President pitches Clemson to Miami business leaders
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Clemson University can be a pipeline for employees, a resource for workforce development and a research partner solving problems facing South Florida, Clemson President James F. Barker told area business and industry leaders Monday.
Nearly 50 executives from area corporations, nonprofits and businesses heard that pitch at a “Partnership and Innovation Brunch” hosted by Barker and other officials in town to watch ACC champion Clemson in Wednesday’s Orange Bowl.
Barker said Clemson’s academic and research programs are as relevant for South Florida as South Carolina.
“The students that we enroll and graduate would be as good a fit in your companies as they are back home. The issues our faculty are tackling will solve problems far beyond the borders of the Palmetto State,” he said. “If that’s not the case, we’re not doing our jobs. A national university has an obligation to address national issues — and that’s what Clemson is doing.”
Barker drew parallels between the two regions saying both have major tourism and hospitality economic sectors, are retirement havens and face increasing pressure on water and natural resources. Both also face unique challenges common to coastal states with aging populations.
Although Clemson is known primarily for engineering, science and agriculture, Barker said the university also boasts one of the nation’s highest-ranked programs in parks, recreation and tourism management; a digital arts production degree program with alumni working at some of the nation’s largest game-development companies, in special effects and at movie studios; and has one of only 20 accredited professional golf management programs in the country.
He highlighted current research projects focusing on issues relevant to the greater Miami area: pioneering bioengineering research on hip, knee and valve implants; wind engineering research that can ensure buildings and bridges are designed to withstand hurricane-force winds; a patented watershed monitoring system called Intelligent River now being tested along the entire length of the Savannah River; and research on aging drivers using simulators already being deployed at three locations in Florida.
“Clearly, the opportunities for collaboration and partnership between Clemson University and South Florida extend well beyond giving you what I hope is a very exciting football game and an even bigger dose of orange on Wednesday,” he said. “Let’s keep the conversation going.”