A third-generation farmer with deep ties to Clemson’s land-grant heritage and expansive knowledge of South Carolina’s agribusiness industry has been named director of the Clemson University Experiment Station.
Christopher Ray is a plant scientist who has worked in Clemson agriculture for 20 years in capacities that include Experiment Station associate director, Agricultural Services Laboratory director, Plant Industry and Regulatory Services department head and Department of Fertilizer and Seed Certification manager.
“Being born to a family of farmers, I’ve seen firsthand the impact that Clemson research has on the agriculture industry in our state as well as regionally, nationally and internationally. I intend to provide our campus farms and research and education centers with the institutional and organizational support necessary to continue helping the people of South Carolina prosper,” Ray said.
“Chris has succeeded in every role we’ve asked him to fill over his years at Clemson. His experience, knowledge, vision and leadership skills make him the ideal person to take over as Experiment Station director,” said George Askew, vice president of Clemson Public Service and Agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.
Ray’s family farmed hundreds of acres in Lexington, Richland and Orangeburg counties. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Clemson, including a Ph.D. in plant breeding and environmental sciences.
Clemson’s Experiment Station is part of a nationwide network of scientists working to improve quality of life for people in their home states. Clemson scientists have been involved in this effort since 1889, when the university was founded and the South Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station was based on the Clemson campus.
Today research is conducted in laboratories, farms and forests on the Clemson campus and at five research and education centers strategically located in the state’s distinct soil and climate regions. Areas of study include coastal forests and ecosystems, food safety and packaging science, environmental conservation and ornamental horticulture, as well as commercial production of timber, crop plants and livestock.
Clemson researchers have produced more than 100 new varieties of food and fiber crops and more than 50 patents. The Experiment Station is home to more than 100 scientists and support staff working on projects funded through state, federal and other sources.