Over the course of his 30-plus-year career as a former S.C. lieutenant governor and former president pro tempore of the South Carolina Senate, College of Charleston President Glenn F. McConnell ’69 has learned many leadership and service lessons.
Recently, using examples, McConnell described to students five leadership challenges (integrity, sacrifice, leading by example, service, and perseverance) he has faced in his life and that he believes all great leaders — regardless of organization or industry — will face at some point in their careers.
McConnell imparted his advice to students during a recent lecture in Communication Professor Beth Goodier’s capstone leadership course.
McConnell told the students that leadership and service are all about, “being honest in your dealings with others, keeping your promises and being fair – no matter the circumstances or the consequences.”
He went on to explain that if you are ever struggling with deciding what is the right thing to do, listen to your inner voice – your conscience. McConnell recounted a conversation he had with his priest while serving in the Senate in which the priest told him,
“If you stop listening to your conscience, it will stop talking to you,” he says.
During the course of the class, McConnell also conveyed to students that his mission in life — as state senator, as chairman of the senate judiciary committee, as president pro tempore, as lieutenant governor, and now as president of the College of Charleston — has been to “serve others and help better our communities, our state, and our country.” He expressed his joy to be able to lead his alma mater — only the third alumnus in the College’s 247-year history to do so — and his desire to better the academic and student experience.
Before fielding a few questions from students, McConnell closed his lecture by sharing his favorite quote with students that’s attributed to Sir Winston Churchill: “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.”