The College of Charleston’s presidency has been nothing short of unstable since the retirement of President Glenn McConnell in July of 2018, due to the inconsistency of the individuals holding the position. After assuming the role in July 2014, his years of service on campus were most notably recognized by those inside and out of the community as being controversial. His Civil War reenactments as Confederate soldiers, affiliation with the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and previous ownership of a Confederate memorabilia shop, were all actions not well-received by our school located in a city historically associated with racial violence. Following McConnell, President Stephen Osborne warmly accepted the position as an interim president, after working in the College’s administration for twelve years. He sought to fulfill the desires of the campus community, and made a point to diligently listen to their ideas— making him a more positive contributor to the campus community after the conflict during McConnell’s time.
Finally, Andrew T. Hsu was elected as the twenty-third President of College of Charleston on November 28th. An email was sent to the student body by the Board of Trustees, who were tasked with making the final decision, that same evening to announce the end of their search and to introduce Dr. Hsu. After declaring the historic decision, the email wrote, “Dr. Hsu is an extraordinary individual – he is a scholar, a community builder, a fundraiser and a visionary leader. We were all impressed with Dr. Hsu’s experience, his accomplishments in forming industry partnerships, his commitment to diversity and his passion for the liberal arts. Over the course of the search process, Dr. Hsu has not only proven himself a great higher-education thinker, but also a great doer, with a track record of inspiring accomplishments across his career.” His election was a unanimous decision by the Board, revealing their confidence in his ability to benefit the College while serving as President. Their level of faith in his election has positively influenced the student body’s outlook of him, allowing us to take comfort in his ability to facilitate our academic and personal growth throughout our time at the College.
Dr. Hsu’s election, additionally, embodies the College of Charleston’s core values: Integrity, Academic Excellence, Liberal Arts Education, Respect for the Individual Student, Diversity, Community, and Public Mission, as reflected in his numerous feats. President Hsu is an immigrant from China, as well as the first individual of color to take this office in the school’s history, reflecting the campus ideal of cultural diversity. His intellect is characterized by his numerous academic achievements, most notably, his doctorate in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his position as the University of Miami’s aerospace program director. Above all else, Dr. Hsu exhibits a dedication to liberal arts education and each institution of higher learning through which he is employed. These numerous feats prove he is more than capable of taking on the role of President here.
After the discord originating from President McConnell’s affiliation with Confederate ideology and the lack of a permanent President following his retirement, the election of President Hsu allows the College’s community a breath of fresh air and hope for improvements within the campus climate. Through his promotion of diversity and his priority of education, I trust he will continue to build the College in a manner which reflects its core values and foster our diverse community.