Dr. Pastides began his presidency at the University of South Carolina on Aug. 1, 2008. Just a few months later, the great recession began. Strong in the face of adversity, Pastides promised to accelerate USC’s momentum as a world-class university. He has kept that promise. Today, more than six years later, USC has experienced remarkable growth and positive change.
USC Columbia’s freshman classes, counter to the national trend, have grown continuously while posting the highest average SAT scores in university history. USC’s Honors College has been named the No. 1 public honors college in the nation, and the Palmetto state’s only Carnegie top-tier university is also home to top programs in areas such as undergraduate international business, public health, engineering, hospitality retail and sport management and more. In addition, just as The Chronicle of Philanthropy was reporting a significant drop in charitable giving to higher education, USC was setting university records with five consecutive years of more than $100 million in private giving.
An unwavering advocate for a superior student experience, Pastides encourages engagement beyond the classroom through leadership, service learning, international experience, internships and undergraduate research. Innovative programs like Palmetto College, On Your Time Graduation, Gamecock Gateway and Gamecock Guarantee are successfully providing greater access, flexibility and affordability to South Carolinians seeking a higher education degree. To date, 57,210 degrees have been awarded systemwide during Pastides’ presidency. He often says, “Nothing makes me prouder than the students we enroll and those that we graduate.”
Prior to joining the university’s faculty as dean of the Arnold School of Public Health, Pastides was a professor of epidemiology and chairman of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He received his master’s in public health and his Ph.D. in epidemiology from Yale University. President Pastides and the first lady, Patricia Moore-Pastides, live on USC’s historic Horseshoe.