A retired Army veteran who temporarily led South Carolina State University has been named to fill the position permanently.
The university’s board of trustees approved the appointment of Colonel Alexander Conyers at a special meeting on Thursday, media reported.
Conyers, a 1989 SC State graduate, had led the school since last July when administrators ousted his predecessor, James Clark.
“I am a man of faith and I am certain that President Conyers has been chosen to lead this university during a time like this,” Board of Trustees Chairman Rodney Jenkins said in a statement.
Conyers said he was honored to return to his alma mater, which he described as family, The Post and Courier reported.
“When I set foot on this campus as a student in 1986, I had no idea that I would one day sit in the president’s chair to continue the legacy established by the exceptional leaders who have made of SC State the vibrant institution we know and love today,” Conyers said.
Conyers. SC State’s 13th president takes the helm of the state’s only historically black public university after a difficult few years for the institution. The school has struggled with declining enrollment for about a decade and is now the second-smallest four-year college in the state.
Enrollment issues have exacerbated financial concerns. The university’s accreditor put the school on probation in 2014, in part because of these concerns, and SC State did not regain its reputation until 2016. Lawmakers twice bailed out the university, canceling $12 million in loans made to help him. do the payroll.
Trustees praised Conyers’ work as interim chairman. It used federal COVID-19 relief funding to clear overdue balances for about 2,500 students. This allowed 320 students to re-enroll to complete their studies, the university said.
Conyers also launched a $1.25 million capital campaign.
“We can’t let up on the gas,” Jenkins said. “Because of its leadership over the past nine months, this university has already begun its ascent as the top choice for men and women who wish to receive undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in the fields of career of their choice.
Conyers spent most of his career in the military. Before being hired as SC State’s vice president for strategic alliances and initiatives last year, he served as the deputy assistant secretary of the Army overseeing the Army Review Boards agency. Previously, he oversaw the Army’s largest military police brigade.