CLEMSON – Clemson University trustees Friday delegated powers to Provost Doris Helms to operate as chief executive of the university while President James F. Barker is on medical leave, effective immediately.

Barker was scheduled for heart surgery at Greenville Memorial Hospital Friday for a triple bypass to treat blockages discovered during a heart catheterization Thursday. It is expected he will be in the hospital, with visitation limited to family, for approximately a week, followed by medical leave for recovery.

“I have every confidence of a complete recovery for several reasons,” Barker said in a message to campus constituents Thursday evening. “First, I am being treated by Clemson doctors and nurses. Second, I am in good health overall. Third, I have full confidence in the administrative team at Clemson to keep projects and priorities moving forward without a hitch. The board of trustees has been notified and has pledged their full support as well.”

Chairman David Wilkins said, “We appreciate Dori's willingness to serve Clemson in this capacity while President Barker is on medical leave. The board joins the entire Clemson family in sending our best wishes to President Barker and his family.”

“All of us in the Clemson family send Jim and his family our positive thoughts, prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery,” Helms said.

A website for messages of support and encouragement can be found at