Barker to retire as Clemson University's fourteenth president

By Samuel Wilkes on April 19, 2013

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CLEMSON– President James F. Barker has announced his intent to retire as the fourteenth president of Clemson University, a position he has held since 1999. Barker made the announcement via livestream video on April 16.

This comes as a surprise to most due to its brevity in regards to a recent health scare that he suffered in January, requiring a quadruple bypass operation. During that time Provost “Dori” Helms served in his vacancy. President Barker plans to stay as the head of the university until the search for his replacement has come to a conclusion. This allows the university to continue to run smoothly throughout the process.

Barker has stated that his future at the university lies within the school of architecture where he will serve as a faculty member. He came to this conclusion based on the fact that Clemson currently leads South Carolina education whilst having an immense amount of financial success. He believes that there’s never a perfect time for a leadership change “[…] but certainly a very good time […]” is “[…] when the university is in great shape, and [he thinks] we are.”

Throughout Barker’s tenure, Clemson has drawn in talent from around the globe. The university consistently ranks as one of the “Top National Universities” (overall), and “Top Public Schools” in the nation (68 and 25 respectively) based on the US News and World Report, and has also received tremendous recognition from Kiplinger and The Princeton Review. The “2020 Road Map” that he implemented in 2011 is on track to cement Clemson as one of top 20 public schools in the nation by the year 2020.

In addition to the departure of President Barker, the university is also adjusting to the new athletic director, Dan Radakovich, who is replacing retiree Terry Don Phillips who saw our Tigers to a win against LSU in the Chick-fil-A bowl.

**I believe that our university can withstand any amount of impending change. President Barker is leaving behind a “financially” and spiritually healthy university that exudes pride. His legacy will certainly be remembered as one of the greatest periods of Clemson history. I’m glad that I got to attend the university at a time in which our leader represented all of what the Clemson “Determined Spirit” stands for.

Samuel Wilkes is a freshman at Clemson University. He's an English/ History double major. He is a weekly contributor to Clemson's student newspaper, "The Tiger." He enjoys writing, drawing, and reading.

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