The Buzz

April 11, 2014

Glenn McConnell to earn $300,000 at College of Charleston

The Buzz

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

The College of Charleston has offered to pay Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell $300,000 to work as president of his alma mater, the school revealed Friday.

The college's foundation agreed to the trustees' request to supplement McConnell's $188,000 annual state salary with a $112,000 yearly supplement.

McConnell would start July 1, based on a letter trustees chairman Greg Padgett sent to foundation chairwoman Sharon Kingman the school released. A final contract has not been signed, the school said.

McConnell, 66, would earn $79,000 a year less than current president George Benson, who is leaving June 30 after six years.

Still, McConnell is getting a raise. He earns $46,544 as lieutenant governor and receives $48,515 in state retirement pay, according to his state disclosure filings.

McConnell has never worked in higher education. He was an attorney and ran a memorabilia shop that sold Confederate items.

Most notably, he spent more than 30 years in the state senate, including serving as its leader for the last decade. He was elevated to lieutenant governor in 2012 after Ken Ard resigned.

McConnell's appointment has drawn criticism on the downtown Charleston campus. His Confederate sympathies, including support for keeping the Confederate flag on the State House grounds and Civil War re-enactments, angered students, faculty and alumni who fear his past might hurt the school's future.

McConnell said he brokered an agreement to get the flag off the State House dome and the war re-enacting a hobby. Several African-American state lawmakers have said they support him and called home a friend to minorities.

As College of Charleston's president, McConnell said he wants to make the school the state's third full-fledged research university while keeping its liberal-arts core. A bill approved out of S.C. House panel this month has started the process to making the college a research university.

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