The new president of Clemson University said he envisions adding graduate business programs in downtown Greenville, but he couldn’t provide details until he had time to consult with administrators and faculty.
James P. Clements, who replaced Jim Barker as Clemson’s leader last month, gave his first public talk in Greenville on Thursday night during the official opening of the university’s new office space along Main Street.
The 70,000 square feet on four floors in the One development is the new home of Clemson’s MBA program and other graduate business programs. Classes began this month for about 480 students assigned to the location.
Clements said enrollment in the MBA program has doubled since it moved to downtown Greenville in 2010, and the university will “keep pushing.”
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“I think there’s the ability to build a couple of new graduate programs within the business school that could be offered right here,” he said after speaking to university leaders and Greenville business elites at the new location.
“What I’m trying to do right now is to get a full assessment of everything we have and where are the areas where we can move it forward, and I believe there are some really good areas,” said Clements, a computer scientist and the former president of West Virginia University.
Clemson Trustee Smyth McKissick of Greenville told the group that the university had raised $753.8 million toward its fund-raising goal of $1 billion by the end of 2016 “and we’re still going strong.”
Also during the program, Clemson’s Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership presented the Innovative Spirit Award to Greenville advertising entrepreneur Joe Erwin and Greg Smith, president of Blue Vista Ventures.
The space that Clemson owns on floors five, six, seven and eight includes a 200-seat auditorium and “green roof” terrace, in addition to classrooms, offices and spacious lobbies and gathering spaces.
Students and faculty can look through floor-to-ceiling glass walls onto a public plaza below that’s just undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation. If the sun’s too bright, they can bring shades down over the glass with the touch of a button.
Greenville Mayor Knox White said the city will rename the plaza One City Center. It was formerly called Piazza Bergamo.
Clemson’s new space also includes a high-tech classroom known as the “beehive” modeled on space at Harvard Business School, said Greg Pickett, an associate dean in Clemson’s College of Business and Behavioral Science.
There’s also office space that MBA students can use to build startup companies for up to a year after graduation and a conference room with 24 leather seats for Clemson’s Board of Trustees.
Parking is located for now at the city’s Richardson Street garage directly across the plaza.
Besides MBA programs, the space houses master’s degree programs in marketing, management, accounting and real estate development.
The programs relocated to One from the former Bowater Inc. headquarters next to Falls Park.
Clemson has no plans to backfill the vacated space, and eventually will remove the big orange Clemson University sign next to Liberty Bridge, said John Boyette, director of the university’s Office of Land and Capital Asset Stewardship.