COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Harry Pastides will serve as the University of South Carolina’s interim president as the university’s board of trustees begins its search for a new leader.
The move comes after former president Bob Caslen resigned last week for plagiarizing part of his commencement speech, referring to the school as the University of Southern California.
Pastides served as the university’s president for more than a decade before retiring in 2019.
“I’m excited to serve in this interim role and look forward to helping the university through this transition,” Pastides said. “Despite change, our university will always remain focused on the mission of service to our students and the people of South Carolina. Now is the time for us to come together as one community to reaffirm our support of that important work.”
The Board approved a set of new policies in 2020 to strengthen overall governance, protect trustees from external political influence in decision making and improve the presidential search process. In accordance with policy, the following individuals will serve as members of the search committee:
• Eight voting members of the Board of Trustees, including Thad H. Westbrook, Alex English, Brian C. Harlan, Leah B. Moody, Emma W. Morris, C. Dorn Smith, Eugene P. Warr Jr. and Mack I. Whittle Jr. Westbrook will serve as search chair;
• Five faculty members from the of the university system, including: Aiken Faculty Assembly chair (Alexandra Roach), chair of the Beaufort Faculty Senate (Jayne Violette), chair of the Columbia Faculty Senate (Mark Cooper), chair of the Upstate Faculty Senate (Lisa Johnson), chair of the Palmetto College Campuses Faculty Senate (Ernest Jenkins, Lancaster);
• President of the USC Columbia Student Government Association (Alex Harrell);
• Several non-voting advisors were appointed to the search committee to represent additional stakeholders and to provide valuable perspectives, including a representative from the UofSC Alumni Association (Robin Roberts), a representative of USC’s Foundations (James Bennett), community members (Lou Kennedy and David Seaton), a UofSC System staff representative (Lauren Smith) and the dean of the College of Engineering and Computing (Hossein Haj-Hariri);
• By policy, the secretary of the university and of the Board of Trustees will staff the presidential search.
The Board of Trustees plans to interview executive search firms with strong national reputations about providing assistance with identifying candidates of the highest quality.