College of Charleston president to be named in March

By Ashley Barker
Published Jan. 20, 2014

More than 100 applications were submitted for the College of Charleston presidency, according to the board of trustees chairman.

The 15-member Presidential Search Committee closed the application submission period on Tuesday and held its second meeting on Friday to discuss the college’s next step to replace the outgoing president. George Benson announced in August that he will step down as president and return to the faculty on June 30.

Chairman Greg Padgett, a 1979 graduate of the college, said the search committee is “excited by the exceptional quality and size of our candidate pool.” He said applicants are current university presidents, chief academic officers, deans, and leaders from the public and private sectors. He added applications were submitted from Charleston, the Southeast and throughout the United States.

“My colleagues and I are convinced that one of these individuals will be an outstanding 22nd president of the college,” Padgett said.

The committee will now begin reviewing applications and narrowing the field to be able to conduct interviews. Padgett said the board has asked the committee to provide its top five list of candidates by Feb. 10.

The board will choose the finalists and release only those names to the public, Padgett said. The president could be announced as early as March.

The committee is working with AGB Search, a national higher-education search firm.

“The applications received in this presidential search are within the top quartile of the many searches we’ve conducted, both in terms of the number of applications, and the outstanding breadth and experience of the candidate pool,” said Jamie Ferrare, lead search committee consultant, in a statement.

The college is looking for its next president to have a “compelling record as a transformational leader,” according to its presidential search profile (.pdf).

“The new president should expect to prioritize service to the Lowcountry and to the people of South Carolina, while also continuing to nurture and develop the growing national reputation of the College of Charleston,” the profile said.

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell announced in early January that he would apply for the president position instead of seeking re-election.

McConnell, a 1969 graduate of the college, said, “The most compelling reason I have chosen this course is because of my love for the College of Charleston and my belief that I can be of service to her in facing the complex challenges and capturing the opportunities the future holds.”

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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