Education

USC bids Harris Pastides a bittersweet farewell after 11 years leading school

USC President Pastides details retirement plan, explains timing of announcement

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides announces Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, that he will be stepping down in 2019.
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University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides announces Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, that he will be stepping down in 2019.

The University of South Carolina is saying goodbye to President Harris Pastides — at least for now.

After 11 years as president of the state’s flagship school, Pastides will end his presidency at the end of the day Wednesday. Thursday morning, incoming USC President Robert Caslen, a retired three-star general and former superintendent at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, will take over as USC president.

To celebrate the occasion, USC students, alumni and Gamecock coaches took to social media to express their support for Pastides.

“@HarrisPastides @PMoorePastides a thousand tongues wouldn’t be enough to say thank you for your service, your friendship, your love and your continued love for our amazing @UofSC. The love for you both runs deep!” said women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley on Twitter.

Students seemed to like Pastides and often could be seen stopping to pose with the president on campus for a selfie.

“Thank you @HarrisPastides for everything you did to make my 4 years at @UofSC better than I could have ever imagined!#ThankYouPastides,” tweeted USC alumna Anjali Patel.

The praise wasn’t limited to USC figures. Even the Columbia Chamber of Commerce weighed in.

“#ThankYouPastides for all you (@HarrisPastides) & @PMoorePastides have done for @uofsc and the Columbia business community for the past decade! There truly aren’t enough words. We will always be honored to have you as our 2014 Ambassador of the Year. Wishing y’all the best!” the chamber tweeted Wednesday.

During Pastides’ 11 years as president, enrollment increased by 27 percent; the school won several athletic national championships and its honors program was ranked No. 1 in the country.

But during that time, USC’s tuition has increased by 45 percent since 2008 and the school’s bond debt has increased 17 percent since 2015, according to a previous article from The State.

When Caslen takes over, his first major tasks will be selecting a provost and breaking ground on a $240 million dorm complex.

Pastides has said he plans to return to USC as a “president emeritus” — a title bestowed by the school’s Board of Trustees — and will mentor young students and faculty.

“I’ll find new ways to serve USC, no doubt,” Pastides said earlier this month.

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