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Students react to WVU president’s departure

By Lacey Palmer

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- With President Jim Clements' announcement of his departure to Clemson in January, West Virginia University students and faculty are abuzz with talk about the change.

WVU senior Patrick Garcia, 22, of Fairmont, said it is sad to see the president leave, but that opportunities are sure to be abundant for Clements, who had a reputation as a friendly face on campus.

"He's a family man with a young family, at that, so he'll have a lot of opportunities come his way," Garcia said. "Maybe this is just a new door for him to open."

Sophomore Eric Kinney, 19, of Bridgeport, said Clements will be greatly missed.

"Under his guidance, this university has grown immensely through fundraising and new facilities," Kinney said. "Dr. Clements is an inspirational leader and has made great advancements for our university. He is leaving behind big shoes for his successor to fill."

Although junior Nicole Curtin, 20, of Harpers Ferry, had never personally met Clements, she knew he has cared immensely about the university.

"It's obvious with the improvements and activities we can do on campus that he cares about us students being able to have a good experience here," Curtin said. "Hopefully, the next president shows just as much interest and support as Clements did."

Many students caught off guard by Monday's announcement.

Junior Nick Wesdock, 20, of Bel Air, Md., was one of the many surprised by the news. Wesdock can't help but wonder about the future of the university.

"I was shocked when I heard the news," Wesdock said. "I don't think anyone saw it coming, but I wish President Clements and his family the best at Clemson. But, as a WVU student, you have to wonder who will take his place and what effect this will have on our university."

Daniel Brewster, sociology professor, shared a personal moment with Clements he said he will never forget.

"I was deeply saddened to hear of President Clements' resignation. The morning I came out in the Daily Athenaeum, he called me and assured his support, and since 2011, he has maintained that commitment," Brewster said. "I'm disappointed to lose such a committed straight ally."

Many students and former students alike took to Twitter to voice their opinions.

Although there were a handful of negative opinions, the majority was positive.

The Mountaineer, Jon Kimble, tweeted a picture of himself and Clements arm in arm at a football game.

"Sad to hear about President Clements leaving but want to thank him for all he has done for WVU and this great state!" Kimble, known as @WVUMascot, tweeted.

Student Government Association president Ryan Campione wished Clements the best via Twitter and thanked him for all of his efforts at WVU.

"Thank you President Clements for your great leadership & service to the Students of #WVU. Best of luck with all your future endeavors!" Campione, also known as @RyanCampione, tweeted.

Student Elayna Conard recalled an experience she'd had with Clements during her first year at WVU.

"Fresh yr at church: a man asked how college was and if I needed anything. I asked if he was the youth pastor. It was Pres. Clements. #humble," Conard, known as @the_elayna, tweeted.

Student Matt Sunday recalled a similar time when Clements made himself accessible to students.

"President Clements walked by me on the Coliseum floor nearly every game that I covered -- and shook my hand each time. #class," Sunday, who goes by @mattsunday, tweeted.

The majority took the time to wish Clements well, further demonstrating the lasting impression he left on the University.

"I'm sad we are losing Jim Clements from @WestVirginiaU but very happy for him and his family," former Mountaineer mascot Brock Burwell (@b_rock24) tweeted. "@ClemsonTigers are getting a great one #wvu."


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