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Recognizing Dr. Frankie Felder

Frankie Felder

Graduate students play an integral part in the production of knowledge at colleges, universities, and in society at large. At Clemson University, graduate student education has greatly contributed to the culture of academic excellence and Clemson’s quest for global impact for hundreds of years. Dr. Frankie Felder has been at the forefront of that quest since stepping foot on Clemson’s campus 30+ years ago and has worked to emphasize the connection between graduate students and innovation. 

 Dr. Felder graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with her bachelor’s, holds a master’s degree from the University of Vermont, and obtained a master’s degree and PhD from Harvard University. In 1987, Dr. Felder began her career at Clemson University by making history: she became Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School, making her the first African American dean at Clemson and the only female dean of the graduate school. During her time as dean, Dr. Felder worked to elevate and bring attention to the importance of graduate students and how significant they are to advancing research and education. Since her retirement in 2017, she continues to provide support and resources for graduate students, international students, and students from underrepresented minority groups, and works to shine a light on the role graduate students play in advancing innovation.  

 An innovator and advocate for excellence, Dr. Felder has reconnected with Clemson University through research she is conducting on the history of graduate education at the university. Dr. Felder plans to use this research to write a book detailing how important graduate students, and their contributions, are to the educational ecosystem and the Clemson University research enterprise.  

 “Graduate education is about making sure graduate research gets out to the public. What’s important is recognizing that to be an outstanding university, resources to advance graduate education and research must be available for everyone,” said Dr. Felder. “Innovation can only be fostered when there is diversity and diversity of thought.”

 For more information on Dr. Frankie Felder and her work, click here

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