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Bill Lee Atchley Presidential Records

Identifier: Series-0019

Scope and Content Note

This series contains the general and subject correspondence files and the administrative reference files of Bill Lee Atchley, President of Clemson University 1979-1986. Many of the files in the series continue the files begun by Atchley's predecessor Robert C. Edwards. Arranged alphabetically by titles, the files deal with a variety of topics such as Affirmative Action at Clemson, specifically program compliance documented by personnel statistics in various academic departments; minutes of the educational council; football and the 1981 National Championship; the Title IX Institutional Self-Evaluation in which the University assessed its admissions and recruitment, educational programs, activities, and employments practices; and the decision not to fund radio station WEPR. Documented is the relationship of Clemson University and the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education; funding desegregation, new programs and policies, and tuition and fees. A number of folders deal with topics related to the State of South Carolina; these topics include economic development, education, energy, and forestry. The series contains several folders of personal correspondence and letters from members of the faculty and staff.


  • 1971 - 1986
  • 1975 - 1985


Restrictions on Use

Most files are unrestricted. Restricted are those files dealing with the search for the post of Vice-President for Business and Finance and files of personal correspondence related to former faculty member Harold Carpenter. The restrictions are provided for in the Freedom of Information Act S.C. Code Ann. §30-4-40 (a) (2).

Historical Sketch

Bill Lee Atchley was born 16 February 1932, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri to William Cecil and Mary Bicket Atchley. After a brief career as a pitcher for the New York Giants, 1951-1952, and a brief stint in the U. S. Army, 1952-1954, Atchley embarked on a career in civil engineering; he earned the bachelor and master of science degrees from the University of Missouri at Rolla in 1957, and 1959, respectively, and the doctorate from Texas A&M University in 1965. Atchley returned to the University of Missouri to teach civil engineering and later serve as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering. In 1975 he went to West Virginia University to assume the position of Dean of the College of Engineering.

In 1978, Atchley interviewed for the presidency of Clemson University; was selected in February 1979, and inaugurated in April 1980. Atchley brought about a number of changes such as the integration of faculty and students into decision making; the reorganization of University administration; the renovation of Tillman Hall; the upgrading of computer facilities; and the creation of the Calhoun Honors College. His attempt to reorganize the athletic department after an investigation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1982 was met with opposition within the department, from athletic supporters, and from the Board of Trustees. The conflict between the Trustees and President Atchley culminated in his resignation on 1 March 1985.

After leaving Clemson University, Atchley served as President of the National Science Center for Communications and Electronics Education Foundation. In July 1987 he assumed the presidency of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.


18 Cubic Feet (plus 49 photographs, 1 scrapbook, 10 oversize items, 4 audiotapes)

Language of Materials



The series is arranged alphabetically by subject. Copies of letters in poor condition have been replaced with photocopies on archival quality bond. See the "Separation List" for a listing of photographs.


Office of the President

Separated Material

The following items have been separated for purposes of preservation:

Photographs (located in Series 100, CU Archives photograph file)

Administrators (contact sheet) unidentified, no date (1)

Bill lee Atchley, no date (1)

Mike Ball, student, no date (1)

Board of Visitors, 1977 (2)

Debidue Beach, no date (7)

Forestry Commission, 50th Anniversary, April 1977, (7)

Honorary degree recipients

Margaret McCrackin, 1982 (2)

Earl Morris, 1982 (4), oversize photo (1)

Unidentified (5)

Human Resources (Legislative Black Caucus), 1980 (1)

International Symposium on Housing Problems, May 1976, (2)

Local Government Finance in S.C., 1981 (1)

Miss Universe, 1980 (8)

Newman Symposium, 1973 (1)

Thomas G. Clemson statue, 1967 (2)

Thomas G. Clemson statue, laying foundation, 1966 (1)

Processing Information

Student assistants Marcie Hooper, Betsy Newton, and LaRue Bryant, 1989.

The conversion of this finding aid to Encoded Archival Description format was made possible with a grant from the South Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board in 2009-2010. The finding aid was prepared for encoding by Kristi Roberts.

Bill Lee Atchley Presidential Records
2010 July 26
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Repository Details

Part of the Clemson University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Repository

230 Kappa St.
Clemson SC 29634 U.S.A. US