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USC narrows search for next president to 4 finalists

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The University of South Carolina has narrowed the search for its next president to four candidates.

The candidates are: John Strait Applegate (.pdf), vice president for university academic affairs at Indiana University; Robert L. Caslen Jr. (.pdf), interim chief financial officer and senior counsel to the president at Central Florida; William F. Tate IV (.pdf), dean of the graduate school and vice provost for graduate education at Washington University, St. Louis; and Joseph T. Walsh Jr. (.pdf), vice president for research at Northwestern.

The men will be on the USC campus for finalists’ forums next week beginning Monday. The university is seeking feedback on the finalists through an online form that will be shared anonymously with the search committee.

Harris Pastides is retiring in June after 10 years as USC president.

Applegate has also been a law professor at Indiana since 1998 and the Walker W. Foskett Professor of Law at the school since 2002. Caslen, at UCF since January, also served as college president and superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., from 2013-2018.

Tate, at Washington University since 2002, served as mathematics chair and professor at Texas Christian University from 2001-2002. Walsh came to Northwestern in 1988 as an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and has also served as the senior associate dean of the university’s engineering school.

The presidential search is led by an 11-member committee made up of USC board of trustee members, the chair of the faculty senate, two professors, the school’s student body president, the alumni association president and a member of the University Foundations board. Atlanta-based executive search firm Parker Executive Search helped identify the finalists.   

“The intense interest in this position speaks highly of the success of our institution during the decade-long leadership of president Pastides, as well as the great opportunities that lie ahead,” USC trustee and search committee chairman Hugh Mobley said in a news release from the school. “With these finalists, we’re confident that the next president will continue to build on our success in educating future leaders while also advancing our mission to serve all the people of South Carolina.”

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