Andrew A. Sorensen, the University of South Carolina's 27th president, announced his retirement in December 2007. He will serve until July 31, 2008, and begin working in University health sciences.
Dec. 14, 2007
University of South Carolina President Andrew Sorensen announced that he will step aside from the duties and responsibilities of the presidency July 31, 2008.
In a letter to Herbert Adams, chairman of the university's Board of Trustees, Sorensen cited the significant progress that has been made during his tenure, including a steady increase in SAT entering class scores to what's now their highest level; unprecedented increases in research funding; momentum in private giving to the university; and the establishment of key partnerships with the private sector, the state's two other research universities and the state's technical college system.
Sorensen also said that the demands of launching a future comprehensive capital campaign would require the presence of a single chief executive officer over several years.
“Although Donna and I have immensely enjoyed our service to the Gamecock family, after considerable discussion, we have come to the inescapable conclusion that it is time to pass the baton of the presidency,” Sorensen said. “Our university requires a president who can see a capital campaign through from start to finish.”
Sorensen became president on July 1, 2002, succeeding Dr. John M. Palms during a state budget crisis that required him to cut university spending dramatically.
To maximize resources, he immediately prioritized the establishment of partnerships with the private sector, as well as with the state's two other research universities. Within his first year, he announced plans for a research campus, now known as Innovista, that would transform the landscape of the city and the Midlands economy. Under his leadership, the university increased its private giving, research funding and quality of the student body, gaining the attention of the Wall Street Journal, which in November 2006 cited the university as an up-and-coming institution for the caliber of its academic offerings.
Under Sorensen's leadership, the university built the Inn at USC, established a student Success Center, increased access by creating a statewide bridge program with the state's technical colleges, integrated the university's College of Pharmacy with the pharmacy college at the Medical University of South Carolina, became a founding partner in Health Sciences South Carolina and strengthened community relations, particularly within the African-American community. His efforts earned him the respect of business and community leaders, alumni and students.
Adams said that Sorensen will continue to have an important role at the university.
“As we look at the future, he's still going to be a member of the team,” Adams said. “He may be changing positions, but he will still be working heart and soul because that's the only way he knows how to work for the University of South Carolina. Sorensen said he looks forward to serving the university for many years.
“I look forward to returning to the faculty upon stepping aside as president and renewing a life of scholarship and teaching.” A search committee to launch a national search is being formed.
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