Clements Had Priorities Right
As West Virginia University’s Board of Governors searches for a new president to replace James Clements, they should keep firmly in mind the contents of an online letter in which Clements outlined reasons he is proud of his stewardship at the university.
In that “letter to the WVU community,” Clements provided a blueprint for success at a land-grant university. He will be leaving West Virginia to become president of Clemson University in South Carolina.
His letter cites successes in virtually every aspect of WVU’s work, including education, research, fundraising, outreach to the state and managing growth.
One item Clements mentioned will stand out to many West Virginians.
“We tried our best to keep tuition low for our students – and we should be proud that our tuition is still several thousand dollars below our peer average both for in-state and out-of-state students,” Clements noted. “And, through strategic investments and the efforts of our faculty and staff, we have kept our academic quality high,” he added.
WVU, our state university, provides many services to West Virginians. Educating Mountain State residents, both young and older, is the most critical responsibility assumed by the university.
In commenting on Clements’ departure, WVU Student Government Association President Ryan Campione said the outgoing president “is extremely student-focused … He always led WVU in a positive direction.”
More Mountain State residents revere WVU because of the educations they, their children and grandchildren received there than for any other reason. Every year, more people have reason to be grateful for that: About one-fifth of the university’s students are the first in their families to have gone to college.
Not all major universities are guided by people able to juggle the many responsibilities of such leadership. WVU was fortunate to find in Clements someone able to do it all, while remembering the university’s key duty in education. It will be difficult to find a successor with the same qualities and priorities, but that is precisely what West Virginia needs.