CLEMSON — Clemson University President Jim Barker came out of heart surgery Friday and is beginning his recovery, according to surgeons.
The surgery went well, according to what doctors at Greenville Memorial Hospital have told Barker’s wife, Marcia, who shared the updates with the Clemson community.
Jim Barker ended up having five bypasses instead of the expected three, his wife said in a university statement late Friday afternoon.
“Otherwise there were no surprises,” she said. “Well, it may have been a surprise to see that he’s orange on the inside, too.”
Barker is expected to be in the hospital for up to a week and will stay on medical leave for longer as he recovers, university officials have said.
Clemson trustees met Friday morning for a teleconference to sketch out a plan while the president recuperates.
The trustees voted unanimously to give Provost Dori Helms the authority to act as chief executive of the university while Barker is on leave.
Helms, who is also vice president of academics, was named Thursday evening by Barker as his interim, when the president told the Clemson community in an email that he required immediate surgery and would be taking a medical leave of absence.
A blockage was discovered during a heart catheterization Thursday.
The board approved of Barker’s step and formally delegated the powers to Helms, effective immediately after the Friday morning vote.
At the beginning of the meeting board Chairman David Wilkins asked the trustees to take a moment of silent prayer before going into an executive session.
“All of us are thinking about President Barker,” Wilkins said.
The university’s 21 trustees and trustees emeritus each called in to take part in the emergency teleconference meeting, as university officials listened in on the public portions over a phone in the otherwise-empty presidential conference room in Sikes Hall.
The trustees will gather again in 10 days for a regularly scheduled meeting.
“We appreciate Dori’s willingness to serve Clemson in this capacity while President Barker is on medical leave,” Wilkins said in a statement after the meeting.
Helms said in the statement: “All of us in the Clemson family send Jim and his family our positive thoughts, prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery.”
A website — www.clemson.edu/president/best-wishes — has been set up to take messages of support.
Students on campus Friday said they had heard of the president’s surgery.
Political science junior Dustin Roberts said he wished for a speedy recovery.
“I hope he gets better fast,” said freshman Allison Cunningham, a health services and administration student from Due West.
Freshman Caleb Cohen, an electrical engineering student, said he is wishing for the best.
“I just want him to know that I’m with him; we’re all with him,” Cohen said. “I feel like he’s in good hands and I know that the whole campus hopes for a rapid recovery.”