On 21 Aug 2012, Dr. Harris Pastides spoke to the St. Andrews Rotary Club about events that will shape the coming school year. Dr. Pastides is the 28th president of the University of South Carolina (USC), elected by the University’s Board of Trustees on August 1, 2008. His election marks the first internal candidate for the presidency of the University in over a half century. Previously, Dr. Pastides served as vice president for research and health sciences and dean of the Arnold School of Public Health. He and his wife, Patricia, first came to the University in 1998. Leading by example, Dr. Pastides expects students, faculty, and staff to set and exceed high expectations, push boundaries, and embrace innovation. He is an advocate for student engagement beyond the classroom through leadership, service learning, international experience, internships, and undergraduate research.
Under his leadership, Carolina’s student population has grown to record levels among the system’s eight universities on 12 campuses. Knowing that degree attainment significantly impacts the quality of life in South Carolina, Dr. Pastides continues to spearhead non-traditional programs such as Palmetto College, Back to Carolina, Gamecock Gateway and Gamecock Guarantee to increase university access and affordability. In addition, he leads an unprecedented capital campaign to fund essential needs for knowledge, research, discovery and development. USC is the only university in South Carolina with the Carnegie top-tier designation for very high research activity. In addition, incoming freshman at the research university are the brightest to date with average SAT scores breaking barriers. The Honors College is ranked No. 1 in the nation and Carolina offers the No.1 electrical engineering program in the South as well as the top undergraduate international business program.
In athletics, men’s and women’s teams throughout the university system have enjoyed historic success across an array of sports including Gamecock football’s first 11-win season and Capital One Bowl victory. USC’s women’s basketball team made it to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament and Carolina’s back-to-back World Series baseball champions made their third consecutive trip to the College World Series. As important, 121 of Carolina’s student-athletes made the SEC’s Spring Academic Honor Roll. Dr. Pastides currently serves as the Southeastern Conference representative on the NCAA Board of Directors.
Before joining the university’s faculty, he was a professor of epidemiology and chairman of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received his masters of public health and his Ph.D. in epidemiology from Yale University.