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Board of Trustees adopt task force’s recommendations

“This is only the beginning — not the end — of the process to tell the complete history of Clemson University,” said Smyth McKissick, chairman of Clemson’s Board of Trustees, commenting on the board’s most recent decision. 
The university’s board has embraced a list of recommendations submitted by the President’s task force on the history of Clemson. This list is comprised of a series of short-, medium- and long-term goals created to elicit the complete history of Clemson University. The short-term goals are planned to be accomplished in the first six months of the project, while the long-term goals are scheduled to finish in the next 12 to 18 months.
The task force, formed in fall 2015, was set up to give perspective on Clemson’s history in a “forthcoming, accurate and beneficial [way] to the entire Clemson family,” according to the task force’s report. Members of the group included David Wilkins, David Dukes, Louis Lynn, Bob Peeler, Kim Wilkerson, Smyth McKissick and Allen Wood, all trustees.
The group’s supporters talked to members of the community in order to garner ideas. This was accomplished through surveys that were sent to students, staff and faculty. The group also had one-on-one meetings with groups, including Clemson Undergraduate Student Government, the Black Alumni Association and the Diversity Advisory Council. The task force then compiled the information and used it to make their recommendations. Almost 200 submissions were received from the website’s launch until its closing of comments in December 2015.
Collectively, the ideas included creating plaques for buildings across campus, establishing a Clemson history week each year and introducing a Clemson history course. According to the report, the history course would be “an elective … in the history department that focuses on Clemson’s complete history and updated historical narrative.”
“Our Board of Trustees could not be more dedicated to our students.  They do their very best to allow our students to have the best Clemson experience they could have and to be successful beyond graduation,” said Dr. Almeda Jacks, the vice president of student affairs. 
The chair of the task force, David H. Wilkins expressed thanks to the community. “We are extremely grateful to everyone who participated in this process and offered their ideas and insights.” He continued, “The input has been thoughtful and substantive, and these recommendations are ambitious yet achievable … meaningful yet practical.”
When asked about how the recommendations would affect Clemson, Lucas Hooks, a sophomore health science major, said, “I think history is important in each and every context.”
“It gives everyone an equal opportunity to review facts from the past and make conclusions that reflect on their daily lives. The recommendations seem to try and present students and visitors with more information about Clemson’s long history. I think they will give everyone an opportunity to take in information that they can hopefully benefit from.”
The initiatives have tasked President Clements with crafting the historical narrative by spring 2017. “The President will provide the Board of Trustees with (at a minimum) quarterly progress reports until the narrative is completed,” according to the report.

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