Presidential Search Committee and Transition Leadership Plan Announced

College of Charleston Board of Trustees Chair David Hay provided the following update to the campus community on Feb. 6, 2018, regarding the presidential search process.

Dear Campus Community,

This morning, the College of Charleston Board of Trustees met to continue discussing timelines and transition plans following President Glenn F. McConnell’s announced retirement this summer.

The Board of Trustees accepted President McConnell’s plan to retire, effective July 2, 2018. The Board of Trustees sincerely appreciates President McConnell’s flexibility and willingness to stay a few months past that date in an advisory capacity in order to ease the transition, and we will work with him regarding that specific timetable.

The Board of Trustees also unanimously adopted a motion to name Steve Osborne as interim president of the College of Charleston, effective July 2, 2018. Although Steve retired last summer as executive vice president of business affairs, he has remained at the College as a senior advisor to the president. An alumnus of the College as well as a highly respected member of the College community, Steve provides seamless continuity of leadership and has a mastery of the College’s day-to-day operations and finances that will help ensure a smooth transition as we work to identify the 23rd president of the College.

I expect this transition to be smooth and seamless because of the great senior team President McConnell has assembled and the incredible faculty and staff that lead this university.

Regarding the presidential search, I have tasked the Presidential Search Committee with identifying and recommending a list of qualified candidates to the full Board of Trustees, which is empowered by state statute and the institution’s bylaws to select the president of the College.

As I wrote last week, Trustee Renee Romberger will chair the Presidential Search Committee. An alumna and longtime volunteer leader of the College, Trustee Romberger brings a wealth of corporate leadership experience in steering the search for our 23rd president of the College of Charleston.

The other Presidential Search Committee members are as follows:

  • Trustee Demetria Noisette Clemons (Class of 1975)
  • Trustee Cherry Daniel (Class of 1975)
  • Dean Godfrey Gibbison (Dean, School of Professional Studies; Associate Professor of Economics)
  • Trustee David Hay (Class of 1981)
  • Professor Liz Jurisich (Speaker of the Faculty; Professor of Mathematics)
  • Trustee Greg Padgett (Class of 1979)
  • Trustee Renee Buyck Romberger (Chair, Presidential Search Committee; Class of 1981)
  • Trustee Ricci Land Welch (Class of 1992)

I also mentioned in my previous message that we will host a series of listening sessions in late February/early March so that everyone in our campus community may have a voice in helping us shape the desired profile of our next president. This is a critical step in the search process, and I encourage everyone to participate. More information is to come regarding the times and locations for these sessions.

Search Committee Chair Romberger has asked the following campus members to facilitate these listening sessions:

For Students: Alicia Caudill (executive vice president, Student Affairs); Alexandra Helfgott (president, Student Government Association) and Timothy Buttram (president, Graduate Student Association)

For Volunteer Leaders, Donors and Alumni: Chris Tobin (executive vice president, Institutional Advancement), Jeff Kinard (chair, College of Charleston Foundation Board), David Crowley (president, Cougar Club) and Sherwood Miler (president, College of Charleston Alumni Association)

For Staff: Rénard Harris (chief diversity officer, associate vice president and associate professor in Teacher Education); Rudy Alisauskas (chair, Staff Advisory Committee to the President) and Ed Pope (director, Human Resources)

For Faculty: Timothy Johnson (interim dean, School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs; professor of Classics); Devon Hanahan (faculty marshal and senior instructor of Hispanic studies), Denis Keyes (chair, Faculty Advisory Committee to the President; professor of Teacher Education) and Hollis France (associate professor of political science and faculty member in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies)

Online Survey: The Presidential Search Committee will also create an online survey for those campus community members unable to attend listening sessions so that they, too, may share their feedback regarding desired characteristics.

I want to thank both the members of the Presidential Search Committee as well as the faculty, staff, students and volunteer leaders for their willingness to serve. While President McConnell’s retirement marks the end of a remarkable career of public service to the State of South Carolina, it also represents a new beginning and another exciting chapter in the College’s story as we look forward to celebrating the 250th anniversary of our founding in 2020.


David Hay

Chair, Board of Trustees

College of Charleston