Dear Students of the College of Arts and Sciences,
I am writing you today both to welcome you back to this new semester and also to introduce myself as the new Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In December, Provost Tate asked me to step in to lead the College on short notice.
In doing so, the Provost has entrusted me with a tremendous responsibility: this College is the heart of the University of South Carolina, and your education is central to everything the faculty and staff do in the College of Arts and Sciences. As I see it, my mission is to lead this team in an effort to create the best possible experience for you.
After 20 years in the legal world, coming to this College is truly a return home for me. As an undergraduate at Princeton University, I benefitted from a comprehensive liberal arts education, majoring in political science with minors in Russian Studies and European Cultural Studies.
That said, as a way for you to get to know me outside of my professional capacity, I want to share a few facts you will not find in my bio:
- While in college in the early 1990s, I spent a summer in Russia embedded in the world of Russian organized crime and government efforts to control its spread. I was writing for a Russian newspaper alongside Yuri Shchekochikhin, one of Russia’s leading journalists on organized crime and corruption.
- In college, I was the play-by play announcer for my college radio station. In addition to being the regular voice of football, basketball, and hockey, I had the rare opportunity to announce the Final Four in four different sports: men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, women’s field hockey, and men’s soccer.
- I was head coach of the Columbia QuadSquad Roller Derby team, where I was known by my derby names: Loquacious Dand Sonny Pro Bono. Oh, and one other thing: Despite coaching the All Star team for seven years, I don’t know how to roller skate!
These are just a few pieces of my story. In turn, I look forward to finding a variety of ways to meet many of you during my tenure as Interim Dean and to learn about your stories, your passions, and your journeys in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The past year has been difficult for many reasons but above all because of the impact of the pandemic on all of us. While dealing with the stress of an unprecedented public health crisis and its effect on each of you and your loved ones, you have adapted to a new way of working and learning. I am grateful to you for your flexibility and your resiliency.
In the coming weeks and months, I will devote all of my energy to supporting you and to working with the faculty and staff of the College of Arts and Sciences in their individual and collective efforts to give you an incomparable educational experience.
Forever to Thee,
Joel H. Samuels
College of Arts and Sciences