Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Dr. George Cooper brings an impressive résumé and an important set of priorities to South Carolina State University on Wednesday. As the institution’s 10th president, he is no stranger to the land-grant university from his tenure as deputy administrator for science and education resources development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Cooper emerged from a field of more than 40 applicants to be named president of S.C. State. He plans to emphasize S.C. State’s traditional strengths while pushing for increased state funding and building new relationships with private funding sources.
Cooper will find a university family ready to help him build success. He also will find a university that has done more than hold its own since a change in command late last year and during the months-long process of picking a new leader.
Dr. Leonard McIntyre is due credit for the job he has done during six months as interim president. He identified an agenda designed to leave the university in good condition for new leadership.
In an interview published Sunday in The Times and Democrat and at TheTandD.com, McIntyre said he accomplished his mission, identifying multiple successes that will make Cooper’s transition smoother and prospects for his administration brighter. “We want to be able to hand over the best South Carolina State University possible to the next president, I feel we’ve done just that.”
Of note, McIntyre acted to head off student housing issues that plagued S.C. State with its largest-ever class a year ago. With students’ return to campus but a month away, that is a priority.
• Established a committee to manage increased enrollment.
• Strengthened campus security.
• Started the process of internationalizing the campus to better prepare students for today’s global economy.
• Successfully delivered textbooks, produced by the university, to Zanzibar’s government for use in their school system.
• Welcomed Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume to campus, where he was the commencement speaker.
• The university was awarded custody of the late James Brown’s memorabilia for display at its museum.
• Proposed the establishment of an honors college.
• Enacted a smoke-free campus policy.
• Introduced a bridge program to recruit more teaching candidates out of high school.
McIntyre now will set about the task of assisting Cooper in transitioning into the top leadership position at the university. It is no small part of his continuing mission, as a new leader in a new role in a new place can use the expertise the interim leader has gathered.
South Carolina State embarks on a new era today. It does so with optimism. Welcome, Dr. Cooper. And thank you, Dr. McIntyre.