"I promise to accelerate
our momentum as a world- class University, yet remain
a faithful index to the best hopes and dreams of all
July 11, 2008
The University of South Carolina Board of Trustees unanimously elected Dr. Harris Pastides Friday (July 11) to become the university's 28th president.
The selection of Pastides, 54, who has served as the university's vice president for research and health sciences and executive director of the South Carolina Research Foundation since 2003, followed a national search that drew some of the nation's most talented and promising academic leaders, Herbert Adams, chairman of the university's Board of Trustees, said Friday.
"Throughout this lengthy process, I have been very impressed by the work of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee," Adams said. "The committee worked diligently and talked with some of this nation's most talented leaders in higher education. Equally as gratifying was the response of many of the candidates, who said that the momentum at the University of South Carolina made this position a very desirable one."
Adams said he was confident that the board chose the right person for the job.
"Harris Pastides has built a solid career as a scholar, a researcher and a top administrator who has earned the respect of his colleagues in higher education and in the larger community. He understands the challenges we face, the opportunities before us and the university's commitment to becoming a world-class university."
Pastides, who will succeed Andrew Sorensen Aug. 1, said he was honored to have been named to lead the state's flagship university and was eager to begin forging ties with faculty, staff and students, as well as key external audiences such as alumni, donors, legislators and the citizens of the state, to make the university one of the greatest in the United States.
"This is not a time for gradualism," Pastides said. "I promise we will accelerate our momentum as a world-class university, yet remain a faithful index to the best hopes and dreams of all South Carolinians."
Pastides also said he understands and appreciates the value of public higher education and will work to keep a University of South Carolina education accessible.
"One thing I will never compromise is the value of a University of South Carolina education," he said. "The cornerstone of this university must continue to be an accessible and high-quality learning experience."
Student body President Andrew Gaeckle said he looks forward to working with Pastides and that the new president would be an advocate for students.
"With the announcement of the new president of the University of South Carolina, it's an exciting time for students, faculty, staff and administrators," Gaeckle said. "I am confident that Dr. Pastides will lead this flagship institution in a direction of academic excellence and be a strong advocate for students while continuing to serve South Carolinians across the state in search of public higher education."
Pastides joined the university in 1998 as dean of the School of Public Health and professor of epidemiology. He was instrumental in securing one of the university's biggest private gifts, $10 million from Columbia businessman Norman Arnold for the School of Public Health, for whom the school was named, and his wife, Gerry Sue.
As vice president for research, Pastides oversees the university's research initiatives and priorities. He is the university's chief liaison with business and industry and has been pivotal in some of the university's most visible partnerships and outreach and economic development initiatives.
Under his leadership, the university's funding for research and sponsored programs has increased 69.2 percent since 2002, reaching a record $185.2 million in fiscal year 2007, and the university has broadened its research partnerships with Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina and collaborated with some of the state's historically black colleges and universities, including Claflin and South Carolina State universities.
Pastides has played a key role in the establishment of, and the university's involvement in, Health Sciences South Carolina, a consortium of the state's research universities and leading hospital systems created to transform the health status and the economy of South Carolina.
He also has been intimately involved in the development of Innovista, the university's innovative research district designed to integrate high-tech research with recreational, retail and residential space through public and private partnerships.
Pastides joined the university from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he served for 13 years in a variety of capacities, including as chair of the department of biostatistics and epidemiology, associate professor and assistant professor in the School of Public Health.
A nationally respected and widely published scholar in the fields of health promotion, disease prevention, health disparities and public health preparedness, Pastides is active in numerous professional organizations.
He is a member of the Planning Group of the Institutes of Medicine, the Board of Directors of the National Hydrogen Association, the Board of Directors of the Yale Alumni in Public Health and the Board of Trustees of the South Carolina College of Pharmacy.
He is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, a member of the American Public Health Association, the International Epidemiology Association and the Society for Epidemiologic Research.
He has earned numerous honors for his research and public service, including the University of Albany Distinguished Alumni Award, the Yale University Public Health Distinguished Alumni Service Award and the James A. Hayne Award for Meritorious Achievement in Public Health from the S.C. Public Health Association. He is a former Fulbright senior research fellow at the University of Athens Medical School.
Pastides earned his bachelor's in biology and chemistry from the University at Albany, State University of New York, his master's in public health, his master of philosophy in epidemiology and his doctorate in epidemiology from Yale University.
A native of New York City, Pastides is married to the former Patricia Moore, a native of Middletown, Conn., and an alumna of Holy Cross College and Yale University with a master's degree in public health.
The couple has two children. Katharine is an education specialist for gallery teaching programs at the Getty Villa in Malibu, Calif., and Andrew is an actor in New York City.
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© University of South Carolina Board of Trustees