Patrick Hues Mell

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Patrick Hues Mell, M.E., Ph.D, a native Georgian, born on May 24, 1850, the son of Patrick Hues and Lurene Howard Cooper Mell. After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1871, he would eventually serve as Clemson's fifth president. He was elected August 30, 1902 after being nominated by Senator Benjamin Tillman. He served until 1910. He succeeded President Henry Simms Hartzog, who served from 1897 to 1902, resigning in August 1902 amidst controversy.


"Patrick Hues Mell was born in Penfield, Georgia in 1850. He entered the University of Georgia in 1866, and after taking graduate and post-graduate courses, and after obtaining the degrees of B.A., C.E., and M.E., he began active life as consulting Mining Engineer (for the Belle Green Mining Company, of Georgia); State Chemist of Georgia from 1874 to 1877; Consulting Mining Engineer for a New York company, 1877-78. In 1878, Dr. Mell was elected to the Chair of History and Geology in the A. & M. College of Alabama, which position he held from that until his election to the Presidency of Clemson , on the 29th of August, 1902. In 1880, the degree of Ph.D was conferred upon him by the University of Georgia. Dr. Mell is the author of the following: Auriferous Slate Deposits Southern Region, 1881; Southern Soapstones and Fireclays, 1882; Wild Grasses of Alabama, 1886; Microscopic Study of Cotton Plant, 1892; Climatology of Alabama, 1890; Climatology of Cotton Plant, 1892; Improvement of Cotton Plant, by Crossing, 1894; Life of Patrick Hues Mell, Sr., L.L.D., 1895; Botanical Laboratory Guide, 1895; Revision of Mell's Parliamentary Practice, 1896, Revision of White's Gardening for the South, 1901; Biological Laboratory Methods, 1902. He is the inventor of the system of weather signals now used by the United States Weather Bureau." - The Oconeean, 1902, page 14.

Mell's father was P.H. Mell, chancellor of the University of Georgia. Before coming to Clemson, Mell had been a professor of natural history (later professor of geology and botany) at Auburn until 1883 and director of the Alabama Experimental Station from 1884. Before that, he was director of the Alabama Weather Service, and invented the system of weather signals used by the United States Weather Bureau.

President Mell would oversee the infamous "Pendleton Guards" student walk-outs on April Fool's Day, 1907 and 1908 that resulted in the expulsion of 306 Clemson cadets. This, and other difficulties with the Board of Trustees over cadet discipline, led to his resignation on January 1, 1910.

After leaving Clemson, Mell moved to Atlanta where he served as treasurer of the board of missions of the Southern Baptist Convention. He was married to the former Annie R. White of Athens, Georgia.

Mell died on October 12, 1918, while visiting a brother-in-law in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Note: Sources differ on whether Mell was elected president on August 29 or 30, 1902. The marble tablet in Tillman Auditorium cites August 29.

Preceded by: Mark Bernard Hardin Presidents of Clemson Succeeded by: Walter Merritt Riggs