Clemson University announced Thursday that it will build a graduate school in North Charleston alongside its Restoration Institute. Billionaire Anita Zucker will put $5 million toward what will be called the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center.
The school says the facility will be a place for researchers and students to collaborate with industry leaders in composite materials and energy systems and advanced computing.
Clemson President James Barker says the campus will be a Lowcountry version of the university’s Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) campus, but will focus on “advanced materials, environment and sectors related to energy power systems, logistics and transportation.”
Zucker, a Charleston resident, is chair and CEO of The InterTech Group, a holding company that focuses on plastics and fibers for high-tech protective wear. The company was founded by her late husband Jerry, who died in 2008.
She says the center is named for her entire family because of the project’s focus on the future: K-12 education. President Barker says they will be hiring faculty who are skilled at working with kids because by design, they will be reaching out to local K-12 schools.
AUDIO: Zucker’s speech at Wednesday’s announcement in Charleston
The announcement was made at the site of the Clemson University Restoration Institute, which is still under construction. A massive wind turbine drive train testing facility is scheduled to be in operation there by the end of 2012.
Barker says this is part of the mission of Clemson as a land grant, research institution: “Our campus is the state of South Carolina…We are responsible, through the will of Thomas Green Clemson and as a land grant university, for the prosperity of the state of South Carolina, as well as educating college students. We believe that both of those go together and that’s our charge; that’s been our mission for 120 year. It’s simply starting to manifest itself a little more clearly here in Charleston.”
AUDIO: President Barker explains campus expansion