ORANGEBURG, S.C. – The South Carolina State University Board of Trustees on Wednesday appointed Retired U.S. Army Col. Alexander Conyers as the University’s interim president.
Conyers, an SC State alumnus who joined his alma mater as vice president for strategic alliances and initiatives in May, had served as acting president since July 13.
“Since President Conyers’ appointment, he has proven himself to be a formidable leader as the university makes this very critical transition,” Board Chairman Rodney Jenkins said. “His focus has been keenly fixed on the success of our students.”
Jenkins pointed to positive images in news media of Conyers’ engagements with students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni. The chairman said elevating SC State’s image has fueled Conyers’ initiatives to increase enrollment, garner financial support, and achieve buy-in from various university constituents.
Interim President Alexander Conyers
Conyers thanked the Board for entrusting him with the university’s leadership and reiterated his commitment to helping more students succeed at SC State.
“Our trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and I share a common desire for SC State to reach new heights in serving our families,” Conyers said. “Having the Board’s support for our core mission makes all the difference in growing the next generation of scholars, leaders and influencers.”
Among Conyers’ first initiatives as acting president was to clear the past due account balances of some 2,500 continuing students using federal COVID-19 relief funds. The move aimed to lessen the financial burden for students who had been unable to return to SC State because of the financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It resulted in more the return of more than 320 students for the current semester, with additional returns expected in the 2022 Spring and Fall terms.
“I believe this decision positions Mr. Conyers as a leader the board stands behind, and entrusts to execute the university’s strategic vision, not just as a temporary placeholder; but as a leader who is committed to this journey for as long as the board sees fit,” Jenkins said.
The Board voted 12-1 to change Conyers’ status from acting to interim president.
“We must do everything in our power to lessen the obstacles that stand in the way of enrolling students and supporting them while they are in our care,” said Conyers. “We are committed to challenging their minds and setting them on a course to lead fruitful lives.”
Jenkins said having Conyers in place as interim president would allow the Board of Trustees to embark on a thorough and integrous process of selecting a permanent president.
“Having an interim president is a sign of stability and permanency that quells the concerns of external constituents and potential supporters who would rather conduct business and form relationships with a leader they feel will ‘be there’ for the university in the short term and for the possible long haul,” Jenkins said.