James F. Barker Ethics in Action Award

The annual James F. Barker Ethics in Action Award recognizes and celebrates a special individual’s actions that exemplify integrity and, in a continuing and constructive way, encourage commitment to ethical conduct and the value of integrity.

In 2014, the Rutland Institute for Ethics Advisory Board elected to name the Institute’s highest honor after James F. Barker, the 14th president of Clemson University, in recognition of the ways he exemplified integrity, thereby bringing ethics into focus in the best possible way: by living it. The James F. Barker Ethics in Action Award is an ongoing and constructive way to recognize and encourage commitment to ethical conduct and the value of integrity.

Barker himself received the inaugural Ethics in Action Award in 2014. In 2015, Greenville nonprofit executive and founder of The Family Effect, Scott T. Dishman, received the distinction. Minor Mickel Shaw, philantropist and community leader was the recipeint in 2016, and former Charleston mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. was presented the fourth annual James F. Barker Ethics in Action Award on February 10, 2018.

Specific questions relating to nominating may be directed to John Wareham, Assistant Director, via email: ethics@clemson.edu or by calling (864) 656-2473.


Provost Robert Jones with
Former Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.
2018 James F. Barker Ethics in Action Award
Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston

2015 Recipient: Scott T. Dishman

Scott spent 21 years in corporate marketing and brand strategy in both New York City and South Carolina, eventually serving as the Director of Communications  for the $3 billion Michelin consumer brand in the United States. In 2006, he decided to leave the corporate world and look for ways to help neglected and abused children who-  through  no fault of their own- are being set up for failure in American life. He was serving as the Vice Chair for A Child's Haven in Greenville at the time, and resigned his Board spot to take a staff  position for the agency.

Scott quickly developed a communications effort and successful capital campaign for A Child's Haven, working alongside Former South Carolina Governor and US Secretary of Education Dick Riley. In late 2009, the nascent Board of Directors for The Family Effect asked Scott to create and launch an effort to address addiction as the number one root cause of family collapse and harm to children in South Carolina. This work supports family and child-centered programming at The Phoenix Center in Greenville, which brought evidence-based  treatment to more than 1,500 families with children in   2014. In addition to his work with The Family Effect, Scott serves as Vice Chair for the Board of Directors of Fostering Great Ideas- an innovative organization   working to improve the lives of children in foster care.

He is the Immediate Past President of the Piedmont Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and also serves at the national level for AFP's Communications and Marketing Committee. Since 2012, Scott has served as a Mentor for young professionals in the Greenville Chamber of Commerce  Pulse - Pacesetters program.  He is the former Chair  of the Greenville Forward Family & Social Services Task Force, and former Chair of the School Improvement Council at Stone Academy. Scott is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), having met a series of criteria that include tenure in the profession, education, high ethical standards, demonstrated achievement and a commitment to service with nonprofit organizations. His wife Lydia is a veteran business journalist for national publications, and together they have two beautiful and creative daughters.

2015 Photo Album

Video recap of the 2015 award ceremony


Scott T. Dishman
Scott T. Dishman
Director of Community Engagement
The Family Effect

2014 Inaugural Recipient: James F. Barker

A 1970 Clemson graduate, Barker was named president in 1999 with a mandate from the Board of Trustees to lead Clemson into the top ranks of American universities. At his inaugural address in April 2000, he said: “I am convinced that there is no university in American stronger than Clemson when we are ‘One Clemson.’ A united Clemson is unstoppable.” During the “One Clemson” decade that followed, the university harnessed the competitive, determined spirit of the Clemson family to transform itself from a respected state institution into one of the nation’s finest public universities. Clemson climbed into the Top 25 public universities in the US News guide to “America’s Best Colleges.” The University has been recognized for value, affordability and return on investment by Kiplinger’s, Smart Money and Bloomberg Businessweek magazines.

Jim Barker is a leading voice in higher education for South Carolina and the nation. He served for four years on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, three of them as Chair, and has also chaired the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). He delivered a keynote address on CU-ICAR at a 2009 symposium in Washington D.C. on Global Best Practices in science and technology parks sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and at the Society for College and University Planning in October 2010.

For his leadership, Barker has received the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, and The Cliff’s Business Person-of-the-Year Award from Greenville Magazine. He has also been awarded honorary doctorates from the Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, and Mars Hill College.

A native of Kingsport, Tennessee, Barker received his bachelor of arts degree from Clemson in 1970 and his master of architecture and urban design degree in 1973 from Washington University in St. Louis, which also recognized him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and the Institute for Urban Design. In his spare time, what there is of it, he runs and maintains the daily fitness regimen of a life-long athlete. He is widely acclaimed for his pen-and-ink drawings of campus buildings and has recently taken up watercolor painting. Jim Barker and his wife Marcia have two sons, Britt and Jacob, a daughter-in-law Rita Bolt Barker, and two granddaughters Madeline and Eliza.

Watch the 2014 Awards Ceremony Here

2014 Photo Album


James F. Barker
James F. Barker
President Emeritus, Clemson University,
was the first recipient
of the award
that bears his name.


2014 Inaugural presentation of the James F. Barker Ethics in Action Award

James Barker recieving the award from Clemson President, Dr. James Clements

President James Clements (r) presents James F. Barker with the award as Board of Trustees Chair David Wilkins looks on.

Marcia Barker (in Black)

Mrs. Marcia Barker, in black, looks on as President Emeritus James F. Barker is presented with his award

l-r: Dr. Daniel Wueste, Dr. James Clements, James Barker, David Wilkins, Robert Rutland, and Joe Turner

(l-r): Dr. Daniel Wueste, RIE Director; Dr. James Clements, President, Clemson University; James F. Barker, President Emeritus; David Wilkins, Chair, Board of Trustees, Robert Rutland, Institute benefactor, RIE Advisory Board member; and Joe Turner, Chair, RIE Advisory Board

Purpose of Award

The purpose of the award is to recognize and celebrate action that exemplifies integrity and, in a continuing and constructive way, encourage commitment to ethical conduct and the value of integrity.

Method of Selection

A subcommittee of the Rutland Institute for Ethics Advisory Board will select the award recipient. The subcommittee will include the director of the Institute as well as other persons designated by the RIE Advisory Board.

Criteria for Selection

Recipients will be recognized for action(s) and significant accomplishment that reveal deep and sustained commitment to ethical conduct and the value of integrity: nominations will include a narrative description of the action(s) and accomplishment(s) that prompt the nomination and be supported by independent references (i.e., sources in addition to the person submitting the nomination).


The Rutland Institute Advisory Board decided to name the Institute's award The James F. Barker Ethics in Action Award in recognition of the "ways in which he has exemplified integrity thereby bringing ethics into focus in the best possible way: by living it.... [and, accordingly, to make the award] an ongoing and constructive way to recognize and encourage commitment to ethical conduct and the value of integrity."

Other Past Awards

Ida Spruill, PhD, RN, LISW, FAAN 
Assistant Professor, College of Nursing 
Medical University of South Carolina

Ida Spruill, a nurse, faculty member and researcher in the College of Nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina, received the "Bringing Ethics into Focus" Award at the celebration of the Rutland Institute’s 10th anniversary April 10, 2012.  Dr. Spruill was recognized for her accomplishments in health care research, which resulted in dramatic health improvements for individuals and in communities. Dr. Raymond S. Greenberg, (then) President of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), nominated her for the award.


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