COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — University of South Carolina Interim President Dr. Harris Pastides said he’s looking forward to a ‘pretty normal and fun’ year.
Dr. Pastides was selected to take over as interim president last week by the school’s Board of Trustees following the resignation of former President Bob Caslen.
Pastides spent more than a decade as President of the school before retiring in 2019. He said he’s getting settled back into his old job.
“It was difficult in some ways, but when duty calls and our love for Carolina was still present, we decided to come back and serve for what will be a limited amount of time,” he said.
Dr. Pastides sat down with WSPA to talk about his vision for the university during his one year as interim President. He said the first thing he wants to do is bring the Carolina community together.
He’ll be visiting with alumni, business leaders and other organizations across the state in the coming months. Pastides said the time away from his role as President gave him some perspective on the job.
“I think every executive, CEO, or college President should take some time walk the sidelines to look at what the university looks like,” he said.
Dr. Pastides said he was impressed by how the university handled the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he’s looking forward to having a’ somewhat regular’ school opening in the fall.
“I think we’re aching for normalcy around here. Students put up with a lot, staff put up with a lot, faculty put up with a lot,” he went on to say, “Of course the pandemic has not receded yet in South Carolina so we’ll have our guard up. I’m ready for a normal and fun year,” he said.
Pastides said he’s also looking for to attending sporting events in his trademark garnet jacket.
He said health and safety plans are still being finalized for the fall, but they’re encouraging students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. According to Pastides, they’ll be taking a look at the mask wearing requirement for unvaccinated students as well ahead of the fall semester.
Pastides said during his time as interim President he wants to make South Carolina the highest quality, lowest cost university in the land. UofSC is not expected to raise tuition in 2021.
He said he’s also looking forward to welcoming the next President of the University of South Carolina.