CLEMSON — Clemson President James P. Clements will visit the university’s Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science in Georgetown Sept. 23 to meet the scientists and dedicate new student housing.

President James P. Clements

President James P. Clements

At 2 p.m., Clements will dedicate the John Bunyan Harris III Student Center at a private ceremony. He will attend a public open house from 3 to 6:30 p.m. to celebrate the research and teaching that Clemson scientists conduct at the center.

The Student Center provides affordable short-term housing for graduate students studying or conducting research at the institute. The cottage is a gift from John Harris Jr. in memory of his son, a 1974 Clemson graduate in economics who died in 2006.

Clements will tour the institute and meet coastal residents during the open house when scientists and students will be available to discuss their research and answer questions.

Clemson research at Baruch focuses on the environmental impacts of population growth, climate change and rising sea levels on South Carolina’s coast. The goal is to provide commercial developers and municipal officials with science-based information to protect the area’s fragile ecosystems from saltwater intrusion and pollution from stormwater runoff as forested wetlands are converted into neighborhoods and shopping centers.

Clemson’s Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, which was renamed in 1999, began in 1968 as the Baruch Institute of Forest Science with Clemson’s first professor on site.

In 1964, a foundation was created to honor Belle Baruch, the daughter of financier Bernard Baruch. She consolidated 14 individual plantations into Hobcaw Barony, a 16,000-acre wildlife refuge. The foundation invited South Carolina colleges and universities to establish research and teaching programs focused on forestry, marine biology, wildlife and natural resources protection.

Current research institutions, in addition to Clemson, include the University of South Carolina, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Charleston Southern, S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.