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COLUMBIA -- The University of South Carolina’s presidential search committee announced the names of four finalists Wednesday to serve as the 29th leader of the state’s flagship university system.

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The national search for a successor to President Harris Pastides began in November and attracted applicants from across the country.

 The four finalists named Wednesday are:

  • John Strait Applegate, executive vice president for academic affairs, Indiana University.
  • Robert L. Caslen Jr., senior counsel to the president and interim chief financial officer, University of Central Florida.
  • William F. Tate IV, dean of the graduate school and vice provost for graduate education, Washington University (St. Louis).
  • Joseph T. Walsh, Jr. vice president for research, Northwestern University.

 The presidential search is led by an 11-member committee comprised of several members of the university’s board of trustees as well as the chair of the faculty senate, two professors, the student body president, president of the My Carolina Alumni Association and a member of the university foundations board. Parker Executive Search, a global executive search firm based in Atlanta, assisted with identifying top candidates.

University trustee and search committee chairman Hugh Mobley said the goal is to recruit a president dedicated to enhancing classroom education, advancing groundbreaking research, building on the student experience and reaffirming the university’s commitment to serving the state of South Carolina.

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“The intense interest in this position speaks highly of the success of our institution during the decade-long leadership of President Pastides as well as the great opportunities that lie ahead,” Mobley said. “With these finalists, we’re confident that the next president will continue to build on our success in educating future leaders while also advancing our mission to serve all the people of South Carolina.”

The four finalists are scheduled to visit the Columbia campus April 22, 23, 24 and 25 for a series of meetings with students, faculty, staff and community leaders. Those attending the forums are encouraged to provide their feedback on candidates. Public comments are due by 8 a.m. on Friday, April 26, when the full board will interview candidates.

Scheduled forums include the following:

  • Faculty: 10:15 -11:15 a.m., Karen J. Williams Courtroom, School of Law.
  • Students: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Program Room, Ernest F. Hollings Library.
  • Open forum for students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members: 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., Program Room, Ernest F. Hollings Library.

Th forums will be streamed live at https://sc.edu/about/presidential_search/index.php, where you also can get more information.

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