COLUMBIA -- Gov. Nikki Haley's office confirmed today that Haley removed Darla Moore from the University of South Carolina board.
Rob Godfrey, Haley press secretary, said Haley made the decision to remove Moore in favor of a "fresh set of eyes."
Moore is the university's single largest benefactor in its history and its business school is named for her.
"As is the case with many of our appointees, the governor looked for a fresh set of eyes to put in a critical leadership position -- a governor's appointee to the USC board," Godfrey said in an e-mail. "We have a great deal of respect for Ms. Moore and everything she has done for the university and our state, and we look forward to her future service."
Haley replaced Moore with Tommy Cofield, a Lexington-based lawyer, Godfrey said.
Cofield opened his own firm with his sister, Amy, in 2002. Previously, he was partner and former marketing director for the Columbia firm Barnes, Alford, Stork and Johnson from 1984 to 2002. He is board member for Make-A-Wish of South Carolina and an executive board member for the South Carolina Baptist Convention, according to his biography on his firm's website.
Cofield did not immediately respond to an e-mail from the newspaper seeking comments on his appointment.
Cofield and his family have donated to Haley's campaigns. Cofield gave Haley $4,500 for her gubernatorial bid and Republican runoff.
His sister Amy Cofield also donated $4,500 to Haley's campaign.
Cofield's wife, Janet, donated $50 to Haley's House run in 2008.
Godfrey did not respond to a question about whether his appointment was connected to the contributions.
Miles Loadholt, chairman of the USC Board of Trustees, said Moore's contributions to USC have been priceless.
"The importance of Darla Moore’s philanthropy cannot be overestimated," he said in a statement. "Her constant push for excellence not only at a state level, but in a global context, will be a standing legacy and among her many contributions to the university."
Margaret Lamb, spokeswoman for USC, said Moore has served on the board since 1999. The university's school of business was named for her in 1998.
Moore, a philanthropist who made her money on Wall Street, founded the Palmetto Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Columbia. Moore was the first woman profiled on the cover of Fortune magazine and named to the list of the "Top 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business," according to her biography on USC's website.
Her contributions to the university have broken many records for charitable donations. She gave $45 million in April 2005, offering the school's single donation ever. The gift was also was one the biggest anywhere in 2004, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
USC's business school was named after her when she gave the school a then-record $25 million in 1998.
Moore earned a bachelor's degree in political science from USC and grew up in Lake City. After graduating, she headed to Wall Street.
Read more later at postandcourier.com and also in tomorrow's newspaper.