The Daily Gamecock

Pastides announces retirement from USC presidency

Harris Pastides announced that he will step down from the USC presidency in July of next year. Pastides, who has held the position for a decade, made the decision public during his State of the University address on Wednesday on the Horseshoe. 

Pastides emphasized in his speech the joy that the students and the Carolina community brought him during his time in office. 

“The greatest rewards came from the students,” Pastides said. “There is nothing more powerful and more motivating than a conversation, a high five, a selfie, or a ‘thank you’ from a Gamecock student. And of those, we drank freely from a never-ending cup.”

Pastides said he's confident about the future of USC and in its next president. 

“I have no doubt that USC is in a strong position now to recruit an able leader who has all the right stuff to take the reigns and hopefully to accelerate our progress,” Pastides said. 

When his announcement came, his wife stood tearfully beside him as they began their goodbye to the University of South Carolina.

“I want [students] to know that they’re the reason the decision was as difficult as it was,” Pastides said. “When we weighed the importance of more family time it was always counterbalanced by leaving the students, so I want them to know that I want to make the most of my remaining months of my tenure and they’ll always be first and foremost in my heart.”

Pastides has been at USC's helm for ten years, so many on campus haven't experienced any other leadership. Some are hesitant about the future.

“It’s kind of sad because I’ve heard a lot of good things about him and I was looking forward to spending four years with him,” first-year biology student Sydney Reynolds said. “So it’s kind of scary coming in and then getting a new president after one year.” 

Gov. Henry McMaster sent out a tweet in support of Pastides and in commemoration of all that he did for the university.

“His enthusiasm is infectious, his vision bright and bold, his passion and energy transformative, and his heart as big as the horseshoe,” McMaster said. “Carolina stands taller than ever on the national and worldwide stage because of Harris Pastides.”

Along with McMaster, Frank Martin, Student Body President Taylor Wright, Darius Rucker and many other students, alumni, faculty and staff have tweeted and spoken out about Pastides’ time at USC. 

“I think they have a lot to hang their hat on and we’re very fortunate to have had them for the 10 years,” said social media strategist CJ Lake. “It’s going to be hard to replace him.”

News editor Hannah Dear contributed to the reporting of this article.