McConnell wants to be president of CofC, not lieutenant governor

By Ashley Barker
Published Jan. 6, 2014

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell announced today that he will apply for the presidency of the College of Charleston instead of seeking re-election.

McConnell said it would not be fair to candidates wanting to run for the office and to South Carolina voters to ask for support if there is a chance he would not remain in the campaign, according to a statement released by his office.

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell
Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell
“I have no idea whether or not I will be successful. I only know that this is the honorable course for me to take,” McConnell said in a statement. “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.”

McConnell never ran for lieutenant governor. He was serving as the state’s top political leader in the S.C. Senate when he assumed the position in early 2012 after former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned the post and pleaded guilty to ethics charges related to his campaign finances.

But McConnell took the job as a matter of constitutional law even as members of both political parties asked him to stay on as Senate president pro tempore. He has been lieutenant governor since then.

On Aug. 1, 2013, College of Charleston President P. George Benson announced that he will step down as president and return to the faculty June 30.

“I am announcing my plans now so the board has ample time to find the next leader of this historic institution,” Benson said in a news release in August. “I look forward to returning to the classroom, where I spent the first 16 years of my academic career.”

He appointed a 15-member search committee, and the college is working with AGB Search, a national higher education search firm. The committee, chaired by Greg Padgett, first met Nov. 7 and will accept applications until Jan. 14.

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

“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.

The college is accepting applications from candidates who have worked outside of academe and who have a record “consistent with appointment as a member of the College of Charleston faculty.”

McConnell, who is 66 and a 1969 graduate of the college, said within a few days he will make a formal application for the position.

Gov. Nikki Haley issued a statement today thanking McConnell of his years of service.

During the remaining months left in office, McConnell said he will focus on the reform proposals his office is developing for the state’s growing population of seniors and disabled adults.

“I am confident the voters of South Carolina will select a qualified leader to continue that cause,” he said.

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

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