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home : education : education July 22, 2014

3/18/2014 1:16:00 PM
Science and Mathematics Governor's School Honors Jim Barker, President Emeritus, Clemson University
Jim Barker, Kim Bowman, Dr. Murray Brockman and Dr. Stephen Gosnell
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Jim Barker, Kim Bowman, Dr. Murray Brockman and Dr. Stephen Gosnell

The South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) honored Jim Barker, president emeritus, Clemson University, during the 22nd Annual Townes Award Dinner, Monday, March 17, 2014, at the Columbia Marriott.

James F. “Jim” Barker recently retired as president after serving for 14 years and is returning to the faculty in the School of Architecture. Barker came to office with a vision to enhance Clemson’s national reputation and guided the university to its highest national ranking to date. His tenure was marked by substantial improvements in the quality of the student body, higher retention and graduate rates, record fundraising levels and creation of major economic development and research campuses. 

“The Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics may be the best idea South Carolina has had,” said Jim Barker. “The GSSM students are the talent that we need to keep in this state.”

GSSM presents the Townes Award, named for Dr. Charles H. Townes, South Carolina native and Furman graduate who won the Nobel Prize in physics, annually to individuals or institutions that have gone beyond the basic requirements of their professional positions to raise the quality of science, mathematics and technology innovation in South Carolina.

“We’d like to congratulate Jim Barker on being named the 2014 Townes Award Recipient,” said Dr. Murray Brockman, GSSM president. “He has demonstrated that anything is possible when combining dedication, hard work and innovation. His contributions to Clemson University and South Carolina will never be forgotten.”

The event’s keynote address was given by George Acker, vice president of government & community relations, Duke Energy South Carolina, in place of Jim Rogers, retired chairman and CEO of Duke Energy Corporation, who was unexpectedly called away with a family emergency. 

Acker joined Duke Energy in 1981 and has held a number of key roles. He is currently the company’s lobbyist principal for South Carolina and responsible for advancing rate and regulatory initiatives along with managing local regulatory and governmental relations and community affairs.

During his keynote address, Acker encouraged GSSM students to get the best education possible and return to the state to work. He encouraged the business leaders, “when these students return and are looking for a job, hire them!”

“The theme from this year’s Townes Dinner was ‘Powerhouse: Lighting the Fires of Innovation,’” said Kim Bowman, CEO, GSSM Foundation. “Our goal was to remind our friends and supporters from across the state that if education, business and government leaders work together, the future of South Carolina will not only catch fire, but the momentum will be unstoppable.”

Galloway Mosley
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