The Buzz

March 4, 2014

BUZZ: Andrew Card drops out as finalist for C of C president

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

Then there were three.

Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card removed his named from the list of finalists for president at the College of Charleston, the school said Tuesday. Card also was considered a candidate to lead his alma mater, the University of South Carolina, in 2008.

“It is not uncommon for candidates to stand down from consideration in a presidential search, and we thank Mr. Card for his interest,” said Greg Padgett, chair of the trustees board and presidential search committee. “We are pleased with the experience and qualifications of our remaining finalists, and we look forward to having our campus community meet them during their campus visits.”

The remaining finalists are Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, a College of Charleston alum; retired Harvard University professor Dennis Encarnation, another Charleston alum; and former University of Southern Mississippi president Martha Saunders.

Another unnamed finalist withdrew from consideration over the weekend.

The three finalists have been whittled from a pool of more than 100 applicants.

College of Charleston trustees did not announce a timetable for making a choice to head the college of nearly 12,000 students. Finalists will meet with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. Outgoing president George Benson leaves June 30.

McConnell and Encarnation are considered the favorites among the business and political leaders who want the college to become the state’s third large research university. A College of Charleston-Medical University of South Carolina plan is being debated at the State House.

McConnell chose to end his three-decade political career to concentrate on efforts to lead his alma mater, where a dorm is named after him. He spent a decade leading the state Senate as president pro tempore, one of the most powerful positions in state government, before becoming lieutenant governor with the resignation of Ken Ard.

Encarnation, an international business consultant, taught for three decades at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and business school. Encarnation has lived and worked in India, China, Japan, France and Latin America, according to his online biographies. He also sits on the College of Charleston’s foundation board.

Saunders was president of Southern Mississippi, her alma mater, from 2007-12. Subsequently, she left a teaching job at the school to become provost at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. She also was chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Her online biography does not show any connections to South Carolina in her career.

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