The Daily Gamecock

Six-figure jobs created for connected USC law school fundraisers

Henry McMaster to lead fundraising effort with aid of two former associates

USC has created three new fundraising jobs — at a cost of about $420,000 over the next year — to drum up $25 million for the construction of a new law school.

Leading the effort is Henry McMaster, formerly the state’s attorney general and a 2010 gubernatorial candidate. McMaster will earn $191,000 a year and report directly to USC President Harris Pastides. It’s not his first contract with the university; McMaster was previously making $7,500 a month — or $90,000 a year — to raise money for the law school.

That contract was temporary; this one, approved earlier this summer, is finite. 

“He’s got the kind of relationships that allow for the identification of some creative ways to raise money,” Law School Dean Rob Wilcox said. “And he has the confidence of the people that we need. He is very good and very optimistic about the process.”

Two other contracts were offered to Sunny Philips and Brad Henry, prominent South Carolina fundraisers with close ties to McMaster.

Philips, who served as finance director for McMaster’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign and is seen by many as one of the state’s premier fundraisers, will earn $118,000. Henry, a longtime South Carolina politico who has previously worked for McMaster and John McCain, will earn $112,000.

Both contracts began in June and will end in June 2012.

“During a bad economy, organizations have to be creative to raise funds; and with a large amount to raise and an extremely short period of time to do so, it makes sense for the University to call on someone with longstanding, pre-existing relationships within the business and legal community to help,” Philips wrote in an email.

Neither position includes benefits or a portion of the funds raised, said USC spokeswoman Margaret Lamb. In a voicemail left with The Daily Gamecock, Henry said “he doesn’t make on-the-record statements to the press.”

Michelle Dodenhoff, USC’s vice president for development, said neither position was advertised publicly. The university often hires temporary employees without public postings, but contracts usually don’t range in the six figures.

USC has also hired a senior director of development for the law school. This position isn’t new; it was previously filled and became open last year. Michelle Hardy will earn $115,000 annually in that job.

“It was advertised, and interviews were held,” Lamb said.