Filing has ended for seats on the South Carolina State University board with only one person seeking to fill one of the 12 open positions.
“I’m absolutely surprised nobody filed, except for one,” said Sen. John Matthews, D-Bowman.
South Carolina State University has been led by an interim, seven-member board since 2015. Members are to serve until June 30, 2018, “or until a full new board of trustees is elected and qualified.”
The new board will have 12 members appointed by the General Assembly and one appointed by the governor.
Matthews and other lawmakers have discussed phasing in a new board of trustees, rather than having the General Assembly elect an entirely new board next year. That would allow some current members to remain.
Matthews said since only one candidate filed to be on the board, “that’ll give us (lawmakers) a chance to look at some type of solution or phase-in” of new board members.
Candidates seeking positions on various college and university boards throughout the state had until noon Wednesday to file.
Dr. Wilbur B. Shuler was the only candidate to file for S.C. State’s board. He’s seeking Seat 6.
When asked about being the lone candidate to file for a seat on S.C. State’s board, Shuler said, “I guess I’m the only who thought I had something to offer.”
The 74-year-old retired higher education fiscal manager is also an S.C. State alumnus and an Orangeburg native.
“I was born on Whitman Street,” he said.
He now lives a few blocks away on Myers Road.
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Shuler has an undergraduate degree in business administration and accounting from S.C. State, a master’s degree in finance from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), another master’s in higher education administration/student personnel services from the University of South Carolina and a doctorate from the University of Memphis in higher and adult education.
Shuler spent the entirety of his career in higher education fiscal affairs and governance.
He also served as an evaluator for 30 years with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Prior to returning to S.C. State in 2001, he worked at the University of North Alabama as the chief financial officer for a decade.
From 1987 until 1991, he worked as the financial leader at Fort Valley State University and at S.C. State University from 1968 until 1987.
“I came back to S.C. State in 2001 because I thought I could help them, but there were a few board members who didn’t want me there,” Shuler said.
“When I came back to S.C. State, that was the early stages of so many of their fiscal problems,” he said.
He retired in 2004, but briefly stepped out of retirement to serve as chief fiscal officer at Georgia Highland College and then at South Georgia College.
He officially retired in 2012.
“I have a tremendous amount of experience in governance and finance of higher education,” Shuler said.
He said as a S.C. State board member, the first thing he’ll address is improving the fiscal soundness of the university and enrollment.
As for other T&D Region residents who filed for seats on other university boards, Orangeburg attorney Charles H. Williams is seeking an additional term on the board of the University of South Carolina and Orangeburg dentist Dr. Robert C. Gordon is seeking an additional term on the board of the Medical University of South Carolina.