President pitches Clemson University to Miami business leaders

Staff Report
Published Jan. 4, 2012

Clemson University’s academic and research programs are as relevant for South Florida as for South Carolina, Clemson President James F. Barker told area business and industry leaders Monday.

Clemson University can be a pipeline for employees, a resource for workforce development and a research partner solving problems facing South Florida, Barker said.

Nearly 50 executives from area corporations, nonprofits and businesses attended the “Partnership and Innovation Brunch” hosted by Barker and other officials in town to watch Wednesday’s Orange Bowl.

Barker drew parallels between the two regions saying both have major tourism and hospitality economic sectors, are retirement havens, and face increasing pressure on water and natural resources. Both also face unique challenges common to coastal states with aging populations.

“The students that we enroll and graduate would be as good a fit in your companies as they are back home. The issues our faculty are tackling will solve problems far beyond the borders of the Palmetto State,” Barker said. “If that’s not the case, we’re not doing our jobs. A national university has an obligation to address national issues — and that’s what Clemson is doing.”

Clemson is known primarily for engineering, science and agriculture, but Barker said the university also has one of nation’s highest-ranked programs in parks, recreation and tourism management. The university also has a digital arts production degree program and has one of the 20 accredited professional golf management programs in the country.

He highlighted current research projects focusing on issues relevant to the greater Miami area, such as:

  • Pioneering bioengineering research on hip, knee and valve implants.
  • Wind engineering research that can ensure buildings and bridges are designed to withstand hurricane-force winds.
  • A patented watershed monitoring system called Intelligent River now being tested along the entire length of the Savannah River.
  • Research on aging drivers using simulators already being deployed at three locations in Florida.
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