Trustees adopt recommendations from task force on history of Clemson
CLEMSON — The Clemson University board of trustees adopted the recommendations made by the task force on the history of Clemson Friday. The task force was appointed to develop a comprehensive set of actionable recommendations for how Clemson can better tell the university’s complete history.
The report (http://media.clemson.edu/bot/documents/clemsonhistoryTF-final-020416.pdf) recommends short-, medium- and long-term strategies based on input solicited and received from faculty, staff, students, alumni and other key community stakeholders throughout fall 2015.
The process began with the launch of a dedicated website where members of the Clemson family and community had an opportunity to submit their opinions and feedback, and almost 200 submissions were received. In addition to comments submitted through the website and through hard copy letters, members of the task force and administration held a series of in-person meetings with key stakeholders including the Faculty Senate, Alumni Association, Clemson Black Alumni Council, Board of Visitors, University Foundation, Diversity Advisory Council, Faculty Senate, Graduate Student Government, Staff Senate, Undergraduate Student Government, the university’s history department and university history experts.
According to the report, the following recommendations are intended to tell the complete, though imperfect, story of Clemson — beyond renaming historical campus buildings, such as Tillman Hall, in which the authority rests solely with the South Carolina General Assembly.
Among the task force’s recommendations are:
- Updating biographies of founders and other historical figures
- Placing more historical markers across campus
- Improving signage on historical buildings
- Creating a dedicated history website and social media accounts
- Establishing a Clemson history week
- Developing an elective course on Clemson’s history
- Establishing a center or museum dedicated to university history and culture
“We are extremely grateful to everyone who participated in this process and offered their ideas and insights,” said task force chair David H. Wilkins. “The input has been thoughtful and substantive, and these recommendations are ambitious yet achievable… meaningful yet practical.”
Smyth McKissick, chairman of the Clemson board, called the work of the task force “important and transformative.” McKissick continued, “I believe it will continue to serve Clemson for generations to come.”
McKissick noted that while these recommendations mark the end of task force’s work, “This is only the beginning — not the end — of the process to tell the complete history of Clemson University.”
Responsibility for implementation now falls to university President James P. Clements, with the board maintaining final authority through regular updates and approvals of specific projects.
“We look forward to getting started and turning these ideas into reality,” Clements said. “We will continue to engage students, faculty, staff and other stakeholders in specific projects going forward.”