COLUMBIA — Jim Clements, the president of West Virginia University since 2009, will take the helm at Clemson University in January, the school announced Monday.
Clements, 49, will become Clemson’s 15th president, Board of Trustees Chairman David Wilkins said in announcing the selection in Clemson. He succeeds Jim Barker, who announced plans in April to retire after 14 years and become an architecture professor.
Barker has agreed to remain as president until Clements takes over, Wilkins said.
“The bottom line is this: The board is convinced we got the very best person to be our next president. He is the right fit for Clemson University,” Wilkins said.
Clemson will match Clements’ salary at WVU of $775,000 through public and private funds, Wilkins said. The state’s Agency Head Salary Commission will determine how much of that will be funded by taxpayers.
He’ll make nearly $304,000 more than Barker, whose salary totals $471,213. The state funds 52 percent of that, according to the college.
Clements’ pay also will top that of University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides; 42 percent of his $681,200 comes from taxpayers, according to USC.
Clemson spokeswoman Robin Denny said Clements was selected from among 83 candidates. Wilkins noted that he’ll come from a land-grant university, so he understands Clemson’s mission. Clements’ national roles include chairman-elect of the Council of Presidents of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities.
In a statement, Clements said: “We are so excited to be joining the Clemson family. Clemson is one of the greatest public, land-grant research universities in the country.”
Wilkins praised Clements’ job at West Virginia University, saying the college set records in private fundraising, enrollment and research funding during his tenure.
Clements previously worked as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Towson University in Maryland.
Clements’ background is in computer science. He earned a bachelor’s in computer science and a master’s degree in operations analysis from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, as well as a master’s in computer science from Johns Hopkins University. He chaired the department of computer and information sciences at Towson, according to information from Clemson.
Clements said in a letter released by WVU he hadn’t been looking to leave West Virginia University and that when Clemson officials initially called, he said only that he loved his job. Three of his four children attend West Virginia University.
“When my family arrived at WVU we didn’t realize how much we would fall in love with the state and the university…,” he said in the letter. “However, after much thought, reflection and prayer, Beth and I decided that this is an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.”
He noted that his wife’s family lives near Clemson and her two brothers and sister-in-law are Clemson graduates.