A Short History of the Clemson University School of Computing

Mark Smotherman
last update: August 19, 2023
Suggestions and corrections are welcome!

Six oral histories of Computer Science and School of Computing faculty members have been collected by Hallie Knipp, Ph.D. student in Digital History. The six faculty members are Robert Geist, Eleanor Hare, Eileen Kraemer, Jack Peck, Joe Turner, and Mike Westall.

Major Sections

Note: the links to dissertations/theses will require being on the Clemson network either by being on campus or through VPN.


July 2023 marks the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Department of Computer Science at Clemson. Over those 45 years, the scope of the curricula and the research has successively broadened into the current School of Computing, which pursues not just Computer Science but also Applied Computing, Biomedical Data Science and Informatics, Computer Information Systems, Digital Production Arts, and Human-Centered Computing.

In the 1960s there are various efforts at Clemson to use computers for both education and research, and by the 1970s several departments are teaching computer programming courses. The Department of Computer Science is established in 1978 based on the leadership of Joe Turner and his colleagues in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. In the 1980s the educational and research scope of the Department of Computer Science broadens beyond its former emphasis on mainframe computer systems.

Under the leadership of Robert Geist and several of his colleagues, the Department of Computer Science adds a program in Digital Production Arts in 1999 and becomes the School of Computing in 2007. In 2008, Larry Hodges is hired as the first permanent School Director and works to build up the School into multiple divisions. As part of this effort, Larry recruits Juan Gilbert in 2009, who designs the Ph.D. program in Human-Centered Computing. More recently, Eileen Kraemer, Brian Dean, and colleagues from other departments at Clemson and at the Medical University of South Carolina add a joint Ph.D. program in Biomedical Data Science and Informatics.



Prior to the Department of Computer Science

1958 - A faculty committee at Clemson College is appointed to study the feasibility of acquiring a computer for faculty to use. Nine months later the committee recommends renting a small computer from the Royal McBee company. [From L. Benjamin. Although not recorded by Benjamin, this is likely an LGP-30 desk computer, which is a popular computer available from Royal McBee.]

1959 - In a memo to Acting President Robert Edwards in February, Jack Williams, Dean of the Graduate School at Clemson College, requests $40,000 in funding for an "electronic computer installation and expenses related to its operation" to expand research activities in the Department of Mathematics.

1961 - In March, Clemson College purchases its first computer. It is a Royal Precision RPC-4000 from the Royal McBee company. This is a larger and more powerful desk computer than the popular LGP-30 and has an 8K-word magnetic drum for main memory. The computer is installed in Poole Hall, and Merrill Palmer of the Department of Mathematics is approved to serve as the Director of the Computer Center on a half-time basis.

RPC-4000 photo
pictured: a promotional photograph of an RPC-4000 computer [source: Jürgen Müller, e-basteln.de]

For a comparison with early computers at other regional schools, see a review of college and university computers in the Southeast US, 1955-1961.

1962 - The Computer Center moves to Martin Hall, a newly-completed building that will house the Department of Mathematics in one of its three sections. Charles Kirkwood of the Department of Mathematics joins the Computer Center on a part-time basis to develop computer courses beyond the initial MATH 310, Programming the Digital Computer.

Martin Hall
pictured: Martin Hall as seen from the direction of Sikes Hall [Clemson University Historical Images, ua100_002058]

1964 - Clemson College becomes Clemson University.

1965 - In the Announcements for 1965-1966 (contained in the 1964-1965 Catalog), the Bachelor of Applied Mathematics changes to the Bachelor of Mathematics, and a Computer Science option appears in the Mathematics curriculum.

1966 - In the Announcements for 1966-1967 (contained in the 1965-1966 Catalog), six Computer Science courses appear separately from Mathematics with the subject abbreviation COMP SC.

list of early computer science courses
[from Clemson Catalog, 1965-1966, Volume 41]
The faculty for Computer Science are:

An article appears in the Greenville News in April about the Clemson University Computer Center, "Computer Center Solves Problems," and it mentions the interest in Computer Science by Clemson students:

In keeping with its policy of continuously strengthening its academic programs, Clemson offers a bachelor of science in mathematics with an option in computer science. The response to this program is evidenced in that almost 40 percent of the 200 students majoring in mathematics select the computer science option.

Clemson University acquires an IBM System/360 Model 40 mid-range mainframe computer system with 66,536 bytes (64KiB) of memory for academic and research support. This marks the start of many decades of using IBM and IBM-compatible mainframe computer systems. (Because of space needs for more equipment and staff, the Computer Center will move to the basement of Poole Hall, also known as the Plant and Animal Science building, in summer of 1967. The Computer Center will stay in Poole Hall until a new Information Technology Center in the Research Park in Anderson County is opens in late 1987.)

1970 - The Department of Electrical Engineering changes its name on July 1 to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. One year later, on July 1, 1971, the Department of Mathematics will change its name to the Department of Mathematical Sciences.

1971 - Jack Peck joins the Department of Mathematics in February. He is the first faculty member at Clemson University with a Ph.D. in Computer Science and is initially recruited by Art Pellerin, a friend from the University of Southwestern Louisiana who is now in graduate school at Clemson. (Both Art and his wife Carolyn will later join the Department of Computer Science as faculty members.) Arriving part way through the spring semester at Clemson after finishing his teaching duties at USL, Jack works as an analyst at the Computer Center and co-writes the first automated payroll system for the university.

1972 - The courses in Computer Science are renumbered, and courses in COBOL and PL/I are added.

1974 - Under the leadership of the Dean of the Graduate School, Arnie Schwartz, the Computer Center is reorganized, and two faculty members in the Department of Mathematical Sciences take on new roles: Darrell Hickman becomes Director of the new Division of Administrative Programming Services (DAPS), and Jack Peck becomes Director of the new Division of Information Systems Development (DISD). Former Provost Jerry Reel, in his history of Clemson University, states:

The second unit in the center, the Division of Information Systems Development (DISD), offered contractual programming for research grants and for state and local government agencies. As a result, Clemson's Computer Center became essential to the state's management of its social services. The value of the outside contracts grew from $5,000 to $2.5 million between 1970 and 1979.
Jack Peck will also lead an effort to develop a Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) for the S.C. Department of Social Services In 1981, this system will become the first federally-certified, database-oriented MMIS in the nation. Services like this to the state of South Carolina will provide the basis for multiple upgrades to the mainframe computer system over the upcoming years, well beyond what would be expected for a university of the size of Clemson, and for many part-time job opportunities for Computer Science students.

A picture of students using card punch machines to prepare their programs to submit to the mainframe computer system appears in the 1974-1975 Catalog.

students punching cards
[from Clemson Catalog, 1974-1975, Volume 49]

1975 - Joe Turner joins the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Joe has significant previous experience, having served as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Systems Manager of the Computer Center at West Georgia College for six years before attending the University of Maryland for a Ph.D. in Computer Science, which will be granted in 1976.

1976 - Mike Westall, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences who joined Clemson University in 1974, has been working for the Computer Center and develops the Clemson Editor (CEDIT). This editor is more resource efficient than the standard IBM TSO editor, and it will be licensed worldwide by the Computer Center to IBM mainframe computer system customers.

1977 - The Computer Science Option now has its own course map in the 1977-1978 catalog, rather than appearing as a footnote, and now requires a COBOL course.

Planning committees are established to evaluate the direction of computing at Clemson University and the possibility of a separate Department of Computer Science. A first committee is established within the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and a second committee includes representatives from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. With the support of President Edwards, Henry Vogel, Dean of the College of Sciences, and John Kenelly, the Department Head of Mathematical Sciences, the committees plan for a separate Department of Computer Science, which will focus on mainframe computer system concepts and software. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will continue to focus on minicomputers, microcomputers, and network communications. One faculty member suggests that the initial dividing line between the two departments can be the number of bits in the memory word of a computer: the Department of Computer Science will focus on computers with 32-bit words and above.

Department of Computer Science

1978 - The Department of Computer Science formally starts on July 1 with Joe Turner as the acting Department Head. The initial faculty members are:

1980 - The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education approves the B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science programs in April, and the first three B.S. students graduate in December: John Graham, Jr., Michael Talbert, and Thomas Williamson. (These students are seniors in Mathematics who are able to switch to the newly-approved Computer Science degree program.)

Courses are renumbered in the new curriculum, and three different programming languages are covered in the first three semesters: FORTRAN in CPSC 110, COBOL in CPSC 130, and PL/CS, a block-structured language derived from PL/I, in CPSC 210. Courses in IBM S/370 assembly language (CPSC 230) and data structures (CPSC 340) round out the sophomore year.

BS curriculum
pictured: the initial B.S. in Computer Science curriculum [from Clemson Catalog, 1981-1982, Volume 56]

Computer Science majors participate in the Cooperative Education program. Pictured below from the 1980 TAPS Yearbook is Ann Bechtler, a Computer Science major, who is shown as a co-op student in the management section of Owens Corning Fiberglass in Anderson. (Ann will later work for the Division of Administrative Programming Services on campus before graduating in May of 1983.)

Ann Bechtler
[from Taps (1980)]

1981 - The first two M.S. in Computer Science students graduate in May: Scott Walden and Frank Watt. Charles Hallowell also graduates with the M.S. in Computer Science in December.

Eleven students will graduate with the B.S. in Computer Science this calendar year, including the first four women: Marie Rapp, Francina Smith, Nancy Hartsell, and Deborah Vance.

A picture of a program written for the mainframe computer system on a terminal appears in the 1981-1982 Catalog.

program shown on terminal screen
[from Clemson Catalog, 1981-1982, Volume 56]

1982 - Based on negotiations for "temporary space" by Dean Schwartz, the department moves from Martin Hall to the fourth floor of Edwards Hall. This "temporary" arrangement will last for some twenty years.

Edwards Hall
pictured: Edwards Hall [Clemson University Historical Images, ua100_001222]

Harold Grossman, Wayne Madison, and Ed Page begin a distributed simulation research project for the U.S. Department of Defense. The electronic mail and other communication tools that they establish for the project greatly impress their DoD program manager, and after this first year they will turn their attention to providing these tools as an unclassified network for DoD.

1983 - The B.S. in Computer Information Systems program begins. The 1984-1985 catalog states:

The Bachelor of Science program in Computer Information Systems emphasizes computer applications in commerce and industry. It combines appropriate courses from computer science with courses from accounting, finance, management, and marketing to prepare students for careers in business data processing and information systems applications.

The $8M, 25-year-long effort for the U.S. Department of Defense to build and maintain the Test and Evaluation Community Network (TECNET) officially starts. See US Patent USH2111H1. An NCR Tower 32 supermicro computer running UNIX and produced at the NCR plant in West Columbia, SC, serves as the first host for the network services. These services came before the development of the web and are TELNET and FTP based. The TECNET computer will be connected to the Defense Data Network (DDN), which is a follow-on to ArpaNet. The TECNET project will employ numerous students and eventually be housed in the basement of Jordan Hall.

1984 - The Ph.D. in Computer Science program begins. Joe Turner credits the successful research efforts and external funding of the TECNET project as a significant factor in obtaining approval for the Ph.D. program.

Robert Geist joins the faculty and leads the introduction of UNIX into the curricula, which to this point has been largely dominated by IBM mainframe computer software and concepts. As part of his efforts, Robert arranges for Perkin-Elmer to donate a Model 3230, along with UNIX source code, to be used in graduate courses.

CPSC 101 and 102 are now the beginning two programming courses for Computer Science and Computer Information Systems majors. Each course includes both lecture time and instructional lab time. The ACM's Curriculum '78 had recommended instructional labs for CS1, CS2, and several other model courses, and many schools add instructional labs to their curricula in response. CPSC 101 and 102 will be taught using various programming languages over the next forty years, including Modula, Ada, Java, and C/C++, but always with instructional labs.

1986 - The B.S. in Computer Science program is one of the first 22 Computer Science programs accredited nationally by the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB). Joe Turner has been a leader in the national efforts, and Steve Hedetniemi and Harold Grossman will also take on active parts in the national efforts.

Jack Peck works with Chris Jarvis in the Department of Textiles to establish the Clemson Apparel Advanced Manufacturing Technology Demonstration Center, which is part of a $3.5M research project funded by the U.S. Army's Defense Logistics Agency to study state-of-the-art manufacturing technology and equipment. The Center will open in 1988 and lead to US Patents US5375063A and US5748843A. A number of graduate students and faculty at Clemson will receive research support from these efforts, and they will be critical to the production and supply chain of sewn products like chemical protective suits and boots during the First Gulf War and provide software to manage the Clothing and Textile Army Combat Uniform (successor to the Battle Dress Uniform) supply chain for the Defense Personal Supply Center (DPSC) during the Second Gulf War.

1987 - Tom Wimer is the first student to graduate with the Ph.D. in Computer Science. His dissertation is entitled "Linear Algorithms on k-terminal Graphs" and is completed under the direction of Steve Hedetniemi. (After graduation Tom returns to a faculty position at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.)

Tom Wimer graduation photo
pictured: Steve Hedetniemi, Tom Wimer, and Joe Turner [courtesy Steve Hedetniemi]

1988 - A picture of the faculty and staff of the Department of Computer Science is taken for the 1989 TAPS yearbook.

picture of faculty and staff for 1989 yearbook
[from School of Computing files]

1991 - The B.A. in Computer Science program begins. The B.A. degree provides a more liberal arts approach to pursuing a degree in Computer Science than the B.S. It requires the same computing courses in the freshman and sophomore years as the B.S. degree but offers more choice in the junior and senior years. It additionally requires two years of a modern language and a minor.

Two seminar courses in professional issues are added to the B.S. in Computer Science and the B.S. in Computer Information Systems.

CPSC 291 Seminar in Professional Issues I 1(1,0) The impact of computer use on society is considered. The ethical use of software and protection of intellectual property rights are discussed. The profession is viewed historically, organizations important to the profession are discussed, the development process for standards is presented, and the student is introduced to the professional literature.

CPSC 491 Seminar in Professional Issues II 1(1,0) The impact of computing system development on society is considered. Ethical issues in the design and development of computer software are discussed. Standards for professional behavior, the professional's responsibility to the profession, and techniques for maintaining currency in a dynamic field are discussed by students.

CPSC 491 will later expand into a three-credit course in 2009 with a team project component.

1992 - The departmental computing systems available to faculty, staff, and students this year:

University computing systems available for general use:

1994 - The 1994 TAPS yearbook features an interview with Robert Geist about his work in virtual reality.

interview of Robert Geist picture of Robert Geist
[from Taps (1994)]

1995 - The number of colleges at Clemson is reduced initially to four and then in July is increased to five. The College of Sciences is dissolved, and the Department of Computer Science joins the new College of Engineering and Science. Various groupings within the new college were considered during 1994, including a school that combines Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mathematics into a single budget center as well as merging Computer Science either with Electrical and Computer Engineering or with Industrial Engineering. Ultimately, Computer Science remains an independent department.

1997 - The department had set up web pages ca. 1994, and the first capture of the pages by the Internet Archive is made in December 1997.

front web page in 1997
[from Internet Archive]

The "welcome letter" on the department's web site lists a number of areas of specialization for graduate studies, reflecting faculty interests:

Course requirements for the MS degree and areas of preparation for the PhD qualifying exam include four core areas: computer architecture, operating systems, programming language design and implementation, and theory. Apart from these core areas, students typically tailor their programs of study to individual interests, including algorithm analysis, computational science, database systems, graphics and virtual reality, parallel computation, and software engineering.

1999 - The M.F.A. in Computing program begins and is administered by the Graduate School. The planning for this new degree has been led by Robert Geist of the Department of Computer Science and Sam Wang of the Department of Art. The Master of Fine Arts degree is a terminal degree in Art requiring at least 60 graduate credits and an M.F.A. thesis. M.F.A. holders can pursue tenure track positions in Art and related disciplines. The name of the degree will later change to the M.F.A. in Digital Production Arts in 2002, and the home for the program will be transferred to the Department of Computer Science. The program is administered by a joint board consisting of faculty from the Department of Computer Science, Department of Art, and the Department of Performing Arts. The goal of the program is to teach both the artistic and the technical aspects of animation. The program thus has two entry paths: one to provide technical knowledge to students from artistic backgrounds, and one to provide an introduction to art to students from technical backgrounds.

2001 - Jim Soukup and David Wentworth are the first two students to graduate with the M.F.A. in Computing. Soukup's thesis is entitled "Synthetic Ambience" and is completed under the direction of Robert Geist. Wentworth's thesis is entitled "Reality and Illusion" and is completed under the direction of David Hartmann of the Department of Performing Arts. Shown below are images from the Soukup and Wentworth theses, respectively.

images from the Soukup and Wentworth theses
[Clemson University Archived Theses, left image from J. Soukup, "Synthetic Ambience" (2001) and right image from D. Wentworth, "Reality and Illusion" (2001)]

2003 - Provost Dori Helms provides crucial support for a new building for the Department of Computer Science. In May, the Clemson University Board of Trustees approves renovation and expansion plans for McAdams Hall.

2004 - The department moves from Edwards Hall to a newly-constructed wing of McAdams Hall.

McAdams Hall
pictured: expansion wing of McAdams Hall as seen from the direction of Edwards Hall [SoC promotional photo]

2005 - Planning for a School of Computing starts at the Fall 2005 departmental retreat, with the support of Provost Helms. The proposed School will have an overall Director rather than a head or chair. Multiple divisions are proposed within the school that will recognize different tenure and promotion expectations (e.g., participation in film festivals), and each division will be led by a chair.

2006 - As part of a strategic plan to upgrade the campus network and computing facilities and to provide statewide and national leadership in cyberinfrastructure, Provost Helms recruits Jim Bottum from Purdue University to be Clemson University's Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Vice Provost for Computing and Information Technology. Vice Provost Bottum offers his help and support for a School of Computing.

School of Computing

2007 - The School of Computing formally starts on January 1 with Robert Geist as Interim Director. The initial faculty members are:

Various configurations of divisions and various division titles continue to be considered for the School, including a public proposal for six divisions, the link for which is included in the position advertisements for a permanent Director:

2008 - Larry Hodges is hired as the new Director. As part of his vision for the School, he believes that the new area of Human-Centered Computing holds the most potential for growth. So, the School is organized into three divisions: Computer Science, Visual Computing (renamed from Computational Arts so that the division clearly includes visualization), and Human-Centered Computing. Robert Geist recruits Don House from Texas A&M to lead the Visual Computing division.

C. Tycho Howle and his family give $2.5 million to Clemson University to establish two endowed chairs, one of which becomes the C. Tycho Howle Director of the School of Computing.

Sebastien Goasguen leads an effort to scavenge otherwise unused time from the computers in instructional labs across campus using a system known as Condor. This arrangement allows faculty across campus to use the spare computer time for research computing. Sebastien also establishes a World Community Grid Team at Clemson University to contribute otherwise unused computer time for humanitarian efforts through the World Community Grid. According to an interview in the student newspaper, Clemson University consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the United States for contributing computing power to humanitarian groups through the WCG, such as the Nutritious Rice for the World project.

2009 - Larry Hodges recruits Juan Gilbert from Auburn to lead the Human-Centered Computing Division and to plan a new Ph.D. degree in Human-Centered Computing.

2010 - The three divisions are being described as follows to prospective graduate students:

2011 - The Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing program begins. The proposal for the new degree states:

Human-Centered Computing (HCC) is a relatively new discipline that solves real world problems through the integration of computing with people, technology, information, policy and sometimes culture. We define HCC as follows:
Human-Centered Computing (HCC) is focused on understanding how to design, build and evaluate computational technologies as they relate to the human condition and how these technologies affect society.
As such, HCC researchers design and build computing artifacts and evaluate them through studies with human subjects and measures their usability as well as their affect on society; therefore, HCC researchers often connect computing artifacts with policy.

Amy Apon joins Clemson as the new Division Chair in Computer Science. Amy is the former director of the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center, and Vice Provost Bottum is instrumental in recruiting her. Amy will soon assist in the high performance cluster supercomputing efforts at Clemson University.

2012 - Inside Higher Education reports that, based largely on Juan's recruiting, approximately 10 percent of African-American Computer Science professors and Ph.D. students nationwide are currently employed or enrolled at Clemson University.

2013 - Kinnis Gosha is the first student to graduate with the Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing. His dissertation is entitled "The Application of Embodied Conversational Agents for Mentoring African American Stem Doctoral Students" and is completed under the supervision of Juan Gilbert. (After graduation, Kinnis takes a faculty position at Moorehouse College, where he is now the Hortenius I. Chenault Endowed Professor of Computer Science.)

Kinnis Gosha
pictured: Kinnis Gosha [courtesy Kinnis Gosha]

A DreamWorks Animation outreach program is held this summer at Clemson University. From the inception of story, to the creation of models, along with the art of texturing, animation, and lighting, and the final look applied through compositing, two teams of six are tasked with making the best possible short films they can with the mentorship of several DreamWorks Animation artists and supervisors. The teams produce Robo+Repair and QA-ARM-A.

stills from 2013 summer DreamWorks animations
pictured: frames from Robo+Repair and QA-ARM-A [screenshots from Vimeo.com]

2014 - Several graduate degree programs in the college are approved for delivery in Charleston, including the M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science and the M.F.A. in Digital Production Arts.

An article about the DPA program, "Making Magic," appears in the Spring issue of Glimpse, published by the Clemson University Office of the Vice President for Research.

2015 - Chris Plaue proposes a new course in Computing, Ethics and Global Society, which is also designed to provide General Education credit in the Science and Technology in Society category. The course is approved and begins to be offered the following year.

Two teams participating in the DreamWorks summer mentoring program produce short animations, To Shell and Back and Craving Crustacean.

stills from 2015 summer DreamWorks animations
pictured: frames from To Shell and Back and from Craving Crustacean [screenshots from Vimeo.com]

2016 - Eileen Kraemer asks Alex Herzog to design and teach special sections of CPSC 4910 as a senior design / capstone experience, modeled in part on the successful capstone program at NC State. Alex pairs teams of three to four students with projects from industry partners. BMW is an early industry partner along with NVIDIA and Sensus. AWS, Boeing, Capegemini, and SYNNEX will become major partners in subsequent years.

The Zucker Family Graduate Education Center opens in Charleston, S.C. The M.F.A. in DPA is offered there as well as on main campus.

Zucker Center building
pictured: Zucker Family Graduate Education Center [CECAS promotional photo]

2017 - The M.S. in Digital Production Arts program begins in Spring, and the Ph.D. and M.S. in Biomedical Data Science and Informatics programs begin in Fall. The Ph.D. in BDSI is a joint degree program with the Medical University of South Carolina, with the degree proposal prepared by Eileen Kraemer.

Two teams participating in the DreamWorks summer mentoring program produce short animations, Disposable and Swept Up.

stills from 2017 summer DreamWorks animations
pictured: frames from Disposable and Swept Up [screenshots from Vimeo.com]

2019 - The M.S. in Computer Science is approved for delivery in Greenville at the CU-ICAR campus.

The School of Computing faculty and staff hold a retreat in the Watt Family Innovation Center to start the fall semester.

group photo from retreat
[from @socclemson Twitter post, August 22, 2019]

2020 - Benafsh Sapra is the first student to graduate with the Ph.D. in Biomedical Data Science and Informatics. Her dissertation is entitled "EdgeCrafting: Mining Embedded, Latent, Non-linear Patterns to Construct Gene Relationship Networks" and is completed under the supervision of Alex Feltus of the Department of Genetics and Biochemistry. Her dissertation defense is conducted via Zoom because of the Covid-19 pandemic. (After graduation Benafsh takes a position of Bioinformatics Scientist with Fulgent Genetics.)

Sapra defense
pictured: screen capture from the Zoom session [from the linked Clemson News article, April 20, 2020]

Thirty-five academic years after the first Ph.D. student in Computer Science graduated from Clemson University, thirteen Ph.D. students will graduate in 2021-2022, including five in December 2021 shown below.

December 2021 PhD graduates
[from @socclemson Twitter post, December 21, 2021]

pictured: Jason Anderson (CPSC, advisor Amy Apon), Robert Underwood (CPSC, Apon), Farah Al Shanik (CPSC, Apon), Meg Fowler (HCC, advisor Murali Sitaraman), Divine Maloney (HCC, advisor Andrew Robb), Prof. Apon

Of the thirteen Ph.D. graduates in 2021-2022: one is BDSI, eight are CPSC, and four are HCC. Joining them in completing degrees from the School of Computing during this academic year will be seven M.F.A. graduates, 50 M.S. graduates, and 212 baccalaureate graduates (27 B.A. and 185 B.S.).

MSCS Ready, a Readiness Sequence for the M.S. in Computer Science, begins under the leadership of Eileen Kraemer. The School of Computing also joins the national MS Pathways to Computing Consortium.

Graduate courses begin to be offered in the One Research Drive building on Clemson University's ICAR campus in Greenville. Office space and research lab space also begin to be available for a limited number of school faculty in the ORD building.

ORD building
pictured: One Research Drive building [SoC promotional photo]

2022 - The Master of Applied Computing program begins. The program is designed for students without a background in computer science who wish to obtain that background as well as a sequence of graduate-level courses in one of six interest areas:

Brygg Ullmer and his students collaborate with faculty and students in Clemson University's School of Architecture to build the "Fargates for Bridging People, Places, and Digital Content" active exhibit for the ACCelerate Creativity + Innovation Festival held in April at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

2023 - Dan Roberts graduates in May with a Masters in Computer Science, 50 years after his B.S. degree in Math.

Dan Roberts
pictured: Kelly Caine and Dan Roberts [from the linked Clemson News article, May 9, 2023]


Department of Computer Science (1978-2006)

Department Head (later Chair)

School of Computing (2007-present)


Computer Science Division Chair

Human-Centered Computing Division Chair

Visual Computing Division Chair

Faculty of Instruction Division Chair

Degree Programs and Approved Delivery Sites as of 2023


Majors in the Department of Computer Science / School of Computing

enrollment chart

The changes in enrollment reflected in the chart above match the nationwide historical data. Note also the observation from the Computing Research Association (CRA) in the Generation CS report that "Analyses that look only at the number of CS majors understate the demands being placed on academic units."

Fall 2022 Enrollment

Faculty Honors and Service

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Award for Technical Achievement - J.A. Tessendorf, 2008, for the development of the system of fluid dynamics tools at Rhythm & Hues.
ACM Distinguished Educator - R.M. Geist, III, 2009
ACM Distinguished Scientist - P.K. Srimani, 2008
ACM Fellow - A.J. Turner, Jr., 1998 (and after leaving Clemson University, M.J. Harrold, 2003, and J.E. Gilbert, 2013)
ACM Vice President - A.J. Turner, Jr., 1998
ABET Fellow - A.J. Turner, Jr., (Emeritus Professor), 2007; Harold Grossman (Emeritus Associate Professor), 2012
ABET Linton E. Grinter Distinguished Service Award - A.J. Turner, Jr., 2011
ASPA Director - A.J. Turner, Jr., 1993
CAC Chair - Harold Grossman (Emeritus Associate Professor), 2012
Clemson University Alumni Distinguished Professor - R.M. Geist, III, 2015
Clemson University Board of Trustees Faculty Award for Excellence - C.S. Joerg, 2019
Clemson University Junior Faculty Researcher of the Year - N.J. McNeese, 2022
Clemson University M.J. Pinson, Jr. '46 Distinguished Professorship in Artificial Intelligence - F. Luo, 2021
Clemson University Student Accessibility Services' Accessibility Advocate of the Year - C.M. Plaue, 2019
CRA Board of Directors - A.J. Turner, Jr., 1989
CSAB Fellow - A.J. Turner, Jr., (Emeritus Professor), 2004
CSAB Fellow - H.C. Grossman (Emeritus Associate Professor), 2014
CSAB President - A.J. Turner, Jr., 1991; Harold Grossman (Emeritus Associate Professor), 2018
CSAB Vice President - H.C. Grossman (Emeritus Associate Professor), 2015
CSAC Chairman - A.J. Turner, Jr., 1988
FOCUS Director - A.J. Turner, Jr., 1997
Fulbright Scholarship - D.P. Jacobs, 2006; J.M. Sorber, 2019
IEEE Fellow - P.K. Srimani, 1999
IFIP Vice President - A.J. Turner, Jr., (Emeritus Professor), 2008
Murray Stokely Award - B.A. Malloy, 2019, for excellence in teaching in a Engineering, Computing, and Applied Science discipline
NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award - M.J. Harrold, 1993
NSF CAREER Award - A.T. Duchowski, 2000; J.O. Hallstrom, 2008; B.C. Dean, 2009; R. Ge, 2015; J.M. Sorber, 2015; C.S. Joerg, 2017; I. Karamouzas, 2021; H. Hu, 2021; B. Knijnenberg, 2021; Y. Yang, 2022; L. Cheng, 2023; N.J. McNeese, 2023
NSF CISE/CNS Program Director - A.W. Apon, 2015
NSF CISE/OAC Program Director - A.W. Apon, 2023
Science Without Borders - D.P. Jacobs, 2014-2016

U.S. Patents

Clemson University has established the University Research, Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Awards (URSAAA) to recognize Clemson University faculty who have achieved rare career milestones. Ten faculty members from the School of Computing have been recognized:

Regarding publications, as of February 3, 2023, seventeen School of Computing faculty members are listed among the top 200 Clemson University faculty members by citation count.

Faculty Lists

faculty chart

Faculty in the Department of Mathematics (later Mathematical Sciences) listed as teaching Computer Science courses, 1965-1977

Department of Computer Science, 1978-2006

School of Computing, 2007-present

Links to Additional Information

School of Computing

Current Faculty
Current Staff
Affiliated Faculty
Digital Production Arts website (with links to more animations)
Digital Production Arts alumni page
Student Organizations

YouTube Videos

Computer Science at Clemson University web site developed by Hallie Knipp celebrating the 45th anniversary and featuring oral histories.

Computing at Clemson Student Project

Christian Ihekweazu, "The History of Clemson Computing," 2022

Clemson University Archived Documents

Selected excerpts from Annual Reports of the Clemson University Board of Trustees regarding Computer Science (1977-1986, 1992-1993)

Board of Trustees minutes containing the approval of the Department of Computer Science (January 14, 1978), see Item 19 on page 15

Board of Trustees minutes containing the approval of the McAdams Hall renovation and expansion (May 16, 2003)

Board of Trustees minutes containing the approval of the School of Computing (October 20, 2006), see last action in Item 6 on page 5

Selected excerpts from Clemson University Catalogs regarding the descriptions of Computer Science and Computer Engineering.

TigerPrints Digital Repository

Computer Center History Resources

Timeline of campus computing facilities (1948-2006)

YouTube video, "Clemson Computer Center Tour, 1980," including a line printer playing the Tiger Rag at minute 9:30 of the video

Other Clemson University History Resources

Department History for The Department of Mathematical Sciences of Clemson University (1964-2002)

J.V. Reel, The High Seminary, Volume 2: A History of Clemson University, 1964-2000, Clemson University Press, 2013

L.L. Benjamin, Clemson University College of Engineering: One Hundred Years of Progress, Clemson University Press, 1989

Clemson University Interactive Factbook (provides enrollment and completion data for the past ten years)

Computer Science Accreditation History

G. Engel, et al., "A Brief History of the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB)," ACM Inroads, Volume 1, Issue 2, June 2010


Joe McLaughlin and Dr. Juan Xu in the Clemson University Office of Institutional Research were of great help in gathering historical enrollment data. Several early members of the Department of Computer Science, including Dr. Robert Geist, Dr. Larry Hodges, Dr. Wayne Madison, Dr. Ed Page, Dr. Jack Peck, Dr. Joe Turner, and Dr. Mike Westall, have provided valuable suggestions and corrections to the drafts. Dr. Pam Mack and Dr. Tara Wood of Clemson University's Department of History have been of great help in discussing how to collect and present the history. Dr. Wood, in her other role as Instruction and Outreach Archivist for the Special Collections & Archives of the Clemson University Libraries, provided access to many primary sources and guided me in searching the collections.