The College of Charleston president vacancy is just weeks old and it's already drawing interest, including Jenny Sanford.
South Carolina's former first lady confirmed Thursday she would like to serve in the post but added no one connected to the school has actually approached her about it. “I would be crazy not to look at the job,” Sanford said.
Sanford's interest, first reported by the Charleston City Paper, comes as state Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, said he has been encouraged by others, whom he declined to identify, about serving in the position in some capacity.
Limehouse went on to say that he's also heard that Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell's name has been bantered around as well.
McConnell is a C of C alumnus. He did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.
Sanford's interest remains the strongest voice so far to openly lobby for the post. Current school President George Benson announced he will be stepping down next year after six years at the helm.
Sanford, 50, has no experience working in academia. Her last full-time job was as an investment banker on Wall Street in the 1980s. But she said her roles in running ex-husband Mark Sanford's congressional and gubernatorial races, and following higher education budget needs from the governor's office, gives her both insight and management skills suited for leading a college.
Higher education is in a period of “transformational change,” she said.
“I'm waiting to see what the process is,” she added.
School officials have given little indication on how the selection of Benson's successor will play out. Benson, 67, isn't scheduled to step down until June 2014.
Greg Padgett, chairman of the college's Board of Trustees, has said the board has seven new members who need to learn a bit more about the college and what serving on the body entails before beginning a presidential search.
He expects the members to develop a selection process in the coming months that is “thorough, fair and inclusive.”
A spokesman for the school said Thursday it is too early in the process for the board to comment on candidates.
Benson's annual salary is about $366,000, with $166,000 of that coming from the state and $200,000 from the College of Charleston Foundation.
Diane Knich contributed to this report. Reach Schuyler Kropf at 5937-5551.
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