Dori Helms and James Barker presided over their last Clemson faculty meeting Thursday by thanking colleagues for their support and handing out several awards.
Barker, who recently announced he was stepping down as the university’s president, recapped a busy year for the university, including the spinoff of the Eugene T. Moore School of Education from the College of Health, Education and Human Development, hitting the $600 million mark in the Will to Lead fundraising campaign, the 50th anniversary of Harvey Gantt’s integration of the university and the opening of several new facilities.
The outgoing president assured his colleagues, whom he will rejoin as an architecture professor in the fall, that Clemson will have no trouble finding his successor.
“I am certain there will be no shortage of candidates who will be attracted to what I consider the best job in the world,” Barker said.
Helms, the retiring provost, received a standing ovation and Barker’s appreciation.
“For 40 years, she has been a teacher, a mentor, a breaker of glass ceilings and an inspiration to thousands of students,” said Barker, who credited Helms with helping moer than 50,000 undergraduates get their degrees during time at Clemson.
A gracious Helms told the assembled faculty, “It’s you that makes the university. Any provost knows the work is done by the faculty and staff ... please continue to invest in our students and university.”
Helms is stepping down after 40 years at Clemson, the last 14 years spent as provost. She will retire at the end of June, but intends to help her successor, Nadim Aziz, with the transition throughout the summer.
Then she plans to slow down.
“I think I’m going to sleep a lot,” she quipped.
Several faculty members were also honored for their work:
Laura Olson, professor of political science — The Centennial Professorship;
Allison Starr-Moss, research assistant professor in genetics and biochemistry — The Frank A. Burtner Award for Excellence in Advising;
Michael LeMahieu, assistant professor of English — The Class of 1940 Bradbury Award for outstanding contributions to Clemson’s Calhoun Honors College;
Hong Luo, professor of genetics and biochemistry — The Godley-Snell Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research;
Hsein Juang, the Glenn Professor of Civil Engineering — The Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research;
Molly Kennedy, assistant professor of materials science and engineering — the Phil and Mary Bradley Award for Mentoring in Creative Inquiry.