Dear College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences Students:

With the conferring of degrees today, the 2020 spring term has come to an end, and I pause a moment to reflect on the past few months in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. We, like the rest of the country and the world, have had to adjust to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I want to thank all of you for your good will in the face of the unique challenges we have experienced this semester.

While technology has long made it possible for us to stay connected in our everyday lives, I applaud your ingenuity in quickly extending it to your academic life. Your resourcefulness in keeping your study groups intact and scheduling conferences with your professors has helped make this virtual semester a success, and I want to commend our undergraduates for their courage and determination in bringing a successful end to their freshman, sophomore or junior years by embracing online classes. Some of their extraordinary work can be seen in this video of our 2020 Student Honors and Award winners. This group, like the majority of the CECAS student body, has been engaged in remarkable research and service projects.

I especially want to congratulate our 2020 graduates who have reached a significant personal milestone. Your resolve in completing your degrees under these circumstances is a testament to your determination and commitment. I would encourage you to remember and be appreciative of the people who have helped you along the way, your parents, extended family, friends and well-wishers, all of whom have had a role in shaping the person you’ve become.

Our graduate students have also creatively responded to this situation, managing to continue their research and coursework without their usual lab and classroom resources. In fact, one of our doctoral students, our first graduate in an interdisciplinary program, successfully defended her dissertation using Zoom to connect with her advisors located at multiple institutions across the country. Congratulations to all of you who are moving on to further study or preparing to enter the workforce. You take our best wishes with you.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the extraordinary contributions made by our faculty and staff during this unusual time. Many have exhibited exceptional ingenuity in their determination to enhance the online instructional experience for our students, with one professor transforming a wall in his home into a white board to create a traditional classroom environment for students miles apart. Others are engaged in vital research on COVID-19, proactively looking for answers to this virus. You can read more about their innovative research and teaching practices here.

While I cannot congratulate you in a traditional May ceremony today, know that as you leave Clemson and our college, we applaud you for all of your accomplishments, and we thank you for letting us play a small part in your achievements. You join a long line of alumni who, since our founding in 1889, have risen to the challenges of their time, answering the call to serve our state and nation. This semester, you, like them, have shown you are ambassadors of Clemson’s All In Spirit, and we will continue to encourage you in your future endeavors, thankful that you have included us in a small part of your journey. I look forward to personally offering my best wishes in a celebration honoring you later in the year when it is again safe for us to be together.

Be safe, be healthy, be impactful

Anand K. Gramopadhye, Dean
College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences Students