CLEMSON — Clemson University is honoring Chris Przirembel, the retiring vice president for research and economic development, by establishing an endowment in his name. The Dr. C.E.G. Przirembel Graduate Fellowship Endowment will support graduate students pursuing master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Clemson.

Przirembel also was named an honorary alumnus by the Clemson University Alumni Association. Both surprise announcements were made Tuesday (June 29) at a retirement reception for Przirembel.

“No one is more deserving of our praise and thanks for his lifetime contributions to higher education, Clemson University and the economic development of South Carolina,” said Clemson President James F. Barker. “He challenged us to live up to our great potential. He helped us mature as a research university and a graduate teaching institution.”

“There is no more fitting a way to honor Dr. Przirembel’s service to Clemson than to support the research of graduate students,” said Bruce Rafert, dean of the graduate school. “He has always understood how the research and teaching contributions of graduate students are indispensible at a first-rate research institution. His passion for research and innovation has helped the graduate school nearly double Ph.D. enrollment in the past six years, and this endowment helps ensure that momentum continues as part of his legacy.”

Przirembel is retiring after 29 years at Clemson. He served as a faculty member and associate dean of engineering at Rutgers University before joining the Clemson faculty in 1981 as head of Clemson's mechanical engineering department. He later served as associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering and Science from 1994 to 2001.

As vice president for research and economic development, Przirembel has primary responsibility for the university’s funded and unfunded research programs and economic development. During his tenure, Clemson's research program has grown from $60 million to more than $150 million, 16 endowed chairs have been created through the South Carolina Centers of Economic Excellence program and four research and innovation campuses have strengthened the relationship between public higher education and private industry. They are the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and the Clemson University Biomedical and Bioengineering Translational Research Facility at Greenville Hospital System/Patewood in Greenville, the Clemson University Advanced Materials Center in Anderson County and the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston.

Przirembel has represented Clemson University at state and national levels. He served on former Gov. David Beasley’s South Carolina Science and Technology Advisory Council and was a member of former Gov. Jim Hodges’ Steering Committee of the Technology Transition Team. He chaired the State EPSCoR Committee for six years and served on the Technical Advisory Board for the South Carolina Research Authority. He represented Clemson on the Council for the Oak Ridge Affiliated Universities. He is a member of the board of directors for the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the AnMed Health Board of Trustees.

Przirembel has been recognized with several awards for his contributions to South Carolina, including the Upstate Alliance Spirit of the Upstate Award; the Greenville Chamber Special Chairman’s Award for Education in Business; Greenville Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential 2009, Education Category; and the 2004 Charles Townes Individual Achievement Award. In 2009, he received the South Carolina Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor.

“Chris has benefitted from his own graduate education, and he has been very supportive of graduate education over his career,” said Wayne Bennett, development specialist and former senior vice provost and graduate school dean. “It speaks volumes about the type of leader Chris has been for Clemson University that his friends, colleagues and former students wanted to create this endowment in his honor.”

Donations for the endowment can be sent to the Clemson University Foundation, Attn. Dr. C.E.G. Przirembel Graduate Fellowship Endowment, P.O. Box 1889, Clemson, S.C. 29634-1889.

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