First African American provost appointed by board of trustees

File Photo: Zahida Ashroff / The Daily Gamecock

William F. Tate was appointed by a unanimous vote as the university’s provost at Friday’s board of trustees meeting. 

Tate is the first African American to fill the office of provost at USC. Presently, Tate serves as the dean of the graduate school of arts and sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, where he is also vice provost of graduate education and a professor of education and African and African American studies. 

The office of provost, which oversees the university’s academic affairs, is considered to be the university’s second highest position after president. Tate was a candidate in USC’s presidential search last spring. 

President Caslen expressed satisfaction with the board’s decision. 

“He's clearly a great leader; he's a fast learner,” Caslen said. “He understands where higher education is. He's an innovator. He studied our strategic plan and our priorities. He’s fully on board. And I'm confident he'll be a great teammate and a great provost.” 

Tate will begin on July 1, 2020, with an annual salary of $465,000.

Additionally, an update on the university’s coronavirus response was given by Dennis Pruitt, vice president for student affairs and vice provost. 

The updates focused on preparation for a variety of outcomes should the coronavirus arrive in South Carolina. 

“We're trying to ask people not to panic but to be good citizens, to engage in good self-care. We've given instructions for that and also to have concerns for others. We’re giving diligent attention to the CDC/DHEC guidelines, we’ve kinda put ourselves, giving faith to their guidelines,” Pruitt said. “And if citizens will act and respond and be helpful, we can hopefully limit the effects of this pandemic flu.”

A 65-person task force consisting of epidemiologists and emergency management officials has been formed and is preparing for coronavirus outbreaks of varying severity. 

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