COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dr. Michael Amiridis has been picked to be the new president of the University of South Carolina, becoming the 30th person to lead the state's flagship public college.
The Schools Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday afternoon to choose Amirdis.
Amiridis, 59, had only been named an official finalist for the job just hours earlier. He was then allowed to do several remote sessions with faculty and staff.
“I’m excited and honored to return to the University of South Carolina as its next president,” Amiridis said. “Through academics, research and its vibrant culture, the university system is critically important to the people of South Carolina and to the state’s future. I feel privileged to be able to lead this great institution.”
He'll take over this summer, and make an annual salary of $900,000 a year.
Amiridis is well known in the USC community, having served as the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the Columbia campus from 2009-2015. He's currently the Chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago.
Amiridis has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can see his full resume on the USC's presidential search website.
Amirdis will take over for Harris Pastides, the former USC President who had been serving in an interim role.
Friday's vote ends a search that began back in May of 2021, after former University of South Carolina President Bob Caslen who resigned on May 12 after less than two years leading the school.
Caslen's departure came after twin controversies involving his speech at the school's graduation ceremony on May 7. Caslen admitted he plagerized a section of a speech delivered by former Navy Admiral William McRaven in 2014 without credit. He apologized to students and faculty on the following Monday. In the same speech, Caslen also irked graduates and attendees when he told the students, moments after they turned their tassels on their caps, "it's now my honor and privilege to officially congratulate you as the newest alumni from the University of California."
There had been one other prime candidate, Purdue University engineering dean Mung Chiang, but he decided in December to stay with Purdue and focus on family instead.
Pastides was then brought in as a stabilizing force to oversee the transition to a new leader He had served the flagship university for 10 years and during his time in office, the school saw record growth in enrollment, new levels of academic success and improved graduation rates for all students. The school also saw a campus expansion, new corporate partnerships, and record-setting billion-dollar fundraising campaign.