McConnell: "For me, it's like coming home."; Lt. Gov. offered presidency of CofC

Glenn McConnell chosen as new College of Charleston President
Published: Mar. 22, 2014 at 10:25 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM EDT
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The College of Charleston Board of Trustees has offered the presidency to Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell. The Board voted unanimously to offer him the position after about two hours of deliberation.. McConnell was one of three finalists for the position.

"Probably if I had not gone back for commencement maybe I would have just said it's for somebody else, but I went back to commencement as a speaker, and I saw those students faces, and I saw the families out there excited over their accomplishment, and it was like a trip back in time for me."

CofC Board of Trustees Chair Greg Padgett made the announcement via a statement on the College's website Saturday night.

"We believe that Glenn McConnell is the best person to lead the College of Charleston, and we expect to quickly conclude the contract negotiations and formally introduce Lt. Gov. McConnell to the campus and the community," Padgett said.

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore issued a statement Saturday night in reaction to the news.

"Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell has served South Carolina with distinction for over three decades. A true statesman -- he made the honorable choice to become lieutenant governor when as a powerful state senator, some suggested that he simply avoid it," Moore said. "I congratulate Lt. Gov. McConnell on his selection as president and thank him for his service to our state. South Carolina Republicans wish him all the best at the College of Charleston."

McConnell was criticized by the NAACP for his participation in Civil War reenactments. On March 10, members of the NAACP called him "the face of the Confederacy" in the state.

"The other thing I look forward to is being able to reach out to the folks who didn't want me to come, and I hope that they will come to the same conclusion that the people who work with me in the legislature came to and that is judge me on my record not on rhetoric."

As far as the much discussed merger between MUSC and the College, McConnell says he wants to preserve the College's liberal arts core while making it relevant for the future.

"I'm going to sit down with MUSC. I'm going to build the College as strong as I can. I'm going to send them to MUSC and say 'O.K., you don't want to merge, so for the benefit for our people, let's collaborate."

McConnell announced in January that he would not seek re-election as Lt. Governor so that he could focus on pursuing the possibility of becoming the next College of Charleston president.

The college's current president, George Benson, is resigning effective in June and plans to return to teaching.

McConnell is a graduate of the College of Charleston and has a campus dormitory named in his honor. 

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