During the past decade, the University of South Carolina’s 28th president, Harris Pastides, has led USC’s flagship system of eight institutions in 19 geographic locations to higher achievements and unprecedented growth. Under Pastides’ tenure the university has seen the South Carolina Honors College rise to the No. 1 public honors college in the nation; celebrated continual top national academic program rankings, including 47 current programs in undergraduate and graduate international business, public health, engineering, nursing and others; procured record-levels of research funding and surpassed a $1 billion capital campaign goal.
A steadfast advocate for a superior student experience, Pastides encourages engagement beyond the classroom through leadership, service learning, international experiences, internships and undergraduate research. During his tenure, innovative programs like Palmetto College, On Your Time Graduation, Gamecock Gateway, Gamecock Guarantee and the Gamecock Student Athletic Promise provide greater access, flexibility and affordability to South Carolinians seeking a higher education degree. In addition to establishing record-setting enrollment, more than 100,000 degrees have been awarded system-wide during Pastides’ presidency.
In 2016, Pastides became one of seven Fulbright alumni to receive the inaugural Global Changemaker Award — given in recognition of his ongoing commitment to transform society and humanity through his work. The son of Greek immigrants, Pastides also received the 2017 prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor which pays homage to the immigrant experience and the contributions made to our nation by immigrants and their children. In 2017, Pastides also received the SC Urban League Whitney M. Young Award for his trailblazing work to promote civil rights and equal opportunity.
Today, Pastides serves on many local, state, national and international boards including the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the U.S. Fulbright Program (Chair), the University Research Associates (Chair), the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium and the Google.org Impact Challenge. He is a past chair of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and currently serves as president of the Southeastern Conference.
Prior to joining the university’s faculty as dean of the Arnold School of Public Health, then advancing to vice president for Research and Health Sciences, Pastides was a professor of epidemiology and chairman of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He received two masters’ degrees and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Yale University. President Pastides and the first lady, Patricia Moore-Pastides, live on USC’s historic Horseshoe.
Patricia Moore-Pastides, an accomplished cook, public health professional, advocate and author, is the first lady of the university.