Clemson University Aims to Increase Black Enrollments and Faculty

Only about 6 percent of the 19,400 undergraduate students at state-operated Clemson University in South Carolina are black. A decade ago there was a larger number and percentage of black students on campus. About a third of South Carolina’s college-age population is African American. In 2000 there were 533 blacks on the university’s payroll. Today there are 463.

Now the university has announced immediate goals of increasing black undergraduate enrollments and black faculty by 2 percentage points and graduate enrollments by 1.5 percentage points.

The new effort to bring more blacks to Clemson will be led by Leon E. Wiles, the university’s chief diversity officer. Before coming to Clemson in 2008, Wiles was vice chancellor for student and diversity affairs at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg. In the 1970s he led a successful effort to increase diversity at the rural campus of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. Wiles is a graduate of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently working toward a doctorate at the University of South Carolina.