James Smith hoped his decorated military service would help win over voters when he challenged Gov. Henry McMaster in the November election.
Instead, he will be using that experience at the University of South Carolina to help veterans get an education at the state’s flagship institution.
Smith, a USC alumnus and former Democratic nominee for S.C. governor, began Monday as the executive director of military strategies and programs for USC’s Palmetto College, spokesman Jeff Stensland said in a statement.
“His network of contacts as well as his combination of legal and military experience will assist us in our goal of growing the number of active duty, military civilians, veterans, dependents and other military-related personnel who are directly served through Palmetto College and the entire UofSC system,” Stensland said.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The State
Serving veterans is an important part of USC’s mission, Stensland said.
Palmetto College is USC’s answer to rising tuition rates. There, students can take their first two years of classes at a lower-cost satellite campus and finish their degrees online, according to the college’s website.
Smith’s full-time position, which is a new position derived from “two previously existing roles,” will pay $140,000 per year, Stensland said.
Smith was a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Army National Guard before the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks. After the attacks, he enlisted in the infantry and deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to a previous article from The State.
For his service, he received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.