CLEMSON — Clemson University Tuesday joined a nationwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities with a luncheon honoring Clemson faculty — past and present — who have received grant support from either agency.

NEA-NEHClemson President James P. Clements said, “It is hard to believe these two agencies are only 50 years old because I can’t imagine our country without them.”

Guest speakers included Randy Akers, director of the S.C. Humanities Council, and Ken May, executive director of the S.C. Arts Commission, who spoke about the respective roles of the arts and the humanities in higher education.

Clemson Mayor J.C. Cook read a proclamation thanking the two agencies for “making a difference in promoting appreciation for the arts and humanities.” Cook’s statement acknowledged the arts and humanities for embodying “much of the accumulated wisdom, creativity, intellect and imagination of humankind.”

“The humanities and arts are the beating heart of a great university,” said Richard Goodstein, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. “Every Clemson University student is touched by these disciplines in meaningful ways, not only in the classroom but also through cultural offerings, such as the Clemson Literary Festival and performances and exhibitions at the Lee Gallery and the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.

“In recent years, employers have made it very clear that they value graduates who are thoroughly educated in the humanities, who can think critically. They are looking for graduates who are creative, who can navigate the constantly evolving landscape of thought and communication. At Clemson, we recognize that we are not just training workers, but educating citizens.”

Clemson’s disciplines in the arts include visual and performing arts. The humanities disciplines comprise communication studies, English, history, languages, philosophy and religion. Programs that engage faculty from more than one discipline are increasingly in demand, and in recent years new undergraduate degree programs have been offered in Pan African studies, women’s leadership and world cinema. An interdisciplinary doctoral program in rhetorics, communication, and information design is now in its 11th year.

The event was sponsored by the Office of the President; the Office of the Provost; and the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

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