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CofC names 3 finalists in president search

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The College of Charleston board of trustees has named three finalists in its search for the next president of the college.

Search committee chair Renee Buyck Romberger said in a message to the campus community that all of the finalists impressed the trustees with their understanding of the fast-changing landscape of higher education.

“They all also possess a talent for connecting their universities with area businesses and nonprofits to ensure their institutions not only remain relevant, but that they are leading voices in their respective communities,” she said.

Michael Benson

BensonMichael Benson is currently president of Eastern Kentucky University, a position he has held since 2013; he previously served as president of Southern Utah University for 6 1/2 years and as president of Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, from 2001 to 2006.

Benson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brigham Young University, a master’s in nonprofit administration from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate in modern history from the University of Oxford in England. He is currently pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Andrew Hsu

HsuAndrew Hsu is currently the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Toledo in Ohio, a position he has held since July 2016. Prior to that, Hsu served as dean of engineering at San Jose State University and as the associate vice president for research and dean of the graduate school at Wright State University in Ohio.

Hsu holds a bachelor’s degree from Tsinghua University in Beijing, and earned both a master’s and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Before joining academia in 1997, he worked in industry for 11 years with Sverdrup/NASA and Rolls-Royce.

Rhonda Phillips

PhillipsRhonda Phillips is currently the inaugural dean of the honors college at Purdue University, a role she began in 2013 after serving as the associate dean of Barrett, The Honors College, at Arizona State University for two years.

Phillips holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and a master’s degree in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi; a master’s in economics from Georgia Institute of Technology; and a doctorate in city and regional planning from the College of Design at Georgia Tech.

She is a three-time Fulbright Scholar who has also served as an economic development specialist, working with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and other nonprofit and public organizations.

The three finalists are each spending about a day and a half on campus this week, participating in open candidate forums and in closed interviews with deans, administrators and other campus leaders.

“We look forward to the campus community meeting and talking with these three extraordinary individuals,” Romberger said. “We hope you will be equally impressed with them as we are.”

Glenn McConnell retired as CofC president in July after four years leading the college. Stephen Osborne, CofC’s former executive vice president of business affairs, is serving as interim president.

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