College of Charleston

Glenn McConnell, Andrew Card among College of Charleston's 5 presidential finalists

ashain@thestate.comFebruary 28, 2014 

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell and former White House chief of staff Andrew Card are among the five finalists for president chosen by College of Charleston trustees on Friday, a source familiar with the search told The State.

Jody Encarnation, a College of Charleston graduate who spent three decades on the faculty of Harvard University, also is a finalist. The names of the other two finalists were not available.

College of Charleston trustees met all day Friday to interview nine finalists before cutting the list to five, the source said.

Trustees were calling the five finalists to see if they remain interested in the job, the school of nearly 12,000 students said.

McConnell, a powerful Republican politician who is an alum with a dorm named after him on campus, is considered the favorite to succeed George Benson, who steps down from his $379,000-a-year job at the end of the school year. He has the power to help the college become the state’s third major research university.

McConnell chose not to seek election to a four-year term as lieutenant governor to concentrate on his application to lead his alma mater.

Card, a University of South Carolina alum who was pushed to lead his alma mater in 2008, was interim dean at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government until last year. Card was the transportation secretary under the school’s namesake, former President George H.W. Bush, and chief of staff to former President George W. Bush.

Encarnation holds three graduate degrees from Duke University and taught at Stanford University before serving on the faculty of the Harvard Business School and John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The Boston resident serves on the College of Charleston foundation board of directors.

A new College of Charleston president will have to contend with a potential merger with the Medical University of South Carolina that is being pushed by political and business leaders. Lowcountry lawmakers have introduced bills in the General Assembly to combine the schools by 2016.

The five presidential finalists came from a field of more than 100 applicants. Trustees will have the finalists meet with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

A 15-member search committee that included trustees, foundation board members, faculty, staff, alumni, and the student government president provided a list of finalists for trustees, who will make the final decision on a leader for the state’s third-largest college.

“The board of trustees is very pleased with the quality and the experience of the potential finalists for the position of president of the College of Charleston,” Greg Padgett, chairman of the trustees and presidential search committee, said in a statement. “Each candidate would bring a unique set of strengths and capabilities to their leadership of the college.”

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