Clemson University names Emily Watrous to lead human resources office

CLEMSON – Clemson University alumna Emily Watrous of Greenville will join her alma mater as chief human resources officer March 5. In this position, she also will serve as a member of the university’s executive leadership team.

Watrous will lead the Office of Human Resources, which includes 10 directors and an additional 50 personnel providing operational support of the university’s talent acquisition, classification and compensation, benefits, learning and performance, employee relations, HR information technology, customer service, data center, records management and international employment.

“I’m honored to be returning to Clemson where my professional development began more than 25 years ago, and to get the opportunity to partner with the faculty, staff and leadership team through this role in Human Resources,” Watrous said, “I look forward to being part of this great university and supporting the many talented people who have made it one of the best public universities in the country. My goal is for our team to support Clemson in achieving its strategic objectives in support of the ClemsonForward plan.”

Watrous has more than 21 years of experience in human resources, change management and talent development. In her career, she has gained experience in workforce planning for strategic growth, employee engagement, retention strategies, negotiation and selection of health benefits plans, total rewards strategy and payroll, talent development and succession planning, performance management, policy and procedures, and compliance. She also has experience in coaching and advising global leaders on human-capital-related matters.

“I’m excited about Emily joining our leadership team at Clemson,” said Brett Dalton, executive vice president for finance and operations. “Her extensive leadership experience in a global corporation, combined with her commitment to Clemson University, position her uniquely in developing a nationally prominent Human Resources division. Emily’s knowledge, experience, positive leadership style and her love of Clemson will help Clemson to attract, retain, develop and reward the best talent in higher education.”

Prior to joining Clemson, she was the chief human resources officer for Southern First Bank. She also worked at Fluor Corporation and Bank of America in a variety of key human resources roles. She lived overseas for eight years in Europe, Asia, Africa and China.

Watrous has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Clemson University and a master’s degree in human resource development from Webster University. She met her husband, Dave, at Clemson, and they have two daughters.