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Charleston Southern University president leaving to lead Virginia university

Jason Thomas //April 3, 2023//

Charleston Southern University president leaving to lead Virginia university

Jason Thomas //April 3, 2023//

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In a letter to the Charleston Southern community Dondi Costin announced that he has been called to a new assignment and will serve as CSU president through June 30, according to a news release from the school.

Costin has been named the next president of Liberty University, his alma mater.

“Without exception, Vickey and I love absolutely everything about CSU,” said Costin in the release. “Accepting God’s call to a new assignment has been one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make, but we committed decades ago to move wherever the Lord sent us. As difficult as it will be to leave the greatest trustees, senior leaders, faculty, staff, students and supporters on the planet, we know that God has issued a new set of orders, and we have no choice but to follow His lead.”    

Charleston Southern has flourished as a Christian university under Costin’s leadership, which featured a visionary strategic plan and the university’s award-winning response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the release stated. He helped launch the university’s first two doctoral programs, the state’s only four-year aviation program, an engineering department consisting of an engineering major with three concentrations, the Dewey Center for Chaplaincy, and the Strack Center for Global Leadership and Ministry.

Charleston Southern University President Dondi Costin speaks during a graduation ceremony. (Photo/Provided)Costin also oversaw construction of the first residence hall in 30 years, a state-of-the-art engineering and science building, a world class addition to the health science building, a new student center, renovation of the CSU campus store, expansion of the campus coffee shop, and the finest intramural complex in the state, the release stated.

Under his leadership the Limitless Campaign set CSU records for annual giving, one-year campaign giving, and Giving Day totals, while establishing the Hans A. Nielsen College of Business as CSU’s first named college, the release stated. In addition, new student enrollment increased 20 percent during his tenure, and CSU Athletics enjoyed its best year in university history, finishing third in the Big South Conference Sasser Cup competition while attaining a 3.14 student-athlete cumulative GPA.

“As one whose life and ministry have been profoundly shaped by Liberty University, I can think of no educational institution with more global impact than my two-time alma mater, Costin said in a news release from Liberty University. “I am beyond grateful to the Board for entrusting me with this extraordinary opportunity,” said President designee Costin. “Vickey and I look forward to locking arms with the Liberty family as we honor the University’s past and drive toward its future. With God’s help and for His glory, the very best days of our great University are still ahead of us.”

The CSU board of trustees has retained CarterBaldwin Executive Search to lead the search for Charleston Southern’s fourth president, the CSU release stated. CarterBaldwin partner Bill Peterson will facilitate the search. Nominations and recommendations can be sent to him beginning immediately at 

The board also voted this week to appoint a search committee comprised of trustees, faculty, and staff, many of whom led the search committee that landed Costin, according to the release. This group represents key constituencies who are vitally important to the institution, and they will seek God’s choice to become CSU’s fourth president.

“We look forward to meeting the one God chooses to lead as CSU’s next president,” said Hetz. “As Dr. Costin often reminds us, the best is yet to come.”