Photo of the interior of the Watt Family Innovation Center at Clemson University.

A student walks through the shiny new interior of the Watt Family Innovation Center at Clemson University.
Image Credit: Ken Scar

CLEMSON — An innovative South Carolina-based telecommunications company is partnering with Clemson University’s new Watt Family Innovation Center to transform student lives and campus academics.

Comporium, Inc. has pledged $3 million in financial support and in-kind products and services to the Watt Center and will be a Founding Innovation Partner in the new facility that fosters collaborative research activities, product use and demonstration and philanthropic support.

“It is wonderful to have another South Carolina-based company on board as a Founding Innovation Partner for this incredible facility,” said Clemson University President James P. Clements. “Comporium is a world-class leader in telecommunications, and I am grateful for their support.”

Headquartered in Rock Hill, Comporium, Inc. is a diversified telecommunications company that embraces innovation to provide voice, video, data, wireless and security products and services.

Clemson’s faculty, staff and students historically have collaborated and partnered with Comporium in academic and research areas related to a wide spectrum of interest and business operations. This new relationship centers on a multi-faceted engagement that includes philanthropic support of students, faculty, equipment and operations in the new center.

“Comporium sees a great value in educating students in real-world collaboration to take a technologically advanced idea to the development of a practical application,” said Comporium President and CEO Bryant Barnes. “We believe that the Center’s role in fostering entrepreneurship and leadership with an emphasis in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) will serve the citizens of South Carolina. The Watt Center enables the connectivity of the Technology Incubator at Knowledge Park in Rock Hill and others to this network.”

Charles Watt, executive director of the Watt Center, said, “We are excited that Comporium has joined our elite level of Founding Innovation Partners. It is an outstanding family-owned company with corporate operations in Rock Hill.

“Since its original chartering in 1894, it has embraced delivery of innovative products and services that are provided in its telephones, data centers and connected security systems. The company has received numerous national, state, county and local awards for excellence in the telecommunications industry and for its contributions to academic and community activities in South Carolina.”

The Comporium gift is part of Clemson University’s “The Will to Lead” capital campaign to raise $1 billion to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.

The new four-story, 70,000-square-foot center Watt Family Innovation Center opens January 2016. It houses large and small flexible classrooms for Clemson’s students as well as a high bay area, an academic resources center, technology demonstration areas, meeting rooms and space designated for undergraduate research activities. The center is designed to promote interdisciplinary student engagement, interactive learning and partnership with industry and government.

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