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USC reopens search for next president

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The University of South Carolina is continuing its search for its 29th president, capping a week of campus visits by the four male finalists that included protests from students and faculty members.

The university reopened the search on April 26 and named Brendan Kelly, chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate, interim president while the search for Harris Pastides’ replacement continues.

Of the four presidential finalists, only former West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen had experience running a college. Protesters decried the candidates’ lack of executive experience and the fact that all four finalists were men.

Kelly became chancellor of USC Upstate in March 2017. He previously led and managed the Division of University Advancement at the University of West Florida, where he also chaired the Department of Communication Arts.

“While this invitation came as a surprise to me, it is my honor and privilege to serve the University of South Carolina," Kelly said on USC’s website. “I am looking forward to working with the board and my colleagues in the coming weeks as we work together to make this transition.”

Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in communication from Eastern Michigan University and a doctorate in rhetoric and political communication from Wayne State University in Detroit.

Pastides is retiring in August after 10 years leading USC, which announced the four finalists for his replacement on April 17.

In addition to Caslen (.pdf), the other finalists were: John Strait Applegate (.pdf), vice president for university academic affairs at Indiana University; 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.

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