Skip to Content

Division of Human Resources

University President

The University of South Carolina has concluded a national search for its 30th president. The president serves as the top officer for the USC system and the Columbia campus.

Presidential Search Updates

After conducting a national search, interviewing a pool of qualified candidates and soliciting input from the University of South Carolina System community, the Board of Trustees elected Michael D. Amiridis as the 30th president of the University of South Carolina.

View Dr. Amiridis' application materials, learn more about the new president-elect or watch the virtual panels with Dr. Amiridis and members of the university community:

 

Past Presidential Search Updates

  • January 14, 2022 – Presidential Search Update: Candidate Information

All members of the University of South Carolina System community are invited to observe and engage in three opportunities today (Friday, January 14) to meet a candidate for President of the University of South Carolina.

The candidate is Michael Amiridis, Ph.D., current Chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago and former Provost of the University of South Carolina Columbia. The candidate’s C.V. and other application materials are posted to the presidential search website.

Community members may observe Dr. Amiridis interact with students, faculty and staff across three separate, virtual panel discussions today. During these virtual panels, observers may submit questions for Dr. Amiridis to a moderator through the Microsoft Teams videoconferencing interface.

Stakeholders and the public may submit evaluations of Dr. Amiridis’s candidacy to the Board of Trustees through this online survey instrument. The Board encourages submittal of survey responses by 3:00 p.m. today.

Please plan to watch and engage with these virtual panels today:

In preparation for today’s virtual panel discussions, community members are encouraged to review the presidential leadership profile, which describes the qualifications desired in candidates for President, as suggested through feedback provided by alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents and members of the public. To date, the presidential leadership profile has informed criteria and interview questions used by the Presidential Candidate Search Committee and Board of Trustees when interviewing candidates.

  • January 13, 2022 – An Update on the Presidential Search

All members of the University of South Carolina System community are invited to observe and engage in three opportunities on Friday, January 14 to meet a candidate for President of the University of South Carolina. 

On January 14, community members may observe the candidate interact with students, faculty and staff across three separate, virtual panel discussions. During these virtual panels, observers may submit questions for the candidate to a moderator through the Microsoft Teams videoconferencing interface. 

Stakeholders and the public may submit evaluations of the candidate to the Board of Trustees through an online survey instrument, access to which will be provided on Friday. 

Please block your calendars for the following times on Friday, January 14:

    • Virtual Panel: Academic Excellence: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
    • Virtual Panel: Research and Innovation: 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
    • Virtual Panel: System-wide Excellence; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

The name of and application materials from the candidate will be provided on the morning of January 14. Community members should expect these updates via email and via the presidential search website

In preparation for these January 14 panel discussions, community members are encouraged to review the presidential leadership profile, which describes the qualifications desired in candidates for President, as suggested through feedback provided by alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents and members of the public. To date, the presidential leadership profile has informed criteria and interview questions used by the Presidential Candidate Search Committee and Board of Trustees when interviewing candidates.

  • January 12, 2022 – The Board of Trustees discussed the presidential search during executive session of a called meeting.
  • January 7, 2022 – The Board of Trustees discussed the presidential search during executive session of a called meeting.
  • December 14, 2021 – The Board of Trustees discussed the presidential search during executive session of a regularly scheduled meeting.
  • December 6, 2021 – A Message from the Board of Trustees

    The Presidential Candidate Search Committee and Board of Trustees extend fond wishes to Dr. Mung Chiang, Executive Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering at Purdue University. Dr. Chiang announced yesterday that he will no longer be considered for the position of President of the University of South Carolina.

    We write to share some information regarding Dr. Chiang’s candidacy and to outline next steps.

    The 21 members of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, along with the Board of Trustees, were united in their enthusiasm for Dr. Chiang, after interviewing him in November. While considering other candidates, the Board then explored conditions of a potential USC Presidency with Dr. Chiang.

    Among those conditions was a thorough and successful day of engagement with students, faculty, and staff from across the USC System. Dr. Chiang agreed to four virtual panel discussions, situated in Columbia, the framework for which was devised by the leadership of USC Columbia’s Faculty Senate. The intent of these virtual panels was to guarantee broad stakeholder participation.

    The very “family considerations” Dr. Chiang notes in his statement to the USC community necessitated the postponement of virtual panels and other meetings between stakeholders and Dr. Chiang from the week of November 29 to the week of December 6.

    At USC, neither state law nor University policy requires that any candidate meet publicly with stakeholders for any personnel search. The state’s Freedom of Information Act requires that a South Carolina agency must make available to the public and the press the names and relevant materials “relating to not fewer than the final three applicants under consideration for a position.” The Board has not yet designated finalists in this presidential search.

    The Board of Trustees will convene this evening to discuss options for moving forward. Two fundamental beliefs govern all options: The University of South Carolina is an extraordinary institution, and an extraordinary opportunity awaits the next President of the University of South Carolina.

    Forever To Thee!

    C. Dorn Smith III, MD                      
    Chair, Board of Trustees    

    Thad H. Westbrook
    Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
    Chair, Governance Committee
    Chair, Presidential Candidate Search Committee

  • December 6, 2021 – The Board of Trustees held a called meeting in which Trustees discussed the presidential search in executive session. Following the executive session, the Board acknowledged receipt of the list of presidential candidates from the Presidential Candidate Search Committee’s Dec. 2 meeting and authorized Board Chairman C. Dorn Smith and Board Vice Chair Thad H. Westbrook to schedule any necessary next steps in the search process.
  • December 2, 2021 – The Presidential Candidate Search Committee convened via Microsoft Teams. Search Committee Chair Thad H. Westbrook thanked the Committee for its excellent work. After entering executive session to consider candidates for the position of President, the Committee voted to forward a subset of five candidates to the Board of Trustees for consideration and selection of finalists. Among the subset was a single candidate recommended for special consideration by the Board.
  • December 1, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, met with the Faculty Senate to provide an update regarding the presidential search. Chair Westbrook described a candidate for President who is preferred by both the Presidential Candidate Search Committee and the Board of Trustees. The preferred candidate will likely visit campus to meet with stakeholders, including members of the Faculty Senate. Chair Westbrook encouraged members of the Faculty Senate to review the presidential leadership profile in preparation for opportunities to evaluate any candidate.
  • November 9, 2021 – A Message from the Presidential Candidate Search Committee
    • The Presidential Candidate Search Committee, whose members are listed below,  provides this update on the presidential search because the Committee has made significant progress to report. 

      As we have communicated throughout the search process, we are seeking excellence for our beloved University, and — based on the progress we have made to this point — we believe the future is bright. 

      Since the Search Committee first met in early June, we have been mindful of our duty to pursue the best interests of the University of South Carolina in conducting a search for a new President. This work is ongoing, and we endeavor to fulfill the charge presented to the Committee by the Chair of the Board of Trustees and to abide by University policy that governs presidential searches [pdf]

      Through listening sessions and town hall meetings, our Committee has gathered opinions from the University community and the public. The Committee has hosted 34 separate engagements with stakeholders from across the University System. We gathered 5,928 replies to an online survey regarding personal characteristics and professional qualifications desired of candidates for President. Those results, along with feedback about the most important issues facing the University, contributed directly to a leadership profile that the University released in early September. 

      With that leadership profile, the Committee and executive search firm R. William Funk & Associates have solicited nominations and applications for the position of President. 

      We believe it is important for us to provide you with a current assessment of the candidate pool. November 1 was the “soft deadline” for submittal of candidates’ applications, but the Committee will continue to accept and assess applications. While the identities of candidates in the pool must remain confidential to protect the current employment of those candidates, these general qualities are worth noting: the Committee has assembled “a broad, deep, and diverse pool of strong candidates,” just as we were charged to do and just as University policy demands. There are dozens of applicants in the pool, and the accomplishments of these individuals are truly impressive. Women and persons of color represent 48% of current applicants. 

      In short, the pool of candidates is excellent and highly diverse. 

      We know that the most important phases of our work remain, as we conduct interviews and fulfill our obligation to evaluate candidates before making recommendations to the Board of Trustees. The Presidential Candidate Search Committee is committed to continue working together to represent the entire University of South Carolina community in pursuit of candidates of the highest caliber. 

      We are grateful for the support we have received from the University family. The University of South Carolina is the preeminent force for higher education in the state, and it is a tremendous honor and privilege for us to participate in the search for the next President. 

      Forever To Thee! 

      Signed by all members of the University of South Carolina Presidential Candidate Search Committee:

      James Bennett (USC 1983): Vice Chair of USC Educational Foundation; Area Executive, First Citizens Bank

      Gloria Boutte, Ph.D.: Carolina Distinguished Professor at USC Columbia; Program Coordinator for the PhD Program in Teaching and Learning; Executive Director and Founder of the Center for the Education and Equity of African American Students

      Brian Canada, Ph.D.: Chair of the USC Beaufort Faculty Senate

      Mark G. Cooper, Ph.D.: Immediate Past-Chair of USC Columbia Faculty Senate

      Alex English (USC 1991): Trustee

      Hossein Haj-Hariri, Ph.D.: USC Columbia Educational Foundation Distinguished Professor and Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing

      Brian C. Harlan (USC 1990): Trustee

      Alex Harrell (USC Class of 2022): USC Columbia Student Body President

      Ernest Jenkins, Ph.D.: Chair of Palmetto College Faculty Senate

      Lisa Johnson, Ph.D.: Chair of USC Upstate Faculty Senate

      Lou Kennedy (USC 1984): Owner, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation

      Leah B. Moody (USC 1996): Trustee

      Emma W. Morris (USC 1992): Trustee

      Alexandra Roach, Ph.D.: Chair of USC Aiken Faculty Assembly

      Robin Roberts (USC 1976): President of the USC Alumni Association

      David Seaton (USC 1984, 2014): Chair, 2008-2015 USC Columbia Carolina’s Promise Capital Campaign; Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Fluor Corporation; governance advisor to the Board of Trustees

      C. Dorn Smith III, M.D. (USC 1985): Chair of the Board of Trustees

      Lauren Smith (USC 2011, 2014): Director, USC Columbia International Student Services; Search Committee’s advocate for USC System staff and administrators and for matters pertaining to international enrollment

      Eugene P. Warr Jr. (USC 1981, 1985): Trustee

      Thad H. Westbrook (USC 1996, 1999): Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Chair of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee

      Mack I. Whittle Jr. (USC 1971, 1975): Trustee

  • November 5, 2021 – The Presidential Candidate Search Committee convened at the Pastides Alumni Center. Search Committee Chair Thad H. Westbrook offered an update regarding stakeholder engagements, and Committee member Lauren Smith summarized a report to the Committee from the Women’s Leadership Institute. The Committee then entered executive session to consider candidates for the position of President. Upon resuming the meeting in open session, the Committee acted to approve a set of 20 candidates for potential interviews.
  • November 3, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, met with the Faculty Senate to provide an update regarding the presidential search.
  • October 25, 2021 – The Women’s Leadership Institute at USC Columbia convened to discuss the presidential search and to prepare recommendations for the Presidential Candidate Search Committee. Search Committee member Lauren Smith attended the Institute’s meeting and will communicate the Institute’s findings to the full Search Committee at a later date.
  • October 20, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, met with members of the USC Columbia Educational Foundation Board of Directors to discuss the presidential search.
  • October 13, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, met with members of the USC Columbia Development Foundation Board of Directors to discuss the presidential search.
  • September 24, 2021 – committee meeting with members of the Funk & Associates search firm in which they received an update on the 30 stakeholder engagements held to date, then entered executive session to discuss potential presidential candidates with the search firm. Search Committee Chair Thad H. Westbrook emphasized that the Committee intended to evaluate the state and quality of the pool of candidates overall and that the Committee was not yet prepared to determine which candidates might be interviewed. Recruitment of candidates will continue into November.
  • September 17, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, delivered an update to the Board of Trustees about the presidential search.
  • September 16, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, hosted a virtual town hall to inform the University of South Carolina System community and members of the public about the presidential search.
  • September 13, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, met with USC Columbia development and fundraising officers to discuss the presidential search.
  • September 9, 2021 – The Presidential Candidate Search Committee released its presidential leadership profile, which describes the position of President of the University of South Carolina, forecasts the opportunities awaiting the next President, and outlines the traits and qualifications desired of candidates for President. The Search Committee also released a summary of 5,928 responses to an online presidential search survey that were received between late June and early August.
  • September 3, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of USC’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, met with faculty leaders at USC Columbia during the Provost’s fall retreat to discuss the presidential search.
  • August 27, 2021 – Committee and several members of Funk & Associates met. Committee Chairman Thad Westbrook gave an overview of the outreach efforts to date, which include 28 listening sessions.
  • August 25, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee; Mark Cooper, immediate past chair of the USC Columbia Faculty Senate and a member of the Search Committee; and Hossein Haj-Hariri, Dean of USC Columbia’s College of Engineering and Computing and a non-voting advisor to the Search Committee; met with the executive leadership of USC Columbia's Graduate Student Association.
  • August 20, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, and representatives from the R. William Funk & Associates executive search firm met with members of USC Columbia's Community Advisory Committee to discuss the search.
  • August 20, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, and representatives from the R. William Funk & Associates executive search firm met with chancellors from across the USC System to discuss the search.
  • August 20, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, and representatives from the R. William Funk & Associates executive search firm held a virtual town hall for participants across the USC System to discuss the search.
  • August 20, 2021 – Representatives from the R. William Funk & Associates executive search firm met with the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees to discuss the search.
  • August 19-20, 2021 – The committee and representatives from the R. William Funk & Associates executive search firm held two town halls on Aug. 19 and one town hall on Aug. 20 to give the university community additional feedback opportunities. View the recordings online:
  • August 19, 2021 – The committee and representatives from the R. William Funk & Associates executive search firm held two meetings with senior leaders at USC Columbia to discuss the search.
  • August 19, 2021 – The committee and representatives from the R. William Funk & Associates executive search firm met with the Council of Academic Deans at USC Columbia to discuss the search.
  • August 19, 2021 – The committee and representatives from the R. William Funk & Associates executive search firm met with the Staff Assembly at USC Columbia to discuss the search.
  • August 19, 2021 – The committee and representatives from the R. William Funk & Associates executive search firm met with the Faculty Senate at USC Columbia to discuss the search.
  • August 5, 2021 – Committee meeting with representatives of executive search firm R. William Funk & Associates, who gave brief remarks expressing optimism about the search for potential presidential candidates. The committee continued the discussion of potential presidential candidates with the search firm in executive session. Several committee members gave highlights about the community and stakeholder input process, which will continue with a schedule of events to take place on Aug. 19 and 20.
  • August 4, 2021 –  Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee; Dr. C. Dorn Smith III, Chair of USC’s Board of Trustees and a member of the Search Committee; and representatives from executive search firm R. William Funk & Associates met with the leaders of USC Columbia’s Faculty Senate and American Association of University Professors chapter to discuss the presidential search.
  • July 28, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, spoke with members of the Board of Visitors to seek input regarding the presidential search.
  • July 23, 2021 – Lisa Johnson, Chair of the USC Upstate Faculty Senate and a member of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, hosted a virtual forum for USC Upstate stakeholders regarding the presidential search.
  • July 21, 2021 – Lou Kennedy and David Seaton, alumni who serve as non-voting advisors on the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, joined Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, to speak with members of the Midlands Business Leadership Group to seek input regarding the presidential search.
  • July 20, 2021 – The Search Committee selected the recruiting firm R. William Funk and Associates to assist in the search for potential presidential candidates.
  • July 13, 2021 –  Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Search Committee, along with David Seaton, an alumnus who serves as a non-voting advisor on the Search Committee, conducted a listening session regarding the presidential search with the Executive Committee of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
  • July 12, 2021 – Alex Harrell, Student Body President at USC Columbia and a member of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, hosted a virtual forum for students regarding the presidential search.
  • July 12, 2021 – Committee meeting in which the committee discussed potential executive search firms during executive sesstion.
  • July 8, 2021 – Alexandra Roach, Search Committee member and Chair of USC Aiken’s Faculty Assembly, facilitated a virtual discussion with faculty and staff at USC Aiken regarding the presidential search.
  • July 1, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of USC’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, met with USC Columbia’s Community Advisory Committee to seek input regarding the presidential search.
  • July 1, 2021 – Committee meeting in which the committee heard brief updates about the stakeholder input solicitation process, and then went into executive session to discuss potential executive search firms.
  • June 30, 2021 – Brian Canada, Chair-elect of USC Beaufort’s Faculty Senate and a member of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, facilitated a forum for faculty and staff at USC Beaufort regarding the presidential search.
  • June 28, 2021 – Ernest Jenkins, Search Committee member and Chair of the Palmetto College Campuses Faculty Senate, hosted a forum for Palmetto College faculty and staff.
  • June 25, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of USC’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, provided an update regarding the presidential search to the Board of Trustees.
  • June 25, 2021 – Search committee member Lauren Smith and members of the Columbia Staff Senate hosted a forum for all university system employees at the Russell House Theatre and via Microsoft Teams. Access a video recording of the meeting.
  • June 24, 2021  – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of USC’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, addressed the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors to seek input regarding the presidential search.
  • June 24, 2021 – Committee meeting in which board member Leah Moody was appointed as the committee’s diversity and equity advocate. Committee members also gave brief overviews of the progress made in soliciting university community input on the search process. In executive session, the committee discussed options for working with an executive search firm.
  • June 23, 2021 – Search committee members Gloria Boutte and Mark Cooper  hosted a virtual forum for Columbia faculty to allow faculty the opportunity to share what qualities the committee should seek in presidential finalists.
  • June 23, 2021 – Hossein Haj-Hariri, USC Columbia Educational Foundation Distinguished Professor, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, and a member of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, met with his peer academic deans at USC Columbia to hear their opinions about the qualities desired of candidates for President of the University of South Carolina.
  • June 16, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of USC’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, spoke at a virtual Alumni Town Hall sponsored by the University of South Carolina Alumni Association to seek input regarding the presidential search. Watch the video recording of the Alumni Town Hall.
  • June 10, 2021Committee meeting
  • June 4, 2021Committee meeting
  • June 2, 2021 – Thad H. Westbrook, Vice Chair of USC’s Board of Trustees and Chair of the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, spoke to the USC Columbia Faculty Senate about Board Policy BTRU 3.01 (“Presidential Candidate Search Committee”) and the outlook for the presidential search. A video recording of that June 2 meeting is available.
  • May 21, 2021 – In an email to members of the USC Columbia community, Interim President Harris Pastides provided a link to this webpage and encouraged members of the Carolina family “to stay informed about” the presidential search.
  • May 21, 2021 – Presidential Candidate Search Committee formed

Search Committee Information


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

©