Finalists named in UofSC’s presidential search

The University of South Carolina’s presidential search committee announced the names of four finalists Wednesday (April 17) to serve as the 29th leader of the state’s flagship university system. The comprehensive national search for a successor to President Harris Pastides began in November and attracted applicants from across the country.

The four finalists named Wednesday include:

  • 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


John Strait Applegate, Robert L. Caslen, Jr., William F. Tate IV and Joseph T. Walsh, Jr.

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 leading 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.

“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. This forum will also be live streamed here.

For more information, visit the presidential search page.


The University of South Carolina is a globally recognized, high-impact research university committed to a superior student experience and dedicated to innovation in learning, research, and community engagement. With eight campuses across 20 locations, including a Carnegie One research institution, three top-ranked regional comprehensive universities, four two-year Palmetto College campuses, and Palmetto College Online, the University of South Carolina system offers more than 450 degree programs and enrolls more than 51,000 students, serving a diverse population of students with widely varying backgrounds and career goals. As the state’s flagship system and leading educator, the university confers approximately 65 percent of all bachelor’s and graduate degrees awarded at public colleges and universities in South Carolina, and is uniquely positioned to meet the state’s educational, cultural, health, and research needs. The university has 300,000 living alumni around the world.