re-engage alumni, and connect with the downtown Greenville business community,” he said.
There will be some merchandise sold in the center, “but this is not a T-shirt shop,” said Johnson. “This is a place to experience Clemson and have hands-on interaction with the people, places and traditions of this Top 20 university.”